Saturday, November 20, 2010

Jesus in Fort Wayne

It seemed appropriate to join in only a few weeks before the Christmas season on a gathering called Incarnate.  Thanks to Andrew Hoffman of NeighborLink Fort Wayne for his involvement in making this event happen. What's the best gift that Christians could give our city this Advent? A Jesus that makes a difference.

Incarnate, made flesh - Christians believe that Jesus is God Incarnate; Emmanuel - God with us. Christians also believe that the Church is Jesus Incarnate. It's vital that each local church is serving it's neighborhood, is loving one another, is living in truth and grace - all in the name of Jesus. It's a breath of Heaven when these local churches collaborate together to seek the peace of the city, to be a blessing to the community.

That's what NeighborLink is all about. It's what Anchor is all about. And having spent Friday at the gathering labeled Incarnate, there are lots of local churches, ministry leaders, non-profits, and individuals who are all about living according to the Same Spirit of Jesus. The Incarnate event was a great opportunity to start new relationships, strengthen the bonds of already forged friendships, and soak up the air of building momentum. It is invigorating to see these like-hearted people brought together.

Of course it's always easy to pronounce good intentions. Talk is cheap. And yet words and promises and meetings matter. Covenants are born out of spoken agreements. The collective enthusiasm for a missional life must be expressed in action, or else it will wither. Time will tell which of the individuals and organizations are able to live out this covenant. God has called us in Fort Wayne - he has blessed us, he is making us a blessing, and if we are willing he will bless the world through us.

We can't predict or control what the outcomes of this service to our neighbors will produce. We have to trust that doing the next right thing will contribute to a day when everything is made all right. The vision is not so much for an end product, but rather for the day to day decisions that lead to Jesus Incarnate.

At the Incarnate gathering, my resolve was strengthened to continue the journey Anchor is on. God is doing some amazing work in Anchor and through Anchor. Makes me very grateful. What makes it so thrilling is to be doing this work in collaboration with so many people and organizations. And it's so fun to continue meeting more people with a similar heart and spirit. The Same Spirit of Jesus is driving all sorts of men and women to do great work where they live - and to come together to do more together than they can do all alone, doing more to make things all right.

Some day God will make everything all right. It won't be in our lifetime. But it is deeply fulfilling to be part of a grand work that will outlast us. Well, actually, it won't outlast us... thanks to the resurrection!

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