Saturday, October 30, 2010

What does changing impressions look like?

This was a great week. It had some difficulty, to be sure. I celebrated two birthdays (and the people who love me made them both soooooo special)! And we keep learning new things.

And we watched some leadership in action. Pattie had the idea of doing a Free Car Wash, because, no one does that.

So, yesterday, at the Tobacco Plus (Ryan & Sale, the KMart parking lot) we held up big, cool signs telling people "Free Car Wash."

Oh, and even better, everyone was wearing my birthday present...t-shirts with "theCityShouldBeDifferent" on the front, and ".Com" on the back, huge letters. Yes!

We didn't know how it would go down, of course. There's risk anytime you lead or innovate. (Some Embarrassment and failure are the inevitable price of leading.)

Really, we're standing on Ryan St., shamelessly smiling, joyfully talking to each other, and holding up colorful signs sharing our Free Car Wash invitation. (We learned, if you hold the sign over your head, the drivers can see our shirts, and wonder, "what is 'theCityShouldBeDifferent' "? Yeah!) And at first, no one pulled in. We had a couple of short conversations through car windows. Waiting. Say a prayer. Put a band-aid on Emily's foot. (Go to Walgreen's first and get first aid supplies, lol.) Wait.

It could be a flop. We could have wasted this time and energy.

A car pulls in. Another. Then none. I get called over from the street to the cars to talk to someone. Then more cars. More conversations. Some are really needing to feel God's wind at their back.  The question is asked a few times, "Why are you guys doing this?" Our response, "We'll, we're a church group, and because we've experienced God's love, we want to give it away."

No Strings, No Catch...Just Love.

People wanted to make donations. We weren't accepting donations. Those who absolutely insisted on giving, we gave the money to the next car. One very cool guy stayed and helped us wash cars for two hours! I can't wait to get to know him better. He brought back his brother and sister-in-law (Happy Anniversary!).

We prayed with several people, calling out to God for their needs. I was so pleased to meet a couple of people who were looking, it seemed, for something of God that day, and this simple act of service spoke to them. I'm looking forward to seeing "B" at Group @ the Park soon (we have Community Group @ 8 pm on Wednesday nights @ Prien Lake Park, under the open pavilion near Prien Lake Road, weather permitting). Oh, and I'm so praying now for our new hairdresser friend to let me know how she was impacted by the Indescribable DVD we gave her.  And my new wed morning padna (not sure how you spell that) as he drove to Baton Rouge with Louie Giglio's "Two Words that changed EVERYTHING" in his cd player.  

How is theCityGoingToBeDifferent?

Part of it is changing some people's impressions about church and church-people. Giving God's love away because Jesus is Alive!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Half My Life...

Today, i will have been a Jesus-Follower for Half of my life. A guy befriended me in this psychology class at McNeese. He spent a couple months getting to know me and letting me get to know him.

Then he invited me to this multi-church thing at the Civic Center. He called it a Revival. I asked, what's a revival? "Oh, you'll meet some of my friends from church, we'll sing some songs from church, and this dude will talk out of the Bible," he answered.

My response: "Why the hell not."

So that night I heard the Gospel of Jesus for I think the first time. I'd been to a church as a kid, but don't remember hearing that I needed a savior. That night, I was in college, running my life, feeling the emptiness in me and trying to mask it. I was unaware of the love of a God who reached out to me from the incomparable riches of His mercy, so that I could be rescued.


What a wild ride so far. It's gonna be rockin to see what God has in store next!

I can fell Him moving...theCityShouldBeDifferent!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gather and Send

One of the rhythms of theCityChurch is to Gather and Send.

It's not complicated, and I'm thinking Jesus did this as well. He gathered with his crew, did life, and trained them. He hung with his three closest friends, Peter, James and John. He did life with the 12 disciples. Sometimes is was a larger group who were following Him (a crowd). And sometimes it was an enormous gathering (5,000 men plus their families). Jesus gathered people together and did life with them, training them along the way. He was super relational, because He loved people.

Then, Jesus sent out His followers on mission. For example, in Luke 8, He sent out the 12 disciples with some specific instructions. Then, in Luke 9, He sends out 72 with instructions on the mission for that day. And when Jesus was leaving the Earth, He left instructions for the disciples and for those who come in their wake (that's you and me), sending out His church to make disciples and teach them to obey Jesus' commands (Matthew 28:19-20).

Gather and Send.

At theCityChurch, we gather together and pursue authentic community. That takes time and God's Grace. And the results, loving one another and God using community in His name to grow us and give us strength, support and courage, are so worth it! We'll mess up and miss the mark along the way, no doubt. But God's Radical Grace is our operating power and we believe it's sufficient to grow us from wherever we are to be more like Jesus! Our church gathers together. One new expression of this happened this past week as we moved our Sunday Morning Worship Gathering to the Clubhouse @ Village Green Apartments. (We outgrew my living room, which we were meeting in, yeah!) It was really cool, and I'm looking forward to worshiping there in this season. You can come and Gather with us! Find out more here.

I really dig Gathering!

And we send. Send each other out, having met with God and experienced His Grace through Jesus, we send each other out as Relational Missionaries to love and serve, without strings attached, with the awesome news that God's love and restoration is available to all. Last night we did some Sending, "After Midnight" style, hanging out and giving away water and burgers in a place where people who aren't your typical church-goers would be after midnight on a Friday night.

I really dig Sending!

I'm so proud of theCityChurch for your courage and willingness to embrace Jesus in this life.