• The last few weeks have been pretty fun.
• So great to have Josh Watt at Gateway last Sunday for the send-off of Redemption North Mountain — and the “Baby Shower” raise money for start-up expenses.
• I haven’t heard the latest total, but the amount of money that was given was AMAZING.
• Will be fun to announce that total soon!
• Also heard from Josh last night that they had their first launch team training — wish I could have been a fly on that wall.
• Josh was so encouraging to have here to many people and to me.
• I was blessed and encouraged by his kind words about me — felt a little bit excessive, but I know he meant it and I was moved by his thoughfulness.
• Since last weekend, it feels like a bunch has happened.
• We made the decision to move to three services (8:00am, 9:30am, and 11:00am) this coming Sunday.
• The first service will be “masks strictly required” and the last two will be “masks optional.”
• I’ve been really encouraged by the response so far, especially from those who have felt unsafe in coming to church when masks weren’t being strictly enforced.
• Hopefully more of those folks will feel comfortable coming.
• Makes me wish we’d done that sooner, but we’re learning all kinds of things as we go.
• Since last Sunday, we also formally rolled out our new set of podcasts.
• It’s kind of a “Gateway Podcast Network,” with four different shows that provide daily, weekly, or bi-monthly content on a variety of topics.
• “Gateway Podcast Network” — ha! 😆
• I’m contributing to a few of them and having a lot of fun with it.
• Hopefully these will be valuable resources over time that connect with folks who are wanting to dig deeper or have another touchpoint with the church leadership.
• Then this Sunday we unveiled King Jesus 2020, a prayer initiative to go to the Lord as we seek health for nation and holiness for the church.
• We’ll keep teaching through John’s Gospel, but each Sunday we’ll have a time of prayer in the services — in addition to the weekly fasting and prayer we’re challenging the congregation to do.
• And I love the 10 commitments that we’re reflecting on daily:
1. Worship (Ex 20:2-3; Psalm 115:1-8, Phil 2:9-11): I commit my allegiance to King Jesus over all other idols and ideologies.
2. Love (Phil 2:1-11, Matt. 22:34-40): I commit to participating in civic life as a means of loving and serving my neighbor.
3. Respect (Gen 1:26, James 3:9): I commit to honoring the image of God in all people by treating them with dignity.
4. Wisdom (Psalm 119; 2 Tim 3:16): I commit to having my views challenged by the Bible rather than using the Bible to proof-text my presuppositions.
5. Speech (Gal 5:22-23, James 3): I commit to engaging in political speech that is marked by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
6. Humility (James 1:19, 1 Cor 12:12-26): I commit to being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.
7. The Log (Mt 7:1-5): I commit to giving meaningful attention to critiquing potential flaws in my own political ideas and instincts.
8. Justice (Is 1:17; Micah 6:8, Mt 23:23): I commit to pursuing justice as I engage in public life and allowing Scripture to shape my concept of justice.
9. Peacemaking (Mt 18:15-17, Rom 12:17-21): I commit to face-to-face conflict resolution rather than arguments on social media.
10. Enemies (Mt 5:43-44, 1 Tim 2:1-4): I commit to loving and praying for my so-called political enemies.
• I’m hopeful that with daily reflection and weekly prayer, we might — just might — be able to loosen the grip that angry, ugly partisanship has on so many of our hearts.
• Though current events won’t make it easier (Supreme Court, anyone?)
• So, all that happened in the last week.
• And there was yesterday’s service.
• After a few weeks of not preaching, it was fun to be up there again.
• I really enjoyed the preparation and delivery this week and was really gripped by the five invitations / opportunities Jesus gives his disciples.
• It was fun.
• After a tough ministry season, weeks like this last one are a real gift.
• On the personal side, we had a blast watching our 6th grader, Caitlin, play volleyball at school.
• Their games start this week, but she had a scrimmage over the weekend.
• It’s crazy how much she’s improved over the last year — a year ago she couldn’t serve over the net and now she’s jump-serving.
• Seeing her work hard and have it pay off is really sweet.
• Same goes for our 9th grader, Abby, who got to play with the student band at church last week.
• She’s working hard, has a good attitude, and is seeing the fruit of it.
• For the rest of us in the family, we’re just plugging away — lots of taxi-service from me and Molly, and lots of imagination and play for Hank and Mary.
• Molly and I are also doing Jen Wilkin’s current Psalms study from The Village Church which they opened up to non-locals.
• We haven’t really ever done anything like this before together, but I want to keep growing in prayer and I love learning from Jen Wilkin, so when Molly asked me about it I agreed.
• Not surprisingly, I’m behind Molly in the homework — gotta catch up!
• It’s full days and full weeks, but it’s also a lot of fun.
• And I see God around me.
• A few recommendations as I close out…
+ Loved this LONG (2 ½ hour) interview with Gordon MacDonald on the “view from his 80s” and 15 lessons on life and leadership — I need to re-listen (maybe with Molly)
+ Chef’s Table BBQ is a stunning show on Netflix — if you like BBQ and you appreciate well-crafted videography and storytelling, you’ll dig it.
+ Found this conversation with Mark Sayers on “Why Someone You Love Might Join QAnon” to be insightful and motivating for prayer — it seems like more of a religion than a political ideology (though who can tell these days?)
+ Al Mohler’s interview of James Lindsay about “Critical Theory and the Cynical Transformation of Society” was similarly enlightening — and refreshing to hear a secular person (Lindsay) be so honest and clarifying about the dangers and pervasiveness of this movement.
+ Finally, this is the best tweet I’ve seen in a while:
On the importance of good typesetting and layout. pic.twitter.com/AtPBVLjH6M— Nicholas A. Christakis (@NAChristakis) September 13, 2020
• Well, that’s it for today.
• Hope you have a good week — and join us for the King Jesus 2020 initiative!