Session 9: Everyday Rhythms Part 2 (Continuation of last session)
My wife and I were invited by Clay and his wife (not believers, the ones we met by having barbeques and times with people in the neighborhood, listening to them and learning about how to serve them) to come and join them for a weekend trip to the beach with their kids. I asked the church leadership if I could get out of preaching that Sunday in order to be with Clay and take part in this amazing opportunity to connect with people who aren’t Christians—they said yes without hesitation. Sometimes, our greatest opportunities will come on the weekend and sometimes they will come at a time when you would normally go to church.
We have given people permission to not go to church in order to live out missional opportunity.
I wanted to take my work with me on this trip…but the spirit said not to so that I can really pay attention to what is going on—to really listen.
Clay asked what I thought he was feeling when he rode a wave…He was asking about story. I thought of Romans 1 and creation. “Here’s what I think…God created everything in a way that would bring attention to Him. If he really designed it…you should worship God and not the waves.” Clay said he didn’t think that was true.
We need to share parts of the story of God with our friends so that they have a chance to take root. Clay seemed to be rejecting the story of God over and over…but it was opportunity after opportunity for the seed of faith to fall and take root.
Later that night, we were in the vacation home, hanging out in the hot tub. “we are going to tell you now why we invited you here…” In the northwest, I was worried they might ask us to have a swingers time…but really it was “Our daughter has been asking about God and we don’t know what to tell her.” YES! This took months for them to trust us.
I went through the story of God’s redemptive plan from Genesis to Revelation. Are you prepared to tell the story of your family…the family of your faith in Jesus? We have to be prepared to share this at any time. Baseball games, hot tubs, ETC.
We had a gift for them—the storybook Bible. “Clay, you are called to lead them through this discussion.” “NO WAY, but I will take this book and use it.” I charged him, and helped him, to be a good dad.
Blessing as rhythm
Blessing a neighborhood with many fatherless children
We found out that many children in our neighborhood had never had birthday parties. So, we threw people birthday parties, got them presents, and spoke blessing into their lives about what we saw in them, what we hoped for them—they had never experienced this before.
Celebration as a rhythm
One of the primary ways of remembering God we have from him is a party. God wants us to be celebratory. When the Christians show up at a party…we make it better.
Wedding at Cana. Jesus turns water to wine for the party in order to show
I have come to take the secular and make them sacred and take the sacred and make it secular (?)
He makes us new, through the better wine of his blood poured out for us.
He chose a party to show this message?!
What would we do if we saw celebration as an rhythm for life?
I invited Clay to my 40th birthday. So many people were there—we had fun and people had an opportunity to toast me. They said things like: “I love your kindness Jeff, and I know it is because you love Jesus.” –A neighbor said to me in her toast “You know, I don’t believe any of this, but if I became a Christian—I would love to live like you, Jeff.” So encouraging. Clay said: “I don’t know, man. I feel like there is energy and life in you, Jeff. Whatever I see in you, I toast to that.”
I said: “It is my party and I can preach if I want to. What I want for my birthday is to see the people here that don’t know Jesus put their faith in Him. Because you might not think it, but Jesus is the reason this party is so great—how else could we see so many people from different walks of life be so kind and generous is because of the amazing work of God. The real gift I wish for is for all of us to be at the same party, the best party ever.” People can up to me days later and said that it was the best party they had been to.
ReCreate—rest and create
God wants us to be very well rested. We are completely accepted and loved. We can be rested at work, because we know that we are working unto the lord.
We can be creative. We of all people who are most closely connected to the creator of the universe.
Art, music, architecture, business.
We can rest. There are some things that we can just enjoy, without a purpose other than just being and enjoying.
What if we could learn how to really play and rest again? Settlers of Catan, Candyland, Surfing, hiking, gardening.
These rhythms are not exclusively for the church leadership. These rhythms are for you as a human being filled with the spirit of God. Anyone can do this.
- Clay asked if he could come to the gathering that is held at the place where I had my birthday party…Church. Clay came to church on Easter—and he didn’t even know it was a special service. Afterward, he spoke to Clay and his wife. His wife was weeping, Clay was unable to speak. I had to be prepared that he might reject me—it happens sometimes. Clay said that he needed some time. He called me a few days later and said he wanted to meet me at the community garden. “I’m in. I don’t know why, but I believe everything that you said on Sunday. I believe Jesus died for me and was raised again—I know he is alive because he is in me!” …”now let’s do the stuff, I want to do everything you do. I want to be baptized, to give, I don’t know how to read the Bible, I want to tell people about Jesus but I don’t know how.” Tell them your story! A little later, he had a mass in his back and he found out that he might never walk again. He went to surf for maybe the last time. We prayed for his back and laid hands on him. He came back from surfing and went to the doctor…his mass was gone. He was in the hospital ministering to the sick.
Clay knew how to walk fairly well already as a new Christian because he had been watching me and learning what life as a Christian looks like.
Questions for Reflection
1. Make a list of everything that God has blessed you with as a group. Then ask, is there any of this that our church family needs that we need to bless them with? And then, what of this is God wanting us to use to bless those outside of our church family? How can we tangibly bless those we are being sent to?
2. What kinds of celebrations could we engage in that would display the grace of God we’ve experienced through Jesus Christ? How can we celebrate as good family? As good missionaries? As good servants?
3. How good are we at resting? Do we take time off? Do we play? Are we known as people that are childlike in our faith? How could we better engage in resting, playing, and creating that would show that we trust our father?