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.

 

 

Missional opportunities for @kalamazoofirst

I love reading  blogs (most of which are on marriage and family).  Last week, I came across this blog post and knew I had to share it.  I know I could have easily retweeted it.  But I wanted to look for a way to give it a bit more emphasis as to not blend into the white noise that can be social networking.

I’ve always said, outreach is a journey, not an event.  It’s a way that we live and should be relegated to a once-in-a-while church-wide activity.  I wanted to share Tim Gaydos’, of Mars Hill, blog post about SIMPLE ways of being missional during the Christmas season.  Again, this is all Tim and not me.  Enjoy his great post.

Missional

As Christians, it’s so important that we look for missional opportunities with our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family members as they are way more prone to engage in Jesus-friendly activities and conversation this time of the year than any other—by far! So, let’s pray and get after it!

Here’s the deal: People really love being invited to events, parties, and homes. There are so many opportunities happening in our respective cities through concerts, shows, plays, parties, and services that proclaim Jesus and would lead to natural conversation with those in your sphere of influence, let me give you just five.

1. INVITE PEOPLE TO A CHRISTMAS LIGHT SHOW

Every year, my wife and I invite friends to go with us to the The Lights of Christmas, which is put on by a Christian conference center just outside the Seattle area. There are many examples of Christ being proclaimed at this event, specifically a Nativity scene. There might not be another time where a non-Christian friend would go with you to a Christian conference center, but this is the time—who doesn’t love Christmas lights?!

2. GO TAKE IN HANDEL’S MESSIAH

One year, we took some non-Christian friends to Handel’sMessiah at the Seattle Symphony. No matter who you are, it’s impossible not to be blown away by the grandeur of this masterpiece. It was captivating, and the awe-inspiring nature of the Messiah gave us a chance to talk with our friends about the content of this piece, which led to an incredibly rich gospel conversation.

3. THROW A FUN, FESTIVE CHRISTMAS PARTY

Sweaters, white-elephant gift exchange, good food, good drinks—go BIG! Christmas is a great reason to engage the people God has placed in your life. Invite neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends. Make sure it’s not a Christian-only party. Make it a point to invite people into your home, to sit on your couch, drink from your cups. Show that you care and take a moment to introduce people to one another. Share the meaning of Christmas with them and the reason behind all that we are celebrating.

4. SERVE OTHERS

People are “naturally” charitable at Christmas. There are so many local opportunities to serve the least among us during the Christmas season, and both Christian and non-Christian alike see this as an opportunity to do good and love others by serving those who are less fortunate than they are. This is a great time to preach the gospel in word and deed as Jesus has commanded us and share about why Jesus is the most generous and charitable man who ever lived.

5. INVITE SOMEONE TO A CHURCH PLAY OR CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE

Many churches put on incredible productions during the Christmas season. Also, Christmas Eve services are some of the most well-attended church services and is the absolute only time (or one of only two times) someone would willingly enter into a church. For many, going to church on Christmas isn’t weird, just what you’re supposed to do. Don’t miss this opportunity to invite someone to hear the real meaning of Christmas.

PRAY, THEN MAKE A PLAN

Right now, I want to ask you to take one minute and think about three people in your life that you would love the opportunity to share Jesus with.

Once you have those three people, pray for them and their hearts to know Jesus. After you have prayed for them, think about what event, service, party you could invite them to and call, text, email, Facebook or Twitter them.

Do it!

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

Romans 10:14