Living Missional

When asked a question about the most important part of the law, Jesus responded not with belief but with action, “Love God with all your heart, understanding, and strength.  And, love your neighbor as you would love yourself.”

Therefore, how are you loving God and neighbor this week?

Choose Happy

In one of the lectionary readings this week, the Psalmist encourages us, “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night” (Psalm 1).

It is easy to give into the temptation of despair.  It is easy to conclude the darkness has overcome us.  It is easy to see the negative in everything.  It is easy to feel as though this world has beaten us down so much we just might not make the bell this round.  That would be tragic.

Life is filled with choices. There is no doubt life brings hard times, difficult circumstances, and dark days.  However, the choice remains in how we react to those moments.  Will we let our souls deflate?  Will we let our burdens drag us down?  Will we let the enemy win?  Or, will we choose to meditate on the law of the Lord, a law filled with grace, love, and hope.  God’s law gives us an alternative to choose.  We can choose hope.  We can choose happy.

Join with me today in making this choice.

Sermon: Why NorthHaven? Inclusivity

Matthew 11:28-30

‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

Introduction

His first name was Eugene.  I never knew his last name.  Didn’t really care to know, to be totally honest.  At Walter Reed Elementary School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the 1970‘s no one paid too much attention to Eugene.  Looking back, no one even really liked him.  He was a trouble maker.  He said the wrong things, acted in the wrong ways, participated in the wrong activities, and – God forbid – wore the wrong clothes.  He lived on the “other” side of the neighborhood, where absolutely nothing good happened.  At least, that is what we kids were told.

Eugene was never chosen at recess, never allowed to participate in after school shenanigans with other kids, never ever asked to come over to play by another.  He was an outcast and everyone knew it.  And because everyone knew it, we excluded him.  We demeaned him.  We bullied him.

Eugene wore that exclusion on his face.  He walked through the halls with his head down.  He spoke with a quiet voice that grew quieter over time.  He began to blend into the lockers with no one really caring if he was there or not.  It is quite sad and shameful thinking about it as an adult.  Now, I would love to stand here and tell you how your pastor exhibited kindness and generosity towards this outcast in his time of need, but that would be an outright lie.  Kids will be kids and cruelty is always cruelty.

Over the years, when I find myself in a large crowd, sometimes I spot Eugene walking in the distance.  I never know for sure, of course, so I just smile trying to find a little forgiveness in small gestures.  Eugene still crosses my mind these days, especially when I start thinking about topics like today’s.  I always wonder, what if one of these times it really is him in the crowd.  Would I approach him?  What would say?  How would I act?  What would I do?

What would you do if it were you?

Inclusivity: Is it really that important?

Why NorthHaven?  Why inclusivity?  Aren’t there other things more important than this utopian pipe-dream ?

Let me be crystal clear on this one…NO!

If I could point to one reason Jesus was crucified upon a cross, in my opinion, it was because of his theology and practice of inclusivity.  The religious and political leaders of his day hated it!  The poor needed to remain in their class system, the outcast needed to remain outside the doors of everything, and the open minded need to keep their dang mouths shut.  Of course, thank the Lord we do not have to deal with any of that these days, right?

Even though society thinks we have come a long way, the reality remains exclusivity is on the rise.  Now, it may not look nor sound as direct as it once did, it may not even be as in-your-face as it was years ago, but make no mistake about it, deep rooted exclusivity is lurking in the shadows and peaking out every now and again to raise its ugly head.

Exclusivity (A.K.A. – discrimination, oppression, and/or marginalization) has settled into a more subtle practice.  Even though the glass ceiling has been cracked, women still experience the sting of the gender gap.  Even though race should not be a factor in how we judge people, take a look inside the American prison system and try to convince me racism does not exist.  Even though the poor are better off than years gone by, try telling a poor mother who cannot get medicine for her sick child.  There are many more examples I could list, but the idea is that a theology and attitude of exclusivity is on the move throughout our society.

So, where is the church when it comes to throwing open our arms to all that are “weary and carrying heavy burdens?”  Where is the church in applying inclusivity to its policies, procedures, outreach, ministries, and mission endeavors?  Where is the church when it comes to welcoming those who have been burned by religious intolerance, ecclesiastical brutality, or clerical rigidity?  Unfortunately, the church at times is one of the most egregious perpetrator in some of these practices.

Thankfully, at NorthHaven, we attempt to practice a radical inclusivity which stresses the love of Christ over the rigidity of religion.  We believe in the mercy of God winning out over the judgmental-ism of humanity.  Furthermore, we firmly believe the church is a place where anyone should be offered the opportunity to fall into the healing arms of God’s grace.

Falling into the Grace of God

This seems to me exactly what Jesus was trying to state in our text this morning.  “Come to me…take my yoke upon you,” are invitations by our Lord for people to discover the radical love and grace of Jesus Christ.   Jesus was reaching out to people who were feeling very much excluded.  From political to religious influences, the common person was not invited nor welcome to the table.  Jesus not only invited them into his company, he dinned with them, he relaxed with them, he fellowship-ed with them, he taught them, and he loved them.

Tax collectors, prostitutes, foreigners, and other outcasts were the people Jesus seemed more at home with than any other.  Ever wondered why?  Most likely, Jesus knew what it was like to be on the outside of things.  Not only was he from the other side Israel’s tracks in Nazareth, we mustn’t ever forget about how his culture treated him as “a child of questionable birth.”  On this side of the story we all know Jesus’ father, but the people in his day did not understand.  As far as they were concerned, Jesus was a child born out of wedlock and those kind of children had it rough.

Jesus knew from an early age what it meant to be excluded.  He knew from an early age the pain of being left out, not chosen, ignored because of something you could not control.  He heard the name calling.  He heard the “harmless” jabs people would make in his presence.  He overheard the sweeping generalizations and condemnations about him and his family.  So, make no mistake about it, Jesus knew the sting of exclusivity.

It is no wonder he practiced a radical inclusivity and encouraged his disciples to follow his lead…

Falling into the Grace of God’s Congregation

The church of Jesus Christ should always remains a healing place for those who are sick, those who are tired, and those who are lonely.  The church should always be a place where the weary can lay their head, the hungry can fill their stomachs, and the parched can quench their thirst.   The church should be a place where anyone can find sanctuary and residence, as they fall and keep falling into God’s grace.

Unfortunately, at times, the church has emphasized its exclusivity over that of being an open place for weary travelers.  Through doctrinal declarations and outright meanness, the church has often acted more like the world than the Lord we claim to follow.  As weary travelers consider knocking on the our doors, they do so with skeptical taps.  Why?  Because the church has gotten to be so unbearably noisy when it comes to their condemnation of the world, weary travelers feel as though the vacancy sign inside the church has been turned off.  There is no space for them in the inn.  They are not welcomed, nor are they really wanted.

It is for this reason, I am proud to be part of a congregation that throws open our doors to any weary traveler, to any parched soul, to any struggling individual, to any quizzical mind, and to any lonely person looking for a place to call home.

You are welcome.  You are God’s child.  You are loved.

NorthHaven is an inclusive community which seeks to be a haven for those who need the healing balm of a divine touch and a human embrace.  Therefore, let’s define what being an inclusive congregation means, but before we explore what inclusivity means, let’s make sure we understand what it is not.

Inclusivity: What it is not…

First, inclusivity does not mean the void of exclusivity.  From the moment the rich young ruler asked Jesus what he had to do to inherit enteral life and rejected that offer, there has always been an element of exclusivity.  This element is based on if you call yourself a Christian.  If so, then you should believe that Jesus was God’s Messiah, following his teachings, and place your faith in him.

Now, this is quite simple…

To be called a Christian one must profess Christ as Lord.

To be called a disciple of Christ one must enter the baptismal waters.

Christian exclusivity simply means there are distinguishing marks for Christians.

However, exclusivity should never be used to ostracize, marginalize, or demean.  While exclusivity has always been a part of the Christian tradition, it should never be used to isolate, to hate, or to kill.  Unfortunately, history and current events demonstrate it has been used in all three of those instances.

Second, inclusivity does not mean the absence of doctrine.  As insightful Christians, we posses a mind that forms thoughts and conclusions about God and his ways.  These thoughts and conclusions establish the doctrines and principles that guide our faith and practice.  Practicing inclusivity does not mean everyone gets to believe and act as they see fit.  Everyone has a responsibility to God and to each other to read the Scriptures, interpret them with a free conscience, and practice their conclusions within the realm of a Christian community.

Our doctrines define us, but they should not be used as harmful or hateful daggers to demean or destroy others.

Third, inclusivity does not mean the lack of a moral compass.  Those who are critical of churches practicing radical inclusivity argue the lack of a moral compass.  This means, of course, they contend churches like ours let people act without any boundaries.  Critics contend we never speak out against the moral decay of the world nor condemn behaviors contrary to their interpretations of Scripture.

Granted, to some extent they are right, but may it never be said we do not stand up for God’s justice in this world.  The problem our critics have with us is not that we lack a moral compass, but rather it is not stuck in the same direction as theirs.

So, what is radical inclusivity and why do we practice it at NorthHaven?

Inclusivity: What it is…

First, inclusivity means a willingness to embrace.  Jesus continuous selfless actions demonstrated for his followers the importance of including others into God’s mission.  Through his willing to embrace, even the most sketchiest of characters, Jesus practiced a radical love that could only come from his Father.

We must learn from this example.  If we are not willing to embrace the others in our lives, then we will never ascend to the kind of inclusivity Jesus practiced.  We must eliminate the barriers in our attitudes and actions that prevent this practice.  Barriers such as the gender gap, the race gap, the socio-economic gap, the political gap, and the religious gap, bar us from including others in our lives and in our faiths.

Think how rich our lives would be with other perspectives, other experiences, and other cultures teaching us.  We do not have to agree on every point of theology, politics, economics, or what ice cream is the best, but we should be willing to embrace in hopes to include others in our lives.  We share a common humanity seeking a common purpose…to live freely in order to live righteously.  If we fail in our willingness to embrace, then all else succumbs to the tragedy of Rich Young Ruler…the tragic failure to try.

Second, inclusivity means the motivation to engage.  After concluding we have a willingness to embrace, then we must engage other people in our lives.  In Matthew, Jesus expressed his willingness to embrace, but he clearly went a step further.  He sought to engage people.  Now, here is where the Apostle James helps us, suggesting faith without works is dead.

How many churches in the world provide piles and piles of “words” without ever providing one ounce of service?  How many people of faith talk and talk about making a difference, but never roll up there sleeves to get dirty in the mission fields of life?  How many people talk about wanting their churches to grow, but never invite a friend to worship alongside them?  Having a willingness to be inclusive is a good first step, but it is never the last step.

Third, inclusivity means living to love as God loves.  “For God so love the world, he gave his only Son,” are the words people cite.  Think about that for just a moment, will you?  The verse does not say, “For God so loved only the few…only the ones who interpret the Bible like me…only the ones who vote for the right party…only the ones who give the most to the offering plate…only the ones who attend church the most often.”  No, the verse simply and unequivocally says, “For God so loved the world.”

Why in God’s name can’t we not understand this simple truth?  Why can’t we see the world as God sees it?  Why can’t we exhibit the same grace as God exhibits towards us?  Why can’t we demonstrate the same kindness as Jesus demonstrated towards others?  Why can’t we love the same way God loves?

For anyone to embrace this notion of radical inclusivity and apply it to their lives, we must learn to follow in the footsteps of our Lord.  We must learn to set aside our biases, lay down our stereotypes, and destroy our preconceived notions.  We must learn to include others in our lives, because that is exactly what Jesus did in his life while he walked the earth and continues to do in his resurrected existence.

We must learn to reach out, embrace others, and love them as Jesus would love them.

Conclusion

Watching television one night and tinkering on a social media sight, I could not believe my eyes when his name popped up on my screen.  With one click, I saw a face staring back at me that was unmistakable.  The memories followed.  The jokes.  The laughs at his expense.  The exclusion he must have felt because of our actions.

It was Eugene all right.

For some reason, Facebook’s notorious “friend” question seemed uncomfortably different this time, as though it mocked me for even thinking about clicking it.

My mouse hovered over the “friend” button for a few minutes.  Frozen, I tried to decide if I had the guts to offer an invitation to a person I had once excluded.  I mean really, would he even accept my invitation?  Would he exclude me?  He had every right, I knew.

I closed my eyes for a second and thought, “Should I take the risk and click the word ‘friend?’”

What will you do when someone different or new comes across your path?

Will you “friend” them?

Amen.

Sermon Addendum:

For those attending church when I preached this sermon, I know many of you wondered what I did regarding Eugene.  First of all, please know I changed his name to protect his identity.  Second, the reason I did this for the sermon is because I did click the button.  He accepted my friend request and we have exchanged some emails.  He is currently living in another state, married, and has two children.

Chaotic Moments and Peace Prayer

There are moments in time when chaos surrounds us.

There are moments in time when it seems as though chaos is winning.

There are moments in time when it appears chaos has taken over.

There are moments in time when we need to be reminded chaos can cease, with one breath from the Prince of Peace.

Pray for peace….

Mistaken Identity

While the world changed on September 11th, 2001, my world changed the following day on September 12th.  Stopping by a local coffee shop on my way into work, I was getting back into my car when a large truck slammed on his breaks blocking my car.  He rolled down his window, offered an offensive gesture, and sped away before I understood what was happening.

Quickly, I thought to myself, “What had I done?  Did I cut him off in traffic?  No, I had been in the coffee shop for the last fifteen minutes.  Was he in the coffee shop?  Did I take his coffee by mistake?  No, I remember him pulling into the parking lot from the street.  What in the world was going on?”  Then, like a ton of bricks, it hit me.  My brown hair.  My brown eyes.  My dark skin.  He assumed I was of Arab descent.  He assumed I was Muslim.  He assumed I was approving of the tragedy of the previous day.

Immediately, I began to feel outrage.  How could someone make such sweeping speculations?  How could someone be so obtuse to think just because of my skin color and features I somehow was supportive of terrorism?  How could I not see that this kind of attitude and ideology was all around me?  How could I not see that at times I was guilty of making those same sweeping speculations?

Indeed, the world changed on September 11th, 2001, but my world changed at that moment.  May we never assume and speculate about someone by the color of their skin, the religion they practice, or the name they are called.  When we begin to make these assumptions, be prepared, because there is always someone else willing to make an assumption about you.

Remembrance Prayer 9/11

Dear Lord,

May your grace shine down upon the dark memories of this day,

May your compassion surround those who shed tears,

May your strength engulf those who are still weak,

And may your peace descend upon the troubled soul.

Your children gather beneath your wings,

Seeking solace within a troubled world,

Seeking wisdom in the midst of confusion,

And seeking shelter from the evil of the day.

The offspring of Abraham search for hope,

The children of Isaac see your star,

The children of Ishmael see your crescent moon,

And the children of Jesus see your empty tomb.

On this day of remembrance we call on you,

We weep for the loss,

We reflect on the tragedy,

But we hope for the future.

Amen.

Why NorthHaven? Freedom

Romans 8:18-25

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Not long ago, I was having coffee with a couple who described their past church experience.  This couple was very active in their church.  They served on committees, taught Sunday School, and she sang in the choir.  They began by telling about how a new, young pastor had been called to their previous church.  At first, it was really exciting because they thought his youthfulness and creativity would breathe a fresh spirit into the soul of the congregation.

He spoke of outreach and growth.

He spoke of the declining morality of the world.

He spoke of an ecclesiastical responsibility to tell the world of their sin.

And, he spoke of an elected body of believers empowered for the mission.

It all sounded very appealing to this couple, until they started to notice the pastor’s words morphed into something more stringent, more rigid, more restricting.  In one sermon, the young pastor spoke about the decline of morality.  It started off very good, but then he began to identify by name those he believed were promoting a secular or worldly agenda.  The notion he was making was clear to the couple, “these people” were against the Gospel.  There was problem for the couple though.  The public names the pastor was identifying were people they admired and supported.

Nevertheless, they felt like the pastor had a right to his opinion as long as they were not forced to believe likewise.  Surely, they could keep their opinions and consciences clear, as well as enjoy the fellowship of their friends.  Pastors were always making bold statements were they not?  Their pastor was young, they thought, he would most certainly mature over time.  They were sure the deacons would help him out.

In another sermon, the young pastor preached from Matthew 13:18-23, the parable about the wheat and tares.  He spoke how God had planted good bible-believing Christians in the church who were being blessed and empowered by God to do his work.  Unfortunately though, the enemy was afoot planting tares among them.  Like the opposing people he mentioned in the other sermon, he began pointing out there were people within the congregation who were not totally on board with God’s direction the pastor was taking the church.  These people needed to either get on board or get out.  God would surely want them gone so his work could be completed.  For some strange reason, the couple could not shake the feeling the pastor was talking about them and others like them.

Surely not though?  Surely they misunderstood his intention?  Surely he was talking about someone else in the church?

The final straw came when a document landed in their mailbox addressed to Sunday School teachers (for which the husband was one).  The letter was from the pastor suggesting he had been informed that certain Sunday School classes were discussing issues directly opposed to Scripture.  He even cited a few: the heresy of egalitarian views in the home and church, pastoral authority on matters of faith over congregational authority, and the myth there should be a separation between the church and the state.  The letter stated that if anyone was going to teach Sunday School at the church, they had to sign this document declaring their commitment to the church and it’s teaching as adopted by their denominational statement of faith.

The couple, as you can imagine, was appalled.  They realized their church was no longer their church.  It had changed.  People were no longer free to interpret the Scriptures or to practice their faith as their consciences dictated.  They were being asked to give up their freedom and submit to a rigid and narrow interpretation of the Christian faith.

The couple looked at me after telling their story, took a sip of their coffee, then  asked, “Why NorthHaven?  What will we experience at your church, pastor?”

There are moments in my ministry when the pastoral tongue takes over, unleashing a litany of over-religious, over-spiritual, and over-pious language.  I know, we preachers can be wordy.  We can launch into “preacher-speak”  faster than Jesus turned water into wine.

However, after hearing the couple’s story and question, the Holy Spirit must have taken over my mind because I simply said, “Freedom.”

Biblical Foundation for Freedom

From the beginning of the biblical narrative, we are introduced to this radical idea of freedom.  When Yahweh God creates humanity, he chooses not to clone us into subservient slaves forced to worship, serve, and love him.  In fact, Yahweh does quite the opposite.  The man and woman in Genesis are given the ability to freely roam and to freely choose.  There are guidelines, restrictions, and consequences for their choices, but their freedom is never jeopardized.

Why would God do such a thing?  Wouldn’t it have been easier to make us worship him?  Wouldn’t it have been easier to hardwire us into doing as he wants?  Wouldn’t it have been much simpler for everyone if we just believed the same thing, felt the same feelings, and loved in the same way?

But I guess that was the point when God gave us free will.  To have the potential to love, we must have the potential to reject.  In other words, without free will there would be no love at all.  Love would be a forced venture.  While we might have escaped the heartache of loss, rejection, and betrayal, we would have lost the excitement of a first encounter, the hope of bonded relationship, and the joy of knowing you’re loved.

The Old Testament is filled with both the heartaches and redemptive works of freedom.  The people of Israel demonstrated their freedom through poor choices, but continued experiencing God’s grace and love as they freely repented and returned to his ways.  In the words of the prophet Isaiah, God has come to “set the prisoners free.”

Often, we become so afraid of freedom we attempt to shackle ourselves to comfortable ideas about God that make us feel safe.  Writing to James Madison in 1787, Thomas Jefferson penned these words, “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery” (PTJ, 11:92-93).  Jefferson words should echo in our ears.

God knew freedom would be a dangerous endeavor, but an endeavor worth taking.  Freedom opens the mind and soul to explore the depths of God that brings exciting revelations and miraculous wonderment.  Indeed, the freedom-road is a dangerous trek but, anything worth value has a struggle to obtain it.

Similar to the Old Testament’s meta-narrative about God’s freedom let loose on the world, the New Testament is a more precise indication placing Jesus as the embodiment of God’s work to loosen the shackles of sin allowing us to fall into the freedom of God’s salvation.  In John 8, Jesus declared, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains in the house forever.  So if the son makes you free, you will be freed indeed.”

Paul: To Be Free or Die

The Apostle Paul picks up on this idea in Romans, stating that within creation itself freedom was born at the beginning.  The world felt birthing pains.  It was ready to burst forth with life, freedom, and the hope of God.  Like the beginning, We suffer from our own birthing pains.  Because we are subject to sin we suffer, waiting for God’s salvation and freedom to burst out from within us.

In other words, we were created and we were born free.  It is in our spiritual DNA, put there by the Creator himself.  Unfortunately, however, with our own sin and selfishness we attempt to place restrictions upon this freedom.  For Jesus, he fought with religious leaders about the rigid system of piety promoted within his time.  Their restrictions were so harsh that it was like placing another “yoke of slavery” around the people’s necks.

It would be like demanding that everyone believe the way I believe and practice faith like I practice it.  It would be like demanding that everyone sign a document placing their loyalty to a piece a paper over that of a relationship with Christ.  It would be like arguing that individual interruptions of the Bible are infallible and all other perspectives are incorrect.

To this I declare, forevermore, like that of Patrick Henry, “Give me Liberty (freedom) or give me death!”

With puzzled looks, the couple at the coffee house asked, “Pastor what do you mean?  Freedom?”

With the door now open, I began to explain…

Freedom at NorthHaven

At NorthHaven we are free to love.  Love is always a choice.  We work hard to create an atmosphere where individual Christians can fall in love with God  and learn to love others as they would love themselves.

Based on the Greatest Commandments, we believe a vertical love of God and a horizontal love for others can never be coerced or demanded.  We must remain free to love and to experience the wonderment of God’s love.  Yes, it means we might get hurt by others.  Yes, it means taking a risk to totally depend upon God.  Yet, in the end, it will be worth every ounce of effort we put into it.

At NorthHaven we are free to worship.  We do not believe in a coerced worship experience which uses manipulation to garner responses.  We do not use oppressive guilt to move people into worshipping God.  We do not pound you over the head in an attempt to pull a decision out of you.  Our worship is a freeing experience empowering worshippers to meet God in a unique and intimate way.

Our services and thematic material are prayed over by our staff and worship teams.  We use outside resources to assist us in creating an atmosphere for worship, but we depend upon the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us.  We are free to worship as the Spirit guides and directs, attempting to remove all barriers between the worshipper and our Lord.

At NorthHaven we are free to practice our faith.  Built upon the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, NorthHaven holds to the idea that God relates to each individual in a unique and profound way.  Every believer posses the ability to interpret the Scriptures and apply them to their practice of faith as their conscience dictates.

Now, does this mean you can believe anything you want?  Yes, and no.  Yes, everyone possesses the freedom to believe anything they want.  However, to be part of NorthHaven there are at least two requirements.  First, you must profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  We are professing Christians and believe strongly in the person of Jesus, his ministry, his salvific act upon a cross, and his resurrection three days following.

Second, we believe that disciples of Jesus begin their journeys at their baptisms.  While the act of baptism is not salvific in nature, it is a symbol of the salvific act one receives when making a decision to follow Jesus.  And, at NorthHaven, we practice baptism with a whole lot of water even though we do not require re-baptism from any other Christian tradition.

As disciples of Jesus, and wet behind the ears, we commit ourselves to a lifetime of learning.  None of us claim to know it all.  None of us believe we have arrived and possess all the right answers about God.  We read the Scriptures, hold convictions, and apply those convictions to our practice of faith.  However, we all realize we are fallible beings capable of getting it wrong or making a mistake.  But through it all, we remain free to believe and to serve.

At Northhaven we are free to serve.  If the idea of freedom is one of the great pillars on which NorthHaven stands, then serving others in a missional way is the second.  Now, I am going to be saying a whole lot more about this in two weeks, but know this about how we encourage our members to serve.  Every NorthHaven member is free to serve God and to serve others.  Through missional practices and ministry opportunities, everyone has the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get to work making a difference in the world.

Conclusion:

It was with that comment the eyebrows of the couple sitting in front of me at the coffee house raised just a bit.  They sat back in their chairs, took a sip of coffee again, and contemplated everything I had just told them.

Then, they responded, “That’s what we want to do.  We want to be free in order to make a difference.  We want to be free to explore our faith, grow deeper in our understanding of God, and live out his message making a real difference in this world.  You can’t do that with chains around your mind, heart, and wrists.”

Why NorthHaven?

To be free of death, in order to live.

To be free of sin, in order to live righteously.

To be free of rigid constraints, in order to fall deeper in love with God.

To be free of legalism, in order to discover new aspects of God.

To be free to limitations, in order to leap in missional opportunities that make a real difference in this community and the world.

Why NorthHaven?

If you want to soar as free as an eagle in the sky, come join us, for the winds of the Holy Spirit are gusting and we are about to take flight.

Amen.

Crazy Mondays

Only a quick word on this Monday…

Mondays are crazy, which leaves me wishing for Saturday lazy.

But on to Tuesday with hope to thrive, only if Monday I survive.

Happy Monday everyone!

Welcome to NorthHaven’s New Blog

Welcome,

New and exciting things are happening at NorthHaven Church!

Along with the launch of our new website, we will be launching a new blog.  This blog will contain insights from the NorthHaven staff, church members, and an occasional guest writer.  We are truly excited about the new website and blog and hope you will frequent them as often as possible.

If you are currently looking for place to worship and serve, we invite you to come join us this Sunday.  Our Bible Study begins at 9:00 AM with our worship following at 10:30 AM.  We are located on the Northwest Side of Norman at 4600 36th Ave. NW.

We would love to see you!

Blessings,

Mitch