02 Sep 2008

The City

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Well, fall is here. It might be still be hot and humid but students are back in school, which means parents of the young ones are back to the regular routine and college students are back in town. Summer flings are now over and will either disintegrate or develop into real relationships. Weddings may be on the way for some and broken hearts for others. Tans will fade, hoodies will come out, the grass will start growing again, the ocean water will get colder, the beaches sparser, the coffee hotter and the beer better.

Life in the city of San Diego in it’s simplist form means many many people. People living life intermixed and intertwined all together here in our great city. Many are embarking on new ventures and so am I, my family, and the church I pastor.

I know the new year is in January but for me, September always seems like the new year. Maybe it is the 22 years I spent in school. Maybe it’s because my birthday is at the end of August. Either way, it is the new year for me. I’m 30 years old now and in two months my daughter will be one year old. The church I pastor is thriving. We seriously have some of the best, brightest, funnest and most dedicated people. I’ve said before that I’m a man on a mission. I have a heart and a vision for San Diego that is bigger than I could ever quite describe. The cool thing is that more and more it seems that there is truly a people who are with me, standing beside me, working it out and pressing forward for the sake of Jesus and his glory. I truly believe it is going to be one of the best seasons in the life of our church yet.

One of the biggest changes ahead for me and my family is opening up our home for a weekly community group. I’ve been preaching on community groups in the Bible for the last two weeks at church and now comes the time to put it into practice. We are so excited. We started the church in our home over three and half years ago in our home and we are amped to offer hospitality once again.

Homes are a such a big deal in big cities. Big cities can have the effect of people going every which way but being totally disenfranchised, lost and disconnected. Connecting with friends over food, good words, and the new world of Jesus is about as good as it gets. People in our city are longing for it. I read an article called “A New Kind of Urban Christian” by Tim Keller awhile back (Read it Here). In it he says, “Christians should be a community radically committed to the good of the city as a whole.” We’ve got to have a big vision and work through things together and make plans to reach the city together.

In our community groups we’ll not only have a meal, and spend some time having real, honest, talks about our lives but we will devote part of our group time each week to “our City” where we will plan together and take on a missional project for a person, group of persons, park or otherwise. In this way we’ll maintain mission as being one of the core purposes for community groups. We expect and want many of our non-Christian friend to come, not only to plan for the city but have a chance to tangibly see and hear how Jesus is such an important part of all of our lives.

Maybe some are not feeling excitement but are burdened by the stress of fall. Maybe others have super high expectations and are nervous about how it will all turn out. Either way we have this to look forward to and give us confidence…everything here and now looks forward to and is empowered by the future heavenly city and power of Jesus displayed.

Revelation 21:23 “And the city (the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God) has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

Jesus is coming to make all things new and we look forward to it and wait by working hard for his kingdom together. Let us take hold of that promise and seize the mighty help and hope of Christ and do great things for his sake and our joy. Let’s keep building a city within our city that points to Jesus soon and coming heavenly city.

Much love to you all
-Pastor Duane

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