This Sunday is the end of a journey. We’ll be having our last official gathering of Vintage SLO together out on the grass at Meadow Park.
The last few years together have been a blast. The community that we have all created, in Templeton and San Luis Obispo, is pretty unique in the church world. Times with both congregations have felt good, like home. Us SLO folks are incredibly grateful that you’ve welcomed us in, prayed for us, and even shared your pastors with us on Sundays. Thank you.
I love the “Vintage Way,” the somewhat-codified thoughts and principles that uphold our community. There are a lot of great things at the core of the Vintage Way. One is (paraphrasing here), “we ain’t gonna keep doin’ something just to do it.” In starting Vintage, Aaron and Dayn recognized that ministry, like life, has seasons. Heck, they even still refer to it as the Vintage Experiment!
Vintage SLO has been a gift: a place for healing, sweet times with community, and a space to learn and grow with one another. These past three years have been an important season, but we’ve sensed that the season for Vintage SLO has come to a close. And that’s okay! God is good. He has been good and will continue to be good as we step forward into whatever He has next.
Happy Thursday to you all. Last Sunday we wrapped up our journey with Paul through the book of Acts, and this week I’ve been mulling over Paul’s statement in Philippians 1, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
I think the “die” part gets a bit overemphasized in that short statement. Here’s the “die” part. Paul knows when he dies it will be rad to be with Jesus. Ok, we’re done with “die” part.
The “live” part is more important for most of us, and through out journey with Paul I have been struck by how true this statement was for him. His ministry was a catch-as-catch-can kind of affair. The only consistent strategy he seems to use is going to the Jews first, then the gentiles. Other than that, he talks to whomever, whenever, wherever.
I’ve known some people who do this without much skill. Those folks tend to not listen, just talk to whomever, whenever, and wherever. Paul, however, puts a great deal of effort to have the appropriate (not always non-confrontational) conversation based on the background and story of the individual or group.
Jesus is the answer. To live is Christ. Jesus is the central character to all the stories, but they are different and varied stories.
I love Paul’s answer to Agrippa when he asked if Paul was trying to convert him in such a short time. “Short time or long-I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
To live is Christ. We want more for us, jealous and covetous for more intimacy with Jesus. To live is Christ. Every relationship around us is a story in which we have a role to play.
That’s all I have to say about that,
Good morning fellow sojourners on this planet, Odie here.
I have been enjoying the dickens out of our study of the apostle Paul. Not only have I been learning how to RE-ENGAGE when I want to go hide or give up after facing drama and difficulties, but here’s another thought:
Even though it was prophesied that Paul was going to have big trouble in Jerusalem, he went anyway.
Have you ever had to step into a situation where you knew it was going to be really bad, but you knew you had to do it anyway? Yep. Very uncomfortable. Been there done that. It was rough. But in that uncomfortable situation, Paul had the opportunity to share his spiritual journey not only with the local authorities, but he was also heard by a variety of other folks who would have gathered at these events. We will probably never know, until we see the Lord, who heard his oration and what the results were.
But it doesn’t matter. God knows. And He knows about our situations. And He knows how to use them.
“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'” (Luke 17)
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day, when he brought this passage up. It came to mind during the sermon session last Sunday in Templeton (in an Einstein moment where creativity comes in that half-asleep/half-awake state).
The concept hit him in response to how suffering can become an end, rather than a necessary step in the making of HOPE.
What didn’t cross my infinitesimal mind, was how often we want a cookie for all the suffering we have suffered, and all the hard work life requires. What we don’t tend to understand, is how much suffering and work we have been shielded from, how much the Lord is helping us in each trying moment, and how once we conquer/endure/dodge a difficulty, even more is required of us in the next moment.
Yep, it stays about this bad until it gets worse. Unless, of course, you’re are looking for hope.
“Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. 3 Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance, character, and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5)
But now, O Lord, upon what am I relying? You are my only hope! (Psalm 39)
Hope in the Lord, that more of Him will be revealed in our hearts regardless of outcome, is hope that never disappoints.
I was looking at some interesting cartoons this week that took a pretty stark but honest look at the world, and there were a handful I had to save.
This one made me think of too many folks I care about who stop discovering the amazing things God has put in their life because they have judged other’s treasures to be better or more spiritual or important.
Dayn loves to quote Ephesians 2:10. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Within that statement is an intimate a personal thing. Our creation is personal, God’s gift in Christ is specific, not general, and the things He has set you up for within that creation had you specifically in mind. No one can do what you do. They can do IT perhaps, but then it’s what they would do and not what you would do. It’s missing the vital ingredient of God’s Spirit working through YOU.
Please don’t take this as a nice softball make you feel better kind of thought for the morning. You know I can’t handle being thought of as nice like that. It’s a clarion call. Honor God’s love and grace as it is expressed in your life and salvation. Dig your own hole and find that diamond.