A Farewell…

So the story goes a little like this…

10 years ago or so, I remember leading worship at a youth gathering event in our area where 150+ students came together for the sole purpose of worshiping Jesus under one roof, no matter the denomination. It was around the time in modernism where you would see evangelical ecumenicism a little more often. Either way, it was a good thing. The church that the gathering was held in was a United Methodist Church, from the outside, you would usually expect a totally different vibe, but it was surprisingly refreshing. I guess I thought there would be lots of robes, candles and wood.

Anyway, that night I had the pleasure of meeting Melinda, the youth pastor who spoke at the event for the evening as she was in the rotation to speak. I didn’t think she would remember me since at the time I probably sounded like an underdeveloped guitar player who ‘thought’ he could sing. (Side note. I actually listened to a song the other day that I wrote back then, that if it ever got leaked, I really don’t know what I would do. It is one of the most awful things I’ve ever heard. For those of you who may have a copy, please burn it.)

Years pass, and along the way I am able to build more connections with pastors across the city and more specifically with First United Methodist Church via the Music Minister at the time and Melinda through city-wide youth pastors meetings. The opportunity had arose at FUMC to apply for a new role at the church for professional staff to develop the growing contemporary music ministry at the church. I thought “nah… I don’t have a masters, so I won’t even try.”

Any-who… This was a very difficult season for me and my family five years ago that I wasn’t sure at the time how things would pan out, and out of the blue I get this call from Melinda. She says, “dude, I put in a good word in for you, please apply. You’re really what the church is looking for, at least start the process…”

After that, honestly, my first question was like, “I don’t think I could work at a Methodist church, aren’t they like theologically liberal and won’t I need to play the organ and stuff?” I remember her replying with… “this place is different, just apply man…”

The Staff…

So I applied, did the interview, and got the job. Thank you Pastor Craig Curry and FUMC Staff Committee circa 2009 for giving me a shot at it, I don’t know if you all realize that this big shift made waves for my growth and future as a pastor. I still can’t believe I got it, I wasn’t ready in so many ways, but through the strength of The Spirit, He carried me through  journeys that I will never forget. It would take me too long to describe the valleys and mountain-tops of working and being so trusted to pastor so many people through tears, counsel, prayer and through leading worship.

Over my time at FUMC there has been staff that have come and gone and a few that have stayed. The main-stay through my tenure has been Melinda. What a good friend and partner in ministry you’ve been. From worship planning, Tuesday’s tear-filled prayer, outreach and mission; everything seemed to be in sync. Thank you for your patience with me. So sorry I have to say good-bye in this functional capacity, but if you ever need a wild badger delivered in a manger in your office, please let me know… (inside joke…)

Thank you Pastor Dave for being a patient and prayerful man. Every time you would leave the office to pray, it was so encouraging to me as a young man in ministry to see that diligence. You have been able to navigate our church through some difficult seasons, thank you for that. I will miss our impromptu prayers sessions, your leadership will not be forgotten.

The People…

About a year ago we started community groups at FUMC. I don’t if any of us in our group expected to see such life-giving moments of nitty-gritty christian community. Every week in our home was more than worth it, we couldn’t wait to see every single person every week. It’s been so amazing to see work by The Spirit in people’s stories and lives. Thank you so much to those who have trusted so much of your time and energy to see what God can do when we are mindful about His mission of seeing us reach out and invite others to what we do, love each other. I know Travis and Kory will serve you well, they are generous and passionate about the move of God in our communities.

One of my favorite things about working at FUMC is their encouragement for me to grow through education, and to give me opportunities to feed into others lives. One of my giftings is to mentor teenagers and young adults, and through the past 5 years I’ve been able to feed into so many lives. You all know who you are. Thank you for allowing me to speak into all your lives, and I hope this won’t change even though I’ll be serving someone else. I care for you all so deeply.

The Music…

When I arrived at FUMC in 2009 I knew it would take a little time for me figure out the type of sound, flare and dynamics that would begin to identify the music of the church. ‘They’ say it takes 3 years before you first notice significant shifts in culture and process in anything you do, no matter the type of organization or program. (I believe the standard calculation looks like this in these cycles; 3, 5, 7 and 10 years are the big shifts in vision and culture…FYI) I can verify that at 3 years, all of our bands began to change. I believe they started to see the possibilities that could take place if we focus our attention to Jesus,  expectations of leaders, and excellence in our craft.

The Sound EPIt was at this time we produced our first EP. I couldn’t believe we did it. I was so proud of what we all accomplished in little ol’ Farmington, and how much we all learned together. And of course above you can see the Live Recording we did this last year…

All of you have been so impressive to me. Your consistency, talent, passion and friendships have all been so influential to me. The AAD jam sessions and practices filled with tears by worshiping together with the gifts of music I will never forget. The video will help explain a little bit… but thank you for everything, thankfully our family is staying in Farmington so we can jam here and there together, just call me!

A Farewell…

My prayer is that FUMC in Farmington is faithful to Christ. Never abandon Christ. Love Him and His Word before anything. This local church showed me what genuine friendships look like. Continue to be intentional about local mission. FUMC is probably one of the most active churches in the community that I’ve ever seen, just always remember to proclaim the Gospel by sharing the Good News. Be bold. Be loving. Be the Church.

Honoring Our Inheritance

An inheritance is something to take very seriously. When it is available and given through family or a loved one, it is to be honored and well taken care of. If we take a quick glimpse at the book of Joshua, we see a book that is the promise kept by God to Moses that they would inherit the land and possess it. Essentially, this is a book on victory and God’s faithfulness to Israel, and a charge to honor the LORD with this inheritance of grace. Lets take a look of the Book of Joshua.

As a walk-through Joshua is broken up into 4 major parts

  1. Crossing into the land

    1. We have to understand that this was a very joyous time for the Israelites. They have been wondering the desert and they have finally found the lands that they have been so eager to see. Now they are here. The promise made to Moses is very real and the promise from the LORD about the land has been kept.

    2. It was important for people to remember the things God did for them so that they would never forget the faithfulness of God during times of struggle and hardship. See God told Joshua to remember this moment and to tell their children of this.

  2. Taking the land.

    1. Israel was commanded to conquer and take the land that the Lord had given to them. This was unique moment for the history of Israel. This pattern of claiming what is ours is repeated for us even in the New Testament as to knowing whose and who we are in Christ.

  3. Dividing the land.

    1. Once the land was taken into their hands it was now time to divide the land among the people in Israel. They now had an inheritance when they did not have one before. What will they do with it? If you look at history, not all the tribes kept their promise. If we look to Christ, He was the perfect promise keeper.

  4. Serving the Lord in the land.

    1. Joshua 23:6-8 (ESV)

Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, 7 that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them, 8 but you shall cling to the Lord your God just as you have done to this day.

    1. This scripture is a similar parallel scripture to Matt 28:18-20 and & Hebrews 3:12-14. This is a call to obedience and remembrance to what God has done.

    2. Joshua is given a charge similar to one he was given. The last portion of Joshua is an ending in Joshua’s life where he asked them again to make a declaration again; that the Lord is who they will choose to serve today.

What’s The Big Idea?

How are we honoring our inheritance?

Jesus is our brother and scripture says in Romans 8:17 that not only has given us authority but are co heirs with Him! We share in this inheritance, which means we must OWN it and stop acting like bad tenants renting a home that is not ours. This is an idea we must now own for our families and our church that we have an inheritance in Christ that we must take very seriously. This is means we must serve Jesus by responding faithfully to the great commission.

What do we do with this inheritance?

Jesus has given us the ultimate inheritance and possession, Jesus is the greater Joshua.

Our inheritance is Christ and the hope He has given us is life.

We now stand in the greatest season yet of God’s redemptive history. Christ, the greatest promise has already come and now we have the responsibility to carry out the call and mission to reach the world for Him.

Here are some practical solutions

Let us as households and churches to make Jesus known, and walk in obedience by honoring the inheritance of the great harvest, and heirs in His kingdom.

  • Have you decided on your household purpose?
  • Are you praying daily?
  • Is your home open to people?
  • Do you see your neighborhood as a mission field?
  • Do you see your work as a mission field?
  • What are your circles of influences?
  • Does your family seek to help in service projects on your own? Food banks, taking up a church ministry, passing out food etc.

We will win many times as Israel did, w will also lose and fail many times. We must continue to declare whose and who we are in Christ and remember and live out the promise given to us through Christ.

We must be ready to give Gospel demonstration, AND NOT ONLY gospel proclamation.

Remember that God uses families, especially weak ones to do His work!

This is an expert from a sermon preached on 11/25/13

Disciples On Mission

Were you ever involved in door to door outreach? I know for a lot of us that happened to grow up in the church during the 80’s and 90’s, it was customary to go knock on doors to get the bible thumpin’ notch on your good person church belt. And if you weren’t involved in the church during that time, you probably remember at least having your door knocked and hiding as quietly as possible so they would feel compelled to finally stop knocking. Unfortunately, that particular method was not that effective, and even though many did it with sincerity, they probably weren’t successful in building bridges with the people they were hoping to reach. We as the church can no longer rely on methods or mere trends to draw the numbers; we must rely on the power of the Gospel, the transformation of the Holy Spirit’s work, and to join our King Jesus on mission.

Mission

There are often barriers between those who are being pursued and the party pursuing. And it is critical that find those barriers and pray for breakthroughs in the power of the Holy Spirit. There are so many methods and systems that really do work in penetrating a people group and/or person with the message of Jesus Christ in ways they can understand, but we are not here to talk on method, but on principle of how we can be on mission together, both with God and with each other.

We see a pattern in scripture of the things that are important to God. We see that His glory, His people, and His creation are all important to Him and His story (See Table)1 . As I mentioned earlier in the ‘Giving Jesus Everything‘ post, we mentioned this concept of the kabod doxa of God, and following Him is costly just as it says in Matthew 16:24, and even though sin has obscured things (1 Cor. 13:12), His glory is to be observed, honored, and worshiped (1 Cor. 2:7-14). Sin has alienated His people, yet through the power of the cross He has reconciled us to Himself, and is calling us His people to live in peace and unity, as displayed well in 1 Thessalonians 1:5-9. And lastly, His creation is important to Him, humans, animals and everything He made including trees, lakes, and oceans. In Job 38 we see creation as a display of His wisdom and power. Even His creation felt the earthquake of sin for we see in Romans 8:19-22, Paul speaks of creation under the curse of sin. We are here to be ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:17-21) and co-regents for God. Whatever that looks like, and whoever it reaches, God’s glory must be known and seen, and we need to be excited to be involved in work of God on this planet. It is clear in Matthew 25:31-46 that we are to take this mission seriously. “To be on mission with God is to respond to the high calling to participate with Him on His mission in His story”.2

And if you notice, there is an organic nature to this understanding of image, worship community and mission. You see, we must be an image-bearing community of worshipers on mission!

Memorize This Scripture

Psalms 96:1-3 (ESV)

“Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!”

Group Discussion Starters

  • As leaders, do we notice if we are being ambassadors of reconciliation in our local city community?
  • How do all aspects of a disciple work together?
  • Take about 15 minutes to study. Pick one passage below and give insights relating to mission.
    • 2 Kings 17:25-28
    • Jonah 3:1-10
    • Luke 10:1-24
    • Luke 24:44-49
    • Acts 1:1-11

Things to Do on Your Own

Spiritual Discipline

  • This discipline will be multifaceted; it will include scripture reading, prayer and solitude.
    • Go to a high place in your city, or a location that you can be in a quiet space yet see a lot of buildings far-off that represent your city.
    • Read Isaiah 6:1-8 very slowly
    • Pray that you are able to have a heart like Christ to see the lost saved
    • After praying, wait, stay silent for at least 15 minutes, and rest in His presence.

Personal Study

  • Read Acts Chapter 9
    • What does this passage teach you?
    • How does this passage display a Trinitarian theology?
    • How does this passage reveal Jesus’ heart for His church?

Action Points

  • Choose a location in your city that you know well, this can be bar, game center, recreation center, gym etc. Get to know people, build relationship, and bring someone along that loves Jesus so you can make this place your new mission field. Take mental note of trends, laughter and influential people, and find ways to image God to this new mission field.

Table

Disciple on Mission

What’s Important to God?

Sin’s Distortion

God’s Mission

God’s Glory

Obscured

Observed

God’s People

Alienated

Reconciled

God’s Creation

Fruitless

Stewarded

FOOTNOTES


  1. Disciple, Clem, p.153-168 

  2. Disciple, Clem, p.168 

God.Life.Music.Creativity