Monday, February 20, 2006

Be light

I wasn't gonna write this post coz Rhett did an amazing job (& beat me to it) but he said that I still should write it, which is why I am doing so. However, it'll be hard for me to do as good a job as he's done.

So we started a new series 2 Sundays ago called Re:Imagine and it's probably the most important series for the year-a vision casting series. We looked back on the past and how far we've come as a community, why we are called what we are called, our values and also looking into the future. It was great!

It is constantly being preached that we should be salt and light to those around us. Week in, week out it's the same message (directly or indirectly) and after a while all you tend to hear is nothing more than merely blah blah blah blah blah. However, there was something different about Brett's message on the first week.

Culture is probably the biggest cause (but don't quote me on this) of churches not working out. People end up leaving because the elders don't want to change their ways and this can also mean that people don't even end up coming to church in the first place. Church culture is a big no no when wanting to grow.

cession is such a community based and community focused "church" and I think that's what makes it so beautiful (in more ways than one). We are called cessioncommunity and not cession church because we want to break down those cultural barriers that have been put up over the years. When we invite people to cession, we want them to come with an open mind and, hopefully, without any pre misconceptions about what cession might be like.

Another way that we help break those cultural barriers is by providing a free meal before the service every week. As the leader of the ministry that provides the meal each week, I feel very honoured to be able to serve the community in this manner. It is also incredibly rewarding when you see a new face and/or someone that normally wouldn't even set foot in a church come. Even if they just come for the meal and not stay for the service, that in itself is already a huge win.

Then there is the whole community-ness about cession. No one and nothing goes unnoticed. Where help is needed, it is provided. Where love is needed (emotional support in times of need that is), it is given unconditionally. Where there is something to celebrate, it is celebrated. Where honesty is required, it is given without beating round the bush.

These are one of the many ways that as a community we try our very best each day to be light-not just within cession but especially with the people we interact with outside of cession. As we minister to those around us, we want to reflect and offer Christ.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Perfect...A bad thing? Surely not!

In the midst of winding down after a hectic shift at work, I remembered something I read a while ago from Perfecting Ourselves to Death. This was written in relation to Lexus:

"Relentless pursuit of perfection. The only thing car experts fond to criticize is that is is so smooth, quiet & lacks soul"

This excerpt is from Chp 1, which means that I read it sometime last year and I didn't think much about it nor have I re-read that chapter ever again.

So here I am on a muggy Saturday afternoon, tired and hot, contemplating this little excerpt. I'm thinking..."I guess I've never thought about perfection from that angle before". It does make sense though.

When you start off learning something or doing something for the first time, you have to use brain power, initiative, effort and sometimes passion during the process to produce the end result. Once you've mastered the technique, it becomes routine and possibly a habit, there is no need effort or brain power. And I guess that's when the lack of soul may develop.

Which brings me to consider...the many things we put into place in our daily lives to better our walk with the Lord and become more like Him puts us in a position where we can easily do it just for the sake of doing it. We may start off full of excitement, hunger and determination but there is always a danger of what we do becoming meaningless, empty gestures.

So another area in life that I thought might be affected by perfectionism is my cooking. Sometimes I do cook just for the sake of cooking, worry excessively about the minor details that I totally lose touch with what I am actually meant to do and that is not a good thing especially when I'm on chow duty. I have to constantly remind myself why I am serving and to remember to put passion and love into what I do.

Like most things there is a positive and negative and there is a very fine line between the two. SO the challenge is to make sure that the line is never crossed...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The week that was

What a week it has been...I has quite a full on week, filled with ups and downs. Basically the week was taken up by work (4 days), attending various cession related meetings, running a million errands, house sitting & catching up with Julia and enjoying some great music at the Jazz & Blues Festival @ Mission Bay. For the most part it was a good week.

Spending the weekend with Julia was great. I hadn't seen her in a while and it was nice to catch up and just hang out. We went to the Jazz & Blues Festival on Saturday nite and I had a blast. The music was awesome. I can't wait til next year!

chow meetings were good. They are always good as we talk about how chow is going and what next steps do we take to move forward in this wonderful ministry.

Sunday, however, was probably the low point of the week. When things go according to plan most weeks, there is never any out of the drama and the atmosphere in the kitchen is generally very calm, collected and relaxed. But guess what?! This week wasn't one of them! Everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong and to make matters even more interesting, I was on roster. And when the equation goes something like Jean(high stressed) + every possible thing go wrong this normally equates to Jean becoming more stressed, highly fragile & pissed off. That was exactly what happened, too.

Even though the nite was crap, the good thing was that I came away from the nite having learnt some lessons that needed to be learnt (personally and as a leader). So what did I learn?

  • Patience plays a big role in high stressed situations like Sunday nite. I had to be as nice and patient as I possibly could with others, especially those on team. I'm not one to beat round the bush when wanting to get my point across and can often come across as really rude and in your face. And when I am stressed and pissed off, I not only get straight to the point but I can be really short even if I don't mean to. So, not taking my anger out on the people around me is something that I have to be very conscious about.
  • Confronting people is something I hate with such passion that I will avoid it at all cost even if it means having a crap week or being more stressed. But lovely Melissa made sure that before the nite was up I had a talk to the person I needed to talk to to try and get to the bottom of what was going on that nite. I hated having to talk to that person and still do but I did get answers that I needed, even if I didn't like them. This will be a big issue that I will continue to struggle with but I do know that taking on a position of leadership comes with its ups and downs. Unfortunately, this is a BIG down for me. And Melissa, as much as I hate what you get me to do I know that it's good for me and I will try and learn to love them... :)
  • I am loved and people do care about me. I know that it shouldn't surprise me that I am surrounded by such amazing people and I can call them friends, true friends. However, I have had many bad experiences with people that I thought were friends. In these relationships I was left very hurt and scarred. As a result, I can be very cynical about people when I first meet them and get to know them. I also am very cautious about how open I am with people about me for the fear of being hurt yet again. But on Sunday, God opened my eyes and affirmed the friendships I have within cessioncommunity. I find it hard to open up to others when something isn't right and I tend to bottle stuff up. This will drag right through the week with me feeling down but, as much as I felt uncomfortable opening up, my friends made me sit down and talk to them. And I'm glad they did what they did. I do feel better. Thanx to Sarah, Liz, Melissa, Brett & Julia. I really appreciate the fact that you are so willing to hear me out and let me vent my frustrations. But you don't just listen, you offer wisdom, encouragement and love in return.

So what does this week hold for me...more meetings, work and checking out the girls that I may possibly coach this year. It looks like another busy week but I'm not complaining. I'd much rather be busy than bored. So I'm off.