Sunday, August 23, 2009

God comes through!

When we are in are most trying times, it almost always seems as if God comes through. This should come as no surprise, but for some reason it usually does, at least to me. When"we are week, He is strong."
The last few months have been trying, as others have shared, we are discovering that being here for the long haul takes more commitment then we "expected." We always talk about having no expectations of what will happen, but they slip in some how. It seems the more I try to make something as simple as playing disc golf with a neighbor happen the more I fail. If the key point of being here is to develop relationships then why is it so hard I have often asked myself.....Well this last week God allowed for some awesome relationship building. After months of trying to get together with one of our neighbors it happened. The guy actually took the initiative and planned it out for us almost! And we were able to play Disc golf and talk about Christ(thanks to one of the dudes here with the gift of evangelism). We are looking forward to doing this again this coming week. Praise God!
Also, God has really been opening doors with the neighbors who live below us. Friday night I was able to play catch with the dads that live there and that opened doors for lots of relationships and conversations to take place over the rest of the weekend. It is amazing how God comes in at just that right time and reminds us that HE alone is in control!
Thans for you prayers! May God richly bless you in his grace and mercy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Backyard Bible Blast!

Just over a week ago we had a big group from Clear Creak Community Church put on a Backyard Bible Blast at Barberry village (that's some nice alliterations!). It was a great spin on the typical VBS. Instead of bringing neighbors to their building (they don't even have a building anyhow, they meet in a gym of a local school), they brought games, music, crafts, food, fun, relationship, and the Gospel TO the community.

We all felt like it was a huge success. The kids were comfortable, and many adults wandered over during the story/worship time. For those of us that live there, it was a perfect context to go deeper and more intentional in the relationships with families. Many of the Clear Creekers have (and plan to continue) contributing to the regular community meals at Barberry as well.

Enjoy some pictures:

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Trying Time

It is hard to believe, but the Barberrian Villagers are nearing their one year anniversary of serving and living at Barberry Village. The year has been full of challenges, excitement, and all the complicated yet wonderful things living in an intentional community could bring.

Like most relationships and things in life, the first six months were full of wonder and exploration, everything seemed new and fulfilling. Challenges were faced head on and energy was strong. The second six months, the energy slowly declined, especially when clear obstacles appeared.

So now, we are near the one year point, the point where we must ask ourselves - what are we doing, why are we doing it, and where are we hoping to go from here?

As we ponder this, and many of us wrestle with burnout and whether or not this is a worthwhile endeavor - whether or not this is where Christ can best use us - we must refocus.

What is the point of this? As a romantic relationship initiates, it is often sweet and full of suprises, give it time and it becomes the norm, becomes comfortable and can sometimes lose its excitement factor. I believe this happens in ministry too.

We are at a point where Barberry is no longer a new ministry. We've been doing it for a while, we have seen the good and the bad. Are we willing to continue living how we have and continue building relationships with our neighbors? Chances are nothing new will happen, no big breakthoughs for a while, perhaps some more dissapointments. Maybe we wont see fruit in areas we really want to see it in - will we continue?

As Paul traveled from church to church, and saw many things not where they should be, he didn't give up. He carried on. We may not see fruit immediately, we may not see fruit for months, years. Maybe not for a lifetime. How discouraging, it would seem. But are we living to see the fruit or are we living for the sake of the gospel? Are we willing to carry on and trust that God is working beyond what we can see?

As every happily married couple of many years says, sticking through the stale and difficult parts only leads to deeper and more meaningful relationship. It may be frustrating to push through the normal part of it, the part that becomes regular and mundane, but perhaps sticking through these times leads to something more beautiful than what can be seen instantly.

These are challenging questions and feelings. As we wrestle with the direction our lives are taking, what our goals are, we need all the prayer we can get. Please pray for the Barberrian Villagers and what we are all wrestling with as we prepare to enter the second year of living here.