this year, Jason and I wanted to change it up a little - not just for the sake of changing - but for the sake of outreach and a little bit different focus than just gathering a bunch of christians to talk christianese to each other.
so we had Brandon Reid Allen out and DJ Ruthless (bro was scratching on a tape deck - sick!). but instead of preaching about christian living or holiness, we had different campus and community organizations talk briefly about social justice, the needy, the poor, the homeless. folks from asian bible fellowship, helping hands for the homeless and neighborhood ministries came and had some interactive activities to help us learn more about the less fortunate in our area and how we can help them.
more emphasis was made for us to see the church's mission as more than simply convincing people that Jesus is Lord - to see that he died and rose from the dead in order for us, in turn, to serve those around us. to 'give unto the least of these' while we're here. i think some folks got it.
so there wasn't a huge turn-out. and it wasn't a complete disaster. we did do a bit of praise and worship at the end. but as Jason and I agreed, we'd rather have done something we believed in and fallen flat on our faces, than to do what was always done for the sake of tradition.
- i believe in Jesus. i know He's part of the Trinity and all the other important stuff we also believe, but to be honest, i'm partial to Jesus. don't get me wrong. God is like a Father—no, God IS the father—and the buck stops with Him (if you're going to have the buck stop somewhere it might as well stop with Someone who is… well… all about love with a capital L. of course, He's also about justice with a capital J, but we'll take our chances that, in the end, justice will feel like love). and then there is the Holy Spirit—mysterious, windy, seems to like fire a lot, whispering, and always pointing us to… you guessed it… Jesus. i not only like Jesus a lot, i believe He likes us a lot. enough to die for us. i know that when life gets tough (and it always does) He'll be there for us.
- i believe in the Church. i know—it's flawed, inconsistent, institutional, bureaucratic, even embarrassing sometimes. yet it is also incredibly heroic at other times. whether we like it or not, want to attend it or not, we're stuck with it. there are a lot of parachurch organizations out there that are a lot more glamorous at first glance, but the Church is the Body of Christ, and that's pretty glamorous too. the Church is not optional, it's not up for discussion, it's been around ever since Jesus, and it's still here. that's good enough for me.
- i believe in the scandalous grace of God. grace is outrageously unfair, ridiculously extravagant and unashamedly the center of the gospel, and it sure beats judgmentalism, legalism, and all the other isms. grace always gives second chances, third chances and never stops giving chances. grace has Jesus written all over it. grace makes people nervous because they are always so worried someone is going to take advantage of it. but that's what we like about grace. you can take advantage of it. but here's the really interesting part—grace doesn't just let everyone in. anyone, yes, but not everyone. And the Grace of God frequently includes the unexpected. so… who's in and who's not? only God knows, and that's fine with me.
- i believe in the Bible. i'm awed by it, inspired by it, and believe it is Truth. i'm also terrified of it. i don't understand all of it, but i believe it. all of it. that's the important part, because if you only believe some of it, if you try to edit out the parts you don't like, then you don't believe it. of course, believing it all doesn't mean i perfectly live it all. it doesn't even mean i have it all figured out. mostly i'm scared of it, scared in a good way, because whenever i read it and try to live by it, God shows up and that's pretty terrifying… and also pretty amazing... and pretty assuring.
that’s kind of it. the “biggies.” i know there are other important things out there… actually, a lot of other stuff: theology, doctrine, homosexuality, abortion, war, the second coming, prophecy, music, discipleship, appearance, serving, worship, social justice, the environment, dancing, drinking, traditions, smoking, language, baptism, moral issues and… well, like i said, lots of stuff.
all that is important, and certainly people should try to figure out what to believe about all those things, but that’s exactly the point. i believe that if the “biggies” are sorted out, then everything else will eventually fall into place too. it might not fall into the same place as the brother or sister next to you, but that’s what makes the kingdom of God so interesting. right?
(generously paraphrased from the youth specialties site)
jodi says i'm a show-off because i weaseled my way into playing bass with Erik's worship band on sunday.
meanwhile, for those times when you really want to bring the word of God to life, you should try one of these.
p.s. thanks to all who came out to the reign kings show last night. tim, rhonda, jake, and scottie - you guys are great friends and musicians.
his latest is a mock horoscope entry. but be sure to read "letter of recommendation" and "work - restroom."
p.s. soulparking.com is created/run by gary, a great friend of ours who used to live in NC.
in other news. this looks to be a busy weekend. work at the ER in Goodyear, AZ from 9-5 today, then cruise across town for an acoustic "in-store" at the berean store in Mesa. then back to Phoenix to catch the late night multisensory drama at the Dare2Share conference that's in town this weekend.
tomorrow, i work 9-5 again, then go straight back to Dare2Share for a show by david crowder and co. sunday i lead worship in the am and lead our college/career home gathering in the pm.
jodi and i think we might get to see each other in about 10 days.
i'm so excited to sit in with them again at the marquee theatre in tempe on march 13. imagine this egyptian, jamming on the same stage that was once graced by wilco, guster, the strokes, gin blossoms, the darkness, papa roach, GWAR....
p.s. anyone ever heard of stroke 9? (band we're opening for)