Last night Mr. Condo was full of friends who are beginning to Cre8 with us NEXT SUNDAY
. You may wonder why 2011 came and went without a whole lot of public activity being displayed. That was intentional on our part.
A friend of mine whose husband runs a national youth organization told me once that people will come and go, especially in the beginning. Men and women who are attracted to this vision as a business will stay only for a while, but those who really understand the heart of the ministry will weather every storm. Those words are very true, and this year, we have needed time—time for strengthening, for preparing, and for relationship building. It takes time to see who, outside of our own home, sees the need, believes it can be met, and wants to embrace the radical enough to step out of personal comforts. Yes… that… takes… time (more time than I expected, but understandably so). And we decided we’d rather wait and start well with others than run ahead on our own and fail.
Last summer, one of the couples was pulled aside privately and told, “We just want you to know that word is rampant that Cre8 has failed and we just don’t want to see you waste time, or put money and energy into something that is not going to succeed…” That was the day that I realized why there is a time to speak, a time to be silent, a time for war and a time for peace, a time to mourn and a time to dance… a time to friend and a time to unfriend… Yeah, unfortunately I had to do the unthinkable… and clean out my facebook account. It’s weird. I don’t understand why friends would take words and twist them. Negative spin is hurtful… So I spun the positive right back and said to Mike, “Then let’s FAIL big —let’s remain Fully Active In Love and just trust that God will take care of the naysayers.”
At that point, our family added another “40 Days of…” and we took a 40 Days of Romans 12. It says,
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
We made lists. We listed the people who needed to be blessed and not cursed. And we began to pray blessing for them daily. We listed people who are rejoicing, and we rejoiced with them whether we felt like it or not. We listed people who are mourning and we allowed our hearts to cry out with them. I will never forget this beautiful teachable moment with our family, with our kids. Our prayers were being answered and our hearts were being held together carefully by the protective Hand of God.
Curious people have asked us what we’ve been up to over the last months, and being out from behind church office desks has allowed for a particularly powerful year of ministry! The Word tells us to do things in secret and to not even let your left hand know what your right hand is doing when it comes to giving to the needy. So it has been difficult to blog about all that the Lord has done. If we boast, we are to boast in the Lord. Unfortunately, people will misinterpret text and intentions in a blog, and that was a risk we have not wanted to take.
Perhaps I can paint a picture with just a few examples:
People have been visited in the hospitals regularly, and some who have been prayed over have experienced personal miracles. In one situation, a doctor actually “prescribed” to his patient “daily visits from Big Mike” as there was such a drastic improvement during those times. Mike even had the privilege of praying with that doctor over his own cancer battle, and the Lord did a miracle in his body!
As our small group of families has gathered in restaurants, parks, and homes, we’ve begun to look on the streets where we live and the extensions of love and care have been quite compelling. Have you ever heard that it is the kindness of the Lord that brings a soul to repentance? Well, that has been the case. People we would not ever expect have surrendered their lives to the lordship of Christ, simply because someone cared enough to meet personal needs—needs that to them seemed overwhelming, but in reality are not burdensome with “together.”
So, we rejoice over many things as we head into this new season. We have our board of directors, all of the legal not-for-profit paperwork has been filed, our family has rested, stretched and grown, and the core families have taken time to realize that the Church is not a building or a program, but rather an identity… a family… and includes the lives of those who reside within their own four walls.
Mike led us all through the book of Nehemiah throughout the summer and fall. We have been living on the pursuit of rebuilding lives, and we look forward to following God together in this endeavor. There are many broken lives within broken homes. All around us are people who need to know they matter. Oh, that the Lord will Cre8 Connection, rebuilding his Church… person by person, family by family, one home at a time.
|Fully Active In Love
As we walk into this next season, I am reminded that daily steps of obedience may seem like upside-down living! But that’s okay. I’ve got my red shoes on. I’m ready to F.A.I.L.
(hopefully BIG), and in the words of Dorothy, “There’s no place like home.” So let’s all start there.
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. ~2 John 1:6-8 TNIV