Living a life of mission can be really rewarding some days. But, many are just plain TOUGH! A constant struggle between the microwave, instantaneous society we live in, and the sometimes difficult, almost ALWAYS lengthy process of going deep and building relationships. Living a life of mission is to BE the church and DO the Bible. It’s not a drive-by, hit-and-run way of life. As a matter of fact, it is a way of life, not a one-time event or project. That’s what makes it so hard….and that’s what makes it so rewarding at the same time. With my new ‘eyes’, I can’t just go home and not see the challenges every. single. moment. of. every. single. day. On days where it’s more challenging than most, it’s a matter of pausing from my ‘Martha’ activities and spending time going deep in my relationship with Jesus….it’s time to ‘Mary’.
This morning has been a ‘Mary Morning’. For reasons left untold, the last 24 hours have been tough – mentally and emotionally – for me. My ‘Mary Morning’ consisted of…
- reading God’s Word
- sitting quietly
- a few emails/texts with friends encouraging and praying
Gardening…I recently learned that I really love gardening. I knew NOTHING about it. Yet, God has revealed a lot to me through this gardening process…and especially this morning when I was playing in my veggie garden.
When planting a garden…
1. It’s important to do a little research and take time to prepare. Friends would say – just throw it in the ground and see what happens….you can always dig it up, transplant it, throw it away when it dies. If you know me well enough, you would know that I’m not that person. I’m more thoughtful…doing research (ad nauseam)… trying to figure out the best way to do it…asking questions. Total fear of failure! Louis did research on the best way and size to build the raised beds. H learned what he needed to do before he got started. Measured 10x before he cut.
- Living a Life of Mission –
- Ask God questions like – where are you at work, God? how can I join you in what you are doing? what would you have me do in my community? where is my person of peace?
- Ask your self questions seeking your motivation. We must first prepare ourselves… Someone once said… You must be a changed agent in order to be an agent of change. Safety precautions are airplanes state to give yourself oxygen before you help someone else. We must first know who we are and whose we are before we can be sent out by God.
- Ask the community questions like – If I brought coffee tomorrow, would you be interested in hanging out during soccer practice/ballet class/etc? What are your dreams for your children, community, family, life? What keeps you up at night? Could you help me with….?
2. I actually had put off planting a vegetable garden, because it was something new…and I didn’t know where to start! I didn’t want to screw it up. I was afraid. I had to take a risk and just do it. After doing a little research and asking a few friends questions, Louis built me 2 4×10 beds (yeah…that’s not starting small….). We threw down some newspaper and some dirt, and planted a few seedlings from Lowe’s. Wasn’t going to even try starting from seeds!
- Living a Life of Mission –
- Talk to some friends who are doing it. Ask questions. Watch them. Be willing to share your fear. You will learn they were afraid initially, too!
- Start small. You don’t have to make it a big production….actually don’t make it big event. Work it into the everyday rhythms of your life…but yet it does require intentionality. Pray for opportunities to be a blessing to someone because God gave you new eyes to see.
3. I got a late start at gardening. Louis and I didn’t plant our garden until the end of May. Friends have been reaping their harvest for weeks. Mine is just coming in. I came close to giving up and just waiting until the fall or even next year. Louis encouraged me by building them anyway…as my birthday gift. It was indeed a labor of love, because carpentry doesn’t come naturally to him. He’s a plumber, car mechanic, electrician….not a carpenter.
- Living a Life of Mission –
- You aren’t meant to do this alone. In Luke 10:1, Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs….2×2 to prepare the way for Jesus to visit. Pray for the other half of your pair.
- Call in reinforcements. I am grateful for my friends who join me in the journey.
- It’s never too late to get started. Plant where you are. Plant where you go. Plant in good soil…where God is moving. It doesn’t matter when you start – just start.
4. Things go wrong. Birds, deer, and bugs eat your potential bounty. Bees don’t come to pollinate your flowers, so you have to change your approach. Dogs dig up your plants… or in my case…eat my dirt. (Weird…I know…but Bella loves the rich, ‘meaty’ dirt!) so you build a fence. Storms and hail come and beat up your poor little plants. (I’m thankful that we planted late! The hail storm that came earlier wrecked some friends’ gardens.) And then…there’s the dreaded…ugly ‘dog vomit fungus’. Yes…true story…and it was GROSS! It required tender, loving care..and removal of the fungus and adjusting the soaker hose.
- Living a Life of Mission –
- The enemy…Satan…seeks to discourage, kill and destroy. Yes. It is true. Be prepared. Our God is ALL POWERFUL!
- Timing is everything. Sometimes it’s just not the right time. God’s timing is always right on time. Trust Him.
- Turn to the Lord. Trust that the Lord of the Harvest raises up laborers…He draws them near.
- Christian community is often the fence around your new seedlings. Build a fence of support and community to protect your upcoming fence. Sunday morning church service isn’t enough. It needs to be closer, more intimate discipleship…tending, sowing truth, etc.
5. It takes time. Plants take time to grow…some grow faster than others. There were a few moments I just wanted to give up…and let the beds go to weed. Some start slow and then take off like crazy. Some are weaker than others..and aren’t producing anything at all…and are almost dead. No 2 plants are the same. 2 days ago I had a cucumber that was about 5 inches long. Today…it was about 9 inches, and I am eating it!
- Living a Life of Mission –
- Surround yourself with support and encouragement, too. You are not meant to be a lone ranger.
- Tend to the garden…and to the gardener. Go to the Master Gardener who will tend to you.
- Look for the little wins. Where God is at work.
- Praise God in the difficult challenging times….and for the fruit of your labor!
A few scriptures that often encourage me…
Galations 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Time to get busy… Want to join the conversation on living on mission?
Check out this opportunity!
click the link below…
It’s our 3rd annual Camp Splash – in partnership with Hope Church! Hope to see all our neighbors and friends! Here’s the video from last year… And….keep reading for more info. Print the flyer to share with a neighbor, please! Thanks!
Seriously… I Can’t Wait!!!! 4 weeks from today….
Every year, we hold our annual community Memorial Day Party! Come if you can…and bring something to share! Here’s last year’s post if you wanna check it out… Memorial Day 2013. See you Monday!
Jen Hatmaker Speaks…
RVA: UNDER CONSTRUCTION
METRO Richmond, VA is under construction!
WE, the Church, are being called to rebuild it by fulfilling the mission Jesus gave us:
Love God. Love Neighbor.
Make Disciples who Make Disciples.
Join us in welcoming Jen Hatmaker, as 700+ attendees will hear Jen speak and discuss what it means to live on that mission as an individual, as a small group or family, and as a church! Jen’s message is NOT just for women only! GUYS – You are welcomed and encouraged!!! Although many of her books are geared toward women, her message is for everyone who is part of the body of Christ in RVA: men, women, church leaders, young adults, singles and parents!
Location:St. Giles Presbyterian Church 5200 Grove Avenue Richmond, VA 23226
Friday 8/15 6-9:30pm
Saturday 8/16 8:30a – 1p
Saturday “Un-conference” – Attendees are encouraged to continue the dialogue following the event with new friends and old by joining them for lunch at various places throughout Richmond. More information will be provided as the date approaches.
Who is Jen Hatmaker?
Jen Hatmaker and her husband, Brandon, live in Austin, TX where they lead Austin New Church and raise their brood. They pioneered Restore Austin, connecting churches to local and global nonprofits for the spiritual and social renewal of Austin and beyond. She is the author of nine books and Bible studies, including Interrupted and 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. Jen and Brandon have five children ~ Gavin, Sydney, Caleb; and in 2010 they added Ben and Remy from Ethiopia.
What is Into The Neighborhood?
Into The Neighborhood is a newly formed nonprofit Christ-centered ministry, founded by Louis and Marti Williams, based on scripture:
The Word became flesh…and moved into the neighborhood. John 1:14 (MSG)
For more information, click here > Into The Neighborhood.
Where can I get tickets?
Please Note: Early Bird Prices are available through May 31, 2014. Prices won’t be this low again, and numbers are limited.
Where can I get information about sponsorship?
If you are interested in a sponsorship package please contact Marti below.
We are super excited about seeing you at St. Giles on August 15-16 and are praying for all attendees..
Louis and I are SOOOO grateful for your love and support! The candy drops and the financial support has been nothing short of AHHHHHmazing. Thank you. (In case you have missed what we are doing, check out these 2 links… Easter Fun! and Choosing Love)
Louis made it out on his first Drive-by Joy with me over the weekend. I think he was a little hesitant at first. But, now, he has a new BFF.
You see generosity and giving come more naturally to me. I love to give! But, it didn’t take Louis long to join in on the Joy Bombing of North Ave, Brookland Park Boulevard, Chamberlayne, Meadowbridge – on our way to visit one friend who just got out of the hospital and new friend who in Regional Memorial Hospital for the last few weeks. We were able to Joy Bomb some folks in the hospital parking lot, which was AWWWWESOME!
Yes, I was relegated to the back seat of the car, as the Easter Bunny had to sit up front! But, the best yet…was going through the Mechanicsville ChicFilA drive thru, where we Joy Bombed the employees! But, pulling out of the drive-thru we spotted the Dugai’s in the parking lot!!! As we drove by, the kids were saying to their parents… “Hey….there’s the Easter Bunny!!!”. Carrie asked “What color car is it?” “Red”, they responded. They quickly stopped to greet us with huge hugs! What a treat! Guess who wanted to be the Bunny???
Due to the recent rain and chilly weather, I’ve missed a couple of days. Can’t wait to get back out there. Who wants to go with me???
What a terrific day for an Easter Egg Hunt!
WHY, you ask?
Sun Shining! Birds chirping! Kids laughing! Candy! Cupcakes! Friends! Games! Bunny!
We started the morning by playing a game similar to an old school Cake Walk, while we waited for everyone to arrive. Old friends and new streamed in throughout the morning. It’s always so good to see old friends and make new ones on days like this. LOVE IT!
Shortly after the Easter Bunny arrived, we had a photo shoot on the front porch. People typically keep the photos digitally these days, right? I still like my old school prints, and I have learned that the kids LOVE to have their own photos. So, we will now print out pictures for the kids to have their own photos.
After sitting still for so long, the kids were ready to go on an Egg Hunt!
Once all the eggs were found or at least we think so anyway (Bella will probably find one in the next week.), we paused to hear the Good News story of Easter, as told through Resurrection Eggs. Cherie and Ashley did an OUTSTANDING job!
And a party just wouldn’t be the same without the sweet treats…cupcakes, donuts, lemonade!
Louis and I so appreciate the donations that allow us to be able to do this. For the pictures, the candy, the prizes, cupcakes, donuts and more! For the folks that pitched in to help…we thank you…IMMENSELY. We are grateful for the quiet time of chillin’ with sweet friends afterwards. Although we don’t see them often, we thank God for the gift of our spiritual family and friends. And time to relax and catch up…picking up where we left off last…although the baby is now a toddler who walks, talks, climbs and giggles.
If you wonder why we celebrate Easter…Resurrection Day, it’s not because of the yummy chocolate candy, the good food or even the good fellowship.
We love to celebrate Easter with old friends and new.
Why, you ask?
We were created by a loving God to be in relationship with Him.
But we sinned and cut ourselves off from Him.
In His great love,
God became man in Jesus,
who lived a perfect life,
and died on the cross.
He rose again from the dead.
He calls us to trust in Him alone. If we trust in Christ,
we live a new life
and have renewed our relationship with God again.
This is why we celebrate Easter…
because Jesus lives.