Thursday, June 20, 2013

Awaiting News Today

We await big news from the Supreme Court today.

People of faith all around the country are waiting with hopeful anticipation that the Supreme Court will strike discrimination from our federal laws and ensure that all couples who choose to enter into the sacred bonds of marriage receive equal rights and protections.

At Mission Bay Community Church, we believe that every human being is created in the image of God and has sacred worth. Extending marriage to all couples is an important step toward acknowledging the common humanity and equal worth of all God's children.

For all of you on edge today...feeling anxious, scared, hopeful, tired....know that you are not alone. God loves you and has claimed you as God's own. Your love is precious in God's sight. Know we are with you and surround you with support and love as your church community.

Praying God helps justice prevail and love endure this day and always.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

High Schoolers are Awesome

Small Group 28

This last week I was in the mountains of North Carolina helping with a conference for high school youth. My main role was to lead a small group - 30 youth meeting twice a day - to unpack the scriptures and life experiences we discussed each day.

I've been a small group leader before, but I had forgotten how sacred this space is for youth. They're surrounded by new faces and are encouraged to share the real pain and joy going on in their lives (school, home, church) without being judged or followed home by it. And these youth take advantage of it.

The second day we dove deep into the brokenness of their lives. I realized once again the roughness of high school and growing up. We shared the depths of our emotions and encouraged one another in the process. One main theme that kept coming up this week was from Mark 4:38 when Jesus is asleep in the boat during a mad storm. We moved from focusing on the fact that Jesus was sleeping and how that made us feel abandoned, anxious, and unloved.... to recognizing that Jesus is in the boat with us and Jesus does calm the storm. Maybe not as quickly as we would like him to, but in time Jesus calms the storms. We affirmed that the waves of the storms in our lives will continue to rise and threaten to overthrow us, but that Jesus continues to climb in our boat. We are never alone.

I'm grateful for my time with these youth and I'm grateful for all they've taught me about what church needs to look like to be relevant and life-filling for youth. Thanks, small group 28 for being vulnerable and real with each other, with God, and with me.

Check out Montreat Youth Conferences here:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

fiction revealing truth

I really love fiction. Partly because it draws me out of myself. It allows me to escape whatever stress or worries have taken hold of me and it moves me into a place where anything is possible.

Reading fiction also helps me process life. At first the story seems far off - distant from me - and soon it comes close to home, relating more and more to my own story. I find it easier to soak in and process whatever message I need to hear through the lens of a story.

In preaching class, this is exactly how we are taught to write and preach truth. Paint a picture, illustrate the message of truth through the lens of a story that doesn't attack someone or something directly, but eases us into it....lures us in and gives us new eyes and new ears to experience the world around us.

This last week I've been reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. This novel is full of truth...both big and small. Here are some of the nuggets of wisdom I've been digesting this week:

"It was the in between time, before day leaves and comes, a time I've never been partial to because of the sadness that lingers in the space between going and coming."

"There is a fullness of time for things, Lily. You have to know when to prod and when to be quiet, when to let things take their course."

"Stories have to be told or they die and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we are here."

"Life gives way to death and death gives way to life. Draping the bee hives helps us remember that."

"Given the choice, I preferred someone to understand my situation, even though she was helpless to fix it, rather than the other way around. But that's just me."

"You know, Lily, people can start out one way, and by the time life gets through with them they end up completely different."

"There is nothing perfect...there is only life."