Tonight, we gather together as members of this family of faith that we call The Commons, to look back thoughtfully over the year behind us, and prayerfully toward the year ahead; celebrating the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord, and seeking His continued provision and guidance for our ongoing journey. And, a journey it has been!
As has been true of most every season of our church-planting adventure, thus far, the past year was in many ways very different from what I might have envisioned at the outset. More complex and more challenging, perhaps, than I could have anticipated; certainly weightier, and more costly. But, as is so regularly the case with the endeavors and works of the Spirit, this season has also been a far richer - and dare I say better? - one, too. Looking back over these last twelve months, perhaps the most truly meaningful report I can offer is simply that, for all the challenges that the path behind has presented - for all the complexity and cost - I know that I am a deeper, truer, more mature, more wholehearted follower of Jesus today than I once was. And, I know that the same could be said of many of you. And so, even if the adventure were to end tomorrow, I would receive that knowledge alone as a gift of grace sufficient for me.
To BE, and to make, mature and multiply WHOLEHEARTED followers of Jesus; this is the call and commission which drives and binds us together as a people of Christ, in and for this place. And day-by-day we are finding that God is faithful, because this is precisely the work that he is accomplishing, by the presence and power of his Holy Spirit in our midst. Perhaps it is simply that I know now, in a manner deeper and more intimately than I once did, that there is nowhere else for that journey of world-changing, overturning, transforming, surrender-inducing and life-giving grace to begin, than with ME! Embracing that truth, I find, quickly redefines and refocuses "success" along the lines of a very different timeline and economy than would otherwise naturally assert itself within me, given the opportunity.
And, the adventure continues. Though I admit, at this point, that I may never accurately predict the true manner in which Lord will lead and challenge and bless us over this NEXT year, I cannot help but look forward to it! Until that day when the Lord Jesus comes again in glory to judge and renew all things, we press ever more deeply into that transforming, renewing work of his Spirit in US, day by day, in order that through our lives, His work might advance all the more in our neighborhoods, our city, and in our world.
By His Grace,