I’m going away for silence and prayer this weekend. “Silence is God’s first language; everything else is a poor translation. In order to hear that language, we must learn to be still and to rest in God.” -Thomas Keating “After … Continue reading
I was playing one of those question games the other day.
The question was, “What’s the best age you’ve turned and why?”
I answered 30 in a room filled with mostly 20-somethings. And they looked SHOCKED.
Really, truly. My 20s WERE splendidly adventurous and perfectly studious (living overseas, college, grad school, the Day Camp start-up–so many once is a lifetimes got to live in that decade).
But, oh, how I love my 30′s.
My life is getting turned upside down. I’m encountering things I never anticipated, I’m in relationships with people I never realized I would love, I’m moving forward on a path I never thought would be mine.
So as not to remain in the abstract, let me give you one specific (there are many more). Being involved with poverty is messing with me. Both with the kids in my neighborhood, and as I prepare to befriend the untouchables in India. Sometimes, as hard as I try, I can’t help but cry. And my tears are not filled with pity for others or for the hardship or work demanded of me, but rather, they are a solemn, sacred vow of unification between my God and me.
“When I get on the mission…then suddenly there’s a whole new hunger and I begin to listen…I’m coachable because I want to do better, I want to live out this mission. And when I do, I begin to experience God in a deeper way, a richer, more profound fashion in my life….I begin to experience this satisfaction…The Bible would talk about it like Shalom, like a peace that surpasses understanding.” -Mark Beeson
I’d love for you to hear more of Mark’s teaching on this topic at Granger Community Church [watch here and click "The Blessed Test"]. He’s an amazing leader and is pointing me and thousands of others to live life on mission. I cannot tell you how much I love and respect Mark and his wife, Sheila. Their personal encouragement has meant the world to me. May his words bless you too, my friends.
I’m passionate about being a part of a multi-ethnic, multi-socio-economic Christian community. And now I’d like to add to that, multi-marital status.
Let’s start with the Church Singles Group. I can’t even believe I’m admitting publicly that I’ve been to one. I won’t tell you the year or the church to protect the innocent bizarre, but let’s just say that one night I thought, “Self, you’re good at making friends and you need to know more single people. How bad can it be?”
WORSE. Much worse than you can imagine. OH MY GOODNESS. Bible study turned into conversations from toilet training cats to being scared to make phone calls to “naughty praises” because an ex-husband broke up with his girlfriend. Might I add that the entire time one of the two guys slept and the girl-that-never-talked hoarded food into her pockets from the snack table.
I couldn’t believe my life had come to that. I made a promise to NEVER go to another church singles event. But, recently I’ve been thinking–other singles might not have my background with the church or my perspective to laugh it off and keep pursing authentic community.
Here are some insights I’ve gained into the life of a single person at a church:
- It can be hard to gear up emotionally to go sit alone at church.
- Teaching pastors are all married. And they do a lot of preaching to the married with kids crowd. Which is awesome because my passion in life is building up children and their families. But every time they add a one-sentence clause about the single people, I cringe for the majority of the church.
- Most of the cool crowd seem to know each other through the “marrieds only” small groups. Is the only way to get “in” with the church people to find a spouse?
I pulled up the 2010 Census Data. Just in case you haven’t seen it. You know I research this kind of thing. 50.3% married. 6.3% widowed. 10.4% divorced. 2.2% separated. 30.8% never married.
It’s time for us as a church to start intentionally reaching the other 50.7% And I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be through singles groups.
Who are you going to invite to dinner?
He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4:16
I love this picture of Heidi, Abby and me at our Taylor University Floor Retreat our Junior Year. It’s a great reminder of the roots of our friendship. And our skinnier days. And how I broke my hand on a field-sized slip-and-slide.
But mostly, I love it for this:
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ephesians 4:12
I am heading up to the SpringHill Youth Worker’s Conference today where I am leading a break-out session about connecting with kids. I’ve titled it “Beyond Silly Bandz” since we all know that is the obvious and easiest way to build a relationship with a child. Yes, I have been the adult in a fancy dress with a silly band accidentally still on my wrist from an earlier trade…
Today’s session will open with a video of kids prayers. It’s authentic. It’s raw. It will touch a nerve. It will help you connect on a deeper level with a child in your life.
This video is from my friends and ministry partners at Granger Community Church in Granger, IN. They have an incredible way of telling a story visually.