Togetherness is Better-ness

better together

– cody vermillion

So, I know we say this a lot, but we at uncommon [good] believe deep in our bones that gathering in community is one of the best ways to experience the love, power, and presence of God. That’s why we are so crazy about community. And really, this is nothing new. Since the beginning, the movement we call Christianity wasn’t meant to be a solo mission.

Let me paint you a picture of the early Church found in Acts Chapter 2. In those days, followers of Jesus were getting together ALL THE TIME. Like every day. They were doing crazy, counter-cultural stuff like, loving their enemies, selling possessions to meet needs in the community, and breaking bread together with “glad and sincere hearts.” And through that, this movement grew at an insane rate. #SquadGoals, right?

And why did this movement take off the way it did? [Besides the power of God at work, of course]. Because, the world around them looked in and saw something uncommon… A community that loved each other, and embraced anyone and everyone. This, by the way, is exactly what Jesus predicted when He gave the command, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35.

That! That is why we are so hyped on community. That is why we party together. That is why, ultimately, we want to create space FOR community. And that is also why we want to invite you to join an Uncommon Small Group…

JOIN A SMALL GROUP

 

the starting point

Small groups start NEXT WEEK! Woohoo!!

And it’s not too late to join…

For our first small group season, we will be going through a series called Starting Point from Andy Stanley discussing the “starting points” of faith.

Imagine that 😉

Here’s a little descriptor from their materials to get you excited:

Everything has a beginning. Every person, every idea, every journey starts somewhere. Whether it’s one small step in a new direction or a major event, from that point forward nothing is ever the same.

It’s not always comfortable. It’s not always easy. But it’s a start.

Excited yet?
Cause we are!

And if that’s not enough to get you pumped, check out this vid from Ryan and Dawn…

WATCH THIS

 

the schedule

Uncommon small groups are gonna be… uncommon. They will be on Wednesday nights (unless there’s a group that needs to meet on another night) and there is going to be a rhythm to the six weeks that will seem new to some. But we think it will especially allow families to get the most out of the content without breaking the bank with baby-sitters every week.

Check this sched…

May 23rd – Families all together

May 30th – Couples (you’ll need a sitter for this week)

June 6th – Just the Dudes

June 13th – Just the Gals

June 20th – Couples (will need sitter)

June 27th – Families all together/Wednesdays at the Park launch

Cool huh? You’ll see more about this in the coming weeks. But if you’re interested in small groups, NOW is the time to sign up. Just clickety-click the button below to sign up!

JOIN A SMALL GROUP

 

wine & words

We’re so excited to invite you to the next adventure with uncommon [good]… A night of wine & words called:

you have heard it said…
[reclaiming] truths about faith, Jesus, and being Human.
June 3rd, 6:30 PM

We have been feeling God speaking in huge ways to us as we prepare for this event. It is going to be a [good] time of community and conversation that will go very nicely with your wine and charcuterie!

 

RSVP here and we’ll see you there!

RSVP

 

 

YOU ARE LOVED!

 

 

Wine and Adventure

Friends…

Seis de Mayo was AMAZING!!!

We’re so thankful that so many people came out to Lake Poway all for the purpose of enjoying fun and community! The mixture of tacos and Rumba Cha Cha was the perfect cocktail for a hot Sunday afternoon, right?

After the party, we were asked by our mentor (in classic mentor status) “What was the purpose for the event?” — It was initially scary – almost like your dad asking, “Now why did you think this was a good idea?” (after you did something).

But we recovered quickly because we knew our purpose (and our mentor shared our enthusiasm for it):

We wanted to create a space for people to experience joy in community. We wanted to create a moment in time where everyone felt that they belonged. We wanted to create a shared experience of people leaning into life – and we had a ridiculously good time in the process!

We pray that’s what all of you deeply felt… joy, belonging, and great community. We believe that was all a great gift from God!

STAY TUNED… A video of the goodness will be coming out in the near future!

You can check out some of what we captured on our Facebook page

In the mean time, read below because we are REALLY excited about small groups and our upcoming Wine&Words event, “You Have Heard It Said”…

Uncommon [small groups]

All of us are on a journey in our faith. Sometimes that journey feels like a grand adventure, and sometimes it feels like wandering in the wilderness. And what we’ve come to know is that – no matter where you find yourself on the journey – having people with you on the path makes all the difference. People who know you, love you, and can enter the adventure or the wandering with you. Read on to see what we will be covering…

For our first small group season, we will be going through a series called Starting Point from Andy Stanley discussing the “starting points” of faith.

Imagine that 😉

Here’s a little descriptor from their materials to get you excited:

Everything has a beginning. Every person, every idea, every journey starts somewhere. Whether it’s one small step in a new direction or a major event, from that point forward nothing is ever the same.

It’s not always comfortable. It’s not always easy. But it’s a start.

Excited yet?
Cause we are!

the schedule

Uncommon small groups are gonna be… uncommon. They will be on Wednesday nights (unless there’s a group that needs to meet on another night) and there is going to be a rhythm to the six weeks that will seem new to some. But we think it will especially allow families to get the most out of the content without breaking the bank with baby-sitters every week.

Check this sched…

May 23rd – Families all together

May 30th – Couples (you’ll need a sitter for this week)

June 6th – Just the Dudes

June 13th – Just the Gals

June 20th – Couples (will need sitter)

June 27th – Families all together/Wednesdays at the Park launch

Cool huh? You’ll see more about this in the coming weeks. But if you’re interested in small groups, NOW is the time to sign up. Just clickety-click the button below to sign up!

JOIN A SMALL GROUP

 

wine & words

We’re so excited to invite you to the next adventure with uncommon [good]… A night of wine & words called:

you have heard it said…
[reclaiming] truths about faith, Jesus, and being Human.
June 3rd, 6:30 PM

Often, Jesus said things like, “you have heard it said… but I tell you…”, right before He turned a commonly held idea upside down.

Faith. Community. Religion. Spirituality. Worship. Church.

For many of us, these words come loaded with certain ideas and maybe even some baggage. In some ways, these words and ideas have lost their true meaning.

We think it’s time to reclaim them…

So let’s have a convesation together. And since everything is better with wine and charcuterie, let’s do it at Espinosa Winery.

RSVP here and we’ll see you there!

RSVP

 

You are loved and valued!

Your uncommon [team]

 

 

Chasing Mice

the chase

– brad lichtman

Let’s start with a hat tip to Cody.
He, after all was the inspiration for this inspiration.

This last week, Cody shared about an unwanted adventure… Now, imagine an exhausted but determined 30 something dad of 2 chasing a mouse around at 1AM while trying desperately not wake his family. It’s funny on so many levels! And it got me thinking about the nature of both mice and chasing.

When I got over laughing at the image of Cody’s nocturnal hunting adventure, I couldn’t help but think about how this image captures the way we often live our lives: chasing after all sorts of things. Even desperately. Often in a kind of semi-darkened, half-asleep state. All the while wondering why the dang things are so hard to nail down.

We see this even in our spiritual lives. As the world looks to the Church to discover what it means to be followers of Jesus – we often find Christians spending a whole lot of time and energy chasing relatively small distinctions around in the dark. Wouldn’t it be better if we brought things into the light of day and asked what we’re really supposed to be chasing?

This reminds me of Dawn and her refrain that we should always major on the majors.

When you get down to it, there are only two things to chase after – if chasing is even the right word. And they are really just two sides of the same coin: Love God and love others… with everything we have. Now, this is really hard to do. Which may explain why so many of us ignore them and choose to go chasing after all the little things. We become so consumed by all the things that matter very little that we miss the BIG things God is calling us to.

What if we just stopped chasing?

What if we just freely admitted that loving God and others with all we have is near impossible? What if we admitted that we need help? What if we finally realized that the help we need is the exact thing that Jesus wants to offer us. What if we realized that this was only possible through relationship with Him – not through religion? What if we received that help and for once just saturated ourselves in the truth that Jesus wants to be in a relationship with us – messy, broken and exactly as we are?

Okay – now take a breath cause that’s a lot of “what-if’s” But I have one more (and this is sort of the crux of the matter):

What if we really choose to love people – family, friends, co-workers and complete strangers – the way that Jesus loves us: messy, beautiful, broken and exactly as we are? If we major on love, this crazy thing might actually happen. We might actually begin to be people who point others towards true community – towards true belonging.

May we the people of Uncommon [good] set about this kind of work, trying to major on the majors, seeking conversations about what that’s all about. That’s exciting, to say the least! And we look forward to joining with you on the journey.

the party

At Uncommon [good] we believe in the sacrament of PARTY. Because sometimes Jesus taught people, and sometimes… he brought the wine and had a party.

Many of you got a taste of this Uncommon [community] back in March and we can’t wait to gather everyone again for Seis De Mayo – this time at Lake Poway! There’s gonna be a taco bar, general shenanigans, uncommon merch, and the musical stylings to Rhumba Cha Cha! This will be a fun party, friends!

So once again we are asking our Uncommon [community] to make this party happen for all those in search of community – in search of belonging – in search of life!

Recently, we were humbled to have someone cover the cost of the food for this event!! That’s so huge!

But there’s still more costs and we’d love your help to cover them.

If everyone reading this would contribute at least $20 we would cover the cost of Seis de Mayo for all those who are going to show up for the fun.

Will you be a part of this with us? Click the button below to contribute.

And start thinking about who you want to invite!

Help Make It Happen

 

And don’t forget to RSVP!

Just cha cha on over to our eventbrite page and sign up…

RSVP

 

You are loved and valued!

your uncommon [team]

 

 

Courage and Party

the courage

– dawn neldon

I’ve recently been ruminating on adventure and courage. Partly because I think about adventure a lot and partly because a team of us went to Catalyst West last week where we heard the best in the biz speak for two days on being “Of Good Courage.”

I believe that each of us are born with a sense of adventure and a desire to live our most courageous lives. We dare to believe this audacious dream that although we are the most regular of regulars (in fact the most unimaginably messy, regulars) we could actually do something great. Something bigger than the sum of our parts.

And while that dream lives deep in the chest of each one of us we have for one reason or another allowed life to convince us that this is impossible or reckless or at the very least improbable. We’ve come to believe that it would be easier and more certain to settle for safe and careful and as a result we have given up on our dreams of adventure and courage.

But we at Uncommon [good] say no. We echo the author of Hebrews when he declared “We do not belong to a people who shrink back and are destroyed but to those who have faith and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39). We belong to a people of good courage.

Fear whispers to us that we aren’t enough, that we’ll probably fail, that there are others better and more qualified for the adventure ahead. And you know what fear can be real persistent, can’t it? So persistent in fact that we can begin to believe that fear is right.

And here’s what you need to know today: courage is not living life without fear. I think that some of us look at those who act courageously and assume that they have it easier. That they have it together. That they have some quality we’re lacking. That they don’t struggle with the hiss of fear. The one that tells you that you won’t make it and you’re not enough. But it’s not true.

Some of you need to hear this today: courage is living in spite of fear. It’s staring fear in the face and saying, “you are a liar and you will not defeat me.” It’s leaning forward into life determined to follow the adventure that God has laid out. Don’t you see? The only failure here is missing the opportunity to lean fully in to what God is calling you towards.

So lean forward, stumbling and unbalanced as it may feel at first. Because we belong to a people who are of Good Courage. We will not shrink back. And the victory will not be because we are amazing and unstoppable but because we serve an amazing unstoppable God.

And if you want some more inspiration on the topic of courage, check out our very own Brad Lichtman’s reflection on his blog:

Brad On Courage

 

the party

We are beyond excited to invite you to our upcoming Taste of Community – Seis de Mayo [that’s 6th of may for you non-spanish speakers]. At Uncommon [good] we believe in the sacrament of PARTY. We believe that sometimes Jesus taught people and sometimes he brought the wine and had a party.

Many of you got a taste of this Uncommon [community] back in march and we can’t wait to gather everyone again – this time at Lake Poway! We will have a taco bar, general shenanigans and the musical stylings to Rhumba Cha Cha!

We the people of Uncommon [good] want to be known for throwing great parties in our communities. We want to be known as a place that is having so much fun – a place so filled with life that regardless what you believe – you want to be a part of what’s happening!

So once again we are asking our Uncommon [community] to make this party happen for our community! Which means you get to invite your friends to an amazing, [free] party being thrown in their honor!

In march we had 200 people show up in the rain to experience the sacrament of Uncommon [party]. This time we are anticipating even more! If everyone reading this would contribute at least $20 we would cover the cost of Seis de Mayo for all those who are going to show up in search of community – in search of belonging – in search of life! Will you be a part of this with us? Click the button below to contribute.

And start thinking about who you want to invite!

Help Make It Happen

 

And don’t forget to RSVP!

Just cha cha on over to our eventbrite page and sign up…

RSVP

 

oh, and heads up…

You may have seen our email last week about our teaching event,
You Have Heard It Said.

Well, we have moved this event to June 3rd!

We hope you can make it to this AND Seis De Mayo! 🙂

you have heard it said
[reclaiming] truths about faith, Jesus, and being human.
Sunday, June 3rd @ 6:30 PM, Espinosa Winery
$20/person, wine and appetizers included.

Click the button to RSVP and see all the deets of the event!

RSVP

 

You are loved and valued!

your uncommon [team]

 

 

Pickles and Community

the pickles

WARNING:
For those that dislike pickles, please read the following with an open mind
#awarningineverimaginedhavingtowrite

– ryan james ross

Our Uncommon [good] team sat down this last week to share some of our favorite sections from a book we’ve been reading together — The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith.

With coffee and books in hand, we went around the room and shared deep things about balancing time, family, and our spiritual lives. We talked about how to remain connected with God and loved ones when busyness seems to rule our days. We shared about the real struggle of trying to slow down and create space to be with God amidst screaming kids and trying not to just fall asleep when you actually create a quiet time and place.

It was such a good conversation.

But then, Cody shared.

“You guys, (dramatic pause for gravitas), I have to share the most impacting sentence in this whole book with you.”  Glasses on, book open to the magic page, he looked at us and then began to read very slowly and clearly…

“To make a pickle we first need to get a cucumber. Then we need to create the brine and vinegar solution for soaking the cucumber.”

Yeah, that was it. And no, he wasn’t joking because I think each one of us awkwardly waited a moment to see if he was going to smirk and laugh about his dramatic pickle reading, but he was serious.

Cody then explained his epiphany, and it wasn’t about the pickle.

“See, we need to create the brine we soak in.”

“We need to create the environment and the community that transforms us.”

Here’s where some more context will help Cody’s meaningful point.

The book was talking about what gets someone to actually be transformed by their time with God in scripture, prayer, reading, or even walking out in nature. What does it actually take to grow as a follower of Jesus? We know it takes more than a disciplined 10 minute reading a day or a routine (albeit rushed) prayer. The book was liking real spiritual transformation to the journey of cucumber to pickle.

“Making pickles is an apt analogy to the way we grow as disciples. To make a pickle we first need to get a cucumber. Then we need to create the brine and vinegar solution for soaking the cucumber. If we dip the cucumber in the solution and quickly remove it, all we have is a baptized cucumber. In order for it to become a pickle, it needs to soak in the brine for six weeks or so. Slowly, imperceptibly, the solution works its way into the cucumber, changing it to a pickle.”

The environment and the community that we soak in transforms us over time.

It is good – no… vitally important to life – to pause and ask what kind of brine we’re soaking in.

What do we read? Who do we spend our time with? What do we listen to and watch?

The way we fill our quickly passing days shapes the long journey of our lives.

The spiritual journey takes time in [good] brine. Change is not fast; it’s years of good input and good environment that grows us over time. It’s years of time with God in scripture, reflection and prayer that morphs us into the best version of ourselves that He created us to be. It’s being in good community that aims to walk together to live out love and faith… even amidst the busy days, hyper kids, dirty dishes, and future dreams. We are powerfully shaped by those we do life with. It is good to walk with those you’d like to become like – there are many passages in scripture that share this important message about community [brine].

So, this week, no matter how busy things are…

assess and perhaps re-create the solution you’re soaking your life in…

because we’re all becoming something,

and clearly, there are worse things than becoming a fabulous pickle.

[Pickle haters – thanks for hanging in there.]

 

save the date

On Sunday, May 6th @ 3:30 PM we will be having our second taste of community event at the Lake Poway Pavilion.

We’re calling it: [seis] de mayo, cause we’re clever like that…and everything was already booked for cinco de mayo, so we improvised. 😉

Taco bar. Churros. A Latin Trio band called Rhumba Cha Cha! 

And if you’re lucky, you might just win an uncommon [good] poncho…

In the coming weeks, we’ll open up registration and share more details so keep an eye out.

In the mean time, save the date and keep thinking about who you want to invite to experience a taste of uncommon [community]!

 

You are loved and valued!

 

 

miracles and [miracles]

the miracle

Well, there are miracles and then there are miracles. You know: Miracles are things that are plain just not supposed to happen. They defy the laws of nature. They upset our understanding of the way things are supposed to be. Some are life-altering. Then there are those that send the earth off its axis.

We go about our lives hoping and expecting that things will turn out well for us. If only. And, when they don’t, we look all around for answers, solutions, manageable directions. Some of us fervently pray for a good ending, for that special healing of our bodies, our relationships, our financial well-being. Sometimes, we get what we seek and sometimes we don’t.

What gives? Why do we get some answers, and not get others? Why do we get some yeses and some nos?

Last September, Diane and I joined a group of friends to tour Israel, culminating in Jerusalem. Immediately upon our arrival, we descended on foot from the surrounding hills on the only possible path Jesus could have taken when he arrived the week he died. At the bottom of that path is the Garden of Gethsemane, the place where he was betrayed and arrested, before being led to his trial and subsequent crucifixion. This simple journey tells us a lot.

Just like his followers who were expectant that the long awaited Messiah, or Savior of the Hebrew people, would finally put things right after millennia of suffering, we seek saving from the many troubles that darken our lives. And for a while everything seemed to be going as planned. Certainly, his followers were inspired by his triumphant processional into the city.

But soon things took a turn. For the men and women who had left home and hearth to follow Jesus, the nightmare then arrived with an all consuming ferocity. The impossible happened — God’s anointed one, self-defined as the Son of Man, the Alpha and Omega, was scourged, tortured and most-ashamedly, put to death. Hope died along with Him that day. Inspiration dealt a mortal blow.

How could this be?

From triumphant expectation on the palm-strewn path to Jerusalem, to utter darkness only several days later in the Garden. And on that lonely hillside the next day, we are observers of a common pattern to all of our lives. What we thought was supposed to be was not to be. Can anyone identify with this?

Perhaps you have experienced something of such a nature. If not, certainly you are close to those who have. Diane and I belong to such a group. It seems like an inescapable reality of life – the sudden, apparent death of hope.

But then the impossible happened again — The miracle of miracles. The thing that forever changed all of creation: Hope came back to life. Life out of certain death. Upon emerging from a hell beyond imagination, Jesus sets the stage for each of us to live eternally with the God who designed us and who loves us beyond measure.He removed the obstacle – He gave his life for our life.

And more than this resurrection of hope – this truth that Jesus rose from the dead –  sets the stage for our own resurrection. Certainly one that awaits us at the end of our lives. But also the resurrection of hope that reminds us that those moments when things are not to be – the ones that seem like our very end –  might well be the start of the miraculous, unbelievable thing that God is doing in our own lives.

This week leading up to Easter is often called Holy – meaning set apart and unique.

As followers of Jesus we live in this unique space.

It is a space where our circumstances, expectations, hopes and dreams are forever shaped by the fact that Jesus has already done the heaviest lifting and will fully love and care for us forever. It is a space enlivened by the promise that the trials of today, no matter how extreme, will ultimately melt away. It is a space where expectations are not easily dashed and where inspiration comes from the knowledge that, in essence, we are already Home.

save the date

On Sunday, May 6th @ 3:30 PM we will be having our second taste of community event at the Lake Poway Pavilion.

We’re calling it: [seis] de mayo, and it’s gonna be quite the party!

Yes, the fiesta atmosphere will be in full force…

Taco bar has been booked. Churros will be present. Latin Trio band is hired. And if you’re lucky, you might just win an uncommon [good] poncho…

In the coming weeks, we’ll open up registration and share more deets [that’s slang for “details”, FYI… and that’s an acronym meaning For Your Information… You’re welcome.]

In the mean time, save the date and be thinking about who you want to invite to experience a taste of uncommon [community]!

 

You are loved and valued.
Have a happy Easter!

 

 

Hospitality and The Office

the hospitality

– ryan james ross

Have you ever been invited into a space that overwhelmed you with gratitude and awe?

Like being invited into a group or party that made you think,

“Who am I that I get to be here?”

“Who am I that I get to be with these people?”

I remember a time recently where Rachel and I got invited to a party with these friends that we really loved and admired. The invite to spend time with them and their family in their home meant the world to us. To share life with them moved us from admiring fans to real friends; people that do life together. Rachel and I felt like, “Who are we that they would like us?!” Yes, even though that sounds like middle school social dynamics stuff, let’s be honest… even as adults we feel like that sometimes!

I remember the first time I got invited to go to Ken and Margie Blanchard’s house. I had read Ken’s books. I was shaped by his lessons in leadership. I had heard him speak in front of huge audiences and I had even heard other famous people talk about Ken and Margie Blanchard. I was in awe when I sat in their living room and found myself eating and drinking with them like a friend — like family.

I remember this one day, sitting with Ken Blanchard and Dawn Neldon, and Ken asks us to review his sermon writing and give any suggestions to make it better! Yes, you can laugh…us review his writing. Dawn and I looked at each other and audibly said, “Who are we that we get invited into this space?!”

This “inviting others in close” is also called hospitality, and it is a mark of divine community.

The study of hospitality throughout the books of the Bible is fascinating. There are so many passages that teach the ethos of inviting others in close, taking care of them, and creating community. Try a google search on verses about hospitality, and you’ll get a great list to read through. A list that will reveal the God of hospitality throughout the old and new testaments. Let’s just hit a few great passages here.

From the very beginning, as God was laying out life principles for his people in the book of Leviticus, He charges His people to invite strangers and foreigners in close:

“Treat them [the stranger among you] as if they were your own, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”  ~ Leviticus 19:34

Obedience to this principle of radical hospitality would’ve created a very diverse and loving community made up of all kinds of racial and religious backgrounds. Imagine living this out in a time where racism, division, and judgment of the other was rampant. But that was back then, right? [smirk]

Centuries later, the Son of God comes on the scene and models what a life of hospitality and love looks like on the streets — and it shocked the religious elite. Jesus created community with everybody, and in a time where righteousness was evidenced by what you ate and who you ate with (or more like what you wouldn’t eat and who you wouldn’t eat with), Jesus’ kind of hospitality actually looked totally irreverent.

Jesus even says of Himself that he modeled a life of eating and drinking with everybody. And people called him a glutton and drunkard because of it.

“The Son of Man comes eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.”  ~ Matthew 11:19

Jesus created community parties wherever he went, and the wisdom that was revealed in this was that people felt comfortable with him, they built relationships with Jesus, and by this He was able to speak into their lives and give them the good news of who He was.

So, the early Christians in the first century began to follow Jesus’ way and they continued to invite everyone into the God family. The community of hospitality grew and challenged some deeply held misunderstandings of who God would invite into His family – who was worthy to sit at the table.

Acts 10 contains an incredible story of God giving Peter a vision that made Peter stop judging people as pure or impure, clean or unclean. It drove Peter into community with Cornelius — they entered a home together and ate and drank just like Jesus did, and it changed the life of Cornelius and Peter alike. That moment launched the early church into being a people known for hospitality to the other once again, and it should be a characteristic of Jesus community to this very day.

Is it?

I think God puts people on our hearts all the time. People that He wants us to reach out to, strangers that He wants us befriend. Who could you invite in close this next week? Is there someone that you could create a party with, have over for dinner, go do something with?

Is there someone outside that you know would like to be invited in?

This “inviting others in close” is called hospitality, and it is a mark of divine community.

I got the opportunity to talk about some of this on a podcast with our good friends over at Orchard Community Church.

You can listen to that here: How to Find and Build Community

And now…

the office [not dunder mifflin]

We’ve got office… and what a story of Jesus-like hospitality.

Our team has been searching for a spot where we can meet, use wifi, and get stuff done throughout the week [starbucks was getting real old]. We’d put out a few feelers and just this weekend, we got word that our friends over at The Church at RB have a space for us!

This last weekend Nate and Ian [CRB staff] opened the door to a room and said, “will this be alright for you?” We walked in and saw an incredible space, nicer than any office we’ve ever had before.

It’s beautiful… and they’re asking if it will be OK for us? Ha!!!!

Yes, I believe it will suffice. : )

Once again, I was left feeling “who are we that we would be invited into this space?”

I know that people around Jesus felt that way all the time, and so, as Jesus followers, may we all continue to invite others in to share life with, foster community, and live out the hospitality that comes from our loving God. That kind of love saves the world.

the unicorns [again]

We wanted to remind you of our upcoming talk on parenting for moms of young kids. Uncommoners, Dawn Neldon and Maren Nelson are hosting Raising Unicorns at Maren’s house in Poway, March 27th, @ 9:30 – 11 AM

Join us for mimosas and mom-spiration as Dawn shares about growing kids who stand out in a world that tells them to fit in.

There’s still space left [for now] – click the red button to register!

Register for Unicorns

You are loved and valued.
Thank you and God Bless!

 

Weekly Update 3-2-2018

groceries & [living water]

– brad lichtman

I was at Costco the other day and noticed the name tag on the young woman setting up to bag my groceries. It said “Photini.” I engaged her and asked if I was pronouncing her name correctly, to which she replied, “yes.” I then remarked that I could not recall coming across that name before. She informed me that it was the name of a saint. I had to ask, “do you mind telling me the saint of what?” She said it was the name of a Samaritan. I paused a quick second and then asked, “the woman at the well?” She seemed surprised and said, “yes.” Curious, I admitted I didn’t know that and asked if the name was in scripture, to which she said she was Orthodox and it was in her tradition. I thanked her for sharing that and for doing such a great job bagging my groceries. As I left, we were all smiles.

Driving away I thought of several things that intersected in that moment. First was how faithful God is to granting my almost daily request to put someone in my path whom I could bless, even if only in a small way. Second, of the hundreds of people with whom this contemporary Photini must interact each working day, very few probably treat her as a real person, someone of tremendous value. She has a menial job in a very large organization. She is supposed to be largely invisible in that order of things. And, third, that her name is most fitting.

In John 4, Jesus comes across a woman from Samaria, an outcast of that day, as she was drawing water from a well. He decided to engage her, asking for a drink, which was a real surprise as she knew that he was far above her station. Learned men like Jesus did not speak with lowly women such as her. Fast forward through the dialogue and Jesus says, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

The living water in Jesus’ telling is a love that is infinitely refreshing. While we can only offer smaller samples of that, those samples are life-affirming and a reflection of our design. How often do we engage strangers with the perfunctory “How are you?” without really meaning it? How often are people around us largely invisible as we go about our business? What if we regularly paused during the day at the checkout counter or in the restaurant just to smile, give good eye contact, and say more than a mere, “thank you?” What if each of us seeks to open our eyes to see people as God sees them? No one should be invisible. We are surrounded by Samaritans and we put them there each day. Jesus offers us a way to refresh with living water. Thank you, Photini, for that reminder.

 

community is happening!

We are all set to party tomorrow [Saturday]! It’s gonna be a great night and for those of you coming, we are so excited to see you! Check out the details below [we say deets cause we like to abbrev.] and get ready for this uncommon party…

 

the “deets” for saturday

Weather
As of now, it looks like we might see some light rain and a little bit of cold (well, San Diego cold). So dress accordingly! We have Templars Hall and the Gazebo to escape any potential rain, but if you want to hang out outside bring some blankets and chairs, too!

Parking
You can park anywhere at Old Poway Park EXCEPT The Old Hamburger Factory. Let’s be good neighbors and keep those spots open for their customers. There’s plenty of other parking. 🙂

Food & Beverage
We will have plenty of food and beverage for all with full potato bar and hors d’oeuvres. And we’ll even have some fun kid food available. We got the hook up with some Lost Abbey kegs, King’s Craft Coffee, and hot chocolate for the kids. But feel free to bring your own beverages!

Fun
There will be plenty of fun for all, including music, lawn games, and kid-tivities. But again, feel free to bring your own fun-ness.

Woohoo!
See you tomorrow! And if you’re like, “huh, what party?”, just click on the red button below and show up tomorrow to Old Poway Park!!

A Taste of Uncommon [community]
Saturday, March 3rd, 5PM, Old Poway Park

RSVP

You are loved and valued.
God Bless our uncommon [community]

 

 

Weekly Update 2-23-2018


agenda free [community]

-ryan james ross

High pressure sales turn away just as many people from church as they do at the used car lot. We weren’t meant to pawn God like a gently used sedan and push to ‘close the deal’ before the conversation ends. That’s an agenda.

Have you ever had that experience where a book, a conversation, and then later maybe a podcast, and then even later in the week, a verse or a sermon that all end up repeating the same thing to you? It’s like the universe has conspired to give you a message through disconnected sources. God often whispers to us that way. And in the last week or so, we at U[g] have been hearing ‘agenda-free community’ a lot.

What is it to gather with others and to share life and love without agenda?

It means we talk less and listen more. It means we share stories, and we laugh and we cry together. It means we love and connect and do life together without condition. Everyone is recognized as God’s masterpiece on a wild journey through life. We love others without demanding anything in return.

This is the table that Jesus sets over and over in the scriptures: the place of continual restoration, enduring communion, and unending fellowship. No one earns a spot there, and no one fails and finds themselves with their chair removed.

“When we who claim faith come to people without any agenda other than to receive people as they are and to love them as they desire to be loved, they rest in the safety of that, and they begin to be transformed without any prodding from us.”  – John Pavlovitz in A Bigger Table

The Spirit of God transforms people, not our witty words (no matter how witty we be).

“When God’s people go out without agenda we are open to see people as people, rather than as objects of ministry and to see the ways God might already be at work in their lives… In order to be open to what God reveals, we need to drop our agendas.”  – Markus Watson at Flourish San Diego

So let’s dive into some agenda-free Uncommon [community]!

We are designing a party — a table to be around and some bread to break and some music to move to. Check it out…

So… we’ve had some interesting experiences while planning this party…

A couple weeks ago we spent some time with someone from the city of Poway, we will call her Patricia. It was a funny exchange. See, we had to try to explain to Patricia that we wanted to rent a large space to throw a big party. She was confused. Patricia couldn’t quite understand who we were, why we knew so many people or what would possess us to want to throw a big party for the community. We are familiar with causing confusion for people. It’s one of our specialties. So we were undeterred and walked away with a reservation to throw a party for 100 people.

Yesterday we had to call Patricia back to tell her that we will be having more people than expected – apparently we know more people than we even thought – because we currently have 111 people registered to join us!

We are so excited for this event and it’s not too late to join or invite friends. In fact, we have a team of people who are working alongside us to ensure that this is an event you won’t want to miss.

And to facilitate your reservation needs we have an RSVP button conveniently located in this very post…

A Taste of Uncommon [community]
Saturday, March 3rd, 5PM, Old Poway Park

RSVP

our uncommon [dream]

It’s clear from the response to this event that people are hungry for opportunities to gather together for some Uncommon [community] and we have already begun planning ways to make this event pure goodness.

Our dream is to offer this event to our COMMUNITY as a gift from our Uncommon-ers (that’s US!).  That being said – we issued a challenge last week that if each person on our mailing list gave $20 we could cover the cost of the Taste of Community. Many of you responded and we’ve brought in over $500 so far! (THANK YOU!) If you haven’t yet, please consider giving (by clicking the convenient link below) to make sure this and future events are free to our community!

GIVE

[connection]

By the way… At the heart of what we are doing with uncommon [good] is connection. Connection with God and one another. We believe deep in our bones that some of the best connection happens around the table. And we aren’t the only ones who think this… Here’s a video promoting a growing movement that we think is pretty cool.

Check it out and get excited about March 3rd!

You are loved and valued.
God Bless our uncommon [community]

 

 

Weekly Update 2-8-2018

Jesus and Peppermint Joe Joe’s

– dawn neldon

We went camping over New years with several families and one night around the fire I brought out peppermint Joe-Joe’s (I know).  Mind you, I haven’t had a peppermint Joe-Joe in several years because, you know – gluten. So I was particularly excited about this experience because THIS year – Trader Joe’s introduced GLUTEN FREE peppermint Joe-Joe’s (so basically we’ve reached the pinnacle of human existence). I brought out my two boxes of Joe-Joe’s, one full gluten and one gluten free and proceeded to be the only person to enjoy the gluten-free version. Everyone made fun of me. I was undaunted – they tasted amazing! But then…then “they” [meaning everyone but me] decided it would be fun to do a taste comparison and things went downhill.

To the shock of no one, my gluten-free Joe-Joe’s paled in comparison to the real thing. My husband Drew basically spit it out. Moments before this experiment I had been happily pretending that my gluten-free experience was just like the real thing when suddenly it became clear that I was not having the same experience as everyone else. I was missing out. *sad face*

So we’ve been talking this week about what sparks us (in more profound ways than peppermint Joe-Joe’s). What gets that God-excited, heart-bursting, lift-in-our-chest when we think about this journey towards Uncommon [good]? For me, this question is always linked to what breaks my heart. I’m weird, I know.

But when I think about the things I get most excited about it always has to do with filling a need or fixing a problem that breaks my heart. Here’s what breaks my heart: Jesus came to offer this beautiful, full, abundant life (John 10:10). This is clear because he talks about this life and models how it’s lived throughout the scriptures. It’s full and vibrant and abundant.   And yet we read these scriptures, we know these stories and still choose to settle for scarcity and gray-scale living. It’s as if there is something real and full within our grasp but we just keep eating our gluten-free Joe-Joe’s pretending they taste just like the real thing.

I think this stems from a fundamental lack of understanding about the God that Jesus knows. I think we often picture God as a cosmic teetotaller carefully weighing out our every action and judging it as good or bad. This god is not creative or funny or vibrant. There’s nothing abundant about him. We’ve basically imagined God as the heavenly version of an IRS auditor who is watching to make sure we tow the line. And “the line” in our minds is no fun. It’s straight and narrow-ed and buttoned up. It’s sanitized and wholesome. It’s white bread. It’s gluten-free white bread.

And here’s the thing: If Jesus reveals God, not only through his teaching, but also his action – this seems wildly out of line with the God that He knew.

Consider this:

Jesus challenged the straight and narrow, buttoned up version of life that religion had been demanding of people. Instead, his actions flew in the face of this understanding of God and religion. He ate with and partied with and befriended all the wrong people. In doing so, Jesus reveals a God that is wildly in love with people. All people. Messy people. You and me people.

Jesus colored outside the lines of the religious assumptions. He pushed the boundaries and challenged the box-checking way of religion. Revealing to us that God is more interested in our love than our perfection. And showing us that life is about recklessly running after a God who freely offers GOOD things to us. Not solemnly, carefully navigating a balance beam of perfection trying to earn His love.

Jesus healed and fed, he made wine out of water and communities out of outcasts. He challenged our assumptions of scarcity and revealed the abundance of God.

John tells us that “In Him [Jesus] was life and that life was a light for all people.” (John 1:4-5)

To put it simply Jesus illuminated a life fully lived. Born out of his deep understanding of who God is; His life-light points the way towards a life that is abundant, wild, messy and full of grace. This is what I am passionate about. This is what I long for people to experience: the mess and beauty of a life truly lived.

 

 

A Taste of Community

Before we do buildings, programs, coffee, small groups, and everything else that will come, we are going to create moments that give us glimpses of our Uncommon future… and the ‘first look’ won’t look like a ‘church’ service.

Yes, we want to give you a taste of Uncommon [good] – and it looks like a party.

Jesus met with people in real life places. He modeled a life in which he most frequently met with people over food and drink. He reclined with them — shared meals with them — his first miracle even worked to keep a party going and kick it up a notch!

People who were nothing like Jesus liked Jesus, and they wanted to be with him.

He met with the saints and sinners all together (you choose your own label there), and He created a lot of parties along the way — so we’re going to do the same.

Saturday evening, March 3rd, we are going to have a party that will be our first gathering of those that God is gathering for Uncommon [good]! We will break bread together (as well as other foods), and we will experience the joy and energy of the community that God is lining up! The whole family is welcome, as well as any friends that you can invite that may be interested in a new thing that God is up to! So…

SAVE THE DATE
Saturday evening, March 3rd
A Taste of Uncommon [community]
More details coming soon…

 

Help Us Make It Awesome

We need you to help us BE the community that makes a party FOR the community.

So your invitation this week is to help make this event happen!

We want to offer this as a free event for all who want to come. If all the Uncommon [peeps] that are receiving this email pitched in just $20, that would cover the costs of making this party AWESOME! Click the button below to give towards this Uncommon [event]!

 

GIVE

 

Note: This button will take you to our general giving page. Any new gifts given this week will go towards this event.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

By the way! We had such an amazing Facebook launch this past weekend. Thank you so much for participating. Watch this video for a proper thank you!

 

You are loved and valued.
God Bless our uncommon [community]