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A word from Pastor Wes on Surprise the World

Surprise the World, Chapters 1 & 2

For those of you who skipped the first 2 chapters of Surprise the World, we’re giving you a short recap of those chapters in blog post form.  If you’ve read those chapters, this will be a slightly redundant review of how Michael Frost sets up the rest of his book. Either way, it’s (hopefully) a helpful and succinct look at the foundation of the 5 habits we will be exploring as a church in 2019.

In chapter 1, Frost puts our minds at ease a little bit when it comes to evangelism. The prospect of having to be an “evangelist” makes most of us a little nervous. Or a lot nervous. Frost draws a helpful distinction between being an evangelist (a person with the spiritual gift of evangelism) and being evangelistic.  Being evangelistic basically means being a person whose life is shaped by the good news of the reign of God through Jesus Christ.

Frost encourages Christians to lead “questionable lives” – meaning that our lives should lead other people (neighbors, co-workers, friends and family, etc.) to ask questions about why we live the way we do. And when they ask questions, we should be able “to speak about Jesus conversationally”. Frost gives us some historical info about early Christians in the Roman Empire whose acts of compassion, hospitality, and kindness was “stunningly different” from what most people had ever seen. This caught the attention of the Roman world all the way up to the Emperor. Frost says that “our challenge is to find what similarly questionable lives look like in the twenty-first century.”

In chapter 2, we learn that a questionable life will not arise from church programs and meetings, nor will it happen if we’re simply attending worship a few times a month. The questionable lives Frost is encouraging us to live comes from habits that we form intentionally. Our challenge is to find “regular rhythms or habits that transform our everyday lifestyles.” These five missional habits will make our values a daily reality in our lives and in the life of our church. In Surprise the World, ‘missional’ is defined as those things we say and do “that alerts others to the reign of God”.

Frost closes chapter 2 by reminding us of the importance of being mindful about our habits, so they don’t lose their power and meaning. He suggests three ways to be mindful about these 5 habits: (1) listen to those who are gifted evangelical leaders in our church; (2) remember that these habits “propel us outward, beyond ourselves, into the lives of others; and (3) connect with one another in the church by developing relationships of accountability so that we can help one another foster these habits and grow deeper in our own discipleship.

Over the next year, we will dive deep into the five missional habits outlined in Surprise the World: Bless, Eat, Listen, Learn, Sent. Our prayer is that God will lead us to live questionable lives that announce the reign of God in our world, sharing the hope and light of Jesus Christ.

Back to School

A little girl named Ivey changed my life. I met her in Kindergarten; she was 5, I was 30. I had volunteered to be a mentor through Communities in School in my county and was assigned to be Ivey’s tutor. I remember meeting this precious girl with wispy blond curls and a sweet, shy face. The first year we spent together she didn’t talk much, in fact many days when I arrived I was told she was out sick again. By the end of Kindergarten, I came to understand that constant ear infections and poor health care meant she had trouble hearing and thus trouble reading. We hung in there together and by the end of the year she managed some small smiles when I came to see her.

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The Christmas I remember most…

This is a tough question for me. Christmas has always been a go, go, go time in my life, especially when your parents are divorced and remarried!

Most Christmas’ seemed to be making sure we saw all of the families, which for me and my sister was doubled. My fondest Christmas memories as a child come from before my parents split up. I remember being at my grandmother’s house, with my aunt, uncle, cousin, and great aunt. It was nothing special, except for the fact our family felt whole and close. It was warm and full of love. I loved the smells the came from the kitchen. Playing with all her old school wind up Santas that rode their tricycles across the kitchen floor. We would always eat a large meal then of course there was present time, which one of the kids could wait for!

Christmas, Service

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I’ll never forget the Christmas that…(part 2)

Getting sick at Christmas is the worst.

A week or so before Christmas in 1992 (my sophomore year), I felt a cold coming on. Sore throat, stuffy nose, sinus headache. Nothing to worry about – it felt like a normal cold that typically passes in a day or two. Around day 3, I started running a fever (ugh) and had to miss my mid-terms at school (cool!)…and then things got real.

Christmas

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I’ll never forget the Christmas that…

The Holiday season is fraught with mixed emotions for many of us, even if we don’t talk about it much.

There are sorrows, disappointments, frustrations, past hurts present for us along with the joy, peace, hope and love of the season. For me the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a real challenge because I lost my father 3 weeks before Christmas in 1980. I am not alone here, many of you have lost loved ones at this time of year as well. If you have not, I am sure many of you find your grief around who is not at the table heightened at “the most wonderful time of the year.” I could share with you my best Christmas’ ever but I think I’d rather share about the Christmas I spent part of the morning alone in the garage sitting on the bed of the truck crying.

Volunteer

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