MENU

Missio Dei Blog

Hello Missio Dei!

I loved being able to worship with you yesterday and talk about our commitment to Scripture! As we go along this week, I asked that we all read Psalm 119 together as a family and post the insights on this blog post so we can keep each other encouraged this week as we dive into Scripture together. Cannot wait to see how God speaks to you this week!

Weekend Follow-Up - North Peninsula Food Pantry

It was an awesome weekend to worship together and learn from Nehemiah that we are to be bold as we seek to rise up and build in our community. We shared that we are going to be collecting food items for the North Peninsula Food Pantry in Daly City. Here are the items that they request:

  • Beans, Dry (1# bags)

  • Cereal, Dry Unsweetened (12oz and larger boxes)

  • Fruit, Canned (15oz cans)

  • Macaroni & Cheese (7.25oz boxes)

  • Ready to eat meals (13-15oz cans)

  • Creamy Peanut Butter (18oz jars)

  • Protein, Canned (distributed by the ounce)

  • Rice (1# bags)

  • Canned Vegetables (11-15oz cans)

I've asked that we only bring these items in during the Sunday night service for Missio Dei. The church has so many things going on during the week that I'd hate for your donation to get lost in the shuffle of all the activities that go on throughout the week. 

I'm so excited to hear about all the stories that come from this partnership and the many more that will come as we seek to bring hope to our city. I love you guys and I can't wait to see you again on Sunday!

Weekend Preview | Grassroots | Nehemiah 2

We had a great kick-off to our new Grassroots series and I'm so excited to continue our study through the book of Nehemiah this week. As I've been reading, praying, and studying through this book for this series, I've become convinced that there is a pair of characteristics that are almost essential when it comes to our walk with Jesus:

Humility and Audacity

I mean audacity as it's defined as a willingness to take bold risks. Nehemiah was a risk-taker, and communicating with King Artaxerxes, one of the most powerful human beings alive at the time, was an incredible risk. But when you combine audacity with the humility that comes with a reliance upon Jesus Christ, power, blessing, and favor usually follow.

Nehemiah's passion and life-direction were inexorably linked to the God's will for him and the city of Jerusalem. He had a heart unlike any other for his homeland and this passion drove him to take bold risks to put the city back on the map again and restore it to wholeness again. It is this audacity that we need to harness when it relates to our experience as followers of Jesus in America, and more specifically, our calling as Jesus followers in the Bay Area.

I will discuss more fully in the sermon, but the rise of the "nones" in this particular region of the country is startling. So in addition to a similar on-fire burden that Nehemiah had for the city of Jerusalem, we need to understand that in order to reverse some of the devastating trends to our faith in this country, it's going to take people like you and me who are willing to get a little bold, take some risks, do something different, and pray audacious and bold prayers before God to do something in this area that no one has ever seen before.

Nehemiah was bold. He was audacious. But he had the humility necessary to understand that any endeavor he sought would only succeed if he had the unmerited favor of God. And that grace-filled journey led him to revive a city in ruins. And understanding the grace we have been given in Christ, along with the Holy Spirit that indwells us, we have the potential to see a similar revival and awakening here in the Bay.

This is our calling. This is our movement. It's time for us to rise!

I'll be discussing this in much greater detail this Sunday at our new service time at 6pm (right after our party at 5)! So invite a friend and I will see you this Sunday! 

Weekend Preview | Fractured | Part 5 - Family

Missio_Fractured-Main.jpg

Many of my favorite television shows growing up featured a family whose children got into scraps because of some bad decisions, and somehow, miraculously, within 22 minutes of air time, the situation got resolved and everyone got back to loving each other by the end credits. We watch those shows and many people would describe them as “wholesome” and “family friendly,” which is definitely true, but when I look back and rewatch them now, I fear that many of the portrayals of these perfect families are out of touch with reality.

Because families are messy. Dysfunctional. Stress-filled. Difficult, etc.

Granted, when things are going well, families hold the ability to exhibit unconditional love, support, and foster spiritual growth for a lifetime. There is so much power in the family and the root of the success of our entire society hinges upon the success of the family.

Which is all the more important that we discuss the inevitable difficulties that come with familial relationships. When strife, estrangement, conflict happen within the family, it has a tendency to tear us apart emotionally because, more often than not, we are so incredibly invested in loving those people.

There is an element within all relationships, but family relationships in particular, that needs to take center stage when we discuss division within the family. And it’s the easiest word in the world to say, preach, and teach, but it is probably one of the most difficult things that we as followers of Jesus can learn how to do fully. But when we learn how to do this, it frees us in a way that opens the door for potential reconciliation and restoration in our lives.

And even if that family member never apologizes like you think they should, this element of our Christian experience will allow you to walk in the way of freedom despite your difficult circumstances.

It’s forgiveness.

This weekend at Missio Dei, we’re going to be discussing some of these issues as it relates to family strife with the hope that we will be able to discover the freedom that comes through a fuller understanding of forgiveness regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. There is an amazing story that Jesus told about a dysfunctional family which reveals so much about family dynamics and the steps to forgiveness which I pray will encourage you and people you know in their relationships.

I can’t wait to see you on Sunday night!

Weekend Preview | Fractured | Part 3 - Guilt

Missio_Fractured-Main.jpg

There is a distinct pattern when it comes to the cycle many of us are stuck in when it relates to our walk with Jesus. We understand that there are certain expectations for those living as a follower of Jesus, in terms of our thought-life, behavior patterns, intentions, etc. The problem comes when we often pit our constant inability to live up to these expectations with our view of the love and grace of God.

We all find ourselves nodding vigorously in agreement with this verse: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do” (Romans 7:15).

It is a terrible thing that so much of our lives as Jesus followers are defined by the guilt that we place upon ourselves and it is almost impossible to rid ourselves of on our own strength. In fact, I was listening to a podcast the other day where the hosts asked a group of Christians to raise their hand if they simply felt they were ok in their sexual purity/lives. Nobody raised their hands.

This is guilt. Certain decisions in their past have completely defined their view of themselves for the rest of their lives. And it all relies on their, your, and my own behavior.

The pattern that I’ve seen replicated over and over again in my life has been a relatively simple and predictable one: Try hard to obey, obey for a little while, become tempted to disobey, white-knuckle and try harder to obey, become tempted even more, disobey, feel incredible guilt, recommit to try even harder the next time knowing I’ve failed over and over and over again, repeat cycle forever. It’s hard to know that there is something called freedom on the other side of this cycle. Because in this cycle, there is no freedom.

Because this sort of theology is all about us.

This theology is not only sets a dangerous precedent in your own life because it sets you up for a lifetime of disappointment, vain striving, stress, and self-condemnation, it also brings to light an awareness that our understanding of the New Covenant which is completely false. What is unfortunate about this is that there is freedom to be found. A freedom which is completely separate from any sense of guilt, shame, regret, or condemnation forever and ever.

And this freedom can and will never be earned in a theology that relies on your behavior and decisions. That is called the Old Covenant, and this is not our covenant. We are in a New, better, wonderfully amazing covenant which has nothing to do with your behavior. Let me repeat. We live in a covenant that has nothing to do with your behavior. We have freedom in Jesus because of the grace He has given us at the cross.

You are not meant to live with unhealthy guilt. You are meant to live in the freedom of Jesus. “There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus!” (Romans 8:1).

Guilt is the inevitable and eventual outcome of a decision that is based on an incorrect or forgotten belief in the structure of our lives. We’re going to have a conversation this weekend about how to restructure our belief system to a proper theological understanding of ourselves, our Savior, and our decisions which I hope will give you freedom and peace in those areas of your life where you struggle with guilt.

We’re going to unpack what this looks like this weekend. So I want to invite you to invite a friend and join with us in this conversation on Sunday night!

Priorities and Moments.

Hi there. Gabe here. I'm the Technical Director for Missio Dei, and apparently today (for the next 20 minutes or so) I'm also a professional blogger.

Ryan Weber asked me to write a bit about work/life balance, and my immediate thought after was "I'm not sure I'm the guy you want to talk about this."

Let me explain.

I currently work in a career that requires long hours doing any number of different tasks. Video editing, graphic design work, running audio for any number of different services and events and other things that would take the rest of this blog post to explain.

I'm at work a lot.

I've been living that life for the last 15 years, and it's taken me to some pretty amazing and incredible places, and given me some pretty unbelievable opportunities. Along with those opportunities have come incredibly long hours and time away from my family and friends - it's just a reality of my job. I've learned a bunch of things along the way, but there's one major thing that I know without a doubt on this subject -

There is no balance.

I tried to pursue balance for a long time, and I ended up realizing that if you continually try to pursue balance it's never going to happen - you're just adding another thing to the pile of stuff that you're already trying to make achieve equilibrium. In the end of that pursuit came the beginning of a conscious choice - my time with my family was too important to be constantly cut short by work and other pursuits I had chosen. I set my priorities.

Instead of trying to pursue balance, pursue self awareness and communication with family and friends. Understand that part of knowing yourself is knowing where your lines and boundaries are - and knowing where your true priorities are (and need to be.) Life is a constant ebb and flow of moments - are you fighting them because you're constantly trying to be somewhere else (or achieve balance) or are you living them as they come, and being purposeful about where you are and where you choose to spend your time?

I mean, at the end of the day…how are you actually spending your time? How busy are you - really?

Take a look at the way Jesus lived his life.

Jesus chose His priorities and He pursued them.

Take a look at Luke 9 through 19.

Luke 9:51 - 53:  As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.

Jesus begins His journey to Jerusalem, which is chronicled in Luke 13, Luke 17 and Luke 19  - showing that Jesus chose His priority, and He stuck with it. Yes, He was interrupted along the way - and He chose to stop and share moments all along the road to Jerusalem, answering questions, healing the sick and ministering to people - but He set His priority and stuck with it. Jesus could have stayed for ages in different villages, doing all kinds of wonderful things - but He chose His priorities. He understands that He can't be everything to everyone - and He clearly understood what he was doing and that His priorities could not be set by the crowds around Him. Everyone around Him had an expectation of what He should be doing, but instead Jesus chose to follow the priorities that He had chosen and that had been set forth for Him by His Father in heaven.

So how busy are you - really?

Are you spending your time where it needs to be spent, or are you so busy trying to balance everything out that you're not really present anywhere?

Set your priorities.

Be present in the moment.

Weekend Preview | Fractured | Part 2 - Anxiety

When it comes to prescribing an all-encompassing and thorough answer to those struggling with anxiety and depression, we often get caught in a tangled web of confusion. We surround those people with positive motivations such as: Choose joy; Don't be anxious about anything; Focus on others; Jesus loves you, etc.

The problem with an approach like this, as I've studied and spoken to people who suffer with anxiety disorders and depression is that they know these things are true, but there is just no escaping the negative burdens overwhelming their minds, emotions, bodies, and souls. Anxiety and depression are not choices made by those who just can't handle their stress or are choosing sadness over joy.

These issues are medical, associated with genetics, brain chemistry, or other environmental factors related to emotional or physical trauma. So consciously choosing joy over sadness on a whim just isn't that simple. As Jesus followers, our primary goal is love, empathy, and compassion for all those who are weary and burdened. Our first response to those struggling is often prescriptive and action oriented: "If you are feeling this, then do this and you'll feel better." However, in cases such as these, where the right answers are as various as those who struggle, sometimes our best course of action is to simply be present.

Our presence, without any attempt to provide answers, is often the best thing we can provide to someone. Even asking the question, "What can I do to help?" can heighten a person's stress and anxiety because they may not even know where to begin to answer that question. So our first response as Jesus followers to those who hurt is to listen without agendas, learn without agendas, and only then may we act accordingly. And as I've said, sometimes the best action is to simply sit, give a hug, or pray.

This is a huge issue in our society: Nearly 1 out of every 3 people will work through anxiety issues at some point in their lives; and currently 1 out of every 3 teenagers are living with some form of anxiety. Not only do we need to start a conversation about these issues, we need to learn how best to respond to those friends, coworkers, and family members who are currently struggling. We're going to unpack some of those steps together this weekend as we continue this Fractured series!

I hope this series has blessed you so far, can't wait to see you on Sunday night!

Message Follow-Up - STRESS

Missio_Fractured-Main.jpg

We had an amazing start to our Fractured series this week! I wanted to share some additional resources from the psychological and medical community relating to dealing with stress in our lives. I want to encourage you to make these a part of your daily lives, with a focus what we discussed this weekend: resting in Christ and eliminating your triggers

Here are some practical steps for you to take:

  • Exercise

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.

This verse works in the context of our sexual morality, but I believe it applies to all aspects of our lives, we are to honor God with our bodies in the way that we live and go about our days. I don’t necessarily mean get hog wild here and join Crossfit and devote every waking hour to becoming a gym rat - if you’re one of those people, good for you, the rest of the normal people in here don’t have your drive.

But get active daily, go for brisk walks, get up and move around for at least 30 minutes a day, or get some higher intensity walks or something to get your heart-rate up. Doing this relaxes your body and mind, drives your adrenaline, and ultimately relaxes you

Paul says to Timothy that physical training is of some value. I believe this value allows us to focus our bodies on relaxation and physical activity which switches off our brains and activates our bodies.

  • Make time for hobbies

This is something that I need to do better at because oftentimes the things I love to do - reading and writing - get to be a burden because they are the exact same things I do for my job. I’m usually in front of a computer, reading emails, researching, looking things up, reading the Bible, writing sermons, emails, training manuals, text messages. I find that I get burned out really quickly because the things that I want to do/accomplish are so closely aligned with my work that I don’t even want to do it. I want to write a book and it’s stressing me out that it’s taking me so long to do so but I need an outlet that is not in front of the computer to free myself up and de-stress.

So studying this week has helped me realized that I want to develop cooking as a hobby. I love to cook and try new recipes. I remember growing up, my sisters and I always put on cooking shows, filmed them, made ridiculous recipes for my parents and made them eat it. But I’m going to give it a shot. This week alone, I made some Swiss chard, sun-dried tomato frittatas, and a garlic-parmesan spaghetti squash. Watch for me on the Food Network in the coming weeks.

Find a hobby that interests you, do something that you wouldn’t normally do, try something outside of your standard work environment and watch the freedom that comes from that.

  • Talk about your problems

I’m a huge proponent of this one. I used to be one of those people who developed an understanding that if I needed to talk to someone about my problems, I was one of those people. Those crazy people who can’t handle their stress on their own.

But when you look at the statistics of stress that we covered this week, WE ARE ALL THOSE PEOPLE!!!

I am a huge proponent of counseling, of Celebrate Recovery and all of us could make use of a professional counselor. I have no shame in telling you that I made use of professional counselors in multiple situations in my life because I didn’t know how to handle some of the most stressful circumstances and relationships in my life.

I can’t wait to get together with you this weekend as we discuss anxiety!