We must thank Ashley Moore for her hilarious and thoughtful blog post about surviving one’s first Sunday at Rez. Ashley’s invaluable conveyance of the quirky beauty of Rez should help put any discomforted visitor at ease. Her words inspired me to reflect on the past fifteen years that my family has been here and how much Rez has changed and yet remains the same
1. Praise the Lord, we all cry. And we’ve been crying for years. The Lord is faithful to be there in His presence every Sunday. He meets us where we’re at, so we cry. Some Sundays we are soaring, lifting out of our seats with joy and abandon. Others we are weak and nearly lifeless, desperately in need of Holy Spirit rehab. I went through a season where I couldn’t lift my hands, but only whisper, “Lord, help me,” throughout the entire service. He did.
2. Praise the Lord, it doesn’t matter where we meet, He is with us. We’ve met in gyms, back lawns, concrete block cells (i.e. the Ministry Center), and now a refabbed factory and the places have all been hallowed by Him. As long as we are earnestly seeking Him, He’s there.
3. Praise the Lord the church is loaded with children. Why? It isn’t because the Bishop has six kids. Rez is a life giving, holy place and an abundance of children is a manifestation of that reality. The launch of Replanted as a ministry to support adoption and foster care is a new way to go deeper in this longtime Rez value.
4. Praise the Lord, Rez is a community that longs and loves to release people in their gifts. Charlie and I once hated spiritual gifts inventories and refused to take them. It has taken a long time for us to see value in these tedious questionnaires, but now we do. They are not flawless, everyone no matter what their gift set should pick up trash at the church when they see it, but honing in on our best we have to offer the church builds up the body of Christ. If you haven’t done anything to serve the church yet, do something unseen. Serve on the altar guild, wash and iron linens and communion vessels and get in touch with the Lord’s kitchen holiness.
5. Praise the Lord that He has called us to fight for unity. We have leaders who humbly set an example in this endeavor. We have seen many people come and go. May he continue to grow us in this gift as the cultural clouds darken and gather over our heads. These clouds allow His light to shine brighter, but we must grow in humility no matter how much blessing He pours out on us.
6. Praise the Lord for our vision to serve the Lord, the Lost and the Least. When this was first announced during the Reach campaign, my daughter went home and wrote it on her bedroom mirror…in ink. The vision to build our church on worship, prayer and fasting, to serve Him and those far from Him is our calling for the long haul. As we enter into this new season of 24/7 prayer may we grow even deeper in Him and our heart to fulfill this vision. As Dale Hummel once exhorted us on Vestry, “We must be willing to bleed the vision.” If the Lord calls us to do this; worship, prayer and fasting will make us ready.
7. Praise the Lord that Rez is home. Our family travels, we love to go places, but after about a week or two we are ready to go home. After fifteen years, we don’t just return home to our house in Wheaton, we come back to our Rez family home. It may be 935 West Union, or our pastorate, but it is the gathering of God’s people, our home.
For those of you new to Rez, we are praying for you. May the Lord gift you with all and more than he given us and may you have an undivided heart of love for his bride. And Ashley, may the Lord give you many more joy-filled years at Rez!