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Welcome! The primary purpose of this blog is to explore and encourage around what it means to be winsome and sent into the world for God's glory. If you are new here, the definition of "lighthouse-searchlight" or our missional journey is a good place to start. Come peruse the blog and add me to your RSS feed!

Monday, March 29, 2010

missional fruit

Missional fruit are signs that we are participating in what God is doing.  I don't share these things to brag on our church or say "look at us,' but to say "look at God!"  About 4 years ago the Session made the intentional decision to become a "lighthouse/searchlight" church.  That is not a program, but an identity.  And embracing and "living into" that identity has been a slow process.  But it's happening.  Two Sundays ago I saw this missional identity fleshed out in two memorable ways.

Girl Scout Sunday

Three years ago a new family in the church approached the Session about starting a Girl Scout "Daisy" troop (ages 4-5 or thereabouts).  We thought this was a great idea and offered them space.  About half the girls were from the church and half were from the neighborhood (from the apartments and housing project down the street). 

Two years ago, when a neighborhood clubhouse (Windyrush) burned down, we offered our church for several club events.  One of the displaced groups was an older girl scout group (teenagers), and we offered them space to meet.  We were asked in 2009 to have our first "Girl Scout Sunday," which was an amazing, chaotic, and glorious event. I wrote about HERE.

This year we were approached by another group wanting to start a Daisy troop ("our" Daisies were now Brownies, two years later).  So, we have three troops presently meeting, and the 2010 Girl Scout Sunday was another amazing, chaotic, and glorious event.  Girl Scouts served as ushers, lay readers, and several church girl scouts performed a memorable skit with their mothers.  Over 20 girls and families came between the three troops, resulting in larger attendance than we have on Easter and Christmas (we used ALL the chairs we had). 

Maddie Shuler CD Release Concert

That same night, Maddie Shuler held her debut CD release concert at the Evening Muse in the NODA arts district of Charlotte.  The club was packed to overflowing (125+) and I was privileged to play keyboard in her band.  Her concert was wonderful and exciting on so many levels, but not the least of which was her sharing her faith - and struggles - in a public venue far outside the walls of any traditional church.  While much of the crowd were church family, there were a significant number of folks present who just like to hear new music or who perhaps read about her in the Charlotte Examiner - a local online paper featuring smaller acts and new talent.  The reporter/photographer, Monty Chandler, did a great promo piece before the concert, and an even more glowing and encouraging piece afterwards.  I've written about Maddie before, as an example of using one's talents to honor God outside the church walls.  Few have Maddie's musical gifts, but we ALL can use our talents for God's glory in the world.  We explored that some in 2009 with the "talent challenge" - and continue to stretch and grow in this direction.

Oh yes - if you don't have Maddie's CD yet, you can find it on iTunes or Amazon for download - just search for her name.  Or, if you can come by to pick it up, you can get an actual CD from the church.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

the blessing and challenge of the commandments

The Commandments (and God’s Word in general) hold both challenge and blessing for those who attend to them in faith.  At once they convict us of the reality of the human condition – that we fall short and are cursed for spiritual death; at the same time God has blessed us with a Word that offers us temporary shelter and an eternal hope that He will intervene and give us life.

What does one do with this teaching on the Commandments?  Broadly, the application is two-fold, growing out of two significant realizations about the human condition: we are challenged and we are blessed.

We are challenged to not give in to easy self-righteousness, displacing our need for a holy God to intervene and save.  To respond to this challenge produces a profound and genuine humility.

There is also blessing: we are blessed to have some living words of hope spoken into our death camp – words which offer us order and blessing in this, our temporary home; and words which hold out a picture and a hope of new life with the one and only Lord of all.  To receive this blessing produces a profound and genuine joy.

God’s Word… food for the soul… humility and joy… challenge and blessing.

More here:

Sermon on the Commandments (Exodus 20)
Sermon on the Commandments (Matthew 5)

For those living in the ashes between Eden and the End, the Ten Commandments offer a temporary shelter in the present world, with all the hope of a God who is coming to save us from death itself.

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