Sunday, 30 July 2017

The Living Room

I often wonder how we got here… how we got to a place where life feels like wine and the water of everyday living refreshes the soul with it’s clarity and purity. It feels like we have been given a blank page that we dare not touch or write on unless He says so; that whatever our ideas, whatever our dreams we cannot fill the space unless He ordains it. It’s an invigorating place to be, where breathing deeply is commonplace and freedom runs with us like a child at the playground and God has given us this for our pleasure, to enjoy and be fully present in. A place where there is hope and refuge and purpose. Those are the words at the center of the page and they are for everyone.

Looking back our lives are rich. Our church was family and to walk away was a wrench, but we knew we had to. God nudged us out and we continue to fully find ourselves in Him. We knew we had to make more room, to extend our table and to extend this family. To make more space for those in need of refuge, for those who need hope restored and for those who dare to dream to be championed and encouraged in finding their purpose.

So that’s why we ended up here, to reimagine, to simplify and to create and this is what we have found… that life is light and full of space and beauty and that home is made up of many rooms. The place that we feel the most ourselves and the most alive is in ‘The Living Room.’

When God is somewhere, and His presence is evident, living water flows in a way that reveals who we really are. In our home the living room is the place where friends and family come and relax. We can ‘take a load off’, share how we are and we are safe to laugh and cry and just be ourselves. When God joins us, it’s not just people having a good time together, it’s powerful, it changes perspectives, it heals, it envisions and it loves. When we encounter Real Love, we can never be the same again. How wonderful that Love Himself makes His home in us. He dwells in our praises and breathes life into us when we come together in His house.

The Living Room is where we gather, where we take time out to be with each other and with Him. It is a place of encounter, connection, unity, support, challenge and celebration and it is a place of hope where Jesus changes us.

The kitchen is different. It is equally valuable but it just scratches the surface of what is available in the home. It is the natural place where relationships are developed. It’s a place for chatting; for ‘getting to know’; for discovering and experimenting. It’s a step on from ‘bumping in to someone’ and it brings comfort, connection, welcome and refuge. Those ‘kitchen’ moments lead us into to a safe place where the kettle is always on and life chats are always available.

Then there’s the table. The table runs through our lives as a place of depth, a step in from the kitchen. We are fed around the table and we can always make room. It’s a place to be inspired, a place to grow in relationship, a place where we respond to the nudges of God and where purpose is often discovered through conversation and communion, and God’s fingerprints, whether they are recognised or not, are everywhere.

What if these places become a metaphor for how church works? What if the values held within these environments roll into our everyday lives and, guided and directed by God, we allow ourselves to be shaped by the natural progressions of relationships with each other and with God? What if these areas are not a progression that we are led through, a trajectory that we are all aiming for but a spirit filled cross contamination where it’s ok to stay in the kitchen, it’s ok to be in different places at different times? What if being a ‘history maker’ looks less like a platform and more like making a difference to the lives of those around us? What if God stirs us to action to make an impact on this world around our tables and what if ‘The Living Room’ really is where life is found, where celebration and suffering are shared, where worship is more than songs and where Love himself makes us more like Him as we gather together and make room?

We believe in church. We believe there is a place where you fit and we are excited about experimenting with this stuff. There is more to discover. We don’t know how far we will go but we are daring to dream because we do know that the One who is Love itself will drive this, that the blank page is His and that as this unfolds He will be at the center of it all. It’s simple really, make room for Him in our everyday and He will do more than we could ever imagine. From September we’ll be in ‘The Living Room’. If you want to step in to ‘the kitchen’ again and see if God is really there, if you want to get around ‘the table’ and chat deeper, or if you want to join us in ‘The Living Room’ you are so welcome. There is refuge, hope and purpose to be found and we are excited for the adventure.

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