I wanted to publicly thank our Lord and Master Jesus Christ for the work he did in our Inversion community this weekend during our fall retreat. Thanks to Jonathan and Jennifer, my partners in Inversion crime, who planned a great event. God knit our community together in the gospel and called all of us to care about the lost and hurting around us. Tom Pussel, fellowship church planter in Louisville shared with us from the Scriptures during the weekend and his final 15 min with us was walking through a slide show of pictures of his life "as a missionary in his culture in Louisville, KY"
- He showed his lawnmower where he cuts his neighbors grass and talks to her about Jesus
- He showed a pool hall where he was in a pool league with tatted up guys
- He showed a brew house where they held Men's fraternity at 6am and a guy who works there as come to Christ
- He showed an African American boy who he serves with as a "Big Brother" - he doesn't know his Dad and his mom is a crack addict...but he has been adopted. Adopted by a blind white lady (really, blind as in "can't see") - we looked at the family photo and said "God put that together"
- He showed us pictures of a weight room where guys lift and talk about Jesus.
- About some friends playing in a softball league that was not a church league and befriending (and getting crushed by) the "Tattoos and Piercing Shop" team whose Jerseys read "Damn Right it Hurts" on the back.
I grabbed two of our men and said to them "That is church planting..." Notes have been coming in to me via e-mail and Facebook this morning from our people who just had a great time. On Saturday night we met with Jesus at his table and I watched my Inversion family participate in Jesus' body and blood and I lost it. I love these people - and I am leaving them soon. Jesus is doing a great work in them and in the Inversion community, to send all of us into this world, into culture with the gospel. Also, I know some guys were at the retreat who are not sure they are in with the Jesus thing...they seemed to be very much "of us" by the end.
I am so prayerful that Bible belt folks would step out of "I like this band, I like this preaching, this place has great kids ministry, consumerist church shopping nonsense" and beg God that our mission is about him, about the broken, the lost all around us. Too often in my conversations over the last three years I have met Christian after Christian that simply have no relational contact with non Christians. This must change - this weekend I saw God's light breaking onto many of us, that we must change...to be with the people whom Jesus spent time with - tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes...or in our day the guy at work, folks at the bar, people at the clubs, the waitress we work with, people downtown in impossible circumstances, the person across the street. We do not need to go change everyone, get them to buy a certain flavor of upstanding appearances...but we need to be with them and tell them about Jesus, a Jesus who redeems and rebuilds lives, saves souls and brings a Kingdom. This has been my hope and prayer for us - and for myself and my family. We all fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace...he then calls to us "follow me" and he meant it. His road was with sinners, his disdain for the self-righteous and religious, his compassion was on sheep without shepherds, his destination a cross of shame, yet to then conquer death and be raised. This is our message - a crucified and risen God - whose hope dawns every day, his mercies new every morning...Great is his faithfulness. We are his ambassadors that means we rep his rule and reign in the world among those who remain under the dominion of a wicked ruler whose cruelty is immense and whose time is short. I am thankful to be called a follower of this Jesus - that he would have anything to do with me, let alone love us as ravenously as he does, and give us a mission in his world.
I know our ministry has inched forward these three years, but we have been more about reshaping a community, their passions, our hearts than simply filling up rooms. This was a good weekend in that evolution - which by God's grace will turn into a revolution in all of our lives.
To my Inversion family - go now and follow Jesus...fear not, love deeply and give your life away.