When you look at the vision logo, the “e” at the very center represents our first goal, Experiencing God. As Christ followers, we are defined by our relationship with a real and living God who promised to be with us always. (Matthew 28:20) Everything else we do and decide flows from this center. However, like the first disciples, our experiences with God cannot stay bottled up within us. Our experiences continue to reflect and ripple outward. In fact, throughout the earliest Christian writings, when someone became a follower of Jesus, he or she almost immediately demonstrated hospitality to others. Their lives were changed and the love of God so filled them that they could not help but share their life with others. Offering hospitality to a broken world was a way for them, and us, to proclaim, “We have experienced God!” And here is the irony. When we care deeply about the things that Jesus cared about and empty ourselves into the lives of others, we experience God all over again.
Just as Legos blocks cannot fulfill their destiny in solitude, people are not meant to be alone. We are meant to be connected and combined with others. The church is a collection of people who come from a world of brokenness and isolation. However, God is all about recycling. Even Jesus’ first disciples were not the picture of perfection. Peter denied Jesus. James and John wanted to sit in positions of power, when Jesus came as a servant. Even John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus, doubted him at one point. Jesus can use misfits like us to change the world when we are connected to each other and to Him. So, join the journey! Let us help you find a place to plug in and get connected to others.
One day, as Jesus was passing through Jericho, he noticed a tax collector named Zacchaeus hanging out in a tree. No one would let him get close enough to see Jesus passing by, so he was forced to improvise. However, this hated outcast had an experience with God. Jesus called to him and invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house for dinner! As expected, Zacchaeus rushed down to welcome Jesus. But, then he did something a bit unexpected. Instead of offering a special gift to Jesus or making Him an expensive meal, Zacchaeus gave generously to the people God cares about, the poor, the oppressed, and those in need.
Zacchaeus responded to Jesus by engaging the world. Zacchaeus’ responds to Jesus by doing what God has always been doing. “God so loved the world that he…. gave.” (John 3:16) We are never more like God than when we give. Our third ingredient, “Engage the World” challenges us to invest in the things of God with every part of our lives. After the resurrection, Jesus said to his disciples, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:21) Jesus has sent us on His mission. Are we going? How is your mission playing out? Are you engaging the world? After all, He has blessed you to be a blessing. He has loved you so that you can bring love to your world. He has forgiven you so you can help others know forgiveness. He has changed your life so you can be an agent of transformation and change today.