I love discussing discipleship, but even more I love seeing discipleship fleshed out in our communities. As we have heard Bret most recently define disciple as learner, It has reminded me of the books I have read through the years, and reality is I hate the act of reading, but I really enjoy the learning that comes from it. It’s like looking back on that first time that you grasped the reality that Jesus wanted more from us than just actions, but the freedom that came when we realize that Jesus wants us to enter into a relationship with him. When you discover following Jesus becomes way more freeing than following rules. It created a longing to continually learn how to be a better follower/daughter to the one who made life so much sweeter.
Shortly after my new life with Jesus began I was introduced to a passage in Matthew 17:20 where Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” I stumbled upon this passage quite often through my teens and early 20’s and always wrestled with the concept of “moving mountains” in my life. I think it’s probably because I really struggle with doubts. I’ve never doubted whether or not God exists. He has proven himself to be present in my life over and over again. My doubts have always leaned more toward God’s faithfulness in my life. I get scared to ask big things because I think if it doesn’t happen, maybe I just don’t have enough faith. Also, I somehow managed to talk myself into preparing for disappointment because you know, if I ask for something, but expect that it really isn’t going to work out in my favor, then there seems to be less risk involved.
Pause that thought for a second. We’ll come back to it.
This past Wednesday at Core, One Life leaders were introduced to a discipleship tool, the Worship Circle. In essence the worship circle is a tool that allows us to reflect on what God is teaching us personally through observation, reflection, and discussion, and then calling us to plan, account, and act by actually acting upon what He is teaching us, which in turn will result in lasting life change. To acknowledge what God is doing in our lives is great.
It’s part of repentance, but we don’t fully allow that to become apart of who we are until we are acting on our observations. The circle shape is simply a visual reference that explains the process to encourage growth in big life moments as we answer two questions, “What is God Teaching Me?” through this moment, and “What am I going to do about it?” At OL West we were asked to use the Worship Circle to articulate our first experience at One Life Church. It was so cool to hear the responses from leaders around the room as they processed how a simple event such as their first One Life experience has increased their worship, and as I applied the process to my own personal experience it has done nothing less than point me back to Worship as I see how God continues to use my own experience to grow and stretch my faith in ways I never imagined.
Sidenote: I was the kid that graduated high school assured that I would move away and never come back to little ole’ Henderson. I moved away for about 18 months and due to a series of events I found myself back home, and assured that it was where I was suppose to be for the time.
My first big moment connected to One Life church went back to a drive down highway 60 in Henderson in January of 2009 listening to the latest from Chris Tomlin “God of this City.” As I drove from 5515 Hwy 60 E toward Wal-Mart, I remember being overwhelmed with the lyrics “Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city”[Observation]. It became a prayer I cried out. I was done with complacency, and knew I wanted to see more in Henderson [Reflection].
I remember speaking with my best friend at the time as well as a couple high school girls who had been attending Bethel Temple with me for a few years. They had been speaking of planting edge type services in other places, and I remember telling my friends, “Hey, what do I have to lose. I’ll e-mail Pastor Bret and pitch an idea.” [Discuss]That night I found myself typing up an e-mail that I thought might get a pat on the back for ambition [Act], and found myself a couple weeks later sitting in an office with Bret [Account], who challenged me to find a team of people to rally behind this idea [Plan], and the rest is history.
What was God teaching me? He has taught me that he can use one big moment in my life to completely change the way I view the world. He’s given me a love for the local church that I never dreamed of having. Believe it or not, up until 4 years ago, I really didn’t have much of an appreciation for the local body of Christ that I was apart of. He has taught me that leadership can be more about surrounding yourself with the right team of people and building disciples, than being the go to person for everyone in the crowd.
Just this week as I stood with hundreds of other community members on the corner of Letcher and Powell for the launch of the Audubon Kids Zone, I was reminded of this all over again. The summer of 2009 was one I will never forget, as I spent every Tuesday night in Heath Farmer’s living room with a handful of others praying God would move and do something more in our city [okay then it was a town, but now that we have a donut bank, I think it’s fair to say we have upgraded]. As the weeks progressed I can recall two themes resonating with us as we laid around the room praying for MORE. 1. A heart to see life restored in the East End of Henderson and 2. Unity among the body of Christ in Henderson. But we didn’t believe handouts were the answer. We felt like it went so much deeper than handing out free clothes and food. It was about investment, ownership for the individuals, and relationships. Fast Forward to this past Wednesday as we stand in a parking lot with partners from Community One, Henderson County Board of Education, South Heights Elementary, The Preston Foundation, and Engage Henderson [which originally started through One Life and became its own entity and a catalyst that brought many others to the conversation]. Needless to say, I stood in the parking lot absolutely blown away as I witnessed prayers for unity and restoration in the east end come to fruition nearly six years later. And this, my friends is only the beginning.
So back to the mustard seed… Those who know me well, know that anytime the “One Life Story,” gets brought up with my name attached, I cringe. It’s because I never want people to think this had anything to do with me. It’s never been about me. It’s always been about Jesus. I’m just the girl who got made fun of at cheer practice in middle school because my legs were covered in mosquito bites, and later on landed a gig as a radio mascot my freshman year of college. There is nothing glamorous about that girl. I was naïve enough at 22 years old to ask a crazy question, but everything else was solely God moving in me and through me. I don’t know that I could even claim my faith was mustard seed worthy on that January day in 2009, but I do know over the last six years, I have seen God move mountains in my life and in the lives of others around me that I never dreamed to see. When I am faithless, he remains faithful.
What am I going to do about it? The only thing I can do after reflecting on all that he has done. I worship, humbled that he would allow me to be apart of His story.