Posts Tagged joy
We’re sharing some ideas on how everybody can make a difference to guests and non-Christians that join us on Sundays. For the context of our discussion, check out the recent posts, The Sermon Starts in The Parking Lot, The Sunday Mind-Shift, and Show Up Early.
Have you ever wondered how somebody like Bill Clinton–with his political polarization and personal immorality–can remain so enchanting to so many people? As you listen to those who have met him, one reason comes sharply into focus. They all say something like, “When you meet Bill Clinton, it feels like you’re the only person in the room.”
In other words, despite all his faults, Clinton takes a genuine interest in people. He’s not busy looking over their shoulder or glancing at his watch. He truly cares.
If a politician will do that, how much more should God’s people do that? Isn’t it simply the essence of Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself”?
If you want to make a real difference in somebody’s life, take a genuine interest in them. Ask them sincere questions. Listen rather than thinking of what to say next. And slow down.
I have to admit that this is personally tough for me — especially on Sundays when I’m trying to meet lots of new people, care for those in our church family, and think through the elements of my sermon and the service. It’s tough. But I’m trying.
I’d love it if we had 300 other people trying as well. I think the love of Jesus like that would turn our church upside down.
Yesterday was a great day for Second Mile Church. We had a really sweet time celebrating God’s grace and looking ahead to our next series, Jesus on Prayer (click here for yesterday’s message). Our people have really stepped up to pledge and give sacrificially, and the pledge commitments continue to grow.
Check out this brief video for the latest financial updates as well as the latest on construction.
Where does your joy come from? Does it come from circumstances or from the unshakable reality of God? Consider Habakkuk 3:17-18:
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
May our joy be in God, even when everything else crumbles.
This past Sunday, we had a good heart-to-heart about Being a Healthy Body. The people of Second Mile responded!
If you’d like to get involved in serving or a summer Community Group, click here.
I’m currently reading an excellent book by Tim Chester, You Can Change. I hope to write more about it in coming weeks when I finish, but I couldn’t resist posting this quote:
“The secret of gospel change is being convinced that Jesus is the good life and the fountain of all joy.”
Pray with me that we would see Jesus as the fountain of all joy in such a way that we would joyfully forsake the fleeting pleasures of sin.
Yesterday was an awesome day for Second Mile. We had a great worship gathering centered on loving God with everything and loving your neighbor as yourself (sermon here). We prayed, sang, and celebrated.
Then we joined together in the afternoon for our first baptism celebration. 13 people were baptized and shared their story of God’s grace. There were stories from people who had been religious and those who hadn’t. It was a great picture of God’s grace and a huge encouragement to the packed house of people who came.
We’re praying for more grace as we anticipate our move to Perry High School in April. God has been so abundantly kind so far. May his grace abound in your life today as well.
About their name and this project, the band writes:
For all of you who were wondering where our name “Page CXVI” came from, we’d love to share with you a little bit about it. Page CXVI is a reference to page 116 of our personal copy of The Magicians Nephew by C.S. Lewis. It is a poignant passage where Aslan begins to sing Narnia into creation out of a black void. One of the characters, Digory, describes it as,
“…it was the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it.”
As the hymns project began to form, our hope was to wrap the strong lyrical content of the hymns, with music that portrayed our personal reactions to the life that God has brought to our “black void.” The most personal song on the album is by far “Joy” with the counterpart, “It is Well” was written by Horatio Spafford after losing his son to scarlet fever, all of his real estate investments to the Great Chicago Fire, and his 4 remaining children to the sinking of a boat. The contemplative turn from “Joy” into the lines from “It is Well” comes out of our own personal tragedy this past year and combines a Psalm like lamentation with hope. Our intention with all of these songs is to be a source of comfort and encouragement to all who hear them.
Having a two-year old does wonderful things for your soul. It’s often a lesson in patience, consistency, and a host of other things, but recently it was a lesson in contentment.
We just returned from a brief family getaway to San Diego, where we had received a few free nights as a result of a timeshare presentation we endured a few months back. Though we were happy to have a free trip, the hotel room we stayed in was one of the smaller ones I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t long before Molly and I were rolling our eyes and quietly griping. But Abby, our two year old, quickly scampered onto one of the beds and exclaimed, “This hotel is awesome!”
You see, she was in a new place, experiencing a new thing with the three people she loves most in the world — and that was all a girl could hope for. It was a great lesson for me that I should be content with the amazing things God has given me rather than be a whiner who dishonors the Lord with my complaining (click here for a related video).
There’s a song that I’ve been listening to that I just can’t get out of my head. It’s by a band called Downhere, and the song is called “Little is Much.” You can download this song (and the entire album it’s on) for free here. I love this song because it’s an encouragement that God can use small things for his glory in a powerful way. Here’s an example:
Little is much when God’s in it
And no one can fathom the plans He holds
Little is much when God’s in it
He changes the world with the seeds we sow
Little is much, little is much
Consider a Kingdom in the smallest seed
Consider that giants fall to stones and slings
Consider a child in a manger
Consider the story isn’t over
What can be done with what you still have?
This is a great reminder that God can work through small things and things that seem insignificant and powerless — even you and me. Little is much when God’s in it.
One thing that I get asked a lot from people who are wanting to be part of Second Mile is, “What can I do to help?”
Here’s my typical answer: “Well, there are a lot of things that can be done in terms of tasks — there are many opportunities to volunteer on our various ministry teams — and these tasks are really important. But what I really want you to do is help us build a culture that will be something we’re happy about 10 years from now.”
This is so important because every group of people has a culture (some have called it a “code” or “DNA”) that reveals who they really are and what they really care about. This culture is often unspoken and subtle–it’s more felt and experienced than articulated. And, regardless of what a group’s stated values are, their culture is what their actual, lived-out values are. One definition for culture is “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes a” group of people (Merriam-Webster).
I think it’s likely that the culture that is created at Second Mile in the first six months will be the culture that exists six years from now, even though the programs, structures, and people of the church will be very different. That’s why I’m exhorting people not just to do some tasks, but to build a culture of love, grace, servanthood, hospitality, warmth, authenticity, community, compassion for the hurting, and life-transforming passion for God.
How could you help build a great culture? Here are a few ideas:
- Get white-hot for God. Do whatever it takes to stoke your passion for Jesus. Repent of sin. Pray. Dig into Scripture. Serve those around you. Tell somebody about what Jesus has done for you. Do whatever it takes.
- Depend on God’s Spirit every moment. Scripture tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.” That would be a pretty good culture, eh?
- Cultivate a servant’s heart. Do anything you can to help anyone at anytime. Serving people is one of those things that makes us more and more like Jesus.
- Be generous with your time, your resources, and your money. Look for opportunities to bless people with the resources God has given you. You’ve been blessed to be a blessing.
- Have somebody over for dinner. Find a person you don’t know very well yet and open your home to them with love and hospitality.
- Smile and laugh. Enjoy your life. Create opportunities for fun. Laugh at yourself.
- Extend care to someone in pain. Hurt and brokenness are all around us. Find somebody experiencing pain and walk alongside them with care and compassion.
Building a culture is both exhilarating and frightening at the same time. I think we’re on a good track and our leaders and team have been incredible. Let’s keep it up and build a community that loves and honors God with everything that we are.