Do You Have Sacramental Flow?

Posted by on Jun 3, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Depending on the Christian denomination you call home, sacramental might invoke images of ancient icons and bishops in miters.  Or, if you’re like me, simply baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Whichever end of the spectrum you live on, we’ve got you in FiveTwo.  And then some.

Sacramental faith is FiveTwo’s fountainhead.  Everything else flows from this relationship.  (Yes, faith fundamentally is a relationship, not a feeling or possession, not an act or expression.  It’s a relational way of being, established by your Creator God when He gave you His Spirit.)  By sacramental we don’t mean simply the worship definition of baptism and Lord’s Supper.  We include that, yes.  But we’re expanding the footprint, widening the stream. 

Sacramental is more of a flow-based experience.

Here’s how it works:  Sacramental faith starts with the Christ that is present in the Word.  That flows into the Christ that is present in the sacraments.  The sacraments embody the Christ that’s in the Scriptures.  As you and I participate in those sacraments, we receive that Christ.  This Christ then fills us to be His presence for the world.

Word to Sacraments to Us to the World.  Sacramental flow.

It all starts in the Word, which reveals Jesus at every turn.  As Luther said, Scripture is “the swaddling clothes and the manger”.  The more we unwrap the swaddling clothes, the more of Jesus we find.  Scripture teaches us about Christ, revealing God’s heart for humanity and humanity’s need for God.

Flowing from that rooting, Christ is present in the sacraments. The sacraments are mysterious, beautiful and powerful.  In them Jesus explodes into our time and space, allowing us to experience the very real presence of Christ. 

I participate in the sacraments:  Christ participates in me.  

Baptism is a physical act, commanded by Jesus, communicating Jesus' forgiveness.  It anchors my daily life in His presence and power, daily drowning and raising me to new life in Him. How does this sacramental reality live out in your daily life?

The Lord’s Supper transports me to the cross where I experience sacramental union with Christ in His death and the covenant of God’s everlasting love (Jer. 31).  Jesus present in me, in you, empowers me for living in grace, desiring to follow, to worship, to be in His presence.  How does this sacramental reality live out in your daily life?

When we participate in the Sacraments, the Christ present in the sacraments becomes the Christ present in you and me.   Word to Sacraments to Us.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Finally, the flow culminates with Christ coming to life in the spiritual community – when the “I’s” join together into “we” the sacramental nature of community comes alive.  As our awareness of His presence in us increases, we live out His presence more and more for the world.  Our hearts follow His heart, loving the people He loves, sacrificing for the people He died for. 

Living out His sacramental presence leads to a life of generosity.  Generosity that flows from the heart of God through the cross of Jesus into the waters of our baptisms and through the bread and wine of the supper, through our hands, feet and dollars into a world that ignorantly ignores its Creator and Redeemer, to it’s eternal detriment.

How is Jesus flowing through you into your community…for your community?  How's your sacramental flow?

Tell us your thoughts below!

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Leaving The Vomit Behind

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Friend and fellow-FiveTwo-er — not to mention great writer — R.J. Grunewald is releasing a fabulous little eBook this am: Addiction: Leaving The Vomit Behind.  It's not only a quick read; it's thoughtful and insightful and perfect for a sermon series on addictions.  So whether you're looking for a resource to give someone or looking for a message series to use this summer, head over to RJ's blog and sign up for your free copy TODAY!

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Organic vs Organized

Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

Gather me a group of sacramental leaders, especially younger ones, and within five minutes I can start a fight.  All I have to do is diss “organic.” 

I’m not talking Whole Foods.  Or Sprouts.  I’m talking organic as in Church.  As in anti-programmatic.  As in “We need to let the Spirit lead and allow discipleship to happen, to just be part of everyday life.  We can’t force it.”  Which I agree with: justification and sanctification are both the work of the Spirit of Jesus, and discipleship should be daily, interwoven into all of life.

But it sometimes appears those fawning over organic have forgotten how organized the world – down to it’s atomic level – is.  Not to mention that organized people-structures, properly done, actually allow for more people to get involved.  The gift of administration contributes involvement to the Body.

Sidebar for a second:  I’ve often wondered if the aversion to “large church” is simply a lack of appreciation for or possession of administrative gifts.  Effective leaders need not possess the ability to organize, but they dare not neglect its value.   Said Paul, "If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?" (1 Corinthians 12:17)

Therefore, organic is organized, or else it tends to peter out; and organized, if it isn’t organic, creates disciple shells that lack substance.  Like a meatless taco.  Any effective, long-term discipleship process will have structure and routine, co-mingled with rhythms and flexibility.  Organic and organized.

Double that for movements, especially the movement FiveTwo is hoping to ignite.

We know that unless the Spirit of Jesus blesses our work and focuses our steps, ours will be a short-lived flash in the pan.  So we remain flexible before Him, sensing the doors He’s opening and praying for discernment and courage.  We have a dream for what we hope He brings about through our efforts, but we know ultimately He will dictate the future.  His sovereignty brings us great comfort even as we toil.

But we also know that for the organic to take off, to grow into something larger than just the nine original planters, larger than the 40 Locals in existence, larger than the 800+ sacramental leaders we’re expecting in September…for something larger to happen, purposeful structure is also needed.

That’s where the Locals – and especially the Catalysts – come in.

Every FiveTwo Local has at least one Local Catalyst.  He or she is like some fire starter that helps the kindling turn into a blaze.

Here’s what the job description says: The Local Catalyst is FiveTwo’s “man on the ground,” encouraging and equipping replication-minded sacramental leaders (staff & lay) to multiply the Church in their metropolitan area.  The critical role of the catalyst dictates we pay attention to how she is selected and supported in the movement.  We have to balance both the organic and the organized.

When I re-read the above description of the Local Catalyst, a couple things jump out.  

First, Catalysts encourage.

Seriously: If you could depict the emotions you encounter while leading a ministry, “isolated” and “discouraging” would be your Rorschach answers.  Too often we have no on we can turn to who brings that much-needed encouragement and hope. 

That’s why we created the role of catalyst.  Capital E Encourager.  Which leads to Capital C Courage. 

Second, Catalysts equip. How are you going to accomplish the three goals that FiveTwo is chasing?  What skills do you wish you had as you lead in your vocation?  Which ones need sharpening?  Your Local Catalyst wants to help you find the knowledge and people you need, AND, he wants to help share your knowledge and skill with others in the network.

The Catalyst encourages and equips.  He’s a giant people connector.

Third, Catalysts pour into leaders.  She’s leader of leaders or developer of leaders. Not as a supervisor but rather as someone who truly cares and desires your growth and development for the sake of more people knowing Jesus.  He knows that the more he helps you make a difference, the more he’s going to grow himself.  But the heart of these relationships is that there would be someone on the ground, in a community, who is investing noticeable time and energy into making the people around him more effective in their ministry to lost people.

If a catalyst is effective, every person connected to the local will be more effective.

That sounds out of balance – If the catalyst is pouring into the people in his local, who pours into the catalyst? Ah, structure and organization rear their beautiful heads. FiveTwo relies heavily on a small group of highly developed sacramental entrepreneurs that we call the national catalysts.  Every single local catalyst is connected to a national catalyst.

These national catalysts do the very same things for the local catalysts that the local catalysts do in their local. Think about it like this: The national catalysts pour into the local catalysts. The local catalysts pour into the members of their community, their local. It’s organic, and it’s built on relationship.

Relationship is the bond that holds those different people together for the sake of advancing the movement we are calling FiveTwo. It’s organic life on life. And it’s organized and structured. This gives us the best chance for effectiveness across the board, in managing this Holy Spirit wind.

Want to be a Local Catalyst?  Click on this link and we’ll lead you through the process to discern if God is calling you to this apostolic role.

The FiveTwo Local is where FiveTwo will make the maximum impact.  We’re pumped about what’s already happened, but we know there’s still more to come.  Are you in?

We’d love to hear your comments below!

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If You Want To Change The World, Make Your Bed

Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Fantastic speech from Naval Admiral William H. McRaven. McRaven is the commander of U.S. Special Operations and oversaw the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.  He gave this speech at the University of Texas commencement.  But it's still good. :>)

Actually, it's amazing.

 

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A Fantastic Memorial Day Collage

Posted by on May 25, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

This Memorial Day picto-story from Huffington Post is worth your view. Soul-stirring pictures and a few vids remind us Memorial Day is about more than a day off.

 

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A Must-Read on Gay Marriage

Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

One of the best written pieces on the cosmological shift that is gay marriage.  It's more than a relationship issue: it's an order-of-creation, how-the-world-works issue.

What does this say to you and how you will approach this issue…in your family…in your relationships…in your congregation?

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