Revealed through us (pt. 1). . .

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
~Philippians 1.18-19

Not too many years ago I spent a lot of time arguing about all the little details of inconsequential doctrines that, in retrospect, did more to hinder the movement of the Gospel than I thought. But there I was, more concerned with getting my point across than with investing in someone’s life.

And when I run into people who act the way I used to act, I get disgusted. I want to yell, “Don’t you know that your argumentative debates and judgmental rants are doing more harm than good?”

But I have to remind myself that God is still using those people. I may be turned off by their methods, but they’re still instruments in God’s hands.

I was talking to an old friend last night about some of the aspects of people within God’s Kingdom. Each person has his/her own spiritual gifts that reveal something about God in that person.

Take Bill, Mike, and Tom, for instance. Bill, the Student Ministries Pastor at Liquid Church, has quite obviously been blessed with the gift of compassionate love. God has chosen to reveal His attributes of community, love, and openness through Bill. On Tuesday mornings, Bill sets aside time simply to invest in our friendship. He has no agenda and no ulterior motive. We shoot into Morristown for an early cup of coffee and just learn about each other.

Mike, the Campus Pastor at Liquid Church New Brunswick, has been given the gift of service and humility. God’s mysterious nature as the ultimate Servant is very visible in Mike. He asserts no authority over anyone, but gently cares for people where their needs are. On any given Sunday morning, Mike has already poured my coffee, and is probably waiting for me to turn my back so he can set up my room when I’m not looking.

Tom, the Campus Pastor at Liquid Church Morristown, is an entirely different story. His obvious gift is knowledge and wisdom. He can spend hours poring over the Scriptures, and months later recall the deep mysteries embedded within them. And he has the creds to prove it. With degrees from Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Dallas Theological, and who-knows-where-else, Tom has clearly been chosen to reveal God’s occupation as the Master Teacher.

And when these three men work together, the Kingdom really begins to move forward. . .

(Post continued here. . .)

Homesick. . .

I’m about to tell you a secret. I’ve been keeping this to myself for a while.

I miss being in Morristown on Sunday mornings. I built relationships there. I learned, served, and loved. Leaving hasn’t been easy.

And it hurts. A lot.

And circumstances haven’t made the transition easier either. Am I glad to be a part of what God is doing in New Brunswick? Of course I am! It’s always exciting to be a part of something new. Am I excited about the new work taking place there on Sundays? Words can’t even come close to describing how psyched I am!

But when I think back to the days I was in Morristown, and how smoothly things run at Liquid Kids Morristown, how big the volunteer team is, and how awesome it was working with Bobby (Liquid Kids Director), I grow jealous. I hear Satan whispering to me, “LK New Brunswick isn’t as successful. People here don’t care as much as the people in Morristown do. Maybe you should go back.”

The internal struggle was heightened when I noticed how small the team in New Brunswick is. How can we serve so many people with so few hands? I thought. How can we create a successful program and an effective environment if no one is willing to help?

And then it seemed like God was sending me a signal. Bill, our student ministries pastor, got a message from the only assistant for my program. She was sick and wasn’t going to show up.

And I thought I heard a voice say, “You can’t handle this, Nate. Go back to Morristown. You need the Margin. Besides, this isn’t your job. It’s not your responsibility.”

Anne Jackson sent me an email with these words: “Stay prayed up about where you think God is calling you to go. Stay where you are and wait it out—or move on. Either way He’s going to teach you and use you throughout this tough process.”

I prayed. Harder.

And answers started coming.

The kids, despite my assumptions to the contrary, were actually learning (see yesterday’s post). My one missing room assistant was replaced by three people willing to fill in the gaps at the very last minute.

And the one that made my heart melt. . .

I was chatting with a couple team members about the fact that I’d be back in Morristown for a day. My campus pastor’s daughters overheard me talking about it and ran to their mom. “Mommy!” they shouted. “Can we go to Morristown that day too?”

I’m starting to think I’m gonna be homesick for New Brunswick that weekend.

Out of the mouths of babes. . .

In my post “Trust. . .,” I mentioned the special kind of love that God has for children. Evidence of that love is a unique gift God has given them—the ability to love unconditionally.

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to teach children about God’s love, but there are times that I fail in living out that love. There are times I mess up, and there are times I have to be stern with them. It can’t be fun being the kid who gets called out for goofing off during a lesson.

And even though I’m supposed to teach them, more often they can teach me. I learned a lesson from them on Sunday. My campus pastor’s kids aren’t always the most well behaved in the bunch, but they know something about love. Whether instinctively or thoughtfully, they understand love better than grownups do.

In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul wrote that “love. . . keeps no record of wrongs,” and it “always trusts.”

Mike’s kids tore after me on Sunday after lunch. “Nate!” they yelled, as they wrapped their arms around my waist. “Where are you going?”

“I’ve gotta go back to Morristown now,” I said.

“Do you have to?” they asked.

I melted.

They didn’t remember the times I got fed up with their antics and took away their snack time. They’d forgotten the moments I put them on the spot for speaking out of turn. They kept no record of the incidents I brushed them off to take care of some administrative work that could have waited till much later on.

“Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

And they trusted that, even in my less-than-happy moods, I still had their best interests in mind.

“Love always trusts.”

It’s how God loves. Kids can teach us something about that in a very powerful, unique way. Do you want to learn?

Announcements. . .

Hey friends! I just want to take a moment to share with you a big moment in the life of my church. This Sunday, January 11, we will be launching our newest campus in the heart of Central Jersey. Liquid Church New Brunswick officially marks the beginning of our adoption of the multisite church model as we continue to follow our vision of taking church to the people. So, on 1.11.2009, we will begin hosting six live services: 9 & 11am, and 4 & 6pm at the Hyatt Morristown; and 9 & 11am at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick.

But that’s not all, folks. For those of you who don’t live anywhere near Morristown or New Brunswick, you can still celebrate the momentous occasion with us. . . because on 1.11.2009 we’re also launching the Liquid Church Internet Campus (or iCampus, for short)! If you’d like to participate in a live online worship session with Liquid Church, just swing by Liquid’s iCampus website on Sunday, Jan. 11, at 11am EST. (Unfortunately, if you’re in Melbourne, Australia, live online worship takes place on Monday, Jan. 12, at 3am. But then again, if you’re in Melbourne, Australia, why not just join up with our Liquid Church Melbourne peeps? To find out more about Liquid Melbourne, check out their page on Facebook.)

To make way for all the changes taking place at Liquid, we posted a new website. Check it out at LiquidChurch.com.

So mark your calendars, everybody. January 11, 2009, is going to be a huge day!