Weekly Update 2-1-2018

Re-shaping God

– ryan james ross

In my reading of a great book this last week, The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith, I kept thinking of this pretty frightening question;

“Do I need to re-shape God?”

It sounds pretty arrogant on the front end for a human to think that they shape the God that made them, but for the most part, our concept of God is shaped far more by our world and the people around us than by what is actually written in scripture. Depending on one’s life journey and the stories about God they’ve received along the way, they may come up with all sorts of understandings about who God is and what God is like. Our concept of how God sees us and what He wants from us is shaped by a thousand different and often conflicting messages that we receive throughout our life. So what does God end up being shaped like? Usually a mix of culture, fallacies, crazy superstitions, and bible truths all mixed up together.

We end up with a ‘mess god’.

When Jesus showed up on the scene He began telling a lot of stories to reveal the character of God. His stories of God conflicted with their current concepts, and not everyone liked the picture of God he was painting. There were great misconceptions about God AND life that needed reshaping, and Jesus chose stories as His primary tool to fix things.

“We are shaped by our stories. In fact, our stories, once in place, determine much of our behavior without regard to their accuracy or helpfulness. Once these stories [about life, and love, and about who we are and who God is] are stored in our minds, they stay there largely unchallenged until we die. And here is the main point: These narratives are running (and often ruining) our lives. It is crucial to get the right stories.”

Were you ever told that “God helps those who help themselves”? It’s not in the Bible despite someone telling you it was a verse. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is also not in there no matter how many times your mom used it to get you to wash your hands.Yes, parental-bad-theological-leverage is real! Those are just a couple examples of fallacies that may damage your understanding of who God is. The largest fallacy amongst us is that you have to earn God’s love and favor. That God saves his love and grace for people who make an effort to be good… this narrative will mess you up, if it hasn’t already.

So how can we get the right concept of God?
We need new stories (and Jesus gave us some).

Here is the challenge that we at Uncommon [good] are going through together…

First, try to empty your mind of who you think God is (you can’t truly do this, but try it out just for the sake of learning here). Now, with an empty mind, read one of the gospels (or all four) and let Jesus shape your concept of God from scratch once again. Specifically, listen to his stories that teach about God’s character. What picture of God does he paint? Do you see a God of grace or a God of judgment? Do you see a God of love and forgiveness more than a God of anger and resentment? Does Jesus paint God with more hope, healing, or hell?

Try it.
Open the gospels once again.
And with a new eye…
let Jesus [God incarnate] reshape God for you.

 

 

We Have Big News!

We have decided to take the next step in our relationship.

You know what that means: this week Uncommon [good] is gonna be Facebook official!

While many of you already discovered our Instagram shennanigans, we haven’t truly made our Uncommon [good] presence known publicly…yet.

But that all changes TOMORROW (Friday if you’re slow to open your emails)!

Our hope is that our social media channels become a place that allows our Uncommon [community] to feel connected in the absence of a physical gathering space. We plan to share videos, devotionals, prayer requests as well as real time updates of the day-to-dayness of our Uncommon [journey]. More than that, we hope to create a space on Facebook and Instagram where everyone can join in our ongoing conversations about life and faith and citrus.

 

 

Sharing is Caring…

We are excited to take this goodness public, AND, we want to invite you to take part in our social media campaign! We will be pushing our Facebook page tomorrow (Friday, February 2nd) and we would love for our Uncommon [community] to share the love by liking our page and sharing it with your friends!

It’s a really simple and tangible way that we can ALL participate in the work of Uncommon [good] this week! We thank you in advance for your clicks, shares, comments, and contagiously-joyful banter : )

 

Like Us On Facebook

 

Like Us On Instagram

 

Like Us On Twitter

 

 

 

Weekly Update 1-26-2018

You ought to listen to some Gospel today…

This last week I had a friend with a birthday that didn’t want any happy birthday wishes.

Due to tragedy and loss in her family, she wasn’t exactly feeling like being flooded with happy wishes in a time when life felt anything but happy.

So she asked for something different.

In lieu of ‘happy birthdays’, my friend asked people to leave a note of a memory they had with her, or to just simply share what my friend meant to them. Messages came flooding in — all kinds of memories from friends and family about moments in their lives and lots of statements about who my friend was – kind, courageous, loyal, loving, and the list went on.

In a time of sadness, my friend wanted to be reminded of who she was and what she meant to others. My friend needed some Gospel.

Real Gospel (the good news about Jesus) gives us two gifts:

It shows us who God is and it reminds us of who we are.

Gospel says that we, despite our circumstances, feelings and imperfections, are lovingly and purposefully made by God, fully known by God and still loved deeply. The gospel is that we are so loved that Jesus gave up His life for us so that we can have life with Him — and know a life of forgiveness and freedom. Listening to a little gospel reminds us that we are children of God as we walk through days that are good, bad, or sometimes straight up ugly.

There is a common phrase in faithful circles that “we must preach the gospel to ourselves everyday”. What does that mean? Everyday we need to hear about how God sees us over how we or anyone else may see ourselves. We are loved. We are valuable. We are worth dying for. And the God of the universe did just that very thing for us so that we may have life.

Maybe you really needed to hear this today.

The gospel about God’s love and about who we are in His eyes changes us.
It will change every interaction we have throughout the day.

Try starting the morning with a little bit of that gospel in your ears.

 

 

You’re gonna love this…

Last week we invited you to join us on a journey of Spiritual formation – which is a fancy, (and perhaps intimidating) way of saying taking time to practice the things that Jesus taught.

Our Uncommon [team] is reading The Good and Beautiful God. which is a quick and practical guide through some great devotional thoughts. And it’s accompanied with practical things we can do every day to actually practice the things that Jesus taught!

Whether you’ve jumped in this week or not, we want to invite you to join in the first week’s practice with us – wait ’til you hear what it is – you will probably run out and buy the book immediately (can you even do that anymore? Are bookstores still a thing?)

Drum roll, please… The first spiritual practice is… REST! You didn’t read that wrong. REST is actually considered a spiritual practice (thank you sweet Jesus!) Did you ever consider that God (the all-powerful, world-sustaining-being) modeled resting! The same God that also designed our bodies to spend 1/3 of our lives asleep. Yet rest is the first thing we ignore when life gets busy. More than that – we often feel guilty or lazy for getting rest when the to do list is never ending!

But the truth is we can’t operate at our best, live life at our optimum, or focus on any other spiritual practices well if we are haggard and tired. So – here’s the challenge: spend time intentionally resting this week – it’s kind of like a choose your own adventure situation, so pick one of the following:

1. Choose one day this week and sleep until you can’t sleep anymore! Don’t feel bad about it either!

2. Get at least 7 hours of sleep for 3 days in a row. Set an alarm to get in bed not just one to wake yourself up!

3. Take a nap. Maybe you can’t sleep in (cause, hello! small children) and maybe your week is crazy and you simply can’t get 7 hours for multiple nights in a row. That’s okay! Find a window of time one afternoon and instead of doing the dishes, take a nap! WOOHOO for Spiritual Formation (#amiright?)

Let us know how this challenge goes or you! Chime in on our Instagram to share your adventures in REST.

You are loved and valued.
Worthy of the Savior giving His life for you, in fact!

God Bless our uncommon [community]

 

 

Four Quirky Friends Seeking Uncommon [space] For Cool Jesus Stuff…

We found ourselves peering into several buildings this last week — in the least creepy way possible, of course — We’re looking for the future space of Uncommon [good]!

Somewhere in Poway Unified School District we know that God has a place for us… we just have to identify it and move forward.

We need a large place with lots of parking and great outdoor space as well. The zoning has to be right for events and retail (ie. coffee, food, music, beverages, etc.) and more.

We’d love it to look like a beautiful barn – but we hold our ideas and dreams with open hands and plan for flexibility : ) Keep your eyes open with us!

We have began to build a team of architects, designers, and real estate friends that will make this Uncommon [space] a reality! Maybe you could be key to this team if you have experience in commercial real estate, building, LLC incorporation, etc. Is this you? CLICK HERE

If you’re not clear on what that vision is exactly, check out our website to get an idea of what we’re talking about.

When we’re not looking at buildings and meeting with development teams, we’re working everyday with Gateway Leadership Initiative. They help people like us make visions a reality and will take us from zero to the launch of a successful, long lasting ministry through support and in depth training. We have an overwhelming amount of good work to do with them every day – ranging from demographic studies, forming bylaws, 501(c)3 incorporation, and yes, even spiritual development so we keep Jesus at the forefront of everything in our planning!

This Uncommon [dream] is huge.

It’s God-sized for sure.

We encourage you to pray for Uncommon [good] and that God would use us ALL to bring it into being as we move forward into this new Spirit driven vision of ‘church’ in our community!