Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Summer of Our Discomplacency

I love making up new words! I think it is a form of poetry, but I'm not sure. Discomplacency, according to the Haworth Dictionary, means the opposite of complacency. Complacency means "A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger, trouble, or controversy." (e-Ref-er-ence, by Houghton Miffin) And so discomplacency means "A feeling of DIScontentment or self-DISsatisfaction…" Yeah, that's about right.

What I mean is, we cannot afford, as a church family, to become complacent! Our sanctuary is rebuilt, we have recovered from "the fire." Now it is time to get down to the business of the church!

It would be very easy for us to sit back now and just coast. After all, we have put a lot of work into rebuilding the sanctuary and all of the other projects. We're tired! We need to rest! But I am here to tell you that to do so will spell the death of our church. I've seen it happen many times: when a church finishes a major building project it just begins to die out. Heaven forbid that happen at Chino!

Now is the time to begin stretching ourselves, reaching out in new and profound ways, getting serious about discipleship and what it means to wear the name "Christian." Now is the time to catch our second (or third or fourth or…) breath, push forward into God's future and BE what God has called us to be.

An important element in the process, as discerned by church leadership, is to form small groups for spiritual formation and Christian discipleship. In a small group, one is able to "get real" about one's walk of faith, seek the support and accountability of other Christians, and learn from others what following Jesus is all about. This fall, you will have the opportunity to join a small group as we study together The Purpose Driven Life by Pastor Rick Warren. A pilot group will be meeting this summer to prepare leaders for small groups across the congregation. Be praying and watching for the invitation to join a small group this fall. My hope, and the hope of the church leaders, is that engaging in "40 Days of Purpose" will inspire and motivate the entire congregation to embrace small groups as an essential (and very Methodist, by the way) element in our life as a church. Will you pray?

Be Blessed!

Pastor Glen

Saturday, June 6, 2009

God Shows Up in Prison

Another Epiphany Ministries weekend is complete and 28 more young men at the Stark Youth Correctional Facility in Chino have been blessed with an out-pouring of God's love. And about the same number of Epiphany team members have, too!

It was a wonderful weekend, May 15-17. Jon Burk and I were part of the ministry team that went into Stark YCF for three days, spending all day each day sharing the love of God with young men who had been locked up in prison for, in some cases, several years. And for many of them, this was the first time anyone had shown any real love to them!

We lavished them with food, snacks, small gifts and, most importantly, attention. We listened to their stories. And we shared the Gospel with them. Over the course of the weekend, God melted their hardened hearts and released them for hope and faith.

Not all of them will hold on to their newly enlivened faith; but most will. And their chances for leaving prison and establishing lives of hope and productivity are greatly enhanced. We will visit them monthly as an Epiphany team, sharing some more shacks and goodies and talking about how Jesus can make all the difference in their, and our, lives.

I personally sat and listened as several wards (they are not called prisoners) revealed to me that they intended to walk the "straight and narrow" after they are released, to find a church home, and to reach their goals of finding gainful employment and meaningful relationships. I hope our church will be courageous enough to welcome a former ward into our church family should they show up some Sunday!

If you would like to make an eternal difference in a troubled young man's life, consider getting involved in the next Epiphany weekend in November. Jon or I can set you up with the right people! It really is a significant mission of love.

Be Blessed!

Pastor Glen