The J Curve

Rev. Cliff WarnerCliffNotes

Sunday’s worship in our new space was magnificent! Many thanks again to all, both staff and members, who have responsibilities on Sundays and are adapting your ministries to our new location. I’m so thankful, not only for a job well done, but especially for the cheerful and servant-hearted attitude of all. As wonderful as worship was Sunday, let’s face it: growth and transitions can be hard.

I began a new workout last month called “Boot Camp” and, believe me, the name is more than a marketing gimmick. I can feel it breaking down my body; I drag myself back to my car at dark-early in the morning after each workout. Isn’t it supposed to be building my body up? Why would I put myself through that?

We might as well ask Jesus why the seed must fall to the ground. Or why must the first be last? Or why did he come “down” to us in order lift us “up” in Him? There is a fundamental pattern at work here: the path to “better” usually stretches through a patch of “harder.”

This principle applies to both matters of the heart and the material world, to both individuals and communities. Getting from here to there usually means starting at the lower end of the letter “J” and traveling a downward path, hitting bottom, and then turning upward toward the goal, the top of the “J.” Our goal, the top of the “J,” is to help lost and broken people connect to Christ and his community. As a church we are going through a growth spurt with growing pains to get there. Adjusting to a larger is space one example.

Too many hearts, lives, and communities don’t press through the hard part of the “J-Curve” to reach the top of God’s calling. They get demoralized or discouraged. I want to encourage us all to join Paul, who wrote from prison to the church in Philippi: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

God is on the move. I want to share with you a note I got from one of our parishioners who reported the following comments from three of last Sunday’s first-time visitors:
“it was so real”
“full of real people”
“the corporate worship was full of the Holy Spirit”
“we were given the gift of participation”

Persevering with you, in grace and peace,