But putting aside my personal embarrassment--which you all delight in, I know you do--we had a tremendous time celebrating all that God has done in our family over those 10 years. Say what you will about us, you people know how to party. Or should that be PAR-TAY? We heard things like how real this place is, how authentic we are with each other, how centered we are on Jesus, that our kids feel a part of what's going on, that we sense the love of God among us...pretty cool stuff, huh? We are not what I thought we would be when we started meeting at this school 10 years ago. But what we are, I absolutely love!
So where do we go in the next 10 years (I can't help but think that I'll be, lets' just say in my mid 60's at the end of that, I cannot even believe that!!)? We are still a work in progress, we have not arrived, and I believe God has laid on my heart some of the key places we still need to grow in. (Ok, ok, "in which we still need to grow." Sheesh!)
First, we need to continue to make prayer the foundation of all we do. over the past few years, mostly through Luke's influence, we have participated in times of 24/7 prayer, or 24/3 prayer, and God has responded by bringing change to us and our situations. I have to confess, I don't completely understand why God waits till we pray, but it seems He usually chooses to do so. We've made a good start, prayer has become more important to us then it has been in the past. And many of you have spent time in the prayer rooms and come away transformed as a result. We need to allow God to take us deeper into this kind of dependency. Luke is again leading out in this for us, soon he'll be calling us to a regular opportunity for connecting together in prayer. And the next time we're called to a 24/whatever time of prayer, I'm hoping that those of you who have yet to experience this will spend some time in the prayer room hearing from God. God is making us a praying church, let's cooperate with him as he does!
One of the things that God has built into our DNA from when Oasis was just a gleam in its Father's eye is that we were here to love the lost, to have our hearts broken for them, to be a place of grace and mercy. And we have had such a privilege of seeing so many people step into the family of God and experience genuine transformation. But we need to make sure that we are intentionally keeping this as a focus of who we are. It's too easy to lose sight of this, to lose the perspective of God's larger story going on around us. We'll be looking for ways to keep this on our front burners (I wonder where that phrase comes from?)
It didn't take a lot of analysis to determine that what we value most is our relationships with each other, the family that we are to each other. We're pretty darn good at this, if we say so ourselves! (And you did!) But we need to drive this community, this family, even deeper. Short of moving in with each other, we've got to find the ways to make sure that every one of us in connected to our family, that no one is lonely or isolated or abandoned. I told you that this whole thing sometimes feels very fragile, that relationally we could fall apart at any moment. I think that's just the nature of what we're trying to be and do here. We care about being connected, and so any thing that threatens that is magnified. If relationships are truly everything in the body of Christ, and we believe they are, then we are going to provide the opportunities to develop more love and trust among each other. Count on it!
We have so much to be thankful for. For the adventure of where we've been. For the joy of who God has made us. For the anticipation of what we will be. I am so glad to be on this journey with you. Shoulder to shoulder. A band of brothers. "It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus."(Philippains