Sunday, May 20, 2012

Something Smells Sawfishy

 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but are sincere, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. 

Posted By: Katie Robinson
Fellow Sawfish, working overnight gives me lots of time to ponder over lots of things, but tonight it's Sawfish on the brain. You people really are some of the most incredible, stand-up people I've ever met in my life. I was reading that passage in 2 Corinthians recently and thinking about how it applies to our Bible Study.

I love how I've been able to see the truth of this play out in your lives this year. I love your authenticity and the fact that you're not peddlers of the Word, trying to sell anything for brownie points, you're just communicating the truth of God's word according to how you've seen it work in your own lives. And so here we are, just spreading this contagiously Sawfishy fragrance everywhere.

A year ago this time, many of you were in very different places. Some of you weren't even Christians yet, some of you were loving Jesus in your own little corners of your lives elsewhere. This time last year, I kind of felt like I was in limbo. I'd lost some friends, some momentum, some direction. There was just a handful of us trying to figure out what in the world we were doing, trying our best to love people and love Jesus the best we could.

But then came Mission to the City, and things started happening. We acquired some really solid people from other parts of the church and other ministries, we saw some people come to faith and others recommit. I'll never forget my first cemetery walk with Linzi or that 2am conversation with Sara in the parking lot of McDonald's the first day we met. There was this sudden breath of fresh air in my life, some movement - a reminder that God was moving and the work we were doing wasn't in vain.

The summer followed with a LOT of volleyball, boating, swimming in the dark in the algae-infested Big Creek Lake (what could be more natural for a Sawfish?), volleyball, road trips, and lots of grilling (did I mention volleyball?).

Summer came to a close and we officially kicked off fall Bible Study, now officially as Sawfish. We went to the Apple Orchard, went out to eat a lot, dressed up for the Halloween Party, and voted in the caucuses (well, some of us).

When you've been in ministry for a while, you kind of start to learn the rhythm of it. The first Bible Study of the fall is going to have a ton of people, and then that number is slowly going to dwindle until you really get down to the core of the regulars. December is going to be pretty small because people are out of town for family holiday functions, and numbers will generally drop off considerably in January.

This year, though, that didn't happen. We just kept on growing. I watched as so, so, many of you made decisions to really lay down your flesh and walk in the Spirit, to work your job schedules around your fellowship life, instead of trying to fit fellowship into the leftovers of the rest of your lives. We had more than twice as many people come to the Faithwalkers conference in Omaha as we had last year, and it was a great time for growth in unity and the challenging of where our true commitment lies, in light of the fact that we are blessed with salvation and fellowship and every gift we need to really thrive. We hit the ground running in January and to our surprise, we really didn't lose people. In fact, you all kept loving your friends and coworkers and meeting new people at church and loving on those already in our Bible Study, and we exploded.

So, we find ourselves here, a year later, gearing up for a summer that is sure to stretch us like crazy. We'll be out sharing the Gospel with strangers, which, for an introvert like me, is galaxies outside of my comfort zone. We'll be playing more volleyball and meeting lots of new people. I guess, going into this, I just have a few thoughts, based mostly on firsthand experience.

First of all, don't check out. You'd be surprised how easy it is to do, despite the myriads of activities you might be participating in. It happened to me a bit last summer, and believe me, it's not good. Second, remember that the activities you're participating in don't just exist for the sake of activity. It's all about Jesus, all the time, every day. This is really hard for me because the people I love... I just really, really love them. New people just haven't quite grabbed my heart strings yet so I tend to forget about them. But volleyball is never just volleyball. It's an opportunity to show Jesus to new people who might not know him, and to build up and encourage everyone else. Third, don't forget to keep getting time with Jesus one-on-one every day. I think summer can be particularly difficult for this because our routines can suddenly get out of whack and a lot of times time with the Lord can be the first to go.

One last big thing I've been thinking and praying about is just that we all remember it's about what we bring to the table and not what we get fed. I've noticed the times I'm most frustrated and offended and discontent with the church and other people are the times I'm giving the least. So let's just not give in to that. I don't care if you got saved yesterday, start making disciples today. If you're not actively involved in making disciples, your faith will go stagnant, the Spirit in you will be quenched by your flesh, and you will be discontent. Take it from one who knows. It's real. Something I read recently had some really good thoughts about some practical things that apply to discipleship. It's called 5 Things Mentors Should Model. It's talking about mentors specifically, but I think if we're all supposed to be discipling people, we are all mentors in some aspect - shepherds, no matter how small the flock.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on this past year and these coming summer months. Keep doing what you're doing.
You Sawfish are my heart and soul and I love you dearly.