Friday, March 16, 2012

Along The Way

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.      1 Corinthians 13:2-3

As you are reading this missive, the Congo team will be arriving in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and will be sound asleep, preparing for our mission in Gemena.  It is an unbelievable honor to represent PCC in the DRC.  God has used PCC in such significant ways in this country and I imagine that will only increase, should God continue to pour out His grace on us as a church.  You can follow along with our mission via our team blog.                     
Spending 38 hours in transit allows one to do a lot of reflecting. It is with gratitude I recall where God has led us as a body. 
·       This fall we journeyed along The Way. We wrestled together through some of the most challenging teachings of Jesus regarding what it means to follow him as a disciple in the context of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).  Our supplement was the book Radical by David Platt.  God seemed to awaken us to how blessed we were and how His blessings were graciously provided so we would bless the nations, starting right here on the Peninsula and extending those blessings to the whole world. A line was drawn in the sand…are we going to be a movement of disciples focused on blessing our world, or are we going to be a community of consumers focused on being blessed?

·       Over Christmas, we were brought face to face with the concept of grace, found in a most unlikely place…the genealogy of Matthew 1!  We realized together that Jesus didn’t just come for sinners like us, he came from sinners and that was the whole point. Matthew, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, took editorial license and included certain “outcasts” as part of his story because people are the point of His story.  Joy to the world, the Lord has come! It’s why we call it Good News…Jesus didn’t come to earth to heap condemnation on his creation; he came to offer grace and rescue us!

·       This winter and spring, we have continued in The Way: Living in the Dust of the Rabbi, looking at what it means to follow Jesus from a first century Jewish perspective and the relevance for us today in the 21st century on the Peninsula. We have been stretched to consider things thoroughly Biblical like healing, demons, legalism and discipleship but things not spoken of nor practiced in many evangelical churches. As God has continued to bring increased people to join us on our mission, we all are being asked to sacrifice to make room and deny rights so as many people as possible can come to know Christ and join us in being people who change our communities. I know this isn’t easy for many. It’s not easy or convenient for me, but then again, sacrifice is never easy nor convenient.
We have been challenged. I’ve seen us wrestle with God’s word, wrestle with each other, and all of that is healthy as long as we hold to our values of being authentic and giving and receiving grace. What matters most in this season as a body is not the sacrifices each of us are making, not the people we are reaching, not even the unbelievable resources we are deploying locally and globally.  What matters most is that we have love.  That is not innate, especially as we are stretched.  I have fallen so short of that standard.  But I hold it up for us all as a standard nonetheless. 
So I guess from my vantage point of 38,000 feet, en route to the Congo, I have gratitude for this church we call PCC and hope for where God is leading us.  Not because it has been easy, but rather because we are in this together and together, we are becoming more and more transformed into the likeness of Jesus.
This Sunday, former PCC youth pastor and PCC legend, Doug Stevens, will be with you, introducing a theme that he will unpack fully at our All Church Retreat the first weekend in May.  As Doug preaches at PCC, our Congo team will be worshipping with hundreds of beautiful Africans in Gemena, but my heart will be with you at PCC. I say it every week via this missive and sincerely mean it…
I Love Being Your Pastor!