Essay #1 I Wrote for Fuller Seminary

Five years ago God wrecked my life in a profound, beautiful, painful and amazing way. I was run out of the church where I was born and raised, where I encountered Jesus, where I thought I had a community who loved me unconditionally. I understood and obeyed as God was calling me to go to a secular university and major in religion – so I could hang out with those Jesus hung out with – people outside the walls of church. As they found out my desire was not to partake in a Christian university – I began to see a side of church I had only heard about before. Never did I think it would happen to me.

The church is full of imperfect people. I finally understood why non-Christians critiqued our communities. I finally understood why they liked Jesus but not the church. It broke my heart and I ran from community. I was afraid. I was hoping I could succeed in my discipleship with just my Bible and Jesus, as I finally saw the hypocrisy of church.

During the course of this journey, I was never okay with this notion. I knew a community of disciples journeying together was critical to my discipleship. By the grace of God, He never let me give into my desires and fears to run from community. Instead, He brought me to my community,RockHarbor. Over the course of my journey with this community, God has begun to speak and show me what the next leg of my discipleship entails – dream of planting a church.

Fittingly, as I was on this journey, so was my church. In 2010, I was a part of helping launch and plant a campus in Fullerton. In the past two years, being a part of this plant, I have seen God show up in ways we never could have dreamed. As we have dreamed of seeing it in Fullerton as it is in heaven, I have begun to see God’s unique gifting and calling for my life. I have begun to understand God has wired me in ways to not just dream of planting a unique expression of His kingdom – but to pursue this until He says no.

I am a part of a community who wants to make Jesus famous – while walking with a group of men and women who long to make each other better disciples. After seeing the ugly, painful side of church, I have finally seen how beautiful the church can be when a community gets it right.  As we go about this, we do not do it for our sake, but for our city’s sake because Jesus was in our city long before we got here. We just get to show our city where He is already at work. There is still so much to be done inside our city; the season is exciting; I am becoming a man who realizes his dependence on the work of Christ and power of the Holy Spirit.

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