Pastor Blair's Posts from Soma Communities

DAY 1 - LOG 1 // MAY 15, 2012

I write this from the plane as I head to Tacoma Washington to be immersed into Soma Communities for a week. To learn and to observe and take in many things that will help us to make our missional communities the most effective and Gospel-centered we can at The Compass Church.

Airports are interesting places aren’t they? Where else can you go to find such a range of human emotion, with bag in hand and of course a Tim’s coffee in the other. It struck me this morning watching and waiting... sitting - tick tick tick, watching the red digital airport clock on the wall. Emotional? Yes. I just finished talking to my kids one by one on face-time as they prepare for school (Keaton was sleeping at 8:30 which was a rare miracle - so best to leave him alone).

Each child a gift to me that words cannot express. It was a joy to spend time with Sharon my wife before I left for the airport today. Sharon is indeed my best friend - hands down! Why is it so hard to leave? I don’t want to sound like a wimp, and I am comforted by looking at others in the airport saying goodbye to their families I’m certainly not alone.

As I search my heart I realize that when one leaves their family for any length of time there is always in the back of your mind the infamous questions of “what if?” What if something were to happen to me? What if something were to happen to them - and I wasn’t there! Being a Dad and a husband next to being a Christ follower is my highest calling. I’m called to care for, love, watch over, protect, provide, and a whole gamut of other things that come with this amazing calling.

On deeper exploration I realize that at the heart of my longing to not leave my family boils down to a lack of trust in Jesus. I have no doubt that this morning there was a lot of fear and interpretation in heaven as Jesus and His angels saw me leave for the airport. They were thinking and saying to each-other, “What are we going to do now that Blair has left his family for a week. Who is going to care for Sharon and the kids?”

Well, ok so maybe I am being sarcastic. This sounds foolish to you I’m sure. But not to me! Thats really how I feel at least in the depths of my heart. Of course it sounds ridiculous when I articulate it on paper. I hear this ringing in my ears as I read and see my experience and the truth of scripture collide resulting in me losing to scripture again!!

Jesus has given me my family to steward well, but Jesus never loses grip of my family based on how well I steward them. Ahhhh, wow!! It is Jesus who knows the number of hairs on their heads, it is Jesus who before the foundations of the world through the corridor of time knew this moment would come. This moment in which I would be hijacked by the goodness of my heavenly Father to give me the gift of my family to steward. This moment that my fears and lack of trust would collide with the fact that Jesus cares for us all as His children - my family included with or without me.

We are God's children!! God does’t lose His children or pass them by or favor one over the other. He does’t love me less because I fail to make the most of His name in my life. This humbles me, this comforts me and this gives me hope. This inspires me to deepen in my love and commitment to my heavenly Father. This helps me to realize that as much as I love my family - I’m to love my Jesus more!! I pause after I write this to consider my heart - it is hard to write this to be sure because my heart and my life don’t always reflect this. It is true - I am to love my Jesus more!

The fact that you and I are loved by God is not some pithy statement to fill the space on a sign at a football game. Its true and it means something that we will never fully understand this side of heaven. It’s simple yet complex, its one way love in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. We brought nothing to the table, we singed no contract, we did no convincing or flashy sales pitch. We are loved and accepting as we are - thank you Jesus you don’t leave us there. Jesus loves my family and even in times of trouble when I feel like I need to control my surroundings that need to maintain control never enters the mind of Christ because He has never lost control - ever!

Jesus loves me this I know

For the Bible tells me so

Little ones to him belong

They are weak but He is strong!!

So simple yet so complex.

Perhaps all you’re hearing are the ramblings of a man who rarely looks so deep into his heart and puts it on paper. I pray that what you have read are not mere ramblings of a needy man but rather a call, a call to return to the 2 inch line (that line of the Gospel and the portrait of Christ crucified). A call to return to the place where Jesus is indeed our everything. That place of setting everything aside for the sake of our Lord and making His name great. A place where we return to that glorious call to be and live and to love as the disciples of Jesus.

Until my next entry,

Pastor Blair

 

DAY 1 - LOG 2 // MAY 15, 2012

After arriving and eating dinner, we began our time together by meeting each other and spending time getting to know one another. There are people here at Soma School from all over the U.S. and as far as Europe.

After hearing some of the story behind Soma and how it started, we dove into the story of God.

If you have grown up in the church, you have heard these familiar stories so many times.

Grab your Bible to follow along with me here.

This great Bible narrative starts in Genesis and even though I have heard the story hundreds of times, there were a few things that stood out to me that I had never heard or seen before. Let me share a few of those with you.

God creates the heavens and the earth and spoke it all into existence. After creating all the vegetation and the birds and all the animals and creeping things, “God saw that it was good.”

Then He continues in Genesis 1:26 and says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”

Verse 27: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

In verse 31: “God says, ‘it was very good.’”

Some observations and things to consider for today just on these short verses:

God created everything and said it was good, but it was only after He created man (at this point God hadn’t made women) after His own image that He said it was very good. After this God rested. What does this say about us? We were created in the image of God. We were created to have dominion over God’s creation. What does this say about God? God made us in His image, and after He created humans He rested. We are the pinnacle of God’s creation.

Stay with me and jump to Genesis 3. It is interesting that when the serpent speaks to Eve, she doesn’t freak out that a snake is speaking. It makes you wonder if in the garden the animals could speak?

Anyway, consider what the serpent says to Eve as he tempts her to eat from the tree. Notice that there are two trees in the midst of the garden. These two trees are in the middle of the garden and one cannot avoid them because they are in the middle. The first tree is the tree of life and the other tree was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said you may eat of every tree of the garden except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

The serpent says in Genesis 3:4-5, “But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”

You will be like God.... THEY were already like God, they were made in the image of God. Imagine if you were wearing a grey hoody and I said to you I was going to give you a grey hoody if you just did something for me. You would think to yourself, ‘I already have a grey hoody - why would I do that thing for you to get what I already have?’

We are created in the image of God; we are like God already as His image bearers. Satan tempts Eve telling her she will be like God knowing good and evil. They already were like God. They already knew they were to not touch or eat from that tree. They already knew this would be wrong and disobedient to do.

I could keep going because there are so many wonderful things in this familiar story I had never seen before.

Satan tempted Eve with the very thing she already had. What about you today? Does the grass seem greener to you on the other side of the fence? Do you realize what you already have? We so often think that there is always something better, that the grass is greener on the other side, until we get there and realize it’s greener because it is on the septic tank.

Just a thought for today.

Until my next blog,

Pastor Blair

 

DAY 5 // MAY 19, 2012

Things have been so busy at Soma School that it has not afforded me the time I was hoping to do regular blog updates. Days have been packed with teaching, visiting and seeing so many different things related to Soma.

Last night was a really neat experience having been able to go and see a singer songwriter night at a local coffee shop. This whole night was for various singers and songwriters to be able to share some of the stuff they have been writing and performing. What is cooler is that each one was there as a result of the inroads the Soma worship leader has made in the Tacoma art/music community for the gospel.

Today (Saturday) we spend most of the day at a local park helping to remove trees and thick brush to help the city out. This particular park was totally overgrown with blackberry bushes and trees and it was so thick and dense that you could not even see through it. Local drug addicts have made this park under the thick cloud of brush their home and the city is concerned with the amount of drug traffic going on in the park because of the low visibility. So today many Missional Communities joined forces to help clear out the area so that it can be seen from the road and be monitored more adequately.

As well as some great teaching along the way we have been able to be immersed in the regular rhythms of community here in Tacoma.

As you can imagine, there have been many things that God has been challenging me with while I have been here and I have seen areas that I need to be in much prayer for asking the Holy Spirit to change my heart. Let me share with you one of those things.

I will ask you the same question that was asked of me, this rocked me!!

“If I were to love people around me like family, how would that look?”

I concluded that there is no doubt that I love people. But to ask me if I love them like family is a whole different story.

We are all children of God who are to care for each other as a family. We are God’s chosen people – His family – set apart to live in such a way that the world would know what He is like. Through faith in Jesus, we believe we are Children of God and brothers and sisters with each other. As God’s family, we see it as our obligation to personally care for the needs of one another – both physically and spiritually. We disciple, nurture and hold each other accountable to Gospel-life together, loving others in the path of our life like the Father loved us. (Genesis 12:1-3; John 1:12-13; Romans 12:10-16)

We are to submit to God as our Father and love one another as brothers and sisters.

As worshippers, we worship God as Father. 
We are God’s Children (John 1:11-13) who are adopted and fully accepted and loved apart from any good behavior. When I believe the Gospel, I know I have a perfect Father who loves me and accepts me not because of what I've done but because of what Christ has done. This leads me to worship God as Father and obey His Word because I love Him. I don’t obey God in order to be loved by Him. I obey God because He loved me while I was still His rebellious enemy.

We also show ourselves to be Jesus’ disciples by our love for one another. 
As Children of God, we love one another as brothers and sisters. Jesus said this is the way the world will know that we are His disciples – by our love for one another. Paul said we were to be imitators of God as dearly loved children who love one another (Eph 5:1-2). The primary means by which we show the world what God is like and give tangible proof of the Gospel’s power to save is through our love for one another. If we don’t love one another, we show that we don’t know and love God (1 John 4:7-21).

You see, to love each other is not enough. To love each other as family is what we are called to do. In community, we need to ask ourselves the question when we encounter a difficult person whom we want to run the other way from if they were family what would we do. If that person were your mom or dad, how would you love them through the situation. To think like this really changes everything.

What if you saw your brother of sister making a really dumb decision or straying from the Gospel per say. What would you do and say to that person because they are family and you love them. We need to be reminded that we are in God’s family and the same kind of love we show to our immediate family should also be expressed to others.

Doing life together is not just some nice statement of intent. It is raw, real, hard, messy, and at times exhausting - that's family, isn’t it? There are times when it's hard, messy, and raw.

Like the Father loves the Son, we are to love one another like family. Awesome!

Pastor Blair