Life in the Church and in the Spirit

Hello Park Church,

I hope you all had a good Memorial Day Weekend. Our family spent a few days in the mountains with some friends and got to hike, relax a bit, and get used to school being out for summer. Nick did a great job wrapping up our study of the first 2 chapters of Acts and has left us in a good place in getting ready for 1 Corinthians 12-13.

Our Gospel Community hosted a BBQ last night at Cesar Chavez park off Tennyson Street. I sat down and looked around at what was happening at the park and was overwhelmed with gratitude to God for what I saw. I watched a group of dads playing basketball with their sons. I saw a group of women- some married, some mothers, some single- sitting in a circle talking about their various lives. I watched a couple of guys from our group talking to a few couples across the park who don’t know our church. There was good food (particularly the corn casserole and brats), good drinks, and a lot of people talking about life, the Gospel, and otherwise simply enjoying the gifts of God in a beautiful sunset, good food, and new-found friends. 5 years ago we didn’t have any of this. We had the hope that God would begin to build a community of worshippers and disciples who would love one another and love their city. We talked a lot about eating and praying together, hoping that a consistent celebration of the gospel, from the Scriptures, would begin to shape a certain kind of community life. This is why we are here. If anything stands out to me from the first 2 chapters of Acts, it is this: the preaching of the gospel led to the mass conversion and baptism of a ton of people- and then it led those same people to take on a whole new way of life- together. We’ve banked everything on that simple idea- preach the gospel, sing the gospel, celebrate the gospel and then do life together-counseling, encouraging, calling out one another in love. We think the Bible teaches that this will change everything.

I would encourage all of us to reinvest in the relationships God has surrounded us with here at Park. If you haven’t yet found a Gospel Community, find one, start showing up, start contributing, and start eating. If you lead a Gospel Community, keep this big idea ever in front: We believe the crazy idea that the Gospel really does change everything. It creates real friendships, real hope, real transformation. It convicts us of Sin, and declares to us a love and a mercy that is astounding. We also believe the crazy idea that an evening spent in a living room talking about God and His work in our work, our families, our relationships is the place where the very real presence of God’s Spirit is at work, through His word. We want to see Jesus change everything and it is here, as the Spirit works in the various gatherings of the church, that we are made new.

I look forward to starting 1 Corinthians with you this weekend. We’ll look more specifically at what the Spirit does in giving life, power and a mission to the church.