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.
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]!
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]