Sunday, February 27, 2011

OneBody Charlotte Countdown: The Church Jesus is Building

I’m writing this a week from our first Citywide Celebration here in Charlotte.

The week ending has been one of new, wonderful, Kingdom connections. They happen for one reason: our mutual love for Jesus Christ and the overflow of His love in us unites our hearts. Yes, it is that simple. But our journey has not always been so simple. Past relationships have been marred by devotion to theology, vision, and leaders that transcended love for the Savior. We cannot claim innocence from these forms of idolatry.

We are now in a season with an uncanny sense of eternity. I may be na├»ve. But I do not believe these bonds of love will be broken so easily. Yes, our Father may reposition any one of us geographically for His Kingdom purposes. But in the circles connecting now I don’t expect to see wholesale alienation of brothers and sisters driven by carnal sectarianism. Time will tell.

People often ask me for church referrals. My answers today are completely different from 3 years ago. Back then I would have tried to get them into my church or church “family”. Now I ask them a question: “Irrespective of “church”, what relationships has the Lord given you? Who has he connected you to?” I now believe that is the real starting place for real Christian fellowship.

In Colossians 2, Paul tells us to walk in Him just as we have received Him. And he goes on in verses 16-19 to warn us not to let anyone judge us on several criteria: old covenant principles, extra-biblical experiences, and unreasonable and proud people prompted by a sensuous mind. (the latter has many religious forms) But the shot to the jugular comes next, “not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.”

The Church Jesus is building is rooted in EVERYONE “holding fast to the Head”. From there we are nourished and knit together through joints and ligaments… and we grow with a growth FROM GOD. . Forced relationships built merely on belief systems and loyalty to organizations just don’t cut it, and it is time we all stop allowing guilt and warped perspectives on “loyalty” to keep us simply functioning in futility.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

OneBody Charlotte: "that they may be one, even as we are one"

John 17:9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

John 17: 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

Just how seriously do we take Jesus' prayer in John 17?
I will confess that the answer for me for many years has been "not very".

Now, by His grace, I have a new and growing passion to see a manifestation of the oneness of Christ's body, the Church.

In response to Jesus' prayer and His Sovereign initiative, we are inviting our brothers and sisters to come together to BE the Church, a growing citywide expression of the Kingdom of God. I hope to see many of you in the coming months as we gather to our Resurrected Lord Jesus.

OneBody Charlotte

What is it?

OneBody Charlotte is an emerging citywide 'wineskin' for the church of Charlotte, NC . It is an event, and a process.

The Event
The event is a gathering for all followers of Jesus in greater Charlotte who are looking for the fulfilment of his prayer that "they all may be one" (Jn 17).

God is calling His people to embrace true kingdom values and to be the church, the true ecclesia, the one church of the city that is modeled for us in the New Testament.

One aspect of this is citywide gatherings around the person of Jesus.

They are a platform for apostolic teaching and for prophetic understanding of the reformational shifts currently occurring in the global church. Everyone is welcome.

Briar Creek Baptist Church at 1451 Briar Creek Road in Charlotte.
Saturday March 5th at 6pm

The Process
OneBody Charlotte is designed to catalyse a re-forming of the body of Christ across a whole city so that "they all may be one". However, for this to occur a revolution must come.

The church of the city is not just an aggregate of existing local churches. It is a re-shaping of mindsets, values, and structures to make way for a new post-denominational kingdom wineskin.
This is a war for the centrality of Christ in his church and the whole of creation.

The process is catholic in the true sense of the word but not ecumenical in the sense of organizing unity through existing church structures.
The Holy Spirit connects people relationally. One expression of this is through 'apostolic' missional teams functioning through flat relational leadership. They will possess the DNA for multiplication and mission.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It Is All About JESUS!

A post with this title may seem rather obvious, but if we are honest, the truth it conveys may not always be so unmistakenly apparent in us.

I remember early on in my accelerated faith journey that begin 3 years ago, I met a dear friend whose theme was "whatever I get involved with it has to be all about Jesus". These words would prove to be timely and prophetic as I transitioned from one "it" to another "it" of a different brand. At the end of my involvement with this church plant that later died, the Lord revealed to me that I had helped to construct yet another golden calf.

Now roughly 18 months into a ministry the Lord has called me into, another friend was faithful to share with passion THE TRUTH the Lord graciously used to recalibrate his walk. His friend listened to an audio book by Frank Viola that deeply impacted him. At the end of the book, the conclusion was nothing less than transformational. As my friend joyfully recounted this truth that JESUS must be our preeminent preoccupation and pursuit, the Lord reminded me of my time with Him that morning. I read the story of Peter and John's arrest for preaching the gospel. At the end of the chapter, despite a second warning to stop teaching in Jesus' name, Acts 5:42 records that "every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ."

As I listened to my friend, the Father also reminded me of a message Frank Viola shared right here in Charlotte in the Fall of 2009. It was essentially the same truth he communicated in the book. So on a sleepless morning at 4am I listened to that message again to advance this recalibration in my heart. Now minutes later, I'm sharing it with you again. (this was originally posted in 2009)

After listening, I would love to hear how the Lord speaks to you about shifting our focus away from "its" back onto Him.