In and Out
"The life of God for the good of the world"
In and out. These two movements reflect much of what it means to be the church.
We are drawn into the life of God, by the Father's mercy, through His Son, and in the power of the Spirit. By the inward movement we experience peace, freedom, and fullness of life - "further up and further in" as C.S. Lewis puts it.
There is also, however, an outward movement to our lives. We are sent out in "peace and mission" to our workplaces, neighborhood, city, and the world, across cultures and boundaries, in the name of Jesus as agents of blessing.
These two movements are linked, out of the abundance we have received, we extend ourselves to others. As we grow in Christ, sharing more in the life of God, we are equipped and built up to stretch further, to give more, and love better. In our service to others, the outward movement, we are reminded of our need for the life of God, the abundant and beautiful life only He can provide.
These movements are practiced in our life together. Certainly in our worship each Sunday, but also in our gatherings and groups otherwise. They are part of our identity and part of our calling.
As I think about the season ahead I am looking forward to the opportunities we have to embody and grow in these movements. Nick's presence on staff, increasing our pastoral bandwidth, is a great gift in this regard. His presence and gifts are already helping us grow and develop in these movements. In the coming months as he gets settled and works with groups and the development of teams I'm looking forward to more.
The upcoming women's retreat (sign up by Sunday), our first ever silent retreat coming during Lent, and the men's retreat after Easter are all opportunities to press in. We have an exciting opportunity this summer for a short-term trip to do some work and some learning at the border (details coming in the next week), as well as some ongoing and increasing local opportunities to serve others (pray for Paul this Saturday!). A COTC mission team is forming to help to make decisions for giving to, participating in, and connecting with God's work of renewal here and abroad. This Sunday, our Lunch and Learn (sign up here ASAP), with its focus on love and racial reconciliation, relates to our outward movement as we will learn more about the local context into which Christ calls us outward. I hope you can join us!
In and out. Just like breathing, these two movements are the signs of life in Christ's church, may they continue and increase at COTC.
Moving in Christ with you,
Ps. Related to the topic of our Lunch and Learn this Sunday you might be interested to read this interview with Jemar Tisby regarding his book The Color of Compromise,it's especially prescient as we work our way through Colossians 3.