Edit
Home

Blog

All Trees Don't Grow Alike

Have you ever tried on some clothes that don’t fit quite right? After observing the tag, you notice it says “One Size Fits All”! We could all agree that it probably won’t fit “All” after all! Admittedly, this happens to me rather often!


We’ve started a New Year and a new series! This is a year to Grow Up toward God! In order to grow, we have been discussing the importance of walking in relationships of discipleship; both giving to others what we have received and being in a relationship with those who help us to grow. While it is important that all trees continue growing, I find it interesting that not all trees grow the same way, at the same rate, or under the same conditions. They don’t all produce the same fruit or seed either. Similarly, we cannot equate growing in God with a certain way to pray, or amount of Bible to read, or ways to serve as a means of maturity. God calls some of His Body to be hands, head, or feet and function and grow in different ways. He calls us all to grow in different ways ~ the ones we personally need the most.


Just like clothing that doesn’t work well for everyone, I’ve noticed that similar propensity in our spiritual journey when it comes to growing in God. We look for a formula or path that other more experienced Christians have taken to arrive at their place of maturity. There are many ways we can come closer to God. Oftentimes, we crave knowing the details of their personal relationship with God in order that we too would know when we have “arrived” once we manage to do those same things. Some feel closest to God when praying, reading the Bible, serving, worshiping, teaching, or learning. If we were to do it exactly the way they did it, maybe we too could become the perfect believers. Then again, we consider Ephesians 2:


God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Eph 2:8-10


In other words, we truly can’t earn God’s grace and we can’t perfect his work in us either! But what we can do is surrender to His leading in our lives and learn how it is that He has uniquely made us and calls us to live for Him. In his book “The Me I Want to Be”, John Ortberg says something that stands out to me: “Appliances get mass-produced. Masterpieces get handcrafted”. Go ahead, read it again!


You are God’s masterpiece. Created uniquely in Christ for good works. You are not God’s appliance but a masterpiece. God is not limited by your humanity; he longs for relationship with you! He is mindful of you and desires to visit you (Ps. 8:4). God knows what you need. Just as he has known what to do with countless others:  


He had Abraham take a walk, Elijah take a nap,

Joshua take a lap, and Adam take the rap.

He gave Moses a forty-nine-year time out, he gave David a harp and a dance,

and he gave Paul a pen and a scroll.

He wrestled with Jacob, argued with Job, whispered to Elijah,

warned Cain, and comforted Hagar.

He gave Aaron an altar, Miriam a song, Gideon a fleece,

Peter a name, and Elisha a Mantle.

Jesus was stern with the rich young ruler, tender with the woman caught in adultery, patient with the disciples, blistering with the scribes.

God never grows two people the same way.

God is a hand-crafter, not a mass producer.

Now it's your turn (Ortberg, 2010).


What makes you uniquely you? What is the learning style that comes most naturally to you? What helps you to rest? Are you more fully awake in the morning, afternoon, or evening? What things burden your heart and cause you to reach out? What makes you more aware of the presence of God in your life? It may look different than those around you but it is an act of worship every time you respond when Holy Spirit speaks and draws you to himself or encourages you to serve, or moves you to act… and it may be exactly what we need!


God has made you for freedom and he created you completely YOU! He desires to fill you with His Fullness so that you may give him glory and walk with Him in the way that only YOU can!


Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:17-18


I pray that you would be encouraged as you seek God, filled with His presence, and at peace in His freedom!

Read more
Mask Mandate

With the recent increase in COVID cases, the City of Minneapolis has reinstated the Mask mandate for masks to be worn at all times except when eating or drinking for adults and children over two years old.


As an Intentional Community, we believe it is important that we continue to meet and strengthen one another in seeking God. As Hebrews 10:23-25 says: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.


We understand the difficult times these are for all of us. We want to take important precautions, submit to the authorities, care for all of the members of our community, and continue to pursue God’s purposes together. Therefore, we ask that you please come prepared with a mask for use within the building, remain socially distant, and sanitize as needed. We will have masks available at the Connecting table.


We will continue to monitor the city regulations as well as the closing of public facilities like schools and restaurants. We consider our meeting together as important and will continue offering meals for those who want to participate in a Mealtime at 5:00 PM. For those who would prefer not to participate in a meal during this time, you are still welcome to join us for Worship at 5:30 PM in the Sanctuary. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, we ask that you get tested and remain home if tested positive. We will continue to have the Livestream option available.


For those joining in mealtime, we are asking that everyone keep their mask on until they eat and to put it back on after they are done eating in order to follow the guidelines from the City of Minneapolis. Tables will be spread out for social distancing. We encourage everyone to sanitize before and after the meal.


Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.

We thank you for persevering through these difficult times, for your continued prayer for our church, and for pursuing God’s purposes together.


Read more
Ordinary Treasures

This Christmas season I have been reflecting on the ordinary moments found throughout the Christmas Story. This reflection has caused me to savor the everyday moments I so often take for granted and have realized truly what a gift they are in the day to day. As I reflect on the Christmas story, it seems the ordinary details seem to be what makes it extraordinary.


Ending 2021 for our family has felt anything but ordinary. As most of you know we have had a few unexpected challenges. At the beginning of November I injured my foot in a fantastic display of public embarrassment and have been crutching around ever since. Doctor's have remained perplexed as to the symptoms I am experiencing and are uncertain what type of care to offer. Everyday things have taken more effort and navigating parenting of four terrific, small humans has become a creative daily effort.


On Christmas Eve, we were unexpectedly hit from behind by a speeding car at a four way stop. The back end of our minivan was crushed in and in the few moments after, I remember frantically assessing the situation to make sure our kids in the back were without injury. The driver came a few moments later and was hysterical. The whole situation was unexpected and messy. After we left the site of the accident with kids that were miraculously unharmed, not even a shard of glass was found around them, I found myself savoring the ordinary moments that followed, eating around the dinner table, simple conversations even managing sibling conflict!


God is in the ordinary. He is able to move in big displays of power, but often He chooses to show up in the everyday, unseen, often unnoticed, moments. It's profound. The God of the universe, majestic in all His glory, came in the most ordinary, way. Sure there were a few extraordinary moments peppered throughout the story, but at the end of the day there was a young mother, with her carpenter husband caring for a newborn in a barn, trusting God.


Life is a gift and so often we can miss God in the ordinary. It's easy to lose sight of gratitude when stress is high, tasks are many, waiting feels long or conflict is present. But gratitude is the thing that turns our brain back on in the midst of not being present to the ordinary spaces where God is waiting to meet us. God peppers the ordinary with his extraordinary presence and plans. Just like Mary in the midst, treasured up all those things and pondered them in her heart, where are the spaces where God is inviting us to do the same as we end this year and enter into 2022?


If you need some inspiration check out some testimonies of fellow church family who shared how they encountered God in 2021. You can access the link on our Faithlife page HERE. He is worthy to be treasured!


Seeking to treasure and ponder in the midst with you,

Mishawn

Read more
GRACIAS!

Kharis – Grace, graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude).


Last Sunday we talked about the grace of God being manifested in the Old Testament through answered prayers, favor in the eyes of authorities, supernatural healings, wisdom in the midst of difficulty, divine gifting for administration and acts of kindness from one person to another.


In the New Testament the ultimate demonstration of grace is the salvation given to us as undeserving sinners through the ministry, dead and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have been granted forgiveness of sins as well as a brand new life that extends into eternity. That is one awesome gift indeed!!!


In light of that, what would be the most appropriate response from us? A thankful attitude of course! As a professional Mexican :) I can tell you that the English word "grace" in Spanish is "Gracias" which translates back to English as both "grace" and "thank you". This is not a coincidence as the two derive from the Greek "Kharis", so Grace and Gratitude go hand in hand.


As we prepare to celebrate that Jesus Christ came to earth and showed us grace by giving His life for our salvation without us being deserving of it, let us give back a heart filled with thankfulness. There is a lot to be thankful for: His mercies that are new every morning, His salvation, His protection, His provision, His faithfulness, His promises and much, much more.


I'm personally thankful for the opportunity to spend time with my sister Lisset, my brother-in-law George and my beautiful nieces and see the grace of God being extended through their ministry in other parts of the world.


What are you thankful for this Christmas season?


Join us next Sunday for a special time of reflection and rejoicing together as we look back at how we have seen God's faithfulness in 2021. Come ready to share a story of thanksgiving of where you saw God working in your life in 2021.


We will meet in the Foyer for worship at 5 PM for a time of worship and sharing. After the time of worship and sharing we will pull out some tables and JESSY will share a delicious Indian Meal with all of us.

Read more
Why Is It Hard To Receive?

Besides a lot of decorations and goodies at Christmas time, there is something in abundance this time of the year: Gifts! We love to buy gifts and bless those we care for and giving can be so much fun, right?! I especially love finding the right gifts for our kids and then sitting back to watch the fireworks of joy explode in the living room (or at times tantrums too ~ but that’s beside the point!).


I may be good at a lot of things (okay, maybe just a couple 😉) but for me, receiving a gift isn’t always as enjoyable as giving a gift. Does that seem strange to you? Sometimes at Christmas, my thoughts fluctuate a bit. After all the presents have been handed out, I wonder, “didn’t anyone get anything for me?” which turns to amazement and wonder when I realize  that someone DID get me something! And then I think “will it fit me?” or “will I like it?”. Perhaps you’ve had this happen to you. Although it isn’t always on my mind, I realize giving seems more natural for me, but receiving is not. If you’re anything like me, we want to know that we are loved and thought of… but perhaps a bit picky or maybe don’t want to be needy. Do you have a hard time receiving from others?


Receiving isn’t limited to Christmas time either as it happens all year round through the expected and unexpected things of life: When your car breaks down and you need help on the side of the road, you need a babysitter and can’t find anyone, you can’t find a way to pay the bills, you feel lonely and could really use a friend, you need someone with a chain saw to rescue you from large dying trees on your property… and the list can go on! Admittedly, I have needed help in each of those and so many more! There are and will continue to be many occasions in which we find our needs outweigh our resources and we must turn to someone to ask for help. Receiving in those moments can be very hard because it requires the acknowledgement that what the other person has given us is something we needed and could not have done on our own.


Sadly, throughout my life I have seen many people reject help, even when they desperately needed it, because they thought they still could make it on their own rather than admit their need and receive help when they needed it.  It stands to reason, that the first step to receiving anything is acknowledging that we indeed HAVE a need we cannot fulfill on our own. Once we are willing to acknowledge our need, we must get up and ask for help. This reminds me of the passage in Hebrews 4:16 which says: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” I appreciate the frankness of the NIV version to admit “our need” which we will all have and continue to have.


Not only do we need to acknowledge when we have a need and ask for help, but we must also be willing to accept the help that is being offered. Sometimes receiving an undesired gift is not easy, even if it is one that we need. Whether out of greed or humility, we may estimate the gift is far to below (or above) us to receive or different in nature than what we wanted. Perhaps it is what we need, but simply NOT what we want. We recently had over a little neighbor boy to play while his grandma was working. He was asking for food and letting me know he was VERY hungry. So as soon as I had the meal ready, I gathered the troop to sit up at the table. As he caught glimpse of the egg burrito on his plate, he began exclaiming “NOT A TACO!!! I HATE TACOS!!!” over and over! Any effort of explaining its contents and assuring him it was not spicy went on deaf ears as he ran home yelling “NOT A TACO!!” for all to hear. Apparently, we wasn’t THAT hungry! Sometimes what we need does not look like what we get and we have a choice to either receive or reject it.


Paul describes how in God’s will, we can receive something that is not at all what we wanted yet was exactly what we needed. The trial Paul was facing was so strong that he sought God to remove it from His life “ Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:8-10). Paul lived at a level of submission to God that I hope to one day attain. He had an understanding and willingness to accept that God will not always give us what we want but he WILL give us what we need AND will sustain us with His grace.


James says it another way: “And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you…” James 4:6-8). Listening to the authority God has over our lives is a part of receiving what we need and not only what we want from God. Just as Jesus learned obedience through the things he suffered and was made perfect (Heb 5:8-9), so we can count it joy when we face trails knowing that the testing of our faith produces patience (James 1:2-3). We know that if we need grace, we can recognize our need, come boldly to our God who gives generously, and receive His grace in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). We can be tempted to not acknowledge our need OR be dissatisfied with God’s gifts in our lives. Both of those options rob us from the opportunity to receive what we truly need from God.


Receiving can be hard for many reasons… but it is good. Jesus understands our weakness and offers us grace when we come to Him in our time of need. Jesus truly understands. May we be those who continue to come boldly to His throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. May we be strengthened in our resolve to submit to God and draw near to Him, knowing that He draws near to us.

Read more
My Adventures in Missing the Point

Have you ever gone through the motions and done what is expected of you while completely missing the point? Like wearing a helmet but not buckling it or wearing a seat belt but still texting while driving? I’ve missed the point a whole lot in my life.  I have studied cultures and world religions and over the years I have had friendships with people practicing all of the major world religions, most Christian denominations, and with people from over 30 different cultures. I have also studied the life and teachings of Jesus for over 30 years and I can tell you that religious thinking does that to us; we go through the motions and think that we’re doing the right thing when in fact we’re missing the point all together!


Did you know that about 10% of the U.S. population would identify with being “spiritual but not religious”[1] and another 10% would say that they “love Jesus but not the church”?[2] That means that 20% of people aren’t into organized religion and that roughly 80% of people are somehow associated with some religious system [3], but many people are “nominal,” not actively practicing it, and simply going through the motions. I guess you could say that most people are religious and not spiritual! But I don’t think that most people actually want to just go through the motions. My experience has been that most of us really do want to know God without being religious but that many times we get trapped by religious thinking that prevents us from being truly spiritual. None of us wants to go through the motions and find out that what we were doing was pointless, but somehow we can all fall into the same type of thinking whether we are coming from a Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, or other religious backgrounds.



Missing the point   

I grew up in a Christian family on the Pacific Coast of Mexico and my whole life I have known about God and I even talked about having a “relationship with God” and not a religion but I realized over the years that in many ways I had missed the point: I was religious. Even as a kid, the son of Pastors who taught about Jesus all of the time, I was a terrible kid, but I knew all of the right answers in church. I was THAT kid. Apparently I was such a challenge that some of the teachers thought the best thing to do was to make me the teacher’s helper so that I wouldn’t cause so much trouble. But that didn’t change my thinking. I just got better and better at being a “good Christian” as I got older: I learned more information about God, read the Bible regularly since I was young, and I loved to sing to God. But I also knew how to keep up appearances, look the part and fit in, how to hide sin and failings, how to judge other people for their actions and myself for my good intentions, how to try harder to be a better person and to do the right things, fear and shame marked my life…somehow I had missed the point. In my sincere desire to know God I studied world religions, studied the Bible, and even prepared to be a Pastor, but in many ways I was missing the point. 

 


What’s the Difference?  

Back in my college days I remember being on the streets of an inner-city talking to strangers and trying to tell them about forgiveness, peace, and joy that could be found in Jesus. There was a point where one man told me that he wasn’t religious and I responded by saying “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship,” but after that exchange I remember walking away wondering if I had ever really stopped to consider what the difference was between those things rather than using it as a catchy phrase to describe how this was different than whatever that person had known in the past.  

 


Relationship 

This is not a book that compares religions (there are other books that do a good job of that) it is an exploration of what a relationship with God that is spiritual and not religious could look like. I will not be drawing direct distinctions between religions nor doing deep examinations of differing beliefs but instead I will be addressing common characteristics shared by all religious thinking throughout history, and across religions, and comparing those to the life and teachings of Jesus and his early followers and drawing some distinctions there. My hope is that as you read this book you will be able to find the freedom and joy that I have been growing in over the last 20 years, and am continuing to grow in, as I have been discovering and applying these truths to my life.

-------

I hope you enjoyed reading the introduction to "More Than Religion: How To Be Spiritual Without Being Religious." If you would like to read the rest of the book for FREE before it gets published you can sign up to receive it by email (in email format and as a downloadable pdf) and we'll send you one chapter at a time.


SIGN UP HERE!


Read more
Have You Been Anxiously Searching?

Anxiety. Have you ever struggled with this seven letter word? For some you never know when this feeling will creep up and overwhelm your thoughts and feelings, for others struggling with a waiting period that feels too long or too uncertain may cause unsettling symptoms to take over. When we operate out of this emotion two things are certain, rest is hard to find and logic is hard to agree with.

As a church family we are taking time to journey through the book of Hebrews. Over the past few weeks we have been highlighting Jesus as the GOAT. I’m not being heretical here, Jesus is the lamb that was slain, but He is also the “Greatest of All Time” (abbreviated G.O.A.T.). His presence and position in our lives has the ability to impact everything, our emotions, our thoughts, our influence, our rest, even our interpretation of reality. We can catch a glimpse of this in Luke 2. Jesus is about the age of 12 and is supposed to be caravanning back to his hometown with his parents and community members. When all of a sudden his parents realize he’s not where he should be! They take three whole days to search for him and when they finally find him he’s located back in Jerusalem learning from the teachers in the temple courts. Being a parent in charge of multiple small humans, I can assure you I too would respond as Mary does when she has located her son and realizes no harm has come to him. She responds, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

Jesus responds with,“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

How often in our lives do we encounter a situation, interaction or hardship and we think “Jesus isn’t where he’s supposed to be?” Or “God where are you?” And it’s in those circumstances that we feel alone, helpless, uncertain or maybe even powerless. Anyone of those internal experiences will spark what we see Mary and Joseph engage in “anxiously searching”. When we feel alone, we are anxious to feel presence. When we feel helpless, we are anxious to feel helped. When we feel uncertain we are anxious to feel certainty. When we feel powerless we are anxious to have support. We are anxious to find the thing we feel is lacking, and ending internal distress becomes our main focus. Don’t mishear me, comfort is powerful, presence is needed, but the thing about anxiety is it cuts our brains off to even be able to relate to another for the things we so desperately need. It shuts us down so that when we do encounter another we tend to say “Where were you?!” and assume negative intent on their part. How often does this happen between us and God? We experience struggle and we automatically assume his intentions towards us were anything but good?

We have been assured of God's presence in our lives. Scripture tells us that a name for God is Immanuel, God with us. But it's the position that is up to us. Scripture tells us that we are to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. He is to come first in everything. Are their places in your heart, soul mind or strength where other things are positioned above God? Maybe you've positioned getting an answer to prayer or wanting to understand a certain situation above God? Maybe entertainment or distraction from current stressors have been placed above God? Or maybe feelings have become fact and have altered your interpretation about the character of God? When we have God in the wrong position, we tend to read God's word, interact with Him and have the same experience of Mary and Joseph, not understanding what he's saying to us. Are there any places recently where it's been hard to hear God? Hard to assume His intentions towards you are good? Challenging to know Him past the emotions you've been experiencing?

Being in that place is uncomfortable and many times discouraging. Jesus knew that and still understands this. But as we acknowledge His unwavering presence, His unchanging character and choose to know Him more in all the spaces we find ourselves in, we allow ourselves to reposition Him over our understanding, feelings and circumstances and can better interact with the one who truly is the Greatest of All Time and who will remain that way regardless of feelings, circumstances or interpretations.

What is one place today in your heart, soul, mind or strength where you need to reposition God's presence and align yourself with who He is and with what His word says about Him?

As always, if there is somewhere you feel stuck or need someone to come alongside you in the space or place you find yourself in feel free to reach out to our leadership team. We are not meant to do this faith journey alone and want to support each other as we continue to grow in knowing Jesus more and more.

Read more
Three Treasures in Your Pocket

Did you know that you could be carrying over $20,000 worth of treasures in your pocket???


I imagine you probably haven't given it much thought and may not have realized the value, so I want to highlight a few treasures that are at your fingertips through the bundle of resources available to you with our church's Faithlife subscription.


First off, you have the ability to connect with your church community, and that's PRICELESS. For you to actually experience that level of connectedness you need to do a few things:

  • Install the Faithlife App: Visit iOS App Store   OR Visit Google Play Store.
  • Turn on your Notifications: When you are in each group you will see "Notification Preferences" at the top of the page. Select "All In" and then edit it down from there. You may want certain notifications immediately and other groups to send a summary to your email at the end of the day. If you don't see the notification it's as if it didn't happen, which kind of defeats the purpose of having this tool to help us connect.
  • Complete your profile by adding a Profile Pic so that people can more easily identify you when you interact on here...You can even link social networks, and add other interesting and helpful info to your profile.
  • Post Updates, thoughts, prayer needs or praise to the Cross Culture wall. Here's more of what you can do in the group and how to do it so that the church can see it.
  • Here's a video that shows how we can use this to connect as a whole church and how our missional communities can use within their communications and connections:

https://youtu.be/pBfitCx_cAc



Second: You have access to thousands of hours of Bible documentaries, dramas, biographies, kids' videos, and more...including over 200 seminary-level courses (Logos MobileEd) on different topics that you may want to be learning more about, whether it's a particular book of the Bible, or learning a particular area of ministry that you are engaged in. Those courses alone are over $15,000 if you purchased them separately. I have enjoyed watching Kids shows and archeology videos with my family on here too.

  • Download FaithlifeTV to your device or find it on your Smart TV apps and login with your Faithlife account to have access to view all of these things.



Third: You have access to over $3,000 worth of Bible study resources that you can access on your phone, tablet, or computer with a program called Logos. It uses the same username and password and gives you incredible access for quick and simple Bible Study to help you grow in your understanding and application of God's Word more easily.

Here are some of the resources included in our subscription for you to make use of with the Logos App. There is even a FREE book of the month that you can log on to get each month to add to your resources. Download HERE.

Visit iOS App Store OR Visit Google Play Store 



Here's a video that gives a quick glimpse of what you could do with Logos:


https://youtu.be/SvYiB6CCQNk



If you had $20,000 sitting in your pocket, would you forget about it or would you make use of it? I want to encourage you to make full use of the resources that we have to stay connected and to continue growing in God's grace together.

Read more
Turned Out and Tuned Out

I've been traveling the last couple of days and I have had a lot of time watching people interact. It seems that previous distance and suspicions of strangers has increased, but it's not a whole lot more than it used it be. Most people are tuned out from those around them and tuned into their device. The furniture used to be designed where you would sit next so someone..but still wouldn't talk to them.



Now even the furniture is designed to give everyone their own illusion of being separate. Maybe to give you a sense of privacy and the ability to not feel rude in tuning everyone else out.



How indicative is this of our individualism? We all want our own time, our own space, our own personalized devices, menus, etc. And in our pursuit of this individualization we miss out on the people around us. Our society is oriented toward a hyper individualism and yet the majority of people are starving for community and a sense of living a life of significance. It's sadbto me that most people will go through life without experiencing either of those things because they are tuned out and turned away from those around them and from the God who created them.


What would happen if we would always be looking for ways to Tune In to God and Tune in to others? This might look like finding ways to gather others or turning your attention away from your own things and tuning in and turning towards others. It was an interesting contrast how full the chairs were that faced out and how few people were sitting facing someone at the airport.


My hope and prayer is that as a church we will be the kind of people who tune in and turn towards others and are open to share life with others and be open and available to God.


(All photos brought to you from the LAX airport)

Read more
From Fear to Faith

Many of you may personally know, and others may have personally observed while in the park this summer, my intense dislike of bees. Don’t get me wrong I value the purpose of bees on this earth, the role they play in pollinating, or their importance in the food chain, but I do not value their presence in my hair, or when they encircle my person, or their insistent desire to share my meal when I'm eating outside. I am the one who disregards all logic as my brain shuts down to flee any situation where I am anticipating their insistent presence and potential threat. Fear colors my judgment in those moments and it recently drove me to attempt to get out of a moving vehicle that I was driving in reverse! Not logical, not my finest moment, and truly embarrassing. 


A few Sundays back we looked at Genesis 12, in all of its entirety, while in the park. We see “The Call of Abram” as God invites him to pick up everything and head on to a place he did not know. In addition to the invitation was the promise that not only would God bless Abram, but would use Abram to bless those around him. I would venture to say, without personally knowing Abram, that this was a significant and life-changing event. I would also like to assume that he was most likely never the same after encountering God’s invitation and promise, but as we head farther down into the chapter we see famine and uncertainty throw a curveball into Abram’s faith journey.


Stress from the external pressures (severe famine) and anticipation of the unknown (would he be killed because of his beautiful wife?!?) seem to have impaired Abram’s memory of God’s invitation and promise. I think all of us can relate to Abram in his experience of fear. That is what fear does. It neurologically inhibits our brain’s ability to act rationally and moves us into survival mode. No amount of reason or logic will be accepted by any human when their brain switches gears into this mode. This is where faith comes in. Faith is the act of trusting God. I believe true trust leads us to true rest and true peace. It says, “God I believe you are able, reliable, do what you say, and are strong enough.” It’s out of this place of trust, dependence, and connection that our brains learn to overcome the experience of fear and all its related associates (doubt, anxiety, insecurity, etc.). It moves us into a place of declaring, believing, and remembering. How do we practically apply this as we navigate our own faith journeys? Practically speaking, full-body worship is our strongest method as followers of Jesus. It not only provides the oxygen and movement to get blood flow back to our brain, but it also throws in the element of recounting and reminding ourselves of who God is and who we are in His care. At times it might seem like succumbing to fear is a failure and highlights our lack of faith or worth in living out God’s call on our lives, but we can see from Abram’s story that that doesn’t line up with God’s heart towards us. Abram made many mistakes in his humanness and he still made it into the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11) and was even known for his faith; mistakes and all! 


Where are the places in your life presently where stress from external pressures or the anticipation of the unknown are impairing your ability to receive the invitation of God for your life and the promises He has for you? Are there any places where you feel you’ve failed in your trust of God or don’t trust His heart and intentions? Take some time this week to sing, dance, pace, shout over those places, believing, declaring, and agreeing with all that God has said, remembering what He has done, and looking to the one who can move mountains and raise the dead.

Lastly, we weren’t meant to walk this journey alone, who is someone you can invite into this space to pray and believe with you?


Learning to keep walking in faith with you,

Mishawn

Read more