He’s the Lifer

Hey Family,

Like you, I’m feeling low about this latest school shooting. More on that below. But first, something cheerful.

I walked out of the restroom in building three last week and got a delicious surprise. My buddy Nathan was standing there with a big box of donuts, just waiting for me to take my pick. He even said I could grab one for my daughter Caroline who helps in his Sunday school class.

In the spirit of Nathan, who wants to drop by Stan’s or some other donut shop and bring about three dozen donuts to church on Sunday? Please let me know!

Our new series is starting

I was happy to drive in and see the banner for our new John series that Christina designed for us. Jesse had just hung it up.

Notice that he cut small round holes in the vinyl to keep the wind from tearing it up. Hopefully we’ll have a different Wind blowing in our midst — not ripping, but repairing lives (“he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” – John 20:22). The series is called “Believe: A Series In John.” This important word (always a verb, never a noun in John) comes up repeatedly and there’s a lot to it. Simple, yes, but true belief has some meat to it.

Speaking of meat, let’s have a simple barbecue. Here’s the inspiration: John’s Gospel is built around the festivals of Israel (Passover, Tabernacles, Dedication and unnamed ones). As we’ll discover, the festivals find their fulfillment in Jesus of Nazareth. He’s the one we gather around and celebrate continually. Despite the growing tide of evil, we should continue to feast together because the Lamb of God has come, the one “who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

OK, so, who wants to organize a simple, after-church barbecue one of these summer Sundays? Just something basic – hamburgers, hotdogs, chips, watermelon. Please let me know. Here’s a picture from three years ago at an Alpha Cookout. You can see Lee cleaning the grill while Sandeep and Luke look on after a hard evening’s service (which they loved). Let’s get some grills dirty! As our Apostle Paul said, “Let us keep the feast” (1 Cor. 5:8).

I’m calling this message “The Lifer.” For you word-people like Gail and me, you know that if you put an “er” on a word, it often means a person having a job associated with that word. Think of a “hatter” (someone who makes hats), or a lawyer (someone who works with laws), or a baker. You get the idea.

Jesus is the Lifer. He’s one of a kind; there are no other practitioners of this profession. As we’ll talk about in this first message, Jesus is completely engrossed with life (he created it, he gave up his own, and he gives life to others).

Let’s gather together and celebrate Jesus as he’s presented by his friend John.

For the One who said, “I am the life” (John 14:6),


P.S. Like I said, I know you’re feeling disturbed over this latest school shooting. Maybe you’ve teared up or felt angry. John’s very-human Jesus was deeply moved, troubled, and even indignant at his friend’s death. Why? Because evil is an affront to God and his good creation. Of course, there will be restoration, justice and mercy, yet Jesus pauses to mourn. But then he gets up and keeps ministering. I don’t know what to say other than, let’s keep being the church and ten times more active with our neighbors. We can talk about Jesus. We can befriend the lonely – especially lonely kids and teens. And we can help the poor with our abundant resources. Please stop by the Grace Village Home Renovation Project table this Sunday and pick up an information flyer. We also hope you’ll come to the information lunch on Sunday, June 5. Here’s the link to sign up. For more information, please visit this webpage.

We’ll work together with CityTeam to see an apartment go from this…

…to this.

It will be a safe and comfortable shelter for a mom and her kids.