Hey SPV Fam!
This week I want to offer a brief follow up to the word I gave this past Sunday after our time of worship and communion. For those of you who weren't there I read the following passage from Matthew 11:
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
There is so much in these words of Jesus but a few things that I would emphasize are:
1) Life is meant to be enjoyed. If you find yourself getting stressed out and critical about every little thing then "get away with Jesus and learn from him." This may require many of us simplifying our lives a bit in order to make more room for the better, more cherished things.
2) And even more specifically, if your faith journey is causing you anxiety then maybe, just maybe you're doing it wrong. If you find yourself feeling constant condemnation or that God is barking at you like a tyrant boss then trade in your "burned out on religion" for the "living freely and lightly the Jesus way". If you find yourself bothered by every theological idea that doesn't align with your own or have criticism for every other song sung in church then please pursue the real rest that Jesus is offering us all. The unforced rhythms of grace and real rest that Jesus offers is so much greater than the alternative, not to mention the fact that life is just too dang short to live it out finding fault with everything and being stressed all the time.
Much love to you all,
My heart is racing. Oh my god I'm going to pass out. Why are my palms so sweaty? I feel like I'm in an Eminem song. Ok...This isn’t going to kill me. I’m going to be ok. I'm going to be OK.
"Babe, you ready?"
"Uh...I think so."
"Ok. Let's go."
They've always been a fear of mine. While my friends spent their summers at top speed, flipping upside down, twisting around, and having the time of their lives, I stood with my feet firmly planted on the ground, clutching their purses and the lie that I was having as good a time as they were. I was scared. And I let fear control me.
And there I was, almost 30 years old, faced with the decision to conquer my fear or wimp out and walk away from another opportunity.
This is not a rational fear. Hundreds of thousands of people ride roller coasters every day. I'm going to be ok.
"Babe, you ok?"
"You're going to be ok."
For years, I avoided all the things I was even slightly afraid of. Roller coasters. The high dive. Difficult conversations. The doctor. All good (but not easy) things.
Let me make something very clear: There was nothing standing in my way except for me. No force of nature, no person, no law. Just me.
"Good! Cause this ride is nuts."
A wise, bearded man (yes, it was my husband) once said that "The thing you need to learn is on the backside of what you’re scared to do." It hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe my fear was just an emotion and, like all emotions, deserved to be analyzed and processed. Fear is not always a bad thing! It's what keeps us from petting wild animals and trying to fly! But unhealthy fear will keep you from things; joy, opportunity, life.
So ask for help. Confront injustice. Apologize to your friend. Take a trip. Go to the doctor. Stand up for yourself. Whatever your unhealthy fear is keeping you from, run at it full force.
Maybe you'll learn that the thing you're scared of isn't all that scary.
And might actually be super fun.
Peace, love, and full speed ahead!
SPV Kid City Children's Pastor
In the spirit of hearing from different voices in our church family, this week's post is written by staff member, Stacy Henderlong.
Hey there SPV family!
We all come from varying backgrounds and spiritual/religious experiences. I grew up in a tradition based on fear of the end of life (hell). My church experience as a kid was quite boring and not very "spirit-filled" and led me to seek out the opposite when I left home for college. I ended up in some very charismatic churches for quite some time, and I became comfortable, always expecting a wild ride with Holy Spirit. Then I entered into a season of working for a more traditional and liturgical church, that seemed a bit lifeless at the time. Then I came to SPV just 5.5 years ago. At first I was craving more of the charismatic and pentecostal feel and felt slightly disappointed that it wasn't a bit more exuberant in worship and prayer.
Now that I've been here a little while, I'm been stretched in my thinking, in my faith, and feel like I'm getting to a good place of balance. I'm now craving times of silence, solitude, and reflection and actually miss those times of liturgy - seeking it out online. I still enjoy it when the band gets rockin' during worship, but I'm also love those times when we can just sit or stand in God's presence and not a sound is made - and we just are.
My prayer life has also gone through this change - from crying out & begging God for things for myself and others - into more of a contemplative, peaceful time. I no longer feel like I have to pray for a certain amount of time or come with a list of requests, but just to sit and meditate. To be still. To listen. And to not be afraid of the quiet.
May we each find those times of solitude. May we seek them out, to just sit and listen.
Peace to you,
Hello SPV Family,
So I sat down today to type up the weekly email & came across the following post from my (virtual) friend Rob Grayson from the U.K. & was really blessed by it & thought maybe you guys might be as well. I also feel like this captures the heart of our theology at the SPV so take a few minutes to read it over & even meditate on it:
"God is like Jesus. If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus. Let's see how many ways we can say it:
- Jesus is what God has to say.
- Jesus is the Word of God.
- Jesus is the Logos of God.
- Jesus is the one who, if you've seen him, you've seen the Father.
- Jesus is God fully revealed, for all to see.
- Jesus is God's self-expression.
- Jesus is the one in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells.
- Jesus is the express image of the Father's person.
- Jesus corrects our misunderstandings about God.
- Jesus is God enfleshed.
- Jesus is the full revelation of the Father's heart.
- Jesus on the cross is the glory and the love of God.
Shout it from the rooftops: Jesus is perfect theology!" (Rob Grayson)
Much love to you all,