I Never Knew Jesus Could Be Like This

I Never Knew Jesus Could Be Like This.

These are words that have lived with me for the past 24 hours. They are words that have lifted my heart and challenged my soul.

I have a pattern in my “post-church service” conversations. Guests are my priority to talk to. Yet, I try to connect to as many as possible. By the end of that time, I’m finally seeing and talking to long-time attenders. It is here, I could see a young woman out of the corner of my eye who’s been waiting patiently to talk to me. And she deposits these eight words within me,

I Never Knew Jesus Could Be Like This.

Honestly, I didn’t associate it with my preaching or the song choices of the worship set. It wasn’t about the style of the service nor the denomination of the church.

She experienced the presence of Jesus.

And it was the experience of the morning. The greeters. The friendliness of the people.  The intercessors in the prayer room before the service. Those who serve “behind the scenes” that makes a Sunday at Kfirst happen. The congregation capturing the heart of worship. The gathering around the Sacraments. The local church lifted up Jesus. And because of that, she got to see Him. (Which is good, because it’s all about Him and for Him.)

The local church becomes “Church” when we make much of Jesus and not a personality in a pulpit. We become Kingdom when we point everything to the “King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)  And it’s in that place we can unleash our passion for Him in worship. It is there we can humble ourselves and seek His face.  We get to be vulnerable with our humanity by being real about ourselves AND being real about who Jesus is.

And the beautiful byproduct of a local church doing this: People can see what Jesus is supposed to look like.

He is the Friend of Sinners.
He is the Hope for the nations.
He is the Healer for those in pain.
He is the Freedom for the oppressed.
He is the Liberator of the prisoner.
He is the Comforter of the hurting.
He is the Filler for those who are empty.
He is the One who revives us.

As I said earlier, her words that have lifted my heart and challenged my soul.

Why? While I celebrate being able to do this as a congregation on Sunday, how can we do this Monday through Saturday? I am encouraged in my heart but I am compelled to examine my life outside of Sunday gatherings. How can those in our sphere of influence experience that? What do we need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us so that the people we interact with every day can say…

I Never Knew Jesus Could Be Like This.

My prayer today is the words of an old chorus,

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me
Melt me, mold me
Fill me, use me.

Here I am. Start with me.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Our Kfirst Values: We do stuff on purpose

I started a series a few weeks back about the values of our church community. Here at Kfirst, our mission is our passion:  We make it simple for people to find and follow Jesus. And our values guide us towards that goal.

Check out last weeks by clicking on the value statement:

Week 1 – Everyone is Significant.

Week 2 – We are Contributors

Week 3 – God Works in Community.

Week 4 – We keep it fun.

Week 5 – Growth requires change.

This week…We do stuff on purpose.

We do stuff on purpose

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to making a difference in this world for Christ, I’ve found most people feel a range of emotions that steers them away. They either feel severely unqualified, completely intimidated, or at a total loss over where to start. The views of their church leaders and/or comparisons of the giftings of others have robbed so many of the witness that doesn’t necessarily come from standing on a street corner with a bullhorn or passing out tracts on the street…

…it’s robbed them of missional living in the simple things of life

Of all the things that feel overwhelming, one of the major issues to living missional is time. Schedules and calendars get packed; life gets busy. We have a terrible time juggling what we have without adding one more thing. But I propose a thought to you: We don’t need to add an extra activity to our day, we need to add intentionality to our activities.

It’s time to do “stuff on purpose.”

As you and I enjoy Jesus and remember who we are in Jesus, He will increasingly shape our lives to live on His mission so that more people can, though us, encounter His love. Your life is a pulpit and the messages you preach will flow through your daily activities. From how you respond to people to the character of Christ, the love of Jesus can intentionally shine through your life. I like how the apostle Paul puts it, “God helping you: take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering” (Romans 12:1 MSG). Simply said: Let Jesus be on display in everything you do.

I love these words from the book, “Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community,”

“Major events have a role to play in church life, but the bedrock of gospel ministry is low-key, ordinary, day-to-day work that often goes unseen. Most gospel ministry involves ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality.”

At Kfirst, we believe that, as far as we can help it, we should do everything on purpose. We intentionally focus our time, money and energy to make it simple to find and follow Jesus. It’s what drives us every day. But it can’t be fit into an hour and a half on a Sunday from a platform. Most of the time, that type of intentionality is done in daily lives.

Wrapping up, I want to invite you to “do stuff on purpose.” Here’s five simple, yet effective, ways to do ordinary life with intentionality.

  1. Pray. Before you do anything (work, leisure, family time, shopping, etc) add a simple prayer. “God, as I do this, help me to love like Jesus, live like Jesus, and serve like Jesus.”
  2. Eat. We Americans love to eat. We we have around 21 meals a week. Commit to sharing at least ONE of those a week with someone who does not have a relationship with Jesus. I’m not asking to engage them in debate; just engage them in authentic love and friendship.
  3. Connect. Connect your Kfirst community into relationships and events with your other friends/coworkers and vice versa. Be a builder of bridges.
  4. Pay Attention. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you open your eyes to see “God-moments” everyday. These are the things that feel like annoyances when we don’t have a gospel-attitude. Love what “Total Church” says, “Most God-moments are unexpected and occur along the way to someplace else. They will seem like interruptions, but if you begin to look for God’s fingerprints in your day and in every relationship, in every coffee shop, in every conversation you have with your neighbor, there’s a good chance you will begin to see God’s incarnational presence.”
  5. Play. Do your typical hobbies or fun activities prayerfully (see # 1 ) and by inviting a mix of people into the thing you’re doing (# 3).

Love what Paul tells the church in Corinth,

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:31

What might life look like for you to live “on purpose?” Before you click off this blog, write out everything you do typically Sunday through Saturday. Include everything. Meals, work, that one TV show you never miss, gym, etc. Take all of your responses and share them with a friend and discuss how you can be intentional together.

Do stuff on purpose. Be intentional in everything you do for the glory of God.

 

 

It’s in my blood: My Challenge to Kfirst for Global Missions

Went back home to Detroit a month ago a sat for a lunch with my parents.  No idea how it came up, but I mentioned I had A-negative blood. It sent dad on a thought-tangent he couldn’t let go of.  Even hours later, at a Red Wings game, he was still bringing it up trying to figure out the heritability of my blood type verse his and mom’s types.  Not being the most versed in genetics, I didn’t have much to add to the conversation.

Even though he and I have different blood types, there are traits that come naturally to me because of these two people who raised me.  My hairline (obviously from dad), my lack of basketball height, the emotional disposition I carry, and work ethic are just a few things they’ve passed down to me.  Of all the things they’ve passed down, one that I will be forever grateful for is generosity. At the risk of sounding prideful (please don’t read any of this in that tone), any generosity in my life is NOT of my own doing.  I owe it, first, to the work of Jesus in me and, second, to the nature and nurture of Hal and Linda.  They were natural givers and they nurtured that into me and Rachael.  There’s not a moment when an opportunity for generosity opens up where I don’t think about what my parents would do in the same situation.  I give because, well, it’s in my blood. 

As a church, Kfirst is dedicated to make it simple for people to follow Jesus.  It’s not about making it easy (because quite frankly, follow Jesus isn’t easy), but it’s about making the message of the love and mercy of God clear and understandable so that people can respond to Jesus.  Our lives have lavishly received his grace and we stand transformed by his love.  Regardless of our past of sin and pain, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” The generous nature of His love gives to us and his generous nurture/care of us CONTINUES to grow us day by day.  That transformation has so moved our church and fellowship that we believe it’s more than a mission for our area.  Because of his nature and nurturing, it’s our mission for the world.  It’s in our spiritual DNA.  It’s in our blood. 

Reach final

Coming out of a great weekend with Tim Enloe, we celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives.  I love to see how the Holy Spirit is touching people and using them in His gifts.  But we cannot have an Acts 2:4 church without the Acts 1:8 expectations. We cannot possibly richly receive and keep it to ourselves.  Last week we were poured into.  This Sunday we reciprocate that by pouring out onto the mission field. 

This Sunday, we approach a significant Sunday that, perhaps, is the most important service of the year thus far.  We make our six-month “Missions Commitment” to global missions.  We have a tremendous opportunity in 2015 to have an impact in places that we may never go.  The 82 missionaries and ministries that Kfirst supports are reaching people locally and all over the world with the gospel.  These amazing heroes of faith need our prayer and our financial support to enable them to make it simple for people to find and follow Jesus.  

Can I challenge you to do 4 things? 

First, would you pray for our champions of faith (missionaries) that are on the field? We have a map in our prayer room where you can pray over them by name anytime during church office hours and/or before and after services.  They need your prayers daily and with so many we support, we need all of you to help pick up the mantle of prayer for all 82 of them.

Second, would you pray over what you would give to global missions at Kfirst? Pray on your own.  Pray and talk with your spouse. Pray with your children (this is a great time to nurture generosity to missions in them).  Talk as a family and decide what you want to do together.  Make this a family affair.  Take a step of faith. It may be a one-time gift.  I’d encourage you to do what Anne and I do.  Out of every paycheck, we tithe AND we give to global missions.  Why? First, we want to put God first in our finances.  Second, we don’t believe in asking ANYONE to do something we won’t lead in doing ourselves. 

Third, take a step of faith and make a missions commitment on Sunday.  For some reason if you cannot be with us (seriously, you don’t want to miss this Sunday), sometime within the next few weeks, fill out a “Missions Commitment” card HERE or at Kfirst.  What’s a “Missions Commitment”? Check out this video: 

https://vimeo.com/127321439

From the months of June, 2015 through November, 2015 we’re challenging you to give to the work of missions through our Missions Commitment form AND give via PushPay.  You can easily set up recurring giving and designate to “missions commitment” HERE.

Lastly, would you see yourself as a missionary to the field around you.  Just as you may not carry the calling to go to places like Senegal, Thailand, or Columbia, the missionaries that are there are not necessarily called to the Kalamazoo area.   You are.  Just as you freely received His love and mercy, walk as agents of the love of Jesus to the world around you. 

Again, the generous nature of His love gives to us and his generous nurture/care of us CONTINUES to grow us day by day.  That transformation moves us to be passionate about people hearing the life-changing message of Christ. Because of His nature and nurturing, we walk in generosity to the world around us.  Generosity is in our spiritual DNA.  It’s in our blood. 

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Barringer couple 2

2 Minute Devos: Crash – Day 10

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Today’s Scripture: 1 Chronicles 28:9-10

“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. 10 Be careful now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it.”

Crash Prayer Card 2