Monday, May 19, 2008
A Beautiful Picture of the Kingdom
Jesus gave us a mind-blowing picture of those who belong in his kingdom and those who don't. This is a passage we need to read and reread, because it's a completely different perspective of who is "in or out" than what we hear in church most Sundays. Matthew 25:31-46.
If you combine this passage with some other sections of Jesus' teaching, we can see that Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL picture of the Kingdom (the domain where Jesus is King).
On Saturday afternoon, a group from Trinity Family, Christ Community in Olathe and Bonita Flats gathered together to spend a few hours working on the facility of My Father's House in Paola. Here are a few thoughts as to why this was a beautiful picture of Jesus' Kingdom.
1) We were serving the poor You can look on My Father's House website to see exactly what they do, but in serving My Father's House we were serving the poor and rural homeless of the area. Jesus was as clear as he could possibly be on this point, "you serve the poor, you're a part of my kingdom. You don't serve the poor, you're not a part of my kingdom." Ouch, it hurts to write that because Saturday was the exception rather than the rule in my life.
2) Christ Community 'planted' Trinity Family There's a crippling mindset among many churches, which we faced a bit while preparing to launch TFC, it's the mindset of scarcity. I can't share with you because than there won't be enough left for me. Christ Community was able to move past those fears (and they rightfully had fears because they agreed to plant TFC during a difficult time in their church) and make the Kingdom decision to plant our church. It's a privilege to work alongside CCC.
3) We were able to remove some "in/out" barriers If you read the gospels, you'll see that Jesus is always flipping things upside down. The people you think are "in" are actually "out" and those you'd think are "out" are actually "in." Being able to work alongside some employees and regular customers (I think one guy that came doesn't actually work there but hangs out there all the time which made me think of "Norm" from Cheers) of Bonita Flats (a gentleman's club) helps break down the "in/out" barriers.
I really can't tell you how great it was to hang out with the group that came from Bonita Flats. I got to meet a lot of nice people and I had an incredible conversation with Guido, the head manager and part-owner of the club. I can't remember everything we discussed but one thought that kept going through my mind was what a privilege it is to get to talk about life, church and Jesus with a guy who is part owner of a gentleman's club.
Guido told me he'd read through my blog and was impressed by how much our perception of them had changed from the first night in August where we 'bravely' took the gift bags to the clubs to where we are now. He also said their perception of us has changed as well. While they were also leery of us at first, they now trust us. Several people also gave me what might be one of the best compliments I could receive, "you don't look like a pastor and your wife doesn't seem like the usual church lady. You seem like normal people."
We also talked a lot about how Trinity Family (from their perspective) seems like a different type of church. We talked about the organization that protested Temptations blog entry and why that isn't the way of Jesus. Guido also told me that another church from our denomination were out at his club awhile ago, protesting and handing out flyers. I apologized for bad Christian behavior and un-Christlike Nazarene behavior as many ways as possible. I'm praying that maybe some perception barriers were broken down and that my apology goes a long way toward a healthier picture of Christianity. I did share one of my favorite quotes I heard at a church planter's conference, "I love Jesus, but sometimes his bride is a real female dog" (kids read this blog).
Someone in the midst of our conversation said they were glad to be there because "its good for the soul." And I affirm that comment from a lot of different angles. And the great thing is that we're just beginning! Guido wants to make this a every few months activity.
I don't know if I've ever been more proud of our church. It's all about the Kingdom!