Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Marea's World

One of the cool parts of the Crosswind experiment is that we are meeting some very cool people whose lives and visions and passions are like Crosswinders. Marea Wilson, wife of the reknowned Tommy Wilson, (founder/director of Living Free, a ministry to people struggling with life controlling issues) is one such gal. Fabulous Jesus lover, committed church member and difference maker in our community, Marea has been an example to us all.

A blog or so ago we heard from Audie Osborn as he helped us think through the importance of "having a meeting". We decided that Jesus people love to worship so we will, Jesus people need to be reminded who we are and what we are here for, and we aren't just a social bunch of do-gooders but rather we are a movement of believers who have Good News from above for each other and those we have yet to befriend.

Marea takes us to a new place. Listen as she shares what it means "to be stirred up to love and good works".

PS I said that it took three times for me to "get it" in Audies piece. Marea starts her piece letting me know she's smarter than me. You go girl!

"Well it only took me once and I agree totally. Were it not for The Gathering then I would not be convicted in the way that I am now to just look arond and be aware of needs. There are more than one church, family, or charity could ever help. you stated "one city at a time".

When Alicia and I were at the trailer park last week (we went there to count trailers for baskets) we lost count after 13 because we got so wrapped up in the spirit of helplessness and hopelessness that just lingered there. Some of the homes dont even have electricity. They run an extention cord to the neighbors. I asked Alicia how do we "fix" this? How can we help all of these people.....she must have heard your sermon bc she said one trailer at a time!!!!

If it were not for The Gathering I would not be making some sweet tea to take to a little guy that likes sweet tea and he's going through a rough time. Were it not for The Gathering there would not be a clothes closet at Living Free that in some small way we try to meet a physical need and hopefully we will either earn the right to tell them about Jesus or they will want to know why in the world we are helping someone that we dont know and dont have to.

I had to contain myself when Truman was at the Gathering because of how happy and proud of my sunday school class I was. They never ask questions like "are they going to use this for bills or will they buy drugs with it??" You know the look down the nose judgemental self righteous look?? Never not one time. When Tommy and I mention a need...wallets come out and people stand in line to ask what they can do.

Over the past year I have watched Tommy totally change his way of thinking when it comes to the ministry. He used to be all about the cold knocking "Are you going to heaven or hell?' and walk away kind of ministry. I never was a part of it because i thought once you lead them to Jesus standing in the doorway and turn around and go back to "church" then what? Is there a team that comes in to make sure they are ok and have a way to church or even clothes for church? Sadly, not usually.

And to be honest.... I liked living in my world. I went to church for the social aspects of it... loved it but I was useless to God and His kingdom...and then came the Gathering. It changed my life and it has put my family on the same page. I have no clue how to talk to a drug addict but I can go and fill up a basket and deliver it. I can buy some Christmas gifts. I can make some supper for someone who doesn't have it. We (Tommy and I) are a team now. And my heart has never been so full. I have never been more content and happy and busy and crazy trying to keep my schedule and all of our people's schedules straight and overwhelmed at all the precious people that God has brought into this world who just need a friend and some food in my life.

I am so excited to see what God will allow to happen that i can be a part of. The Gathering changed my life and the life of my family. I am so thankful to be a small part of it. Thanks Bobby Capps and Audie Osborne.... I guess I needed that reminder."

Hmmm, I think she gets it. Bravo Marea. You win "love machine of the week".


Us and Them... Uggh

I hate "us and them". I really do wish we were all one big happy family. I believe that a great Christian reality is that we are a family. We are adopted by OUR heavenly father. We are brothers and sisters. We are one. From God's point of view we are not divided by what we believe or how we do business, or even by practical things like location, or any thing else you can think of. We are his family. All our divisions are man made and are not spiritual, right, biblical or Godly. They are just not. When God sees his children in Corinth... that's what he sees, his children.

I had five children. They are all very, very, very different. Two are girls and three are boys. Some are brainy, some jocks, some outdoorsy, some bossy, some compliant ( well maybe that's a wish on the compliant thing). But they are my kids. Love em like a fat man loves cake. Live under the same roof with em. And I hate it when they are at each other. I want them to love each other, be best friends, hang out, learn from each other, help each other solve problems, have each others back.... all that. Don't you? And I think it would be the coolest thing in the world if they all when they transitioned into adulthood that they hung out, shared life together, became business partners. Ahhh its stirs the father's heart to think of such things.

And nothing hurts me more to see that my kids won't love each other, work together, are jealous of each other, are selfish and won't help each other, won't share friends with each other.... all that. It just hurts me. Doesn't it hurt you?

Can't you imagine how father must feel when he sees his kids here in Corinth? Hmmm, there's my beautiful kids over there, oh I remember when I raised em... cute little guys. They decided to call themselves Baptists. Man I love em. Look how stong they are. Really hurts that won't even talk to their brothers and sisters across the street. Look at them. Oh man, I remember when they were young... want to see the photo album? They now call themselves Methodist. Don't ever do anything with the rest of the family. And I think the rest of the family thinks this is cool or I like it or something cause there are so many of these different things they've named themselves now.

What really hurts me is some of my kids don't make as much as the other ones. I gifted em each different, but the ones who have more never spend time with the ones that don't. And don't even go there about this other pain. I have a bunch of kids in Corinth, you know. And some of my kids have different complexions than others. Very pale all the way to very dark. Can you believe that my pale kids won't even share hardly any life at all with my dark kids? Man that hurts.

Here's what I want. I want to call a family meeting. I'd like 'em all to come to dad's house and let me tell them again, in the prescence of their brothers and sisters, how much I love them all. How much I want them to use their 'trust funds' that I gave them to help each other. I want to tell them how bad its hurts that they don't care about each other and that they've come up with every excuse in the world not to love each other and hang out together and I'm sick of it. Wanna hear an irony? They think thay meet me at my house on Sunday's. Hello! Not my house... my house is not divided. Yours may be, but mine isn't. Father's house is the place where all the kids are present and welcome. Where our differences are real cause that's the way I made my kids. Different, not divided... different. Some jocks, some nerds, some pale, some dark.... different. Father's house is a place where brothers and sisters take turn doing chores, help each other with homework, have each others back, love each other, are best friends.

Know any place like that? Ahhhh stirs the father's heart to think of such things.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Honoring profundity...Why we have the Gathering

Audie Osborn is a long time resident of these parts and is also a wonderful friend. He and his wife, Jackie and I and two other families founded Estrella Mountain Church in the suburbs of Phoenix. Audie's ability to have a grasp of the life of God and to be dissatisfied with all the substitues have annealed our hearts over the years.

There has been an ongoing dialog about the Gathering (the weekly ministry meeting where we worship, tell stories, teach and inspire) amongst the volunteers around Crosswind. Our desire is that the Gathering stay on point: "To stir on another up to love and good works". The meeting has wonderful music, which I just love. It has punchy outreach challenges through video, heartwarming real time stories about lives that God is touching right here in Corinth, stories of freedom from addiction, Sunday School classes catching the outreach vision, etc. And we have teaching... about ministry, about God's love, etc. But.... is that the desired result of the Gathering? Can't the weekly meeting become an end unto itself and not propel us out the doors into ministry and life with each other?

So much focus in our era has been on "sweetening the weekly tea", and while our ministry meeting has value, if it does not push us out of the building where our mission and our passion and our calling is, than we have failed each other in its purpose. Well, that's what we were chatting about lately.

Audie is a digester. He's one of those quiet types who has a lot to say but it usually doesn't get heard cause blowhards like me are too busy rattling our traps to listen to him. So... he sent me an e-mail. I want you to read it. Then read it again. He's smarter than us. That's okay though. If you read it a couple times you'll get it. Took me three.

A fleeting thought crossed my mind, and I am sending it along before it gets lost. In response to your comment yesterday that the Gathering mustn't overshadow the charitable and "good news" aspects of the ministry, I agree. What we do outside the compound is what makes CW unique in its beginnings and will keep it unique in its maturity. At the same time, you cannot underestimate the weekly worship as an essential attribute of God's people (that is, we exist to worship God) and a psychological identity session for all the mixed multitude that attends. To focus on the latter, a group of generic do-gooders without a central identity as the church universal will devolve into a multi-personality mess. The group needs to know who it is and why it is there, and it needs to be reminded weekly. Philanthropy is good in its own right, but it doesn't have an eternal view. Philanthropy in the church springs from an eternal view, that is, the bread we feed them is inseparable from the Bread of Heaven. So this is my encouragement that you not underestimate the role you play in bringing the Bread of Heaven each week. That's all, and I apologize if all I have done is restate the obvious."

Well... wudn't obvious to me! ...Is now though.


Welcome to the blogosphere

As you know, the world of blog is one of the many ways to "brain dump" and share ideas and updates with each other. It serves our interests at Crosswind in the following ways:
  • Since you aren't around the office all day, we want to let you in on what's happening in the "day by day" ... we're really having fun.
  • We want you to brainstorm with us about how to connect to our community better.
  • And as much as I hate to say it... I just need some place to blow off steam, rant, pontificate... yada yada.

We hope you are informed, engaged, alarmed and amazed as we share the experiment we call Crosswind with each other.