Monday, September 22, 2008

The Beautiful You

I have a growing list of books that I will never write that cover a whole array of subjects. I have one on leadership, one about hidden treasures in the Bible, one that is a historical fiction, one memoirs that is completely exaggerated, a travel journal, and a self help book (hey if Rick Warren and Joel Olstein can do it, why can't I?).
My self help book that I will never write is called, "The Beautiful You" (You should always begin with a good title and catchy cover design) and it is actually mostly parody about how we will try anything to measure up in the eyes of others. In the end, my conclusion is that God created us in His image and according to Genesis 9:6, because we are in the image of God we have value.
In our new adventure of beginning a new kind of church in Orange County we feel that this concept is essential. We want to have a place where we truly seek to be like Jesus and let the gospel affect all areas of how we live, but we must begin by recognizing the reality that we all come imperfect and broken. We all fall short in our own ideas of how we should be but that is where the true beauty of Church can shine.
We want to be a place where our brokenness and imperfections are not something to hide from because we think the others in the group will think less of us, but rather they are things to display because they actually give hope to the group that God is the God who makes all things new and that nothing is out of His reach of redemption. I think that often in Christian leadership and churches we only put our "best" faces forward (best only in the eyes of the world) and we forget that the real beauty is in the fact that God our Father leads, directs, redeems, and blesses even in our times of weakness.
In Church leadership we talk about finding "strategic" people who are strong leaders and who compel others to follow a vision. It is not bad to have these people around, but I wonder if this strategy by churches and youth groups only causes the "non-strategic people" to feel that they don't measure up and therefore even fewer are empowered to join in the vision.

In our new gathering I am so excited to see a strange mix of people and many of whom are already coming with their imperfections on display. I am excited because I truly believe that this group who are joining in the call to live on "mission" to their community for the purpose of displaying the love and grace of Christ and not for the purpose of creating a bigger church are the people who will help others find hope and who will allow others to see the beauty in being created in the image of God.

So to our college students who love Jesus but struggle avoiding the "college life", to our moms of elementary aged kids who sometimes think they will not make it through the day, to our families who struggle to make ends meet, to our twenty-somethings who still don't know what they want to do with their lives, to our empty nesters who enjoy sleeping in on Sundays, to our children who have more energy than I have ever seen, to our singles who sometimes feel lonely, to our leaders who feel inadequate, to our theologians who still scratch their heads in confusion, to our couples who do not always act lovingly, and to all of us who desperately need the love and grace of Jesus... here's to the "Beautiful You", I am glad to have you with us.


Kevin said...

"We will share a potluck dinner, communion, and continue working through the Story of God as it has been unveiled throughout all of history."

How are you working through the Story of God?

Is that just your way of saying studying the Bible or is there an actual program.

And lastly, have you heard of or been to Soma in Tacoma while you were in town?

Kevin said...

"Beautiful You/Green Apron"

Both Great Posts!

I really enjoyed your brief explanation of Genesis 1 and the emphasis on being relational and how that relates to being missional in your community. I think it is very cool that you are a Pastor in a green apron. Again it is encouraging to see somebody work hard and dive into the unknown to follow God. I know it is most likely difficult at times but from afar it seems as though you are in the right direction.

These past few weeks I have really been putting emphasis on prayer and silence with God hoping that I can find clarity in my own life/ministry, and what that means now and tomorrow. Sometimes it is hard to trust God and jump into the unknown.

Sara said...

Honestly Ryan you should write this book - with that camel picture on the front it doesnt even matter what's inside - it just can't go wrong.

patricia said...

that's so touching...
write the book.