Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Deep thoughts. By josh eppy

Just some thoughts:
being inundated by exciting church or extreme church, with loud music, funny videos, heart wrenching and tear jerking stories has taken it's toll on us. As I've been thinking about this whole identity thing and it being tied to purpose, we should be getting our new identity from Christ. A new self as the scriptures say. By the renewal of our heart, soul, and mind we are being made new in the image of Christ.
Out of this image, there is a uniqueness which we have all our own. Things that we can only relate to some, rather than the whole. Things like teaching/communication skills, usefulness in using our hands in a specific skill, a nurturing and warm personality, being creative, being organized, etc. This is the picture of the body of Christ. We pick up where others leave and partner with those who suck at what we're good at and support the opposites to be more balanced.
This new identity is pretty rare. We see it in some and that includes the leaders we look up to. There are certain attributes of this identity we will all share. Being holy. Humility. Being righteous. (not self righteous) I even think there's a verse in there that says we should be perfect. (name some more if you can) These are the things that we should look like. Together.
Understanding these things about yourself should be essential. From this newness there can be a sense of zeal and knowledge that brings us to this understanding and our relationship with one another.
Being entertained on a Sunday is hard to pull this identity in. it takes more than just an hour or so a week. I once heard a guy say that in order to become a professional golf player, from nothing, you need to spend at least 10,000 hours practicing. I'm not aiming to become a professional Christian but we've got to consume ourselves and change our agendas to be around those who are going to show us this new image, all the while looking to Christ. Can't forget that one.
Moses was given a call to lead Gods people to the promise land. I'm sure it was quite exciting at first. The whole killing an Egyptian and plagues and magic battling a king. But the whole 40 years in the desert sure must of gotten old. But he still had purpose. He still had identity. Bearing the image of God, he was bringing a blessing.
How easy it is for us to caught up in an identity that's not of God and not of our own. What image are you bearing? How can others be your opposite? Do you know what that image looks like and would you recognize yourself if you looked in a mirror? In what areas do you need to renew yourself? Where are the best places you've seen a good look at Jesus? Can you or will you let others in on the secret?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What are you building or not?

Since I've been back home in Valparaiso it's been a constant busy. The normal unsteadiness of work in the winter has been occupied by a project to put an addition above the garage that was at a time a roof. I've been learning various skills that I would otherwise not encounter if I were not employed here.  Deconstruction of the roof, framing, putting a new roof back on, shingling, plumbing, electric, drywall and mudding and most recently painting. These are all things that I've been able to see firsthand and learn from guys who've been at it for a long long time. I know it'll take time for me to get the hang of any of it. We've even hired people specifically trained in certain jobs that are masters of what they do. Just by watching I've learned so much about home construction, at least putting a master bedroom addition on an old roof.
I look at this work, just from this past winter alone and see how it correlates with what I've been experiencing in the church. As I've assumed a different role in the body of Christ, it's something quite new to me. There a certain skills and pedigrees that distinguish themselves amongst the others that make each unique. As I've been working alongside other men and women working out their role in the body of Christ it's been quite uneasy. A lot of awkwardness and uncertainty has been encountered along the way, much to that of learning a new skill or trade. Questioning yourself, hitting your thumb with a hammer, getting in the way of others, not knowing the overall goal, let alone having any idea on how to get there.
Many of the people we've been meeting are still going through this process of seeing who they are in the body of Christ. I for one can admit that I'm still growing and learning but yearning to master they trade that God has placed before me. There's beauty in not doing this alone though. As we disciple each other, we are iron sharpening iron and building each other up. We are looking to each other for the examples of what this looks like, all the while looking to Christ. We know the goal of planting the gospel to all the world but there are many different ways to go about it.
It's been a joy to build into the lives of others. For some they're starting new, with a fresh slate and a fresh foundation. A lot of watching is going on and they're looking for the body of Christ to provide that example. Some are still trying to function with some 70's retrofitting style, with shag carpet, wood panel walls, and some funky green and mauve colors. But you know what, it still works. But only if it's rooted in love. Some are seeing that they need to rebuild. Their foundation was weak in first place or built on the wrong things. So it's time to tear it down and build it on what's sure and foundational.