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This is more of a personal news update aimed at friends and acquaintances than an overtly theological post. If you were expecting the latter, you shall simply have to wait as I am about to undertake two second year MA assignments in the next few months. Almost all of my ‘theological’ focus shall thus be aimed at those, at least for the time being.
To cut a very long winded saga short, as many of you will doubtless already be aware, our family has decided to take a leap of faith and join a brand new Vineyard church plant here in Cambridge. Our new pastor (pastorette?) is an inspiring, faith-filled follower of Jesus called Lauren Fearn. She has responded to God’s call and has a fresh vision and heart to see Jesus’ Kingdom being established here on earth; for people who don’t already know Jesus to encounter him and have their lives transformed by his loving grace. For some vague context and an insight into how I’ve personally been feeling about my own spiritual walk over the past year, check out my previous post around the theme of Cognitive Dissonance. Needless to say, we’re very excited to be a part of this emerging story and already we’re seeing fruit despite Cam Vineyard only being *officially* active as a new church plant for all of a month.
For us as a family, it almost feels like we’ve been on a very long, winding road which has finally led somewhere that feels like ‘home’. As much as anything, for me personally it also makes so much sense given my increasing affinity with the Vineyard approach to spirituality, theology, values, ecclesiology, and church planting (to which I also feel called one day). To be clear, this doesn’t mean that we haven’t felt welcomed or well shepherded at our previous churches; we’ve experienced a lot of God’s grace, and been privileged to enjoy fellowship with some wonderful people, and direction from Godly leadership throughout our spiritual journey so far. Perhaps most importantly, we also are deliberately not in pursuit of the perennial illusion of that mythological perfect church, wherein the living is easy, the coffee is properly brewed, and the grass is always greener. Yet, in my reckoning, there’s a world of difference between calling and comfort (although one could, at times, be comfortable within one’s calling). So, although the road less travelled seems to be the one that currently lies before us (church planting is a risky business), I’m very happy to unashamedly say that we’re extremely glad and grateful to have been shunted onto the right track (for us that is) by Jesus.
For over nine years now, I have seen my life gradually shift and transform through my own experience of, and relationship with Jesus Christ. I say that in the most genuine, honest, and unqualified way that I can; I can’t necessarily prove to anyone that Jesus is alive and rescues people from seemingly hopeless circumstances, but that is quite literally how I would describe my own encounter(s) and experience(s) of/with God since late 2006. As I write, I’m reminded of that simple faith that awakened within me when I first heard the essence of Jesus’ Gospel message, and how brilliantly it was summed up by a line from the first Matrix movie:
Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. (Morpheus)
Jesus is recorded as saying something very similar in John’s Gospel:
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see…”
(John 1:35-39 NIV Emphasis mine)
Therein lies the beautiful mystery of the invitation to get to know who Jesus is, and how his Gospel changes everything. Come, and you will see.
If you’re curious, why not come along to see for yourselves? Check out our church website for more information, or you could drop me a line in the comments below.
Love to all!