I’m so excited, I’m about to pop! But let me back up and explain. First, a day before traveling to Wisconsin this weekend, I came down with the dreaded flu that everyone seems to be getting this year. It has been horrible. So, I will not lie—I seriously considered cancelling the weekend. But this event had been scheduled for four years, and I just couldn’t bring myself to cancel. So, on Day Two of the flu, I dragged myself on and off planes all the way to Chicago and then on up to Raymond, WI. And I’m so glad I didn’t cancel.
The topics we covered were identical to last weekend’s in Naperville, IL—except for one small difference: I’m going back to Raymond in March to do the 10-day Jesus Dialogue series for the community. When we got to the final presentation entitled Why Church and discussed the difference between being a passive spectator of a program versus an open, mutually participatory gathering, this church got excited! It was truly astounding to see what the gatherings of Jesus’ followers must have looked like for the first 300 years. But the fact that we are going to reach out to this community in just two months didn’t stop at New Testament evidence for this style of gathering together. We also discussed the stark difference between inviting someone in our contemporary culture to become a passive spectator each week and inviting folks from the community to become part of a group that practices open, mutually participatory sharing. When you realize the intrinsic value of an open, mutually participatory gathering to reach out to our communities with the message of Christ’s Kingdom, it’s overwhelming. Many testified that, for the first time, it was like the light came on for them. Many testified how so many of their young people hate coming to church but love meetings that have an open, participatory style. Then it clicked: People in the community do too!
I’m happy to announce that, come March, this church is going to put in motion several homes where they can gather together during the week, practicing open, mutually participatory sharing the way they did it in the New Testament. And when we finish the Jesus Dialogue in March, we’ll be inviting others—not simply to become passive spectators but rather to become part of one of these home groups where they can learn, fellowship, and grow as followers of Jesus and His Kingdom, practicing the 58 one anothers. It’s truly revolutionary when you stop to consider it.
I also want to tell you that, during the morning, I shared the death of Jesus again, from Jesus’ own perspective. Many saw that Jesus’ death—rather than to appease an angry God—was meant to deliver us from God’s enemy, as clearly laid out in the gospels, and they testified they had never understood the cross nor seen God’s love in this light before. It was truly a beautiful moment. I love helping people see more deeply the beauty of God and His overwhelming love for them.
Well, I still have the flu as I write this. I’m getting better, though. Thank you to each of you who were praying for me this weekend. I needed it.
I’m going to sip some peppermint tea and go back to bed.
I love you guys,
Keep enlarging the kingdom. Oh, and pray for the event coming up in March for the Raymond church. I believe it’s going to be spectacular.