So if you’re new, you probably think what an interesting bunch of people – and you’d be right! We come from all walks of life, are at different places in our relationship with God, but each one of us sees the draw of God on their life, and together we live life. I’ve been reading a book called “No perfect people allowed” by John Burke (highly recommend BTW) and it’s been a challenging and exciting read, looking at how to create Church culture that welcomes everyone, but doesn’t become liberal and sell out on biblical truth.
"That got me thinking – how do we welcome everyone, just as Jesus does; yet not sell out and whitewash sin and poor behaviour? I look at the earthly life of Jesus and see a perfect man – a God-man who was 100% righteous and holy, but who spent his days hanging out with the mess up’s, the down and out’s, the no-hoper’s. How on earth?!"
To the human bit of me it isn’t possible, yet Jesus saw in each person what God saw – a human spirit, created out of love, to be made in the mirror image of its creator, God. He welcomed everyone no matter their stained past, stained cloths and stained character. He didn’t judge their petty theft, porn habit or lazy attitude – but He didn't say it was right either. Instead He LOVED even when it hurt, really hurt. He shared His holiness with those who didn’t deserve it, and share’s His love with us. That’s incredible grace. Grace is defined in the Collins dictionary as kind, pleasing and indulgent. I love that! Christian’s can have pleasing and indulgent favour from God that doesn't value you on the snapshot of your life right as it is now, but on who you are. Created in God’s image, with God’s hands and breath. How valuable are we for God to actually spend time designing us from the inside out!
I still don’t get this whole grace thing, and I can’t believe God chooses people like me, like us, to be His people and love us warts n’all. He must be God to have patience and forgiveness for me! But it’s incredibly encouraging to think that a community like ours could significantly impact the culture of the entire Church. The wonderful work started (and growing) amongst us could spill over into the whole of the Citygate family, creating an incredibly welcoming and holy culture which reaches out to an entire town. That could see a whole town, university or college completely and radically over-turned by God’s freedom bringing Spirit. It’s happened before elsewhere. How cool would that be?! Dream to picture that scene.
I want to encourage you to ask questions, Citygate is a safe place to enquire. Ask when you feel you’re the only one without the answer (you’re not); find out why; satisfy your desire to be more secure in Christ. There’s an opportunity here to grow closer to God in a meaningful way, and you’re invited to take part. As it happens there’s a special training event on <<29|10|11>> where together we can look at what God say’s to us about who we are, and helped with how we can respond to Him. There’s flyer’s around now, so pick one up and see what it’s all about. So Who Am I?
There’s a gathering of guys on Tuesday next week for a BBQ round my place: looking at the role of guys in the Church. Lad's Meaty BBQ Only kidding – it’s a social, so bring quality meat (let’s all try now) and some beers and we’ll hang out. That has got me thinking about the role of men in the church though...