Monday, June 10, 2019

Reflecting on Pentecost

Peter gets up in front of the crowd. There is clamoring for explanation. An outcry for a response.

How did all these people start speaking and understanding each other in their own native tongues? What was that violent wind? Somebody better explain those tongues of fire.

Something mysterious...miraculous even is going down here.

Or? they are all drunk. That's it. They're blitzed. They are a bunch of day drinkers who got an extra early start today.

And Peter stands up. The guy notoriously known for putting his feet in his mouth, now standing on his feet and opening his mouth.

And he is not who he once was.

He dismisses the "Blame it on the alcohol" theory. It's 9 am. And its a lot of people. All night ragers aren't a thing yet.

And he quotes the prophet Joel.

"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they will prophesy...And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved"

And then Peter preaches. The first sermon of this new thing emerging called church.

He points to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and the promise of the prophet Joel being realized in their midst on that day.

We can't miss this.

Pentecost. How does it get such little fanfare and celebration in our churches? Christmas has gifts. Easter has a bunny. And many churches breezed through their gathering on June 9 without realization or acknowledgement of the day the tiger was let out of her cage.

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

All.

The Spirit has been available and accessible throughout the ages to a Divinely selected few to do extraordinary things for the purposes of God.

Now that selective "divine yes" has become an EXPANSIVE divine yes.

He continues the quote. Your sons and daughters. Just like that the patriarchal history that developed after the Fall in Genesis 3 (notice this wasn't the case in the Garden...male and female he created them!) is flipped on its head. Peter's first sermon after the Spirit falls on humanity and he leads with paradigm deconstruction.

He isn't finished yet. Your young men will see visions...your old men will dream dreams. There's no distinguishing young and old now. God will do what God will do in the wee ones and the worn ones. The youth no longer need to cut their teeth and endure rites of passages and climb ladders to arrive at a place where they can have a voice and God can use them. Now the selective divine yes that a shepherd boy received to go and slay giants can now be manifest on the multitude.

And the aged need not fear irrelevance. If they are not dead, God is not done. The Spirit will cultivate entire generations of Annas and Simeons to continue to till the world's soil with their prayers and their patience.

Even on servants...more accurately 'slaves'...best understood as those in debt and in physical or metaphorical bondage until that debt is paid off. Peter says, Even on those who are bankrupt. Poor. Worth over-looking. This Divine Yes refuses to over look.

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Everyone.

We aren't who we once were.

That's Pentecost. Decentralized. Radical empowerment. Everyone can play.

And then the early church tries to figure out how to live in the wake of Peter's message of the expansive divine yes.

And they struggle.

Can the Spirit fall on the guy who killed Christians? The non-Jew? The non-Jew who doesn't become Jewish? The traditionally unclean? The poor? The crippled? The ____? The ____?

And time and time again, where the church in Acts drew lines in the sand to declare the extent of God's yes, The Spirit would push right past that line and make sure they knew that God was more expansive than their lines could contain.

It's how we get Paul. And Cornelius. And Lydia. And Apollos. And Timothy. And you. And me.


Thank God we have evolved from the first century church and no longer struggle with who is in and who is not, who can lead and who cannot, who the Spirit can fall on and who He cannot. Thank God we are not stuck in systems that are led and directed by a few paid professionals. That would be a frustrating and confounding world to live in. Thank God we live in the light of Pentecost where the tiger in our sons and daughters, our young and old, our imprisoned and our free can be unleashed.

Thank God we are past the lines and have embraced an expansive, Pentecostal Yes.

#letthetigerout #andthetigress #andthecub #andwhateverthenameforanoldtigeris #andthecaptive



Tuesday, January 23, 2018

5-4-3-2-1 This is Church

City Campus Church has some simple, yet unique DNA that we are consistently aligning ourselves to. It's our ethos for where we are going and how we are trying to get there. It's as simple at 5-4-3-2-1.




5 VALUES


We are a values driven church, which means that these values direct our thinking and actions on a micro (individually) and macro level (in community). Based off Acts 2:42-47, our five values as a church are

Celebration...a win for you is a win for me and it is right to give thanks.

Community...we are better together than we could ever be apart.

Change...God doing a transforming work in us and doing a transforming work through us.

Generosity...We give more than we take.

Replication...Multiplying at every level. Disciples making Disciples who make disciples. Communities making communities who make communities. and Churches making churches who make churches.

4 RHYTHMS

Each of our Missional Communities have 4 rhythms that help us to live out a Gospel centered life.

Substance. This is where we share God's Word together and apply it in meaningful ways.

Social. Jesus found himself sharing meals and enjoying people frequently. We want to do the same. Have fun and build relationships.

Serve. Each community partners with a specific cause in our city. One supports foster parents and their kids, one supports the under-resourced on the West side, one partners with chronically and terminally ill children and their families and one partners with single mothers on the East side. Our serves are about fostering relational capital (not just doing nice things but being connected with the people we serve) and kingdom impact. We want to do things that are close to the heart of God.

Sabbath. In a culture that goes with reckless pace, we choose to live an alternative story and catch our breath and slow down.

These rhythms are all to be done at least once each in a 6 week window. We are low control (each community determines where they are heading) but high accountability (they have to own our 4 rhythms and our 5 values).

3 VEHICLES

We think that discipleship happens in three vehicles and encourage our folks to hop in the right vehicles at the right time in their faith journey.

Celebration...It's our Sunday morning gathering. There you will experience music and teaching and communion and prayer and baptisms.

Missional Community...Groups of 15-40 people doing life together (family) and serving a specific context (mission). We are a family on mission.

Huddle...Groups of 3-8 folks who go through a very intentional process of learning how to consistently lean into the Most Important 2 Questions (see below)

2 QUESTIONS

We believe that every person who is following Jesus can answer the two most important questions:

What is Jesus Saying?

What am I Going to Do About It?

1 GOAL

People being change(d) in the city of Columbus. If we really matter and make a difference in this city then if we closed our doors or stopped our missional communities, who in the city would be upset or miss our presence? If the answer is no one, then this DNA isn't really taking root.

This way of church isn't for everyone. But we consciously and consistently seek to choose presence over polish, development over delivery and low control with high accountability as the way to live out this story. We have seen God do some pretty amazing things in these first 5 years as a church and now we are beginning to look toward the next five with hope and expectancy of how He will move! Hope you'll join us for the ride!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Right as Heaven Hard as Hell.

Hey there! It's me. 2018 is here and some of you are thinking now is the time.

Now is the time to respond to the opioid epidemic and the subsequent surge in foster care placements.

Now is the time to get your foster license and make family available either temporarily or more permanently to some kids who haven't had a very easy go of it.

I'm your biggest fan. If you go down this road, you can be a literal world changer for the kid or kids you welcome into your home. The numbers are staggering regarding how many kids in the system end up dropping out of high school, experiencing teenage pregnancy and ending up in prison. You can help rewrite stories, break toxic cycles, restore nuclear families, help a kid feel loved, safe and at home.

As someone who has gotten my feet wet in this crisis, I think I can offer a piece of advice as you head down this road:

Don't.

Don't do it.

It's hard as hell.

You're committing to open your home, your marriage, your kids up to total strangers. Strangers who have often been neglected. Often abused. Often undisciplined. Often underfed. Often overmedicated. Often terrified. Often pissed off that they got taken from their home. Often distrusting because the last placement gave up on them or hurt them or didn't want them.

They will disrupt your routine, your sleep, your systems.

They will rock the boat. They will sabotage the one thing you and they both know they need. They will sabotage the love you are trying to give them. They will self destruct.

So don't do it. Because if you have stars in your eyes that it will be a happy story or an instant connection and if you think they will be compliant and grateful, you will be crushed...devastated when reality sets in.

They've been ripped from their home and in many ways their hearts ripped from their chests. You will be near the top of their list of people to blame for this.

I know. I know. You had nothing to do with that. You're just opening your home out of the goodness of your heart. They don't see it that way.

So again...Don't do it.

There is a surprising number of foster homes who take one placement and then never do it again or after a very short time with a placement realize how disruptive the foster kids are and ask for removal. It's hard as hell.

Getting a stranger to let down their guard enough to even begin considering the prospects of family is brutal. Even if you are consistent and persistent, it may never take. Even if you have predictable patterns and clarified expectations, it may never translate to trust.

Don't do it.

That's the advice I'd give you. It's also probably the advice I'd have given God. Don't bother with these wicked, destructive, self-centered humans. They will seek to sabotage the very thing God wants to lavish on them. And yet God takes the road less traveled. Sent from Heaven to save from Hell. He looked at the mess of our rebellion and chose restoration and redemption at substantial cost. Where it seemed He had multiple choices, He saw only one. He couldn't not engage the people He loved. He chose it, knowing full well that the story, filled with betrayal and desertion and denial and rejection would be hard as hell. But He also knew this road was right as Heaven. He couldn't not engage.

So hear me, you would be heroes of foster kids, all I can tell you is don't do it. The risks you'd be taking on your marriage and your family and your routine and your mental health and your freedom and flexibility in your schedule...its costly. Don't do it.

Unless you absolutely can't not do it.

Then do it with everything you've got.

It will be hard as hell. But you know with every fiber of your being, its right as Heaven.