Don’t Forget to Celebrate

Work, work, work; more people, more knowledge, more effort. If you think that’s what exhausts the group leaders mentality, then let me encourage you otherwise: Don’t forget to celebrate! I have a tendency to dig, dig, dig, and then, dig more. Mike Glenn often reminds me to let people come up for air every now and again.

Our people get tired. They lose focus. They stray from vision. An antidote to all 3 is to celebrate what the Lord is up to in your lives and the lives of your friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

People imitate what their leaders celebrate, so take a group gathering to just celebrate. Share a meal and good dessert with one another. Sing praise for the groups successes you’ve seen this Spring: for any lost people you’re praying for or who have come to faith; for spiritual growth in each of your members and their families; for other great events/mission/life sharing that you all have done together . . . .

If you feel like there’s nothing to celebrate, then begin praying with your group about what you want to celebrate. Pray the Lord will do a work in your life and the life of your group to help you become the disciple makers you’ve been transformed to be. We want to: engage the whole person with the whole gospel of Jesus Christ anywhere, anytime with anybody. Pray for how that looks for you and your group. God is up to something; let’s be a part of it and let’s be a people of celebration.

Pray for Neighbors BY NAME

As Easter approaches, I’ve been meditating on these words from our pastor, Mike Glenn: Our friends, neighbors, and co-workers are asking questions that only Jesus can answer; when you go home, go to the end of your driveway and pray for every house in your neighborhood that the Lord will send a revival and that it starts at your driveway.

Jesus has risen, liberating us from the bondage of sin and the fear of death. As believers, we ought to be the most free and fearless people in the world since our Lord has already secured the victory! Yet, so many of those yet to believe in our lives are trapped and fearful; they are lonely.

You cannot love them or save them on your own (John 15.8) but the Spirit can empower you with a heart for the lost and searching in your neighborhood and support you in conversations with them. Join Jesus in John 17.20ff. in praying for those the Spirit has called you to have Gospel Conversations with.

Because where you live is no accident but part of God’s plan, YOU begin praying for them now and challenge YOUR GROUP to begin praying for them now:

  • Pray for neighbors BY NAME as you get your mail, as you mow your yard, as you walk your streets . . .
  • Pray for opportunity to have conversations with them BY NAME
  • Pray for and plan a meal/cookout in June with them BY NAME

The Jarring Reality of the Crucifixion

In working through the podcast series History of Philosophy without any Gaps, I’ve spent the previous few months with Medieval Jewish and Islamic philosophers. From Maimonides to Crescas and Avicenna to Averroes, they’ve put my mind on two ideas: God’s Transcendence and God’s Ineffability. The former talks about how God is so distant and other than we are while the latter claims boldly that God is unknowable.

Meditating on those ideas, I found myself in preaching team on Monday afternoon when we normally dive into the text together talking about biblical language, historical context, theology, illustrations, and the like. The script was changed this week though as Mike requested 4 individuals to come read Mark 15 to us. So, for about 20 minutes, we listened as Mark 15 was read aloud and any notion of utter transcendence or ineffability were obliterated.

I was able to hear the Gospel anew with a kind of freshness I hadn’t experienced in years. The Gospel had become rote for me: what I believe and what I live for, but what I also often took for granted. To hear read aloud the God how becomes truly human (not transcendent only, but radically immanent), the God who allows Himself to endure physical abuse (not at all ineffable), and the God who demonstrates love by suffering to redeem His creatures (destroys utter transcendence and ineffability), was nothing less than JARRING. It was offensive which made me reflect on how much my sin offends the Lord. It was convicting. It is our story; it is our salvation, and He is our Lord.