Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The body of Christ

Our Easter service was one of my top three ever experienced. The first was the Easter that Amie and I decided not to go to church. We didn’t buy new clothes or lots of candy. It was our first year being married and we were living in christian community on a YWAM campus. We slept in, went to Pizza Hut and talked about Christ together.

The second was two years ago when our church joined a larger congregation for Easter in our building. Aaron and I decided not to go to church but go up on New Hope’s roof, listen to Andrew Peterson’s song “Rise and Shine” then we bought donuts and coffee and went to the park to bring Easter to the homeless.

This year, a new Christian in our body had the idea to have a sunrise service. The church leadership complied and many were afraid that no one would show up. One of the homeless guys in our congregation thought it would be nice to have a fire to gather around in the parking lot...he even found wood and cut it up so I brought over my fire bowl. At 5:45am, our little congregation gathered around the fire...most everybody came. We sang songs around the fire as the sun came up and affirmed our faith by reading the Apostle’s Creed together. We went inside for pastor Ken’s retelling of the Easter story and then we shared a breakfast together.

Here is this church that has some disfunction but the blue collar workers find grace and encouragement, the disabled are cared for, the elderly are affirmed, the homeless and cast down are welcomed in, the young leaders are released, the leadership is open minded and willing to change, the property is shared and made available, discipleship is pursued and true community, while not quite there, is developing.

How could I ask for more. I am grateful.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Boo on me....

It's one of those times again...I haven't really sat at my computer for two weeks. Have patience with me. I'll post soon.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Get on with it.

Sorry no posty in a long timey...I can’t find as much time to write here in Mo-town as I do when I’m away. It’s been good to be back though, just getting on with living life together with our friends. I had a great talk with my brother in law, Randy, in Kentucky. He’s been a worship pastor at a big ole church for quite some time.

I’ve often wondered what life would be like for him...just being in the church and solely working on music. He talked to me about the days he gets to be on call for hospital and funeral home visits. He told me they have become his favorite days of the week cause he gets the privilege of holding someone's hand while their child dies or can pray with someone who is facing cancer or can comfort someone that has just lost a loved one. His challenge to me...let’s get on with it! If we are not being Jesus to the world today in some way, the day is wasted cause that’s the only reason we’re still here. The scripture says in Ephesians 1 that the church is the full expression of Christ in the world...expressing Jesus’ nature to fill every part of everthing (or all in all as the Bible says).

He told me those days bring depth to the other part of his job. And what are we all waiting for? Are we waiting to become perfect christians before we step out? This attitude seems humble but it is really a cop out. Randy’s words...Who do we think we are? Let’s just do a little Bible study on how many people God took away their temptations and struggles so they could feel better about themselves and then be able to minister. You won’t find anyone. In fact, God says His strength is made perfect in weakness...he LIKES it that way. That way he shows himself strong and no one will be able to doubt that it was God who touched them or moved because the vessels...you and me...in no way could pull off something like God when he works. All else if flashy, emotional string pulling. There are a few shysters who can make people emotional. But there is no substitute for God moving unexpectedly through a weak, willing, humble person.

Stop waiting. Let’s get on with it.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Older entries

Just FYI, you can read older entries at my old blog...http://cwhitler.diaryland.com

Rooms and hearts

When we came home from Kentucky,it was to a warm welcome by dear friends. We got home Saturday night and my official “I should start watching what I’m eating” began right after the burrito from “Taco’s Jessica #2” down by the bus station...at 10:30pm. On our way back to our house, Jimmy and Aaron drove by the church to drop something off for a friend. They asked me to come upstairs and I protested that I was tired and just wanted to eat then sleep. Well, they finally got me up the stairs and revealed a brand new office they had fixed up for us!

New Hope has been so welcoming to us and the work we want to do, taking it on as their own. Free office space has been part of that. Our office has always been kinda cluttery and rushed. A “for now” kind of office. As in, “oh, just put that there for now.” Two years later, it’s still there.

The walls were painted, the room is ordered, everything is warm and comfortable and useful. There is artwork, a mini-recording studio set up, a nice computer area, a nice place to meet and pray. So much better! It’s amazing how being in an ordered space makes you feel so much better. Mom was right. A room is better when it’s clean and cleaned well.

On Sunday morning, Josh led worship and one of the songs he chose was “Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me...” It made me think about the office. It was cleaned and order and rightness restored and it made things so much better. Why are we afraid to let God do this with our life? To have our heart be clean, living and beating it’s intended purpose, to love God and others...what a gift.