Jennifer, and the girls and I have trekked across country to attend one of our favorite church leader conferences, The Tulsa Workshop. The Tulsa Workshop has been for us like a big family reunion, a time of renewal, and a soaking in some phenomenal teaching from some of the brightest minds in the Churches of Christ. Having lived in Southwest Oklahoma for nine years it is nice to get to visit some friends from other parts of the U.S. This year’s theme is “Worth The Cost.” A lot of the class offerings center around taking the message of Jesus to those outside of the church building. In other words, daring to share the story of what God is doing in the world in and through Jesus is worth the cost indeed!
While gathering for worship is good, and we need to be together as the family of God. We also must be people who live the story of the gospel Monday through Saturday. Who we are on Monday as we enter our work places, and schools is just as important as who we are when we gather Sunday for worship. I think sometimes we forget that we are on a journey together. A journey of ups and downs. A journey of triumphs and tragedies. A journey of mess, woe, growth and grace. One of the things that stands out to me from our time in the Story study this year is the idea that God is up to something, and he has invited into his story.
In our Story Study we have entered into the New Testament period and are looking at the life of Jesus. For he is indeed no ordinary man. Because we follow this one that left that majesty of heaven for the dirt of humanity, the church is no ordinary body either. We are a community of the grace-soaked, redeemed people of God. We have scars. We have baggage, and blisters. We have hang-ups and hurts. When we worship together we are declaring that life isn’t about us or our often trivial pursuits. We sing praise to God because He alone is worthy. When we depart the building Sunday afternoon, we enter the world as ambassadors of Christ, not consumers of contemporary culture. We are the church Sunday at 8:30 and 11:00 am, but we are also the church when we go to lunch all across the Cincinnati metro area too. Jesus’ mission was one of re-orienting the world of his day to the intentions of Yahweh. Jesus made the invisible God visible. We continue his legacy of love by being present to others in their suffering and despair. We continue his legacy of love by being present to our families. We continue his legacy of love when we dare believe that the God is alive and up to something in the world, and has invited us into his new story. That my dear friends is “worth the cost.”