My last Sunday at National Community Church’s Union Station campus will be early next month, and by God’s grace, it’ll be for the best reason ever: I’ve just grown so much.
It’s time for me to find a church closer to home. I need to make myself more available and accessible to the people in whatever church I call home. Two and a half years ago all I wanted was to find a church with a good word. Six months wandering through a biblical wasteland, after breaking camp from a church that taught God’s Word, will do that to you. And I found one. And oh, did I learn.
I walked in when Mark started the Chase the Lion series. It was like I was picking up right where I left off [short break to allow eye sweat….] in talking to God about whether leaving my old church was the right thing to do. From that sermon on I got so much conviction and affirmation…
I found out that my intensity to follow the Lord wherever he would lead was not something to be “tamed”, but embraced. I learned that my desire to see things done well and not just “good enough for church” was not a carnal mentality from the world but a God-given rebellion against the spiritualized mediocrity I’ve encountered way too often. I stopped letting the things I heard in church remain conceptual, and demanded that my heart find a way to apply everything. I changed the way I thought about work, and came to terms with the fact that I was believing I could do more in seven days than God could do with six. I stopped avoiding and running from the burden God gave me for club hoppers looking for what can only be found in Christ. I found that creativity fosters a special connection to the Creator that is to be treasured by the Church, not downplayed or disregarded. Then there were a thousand different one-liners and ideals that never left me from the first time I heard them.
“Never let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God.”
“God cares more about who you are becoming than what you are doing or where you are going.”
“God can do more with 6 days than you can do by yourself in seven.”
“Every encounter has the potential to be a divine appointment.”
“Chase the Lion!”
“Everything is an experiment”
“Playing it safe is risky”
“We exist primarily for the people who are not here yet”
and then about a million lines that began with “God is in the business of…”
And behind all that, I was being stretched socially and relationally. Anti-social is like my nickname when I don’t keep an eye on myself. I can get so swept up in my own ambitions, preferences, and personal hangups that I would flippantly toss people to the wayside to keep myself satisfied. Then I started going to church in the city, and somewhere along the line I started caring about people. Like really caring about people. More than my own work or desires or vulnerabilities. I started prioritizing giving my time to others over keeping it for myself. I started making it a point to call, email or Facebook people, or simply pray for them when they came up in my thoughts. I started bringing down my walls so that my brethren around the world could “stand firm knowing that others around the world are suffering the same things” (1 Pe 5:9). I started fighting for friendships.
[I gotta keep this moving to keep my composure….]
But now this is where I find myself. Having to say goodbye to friends who have become familiar with the DeAndre’ that I still see as a stranger in the mirror. At any given point in the week, I’m in DC, to Bowie and Largo, Silver Spring, Temple Hills, northen VA on occassion, and ultimately spreading myself between so many friends and groups and places, that I’m missing out on the one thing a believer can’t get and be all over the place at the same time: deep and consistent fellowship. Fellowship. Not just the hanging out with friends, go to the movies, a lil Bible study or a cordial “how are you?” passed around at Christian events. But that real, my life isn’t good if yours isn’t good type of fellowship. The kind that does all the casual stuff but isn’t afraid to break away from it to make sure everyone is thriving or at least determined to hang on in their walk with Christ. I’ve certainly had that before, but post-college life has a way of changing the shape of your support systems.
So I have to do this. Not for me, but for the me I have yet to become, and for the people that God wants me to embrace this next step of my journey with. I have no idea where I’m going to end up, but the swelling of my heart at the thought of God’s power and presence at work in people who meet while following His will tells me my passion is changing course, and I’ve GOT to keep up. This desire is God-given, and I can’t shake it (Ps 37:4).
Believe me, I prayed for a different answer, a different way, and I prayed til asking again would be hinging on disobedience. But God is good, He is gracious in giving His kids joy, even when we feel sorrow (2 Cor 6:10). And so while I’m striving to smile, I am smiling.
Hopefully I’ll get the chance to see most of yall before I start my search. If not, I’ll be around. Just obviously not the same way. Facebook, Gmail chat (lol), events in the city or at Eb’s, that’ll still be the same. Oh and my paintballers and film heads —- you know what’s up 😉
grace and peace family. I love you and pray that you would live in His love, deeply (1 John 4:16)
14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.