Wednesday, February 28, 2007

An Evening with Doug & David

Last night I visited the up/rooted north meeting at Life on the Vine in Long Grove to hear Doug Pagitt speak. I also got to meet David Fitch for the first time.

It was an interesting evening. It was good to be with people who have a passion for "missional" ministry. But I want to write about what Doug had to say.

He talked about "optimistic, hopeful Christianity." His point was that we tend to think that some places and some situations are "difficult." We have the idea that the gospel can't really flourish there (usually wherever we happen to be).

We say to ourselves, "If only I were in Seattle…" Or, "If only I were in Barrington…" Or, "If only I were in Grand Rapids…"

But the reality is that the gospel can thrive in any situation, in any place, at any time.

We can learn from others who are seeing God work among them. But we cannot recreate what they are doing. We need to pay attention to our own time, our own place and our own situation. We need to learn to recognize the hand of God at work there.

Familiarity tends to weaken faith. Jesus expressed this when he said, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor" (Mark 6:4).

But it is not only people who suffer from this prejudice.

We become so focused on the particular problems we face in our situation, our time and our place that we begin to think that God cannot work there. When the problem is that we just don't have the eyes to see that God is already working.

We tell ourselves that God could work here and now if only things were a little different.

In other words, we put limits on God.

And so we feel sorry for ourselves. We wish that our past was different. We wish that we had resources that we don't have. We wish that we cold replicate what God is doing somewhere else. We wish that we were more like ________ (insert the name of the current object of our jealousy). We wish that we were surrounded with people who think exactly like us.

Meanwhile, the people who are participating in God's kingdom all around us are praying to the Lord of the harvest for some workers, because the opportunity is so great.

Lord, give us the eyes to see what you are already doing. Give us the faith to trust in your power to build your kingdom right here and right now. Give us the courage to step out of our comfort zones to participate in that work.

Pastor Rod

"Helping you become the person God created you to be"

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