After a series of inspiring teachings challenging us to own the responsibility to maintain our relationships in a healthy life-giving (not life-sucking) way, we move into Easter Season. A time where we get to contemplate and CELEBRATE the redemption that we have been given access to in Christ's sacrifice. We GET to walk in grace. We GET to walk in freedom. All because the Son of God laid down his life for us.
What are you laying at the foot of His cross this year? What relationship had you shifting in your seat as Pastors Brock and Ang spoke about forgiveness and maturity in relationships?
Time to choose maturity in connection and learn how to respond to each other and not react.
"'I choose you.' This is the foundation of true, lasting relationships. It is the foundation for God’s relationship with you. As Jesus declared to His disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you...” [John 15:16]. Jesus chose you in the most difficult of circumstances. He chose you while you were in sin, while you were His enemy. His side of the relationship with you does not depend upon your choice, but entirely upon His choice. The question is whether or not you will learn to build your relationships with Him and others upon the foundation of your choice. ...
Yes, it’s vulnerable and scary to keep your love on toward someone [in your life] who has become a perceived threat—you cannot guarantee what he or she is going to do. But you can guarantee your own choice. And you can always choose connection.”
― Danny Silk, Keep Your Love On
Brought in to work together.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:27
The human body is incredible. Each part is so dependent on the other parts to function in wholeness. We have all know the misery of a toothache, and how it can affect other parts of the body. Each part is vital in the role it plays, no part can go rogue and be independent. All parts must work for the proper functioning of the body.
With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that Paul often describes the church as Christ's body. As followers of Jesus we are interrelated with every other person in the body of Christ. Though each believer may be unique we must work together in unity in relationship and purpose, to see the Kingdom of heaven on earth.
Sometimes we have a hard time acknowledging that we are part of the body, and nurturing it. By nature we resist being dependent on others or having others depend on us. Paul states clearly that just as "the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” (1 Corinthians 12:21), neither can anyone in the body of Christ say that to their brothers and sisters in Christ.
God has equipped each individual person uniquely with gifts and talents for the building up and strengthening of the body. The church and its members are one in Christ. We are called to serve Christ, each other, and the world around us.
Sometimes we need to look a little deeper to discover whether we are a kidney, or an ear. How have I been uniquely engineered to worship my creator? What are my strengths? How can others strengths help me in my weaknesses?
Need a little help?
Here are a couple of personality profiles according to different personality tests. Read through the profiles. You may find a few that you relate to, but usually one where 85% of it screams you.
DISC Personality Profiles:
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (for a more in-depth study, with 16 different profiles):
Jesus, your body, the church, is wonderfully made. We praise you for making each one of us a part of your body. May we be a blessing to your church and to your world.
Scripture to read again
1 Corinthians 12:12-31
Brought in to be Healed.
What would you do? How would you react if I was completely myself?
Some of us hear "community" or "belonging" and desire it, but subconsciously we remain distant and unable to enter authentic community.
It's like a reflex. Some things are so deep-rooted that when someone gets too close, relationally your elbows REFLEX and push people away.
Because of some hidden hurt or moment in our past we find it hard to trust. It's almost as if we are subconsciously filled with stress, unfavourable life experiences, memories and thoughts that take up our emotional space. We end up only able to remain at the shallow end in our relationships.
One method to healing is community.
We allow ourselves to get in touch with our fears, fears of loneliness and abandonment, fears of really loving. We allow others to love us.
You are loved for being you. Just who you are. But here's the catch - that can only happen if we reveal who we really are and allow other to see that by being in community. In community we are really seen, in all our perfect imperfections. The "ideal me" that we can present, any guard that might be up, ends up coming down. Now that may sound terrifying at first. But the amazing part is that if you stay in community long enough you feel SAFE to be who you are. To say to God and to your friends "YES this is who I am." Limitations and all. You have been freed to see whatever needs to get you to where you need to be, and allowed in a community that will say "we'll get there with you!"
Do you believe you could be completely known & completely loved?
To give ourselves to the process of authentic community & receive some Holy Spirit counselling. We need to trust that God WILL LEAD US into a life more beautiful, more free - as we drop our labels - our masks.
This process of letting go of our facade, of confession & repentance, can feel a lot like falling apart at first. You gotta want it! You gotta want to be free!
In John 5 we read a story of a place in Bethsaida where many people who were were sick or diseased or crippled gathered. They were gathered by a pool of water that they believed could heal them. Whether it was folklore or myth - I don't know - when people want to go get well they'll sometimes try anything.
Jesus sees a man & we read in verse 6:
When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
Jesus knows the landscape. He knows why people are there: for the hope of healing. They believe there's something about this pool that could heal. Why does Jesus ask "do you want to be well?" Jesus knows the mans heart like he knows all our heart.
Sometimes we can be in a place of hurt or pain or brokenness for so long that we allow it to become part of us. Sometimes we're holding on to our pride or independence to the point where Jesus has to honestly ask us "do you want to be well?" "Do you want to let those things go? Or has it become what defines you?"
"Do you want to be made well?"
There are times when our deepest longing is to hear a word from The Lord. Beyond the muddle of all our thoughts and ideas, our brainstorming [whether good or bad] we long for an encounter with God that will BREAK THROUGH all of that & bring some clarity to life. Bring some healing to our situation. If we are aware of such a longing, a question we might have to ask ourselves is HOW MUCH AM I ACTUALLY PAYING ATTENTION? Really. Do I have enough space in my schedule to be able to turn aside and notice when there is something that's worthy of my attention? Could it be because I am moving so fast that I don't have time to turn aside and look? Do I even have mechanisms in my life that create space for paying attention, so that I don't miss the places where God himself is trying to communicate with me?
For us to take a moment and notice Him is no small thing. In the busyness of life I need places and times to meet with Him.
This is a rhythm we need to cultivate.
I can be going through what seems like turmoil & someone will switch my focus to notice the "burning bushes" in my life. They'll ask me - like I want you to ask a friend - "where have you noticed God this week?" Where have you seen him?
In the bustle of the everyday that question can actually seem unnatural - given the mood I may be in. But I need community & friendships to focus my eyes back on the path. It's incredible what an openness to hearing that question and answering it could lead to. Before you know it the list grows and grows and the simple act of sharing these stories of God's work in our lives is causing all our hearts to come alive! By the end we become aware of a renewed sense of calling, we are convinced God was with us, and we have a news sense of direction in our lives.
TIME FOR ACTION:
Take some time this week to start the conversation with a group or a close friend "where have you noticed God this week?"
Scripture to read again:
John 5: 1-17. Jesus at the pool in Bethsaida
Exodus 3. Moses at the burning bush. A posture of openness.
This week we started our new message series: Stand By Me. Pastor Brock continued to build on last week's exploration of the meaning of family.
In the parable of the prodigal son we hear Jesus tell of a son who leaves home and spends all he has. He leaves his sense of belonging, knowing that to leave meant being rejected by his community should he return. A display of public rejection would be made at the entrance to the town, where a large ceremonial clay pot would be broken and the community would shout “you are cut off from your people!” When he finally reaches the end of his rope he returns home, hoping to be a hired servant.
He says to himself "I know I will never belong to my family again but at least I'll have a roof over my head. Maybe some shelter and money." He assumes that he won't be restored to a son. He believes that part of his identity to be forever lost.
But what do we see: a Father who comes running. A Father whose first act is to restore his son's sense of belonging. He risks ruining his reputation among his peers; he would rather not be part of his community if it means seeing his son rejected. Above all else he wants his son to hear the words -"You belong to me, you are my son! No matter what you've done - no matter what you're going to do - you BELONG to my family."
Knowing this grace, this unconditional love, as our own opens us up to the question, "Now, how shall we live?". Grace means you have a God that gives the best of what He has regardless of how you behave. So does that knowledge draw you CLOSER to Jesus, or make you more independent? Do you allow it to affect the way you draw others in? The belonging you're able to extend to others?
Heaven comes to earth not primarily through events or conferences, God comes to earth through relationships. It's what we were intended for.
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
John 17: 22-23
This week as you're praying, ask yourself: "Who am I keeping? Who am I bringing into belonging?"
BIRTHDAY! BAPTISM! PARTY!
Last Sunday marked the 3-year anniversary of C3 Saskatoon, and what better way to celebrate than to throw a Baptism party. The testimonies! Oh the testimonies. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. They told the story of how God lovingly draws us to Him & restores our hearts! We celebrated with our family members who journeyed into full immersion into the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit; into a community that welcomes you unconditionally.
Pastor Brock started us off sharing on the JOY of Baptism. Four word recap: THIS IS A PARTY!
The source of the celebration is the knowledge that there is nowhere you can go where His love doesn’t go with you. You are fully known and fully loved. There’s always a moment in any baptism when the person is fully submerged in water; what a beautiful mirror of the love of God. There’s no room or need for striving. You don’t have to work for His love, you are simply always in His love. Completely immersed, part of His family. You belong.
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God sets the solitary in families;
Psalm 68:5-6a NIV
The new life of baptism brings both freedom and new foundations. God doesn’t let you walk aimlessly - He SETS you in a family. He sets the solitary and the lonely in a place of relationship where they can be deeply known and deeply loved. The core of who God is the definition of family. Belonging is who God is, and finding belonging in Him is the fulfillment we are created for. That is the reality of heaven that baptism grounds us to.
He restores. The Father is completely devoted to seeing you come into a place of being fully immersed in His love. Whether you are newly Baptised, a seasoned vet, or walking your first timid steps on this journey, recognize that you are fully known & fully loved. Now that’s a reason to celebrate!