Thursday, April 13, 2006

April 12, 2006

They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord's Supper and in prayer. Acts 2:42 (NLT)

Last night Sid Newcomb, our Mission Pastor, and I returned from spending 48 hours with our Mexico mission team made up of 86 students and adults. Because of the trauma and transition our Student Ministries has experienced this past year, I sensed a need to go down and surprise the team and encourage them. On the plane ride home, I was journaling how encouraged I was from the trip.

You need to know that I have been shaped by the dirt of Mexico. I went on my first mission trip ever as a college student with the youth group from Marin Covenant Church in 1984! On returning in 1985, in the dirt of Mexico, I began to formulate my call to ministry. In the dirt of Mexico in 1990, as a Youth Pastor, my eyes were opened to the love I had for my then-girlfriend, and volunteer youthworker in our ministry, Anne Griffith…who is now my wife of 15 years. In the dirt of Mexico in 2001, God solidified and spoke clearly of my call to remain at PCC and serve Him in Redwood City. The dirt of Mexico and Mission trips down there are very sacred to me!

What I witnessed this week was a community functioning as Biblically as ever! What I asked our Mexico mission community from PCC, in a chapel address yesterday morning, was to please bring their lifestyle back to Redwood City and inject it into the DNA of the larger church body. Here is what I saw down there, that I long for up here:

I saw an intergenerational community gathered. There was mutual respect between the generations, and the youth were not treated like the “church of tomorrow;” they were serving with adults to expand God’s kingdom. Adults were honored and respected.

I saw differing faith levels within the community. There were pre-believers, those young in faith, those who once professed Christ but were backslidden, and mature believers interacting and serving together. All were challenged to move forward in their walk with God and at chapel yesterday morning, 6 teenagers gave their lives to Christ!

I saw a healthy rhythm. Mornings in worship, prayer and in the Word; days spent serving God and giving their lives away; fellowship experienced throughout the day; and evenings ending in worship, prayer and the Word. It seems to me this is a diet conducive to growth, and we would do well to incorporate this rhythm into our lives.

I saw an alien mindset. These students knew they were foreigners and they were God-dependant. Whether it is through the skate outreach, where they expect hundreds of skaters to show up, the prison ministry, the orphanage ministry, the VBS or the building projects, these students had stepped out of their comfort zone for God. We are no less foreigners (1 Peter 2:11), but it is easy to be deluded by a peacetime, homeland mindset.

I saw the power of service. What drew the pre-believers and the nominal believers to the community was not the awesome worship, not the great speakers, not the comfortable surroundings (1 shower all week!), it was the chance to serve; it was the missional focus that struck a chord. As these people are serving next to believers, they can both see and hear of the difference Christ makes and yesterday, most of the pre-believers who came publicly gave their lives to Jesus.

I saw joy! Interesting isn’t it? Strip from these teenagers everything they think brings worth and happiness, place them in the dirt in a tent and have them sweat and serve all day long, and they discover joy like they have never had in the States.

Would you pray for the team as they complete their mission? They return Saturday night and will have a recap a week from today in the Worship Center. Would you pray over these values they are experiencing in Mexico to become our values here in the States?

We too have a mission, men and women! This weekend we anticipate a gathering of the community that promises to be supernaturally infused! Please be praying for our Easter gatherings and invite away…someone you are in relationship with needs to experience our Kingdom community and needs to respond to the invitation to believe in and follow Jesus and to have their lives forever changed.