Retrospect, Haiku, and The Unfolding Year

retrospect_web_slider1 As we ended 2014, we spent time in Retrospect, considering three questions:

(1) What were the experiences God used to shape me in 2014? (2) What would I have done differently? (3) How did I get to join God and others in ushering in the world God's making?

January 4 was a beautiful chance to hear some of these stories and to journey together towards the future God's invited us into. As we continue to move forward into 2015, I encourage you to use the time you spent in Retrospect to shape the unfolding year. What steps of faithfulness can you take this year that wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the events of 2014? What new thing might God be inviting you into as the year moves forward?

As I've continued to consider these questions, I was struck by some poetic interactions fellow Open Door'er Stan Hasegawa shared with me on the themes of Retrospect. With his permission, I'm sharing them here as an invitation for you to dig deeper into your Retrospect and next steps forward into 2015!

Retrospect as Re-spect:

To seek: Look again for God – Prospect, introspect, Inspect, retrospect.

Retrospect as Honor:

Give weight to God – Examine how we’ve neighbored, worked, played. Live now closer still.

Retrospect as Theology:

Think thoughts after God – What did he, where we’ve lived, worked, played? What does he now?

Details: December 22, 24, & 29

Tonight! December 22 :: Serving instead of Gathering!!!

Tonight, we will be serving together at The Bay Area Rescue Mission in place of our weekly worship gathering.

bayarealogo What will we be doing? Serving, Eating, & Cleaning up after a meal with the hungry, homeless, and recovering. When is our shift? 4-8pm How do I get there? You could either go directly to The BARM (123 McDonald St., Richmond, CA) or meet at St. Paul's Parking lot @ 3pm to carpool. What should I wear? Dress warm as we'll be serving the meal in an outdoor tent. Is this kid-friendly?  Absolutely. Contact Darrell with questions or for more information.

Christmas Eve, December 24 :: Serving @ City Team

Join an Open Door Team on Christmas Eve Day as we serve together at City Team in Oakland.

What will we be doing? Serving & Cleaning up after a meal with the hungry, homeless, and recovering. When is our shift? 12:30-2:30pm How do I get there? You could either go directly to City Team (722 Washington St. Oakland, CA) or email Heidi for carpooling options. What should I wear? Dress comfortably.  We'll be serving indoors. Is this kid-friendly? Absolutely. Contact Heidi with questions or for more information.

Sunday, December 29 :: Back @ our Gathering...


On the 29th, Jer will be giving his annual "Retrospect" talk in which he will reflect on a year's worth of personal cultivation through relationships & experiences.  Don't miss this evening of teaching through story.

New Hire Communication & Year-End Giving

Our elders are committed to resourcing our mission of cultivating followers of Jesus in 2014.  Our next step is to expand our paid staff from 1.5 to 2.5.

  • 1.5 Staff will equip & mobilize us to become a Worshiping Family.
  • 1 Staff will equip & mobilize us to become a Family on Mission.

Click Here to listen to Brendan's 15 minute explanation. Click Here to read more details on our Blog. Click Here to email Ben Johanson from Steward Team with any questions or for more information.

Here are 3 ways to join together in funding the work that God is calling us to in 2014!

  1. Seed this next step with a year-end gift.  Year-end gifts can be given at our gathering on the 29th and online anytime before December 31.
  2. Contribute monthly to what God is doing.  Start with a set percentage of your annual income or a day or two's wages per month.  You can set up your online account here.
  3. If you are already partnering financially, would you consider increasing your monthly giving by a set percentage or by one day's wages per month?

Open Door's online account number through Dwolla is 812-632-9836

"Awakening" :: A Theme for 2012

Awakening. Looking back on our life together in 2012, its the word I would use to describe God's activity within and among us.  We woke up to things that matter most this year.

In 2012, we Woke Up to God's Mission.  In Acts 1 we watch & listen as the Resurrected Jesus connected with His community of imperfect doubting worshipers one last time.  Redemption was at hand.  Restoration was here.  Shalom was now a reality.

"Mission accomplished, right Jesus?" they asked.

"Yes and no." He said.  "Mission will be accomplished because I'm going to give you My Spirit which will enable you to embody My mission here, near, & far."

In that moment, Jesus gave voice to what the Mission of God has been ever since we picked the fruit in the Garden: Global Redemption, Global Restoration, Global Reconciliation, Global Flourishing.

Redemption, Restoration, Reconciliation, Flourishing.  These things were finally a possibility because of the work of Jesus on the Cross, but the great surprise is that they would be made reality as The Spirit-Inhabited Community faithfully embodied the Mission of God.  Heaven and Earth would be woven together again as Holy Spirit fueled men and women followed Jesus on mission together into places here, near, & far.

We are the contemporary embodiment of the Mission of God.

In 2012, we Woke Up to God's Fame.  In Malachi 1:11 God says, "One day, I will be made famous among the nations again."  We have a God who is consumed with His own fame and that's right and good: He's God.  However, His own statement suggests that at the time of Malachi, God was not famous among the nations, and He still isn't.

Question: So how is God going to become famous?  Answer: By attaching His reputation to the very part of creation that caused it to become marred: humanity.

Here's how it works: In John 15:8, Jesus paints a beautiful word picture in which God the Father is the Gardner, God the Son is the Vine, and we are but mere branches.  Left unnamed in John 15 is God the Holy Spirit, but if we were to consider botany, we could imagine the Holy Spirit as the Sap that carries the life of the Vine into and causes fruit to emerge on each branch.

When we remain rooted in the Vine, fruit emerges that we bear the burden of.

But who is the fruit for?  Certainly not the branches!  We have everything that we need because the Sap carries the life of the Vine into us.  So if the fruit isn't for the branches, then who is it for?  Answer: those not yet connected to the Vine.

When they taste the delicious juice from the fruit that emerged in our lives as we remained rooted in the Vine, they don't laud the branches...the celebrate the brilliance of the Winemaker.  That is, when others taste the fruit that is the byproduct of our Rooting in Christ, God (not "we") becomes famous.  When we remain Rooted in Christ, we get His Power and Presence and He gets His fame.

In 2012, we Woke Up to God's Metric.  As we journeyed through Acts this year, we stumbled into a village called Antioch (Acts 11) where people whose lives looked like the Crucified One were insulted with the name "Christian".  What was meant as an insult, these followers of Jesus who were Rooted in Christ, Woven Together as Family, Extending Sacrificial Love, and Cultivating Others to Be & Do the Same wore like a badge of honor.

In contrast, we woke up to our contemporary metric for being "Christian" and called it "Golden Ticket Christianity."  This brand of Christianity means that we go to church (on the national average of 3 times out of 8); we read our Bibles (but not really); we pray (but we're not certain it changes anything); we're in a small group (whatever good its really doing); and we serve (but only when the church organizes a "project" for me).  In short, we discovered that "Christian" today means that we give intellectual assent to Jesus but we don't really follow Him.  We don't have time to, nor do we want to because if we really followed Jesus, He would totally mess with 'my' life, 'my' dreams, & 'my' hopes for 'my' future.

The great awakening in 2012 for us, therefore, was that if this contemporary metric is the one we're living by, then we have no right referring to ourselves as "Christian" because life defined by this metric looks nothing the Crucified One.

On the other hand, the life that is Rooted in Christ (Jesus is our Source of Life!), Woven Together as Family (We flourish in a submitted relationship with God and mutually submitted relationships with one another), Extending Sacrificial Love (Jesus living love in and through us), and Cultivating Others to Be & Do the Same (Participating with the Spirit in reproducing the life of Jesus in the lives of others) is the life that looks like the Cross.

In 2012, we Woke Up to God's Dream: That heaven and earth would be woven together again in the East Bay & Beyond.  That He would be made famous in the East Bay & Beyond as communities of men and women Root in Christ, are Woven together as Family, Extend Sacrificial Love, and Cultivate others to Be & Do the Same.

In 2012, we Woke Up to the things that matter most (God's Mission, Fame, Metric, & Dream).  In 2013, we waking up to 'why' and 'for whom' we've been awakening.  While our awakening has been occurring, our Steward Team has been praying for more of God's Power and Presence in 2013.  As we've listened, 3 Mission Critical Hunches have emerged.

Click Here for Mission Critical Hunch #1

Retrospect 2012: Finding your Story

At the end of every year, we create some space in our Community Gatherings for stories.  Storytelling is a valuable rhythm for Open Door, but it isn't our idea. In Joshua 3, we learn of yet another moment when the Presence and Power of God was put on display among His people. Immediately afterward, God told Joshua to have twelve stones set up as a memorial.

"When your children ask in time to come, 'What do these stones mean to you?' then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD...just as the LORD told Joshua." (Joshua 4:6-7)

The Presence and Power of our God has been put on display in and through your life in 2012.  December 30th will be a time for us to build our own "pile of stones" in the form of stories.

Here's the question that will seed our evening together: What is one way in which you have experienced the Presence & Power of God this year?

Here are some helpful hints for finding your story:

    • Create some quiet space where you can remember.
    • Start big picture—write down every big experience and conversation that comes to my mind.
    • Do the same thing by season (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall)
    • Do the same thing by month (Hint: utilize your calendar!)
    • Narrow your list to the 3 or 4 and begin the process of Retrospect
      • What was happening in your life then?
      • What was the actual experience?
      • What did you Discover about God, yourself, and others?
      • What has been the fruit of the experience?
      • What has changed, deepened, or shifted in you and/or your circumstances as a result of God's activity?