On Sunday, Pastor Matt Cox spoke on the Spiritual Discipline of Simplicity. Read a fantastic summary of the discipline here: http://www.drurywriting.com/keith/UF.4.simplicity.htm
As of this post, the message is not up online--we are still working on getting the flow of downloading the video off the camera, editing it in Final Cut Pro, exporting it to a balanced resolution, and uploading it to Vimeo.
A few things I remember from the message and were challenged by:
- We need to simplify our social/technological lives.
- We need to simplify our financial obligations.
- We need to simplify our possessions.
- We need to simplify our purpose in life.
That last one... whoa. Pastor Matt called it our audience... I'm calling it our purpose. Am I making decisions throughout each day with myself in mind, or God? That focus will change the trajectory of your entire life.
Here are some things you wrote down that you'd like to see happen in your life in light of the message:
- Say no to personal possessions. Say yes to giving--anything...everything!
- Embrace my singleness
- Tithing $100 a month
- Trust Jesus with my worries and anxieties
- Buying what I need instead of what I want
- Less social media
What a blessing to be growing with you all in this area!
I also wanted to share a bunch of updates going on around the church:
- We are going to be having a Vision Team meeting soon. The Vision Team is a team the staff and I put together (with Board approval) and is going to meet over a period of time to reassess New Journey's Mission, Vision, Values, and Target Demographic.
- After the Vision Team nails some of that down, we will create 15, 10, 5, 3, and 1 year goals we'd like to complete in light of the Vision Statement.
- To achieve those goals, we will be setting up a few Strategy Teams. These teams will decide how to go about acheiving the goals through a series of meetings. Likely we will have strategy teams to create a plan for Worship, Connections, Discipleship, Children, and Youth.
- Everything from the pain on the walls, to the songs we select for worship, to our small groups system will depend on the Vision and Strategy teams. So this is of utmost importance... PRAY, PRAY, PRAY for these teams to hear from God. I will be asking for us to fast during periods of this process. It's a big deal!
- All of this means many things you may wish we were doing will need to wait. We don't want to just go and "do things" because we're a church. We want to do what God is asking New Journey to do!
- We are still in talks with a heating and cooling company. We want to make sure the equipment proposed is exactly what is needed. This entire project took quite a hold during our lead pastor search and it has taken time for me to sort out all of the pieces. Thank you for your patience!
- Our bulletins will be changing a little bit coming up--trying to save some money and serve everyone's need for information. We will be providing Connection Cards on all of the seats*, but the bulletin will not be given to everyone. Rather, the bulletin will be available on a stool or table as you enter the Sanctuary.
- Tony Sledge trimmed the bushes out front, removed the World's Largest Thorn Bush, and Round-Up'd all the weeds. Look way better!
- But we still need a big work day. So August 13 be sure to show up, ready to work! We will be working hard to make our building and grounds more MAINTENANCE FREE. So no, there will not be many plants going in, but a lot going out! Next year we will look to dress things up a bit. But right now our energy and time is best spent elsewhere.
- I am working hard with Herb and Jean Hobson to create a Cleaning Team schedule for the church. We will NEED YOUR HELP to keep our facility looking great! Stay tuned for that.
- In fact, all of our volunteering will be getting an important overhaul. I am going to be requiring all volunteer positions to have a clear START TIME and END TIME. That way you won't feel so overwhelmed when you sign up for something. You don't have to do it until Jesus returns, only until the term is up (usually one year commitments).
- I want to get some office hours going here at the church, but it is taking me some time to work out my routine. Please bear with me and for now just email me to set up a meeting.
- Oh, also our support for our missionaries is finally up and running!
* The reason we want everyone to have a COnenction Card is because if everyone fills out a Connection Card, every time, guests won't feel akward filling one out. It's positive peer pressure! If someone is new, we won't be able to connect with them unless we get an email or phone number. So always fill out a Connection Card! Additionally, it has been a great way for you to mark a Next Step for your own walk with God each week and it is a blessing for me to pray for you specifically when I see the steps you are making!
This coming week I am talking about the Spiritual Discipline of RESPONSE (read more here: http://www.drurywriting.com/keith/UF.14.response.htm). Do we respond to life situations by moving closer to God or further from Him? Do we open our hearts more, or close them? The discipline of response has to do with choosing beforehand how we will respond, so we don't react out of fear, but rather faith.
See you Sunday.