Kickball and the Kingdom

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“Honey, a dumb kickball game is not one of my priorities right now! I have too much to do around here!”

I huffed and puffed about this time commitment, and this wife’s heart was anything but submissive.

I hung up the phone with my knuckle, since our conversation was had while I franticly tried to keep up with the mess that was being made…breakfast dishes scattered across kitchen. four loads of laundry to be folded. many more to be washed. my desire to get some blogging done. the house projects still needing to be tackled.

“Doesn’t anybody realize how much WORK is required for a family with six kids?!? I don’t have time for some church kickball game!”

The church where we are doing a residency program before we launch our church plant has a summer kickball league on Saturdays….the day when I try to get “caught up” on life.

but the minute I hung up the phone, I was convicted that I needed to submit to my husband’s request that I show up with the kids for the sake of community and fellowship.

I pull up to the field. forty-five minutes late.  (by the time you get 6 kids dressed, and fight the seat belt battle, and settle a few sibling tiffs and tempter tantrums, that was record time!)

Right across from the field a group of about 20 African Americans, march with signs about the racist shooting in Charleston last Wednesday.

I cringe as I realize I am a white person driving around in an all black neighborhood, right when racial tension is at its height.

I wonder what these individuals think of me….

~~~~

On the field was a smattering of whites, black, tan (Asian), and dark tan (Indian) bodies.  All friends, all gathering together to enjoy one another and fellowship.

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Receiving kickball instructions

I realized that this was far more than “a dumb kickball game”.

This kickball game was a display of the Kingdom.

Why would people of so many different colors, ethnic backgrounds, and economic statuses join together?

it was for more than a dumb kickball game.

It was because a group of people, who all need the Same Savior, to the same extent, gather from all parts of the city in order to know Him better, worship him more freely every Sunday… and throughout the week.

This is my Church.

And when racial tensions strain to new levels, Gospel love is creating a bond and unity amongst races, ethnicities, and socio economic disparities.

And that group of protestors, might ask questions about this diverse splattering of skin colors out on the field. Ask who we are and what we are doing.

And we tell them we are the Body of Christ.

We are a kingdom preview of Revelation 17:9

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

We love Jesus.

And we like to play kickball.

 

 

 

 

Because She is HIS

There are more of them here than you could possibly count. Big ones, small ones, rich ones, not-as-rich ones. Ones with rock concerts every Sunday and ones with organs and orchestras. Ones with the top theologically trained preachers in the world, and ones preaching the health, wealth and prosperity gospel. Not just one for each denomination, but hundreds for each denomination. We live in a place with them meeting in every building, school, and storefront you can imagine. We are literally SURROUNDED by CHURCHES here in Orlando.

And where did God lead us to worship, plug in, and serve after having, for five years, worked with a church that could suck one’s spiritual life dry? He led us to a small Korean church looking for someone to preach in English with the goal of reaching English speakers in the area.

The first Sunday here, after listening to Korean songs, preaching, and prayers, standing in line to eat extremely spicy Korean food, with all Korean chatter filling my ears and images of beautiful Asian faces surrounding me, I whispered over to Danny,

“Did we just get transported to Korea??”

We had several different job offers…at some really great, friendly (and mostly white) churches.

But after that second Sunday, and a meeting in broken English with the head pastor, we couldn’t deny it.

We both felt called to this place.

And over the past year and a half, with Danny preaching an English service, we have seen God do some beautiful things in the small flock of English speakers that He has drawn to this place as well. And it was refreshing to learn from and intermingle with these precious Koreans.

And then, we abruptly were notified that the service and ministry Danny led would be ending.

We were shocked.

They said they would like for us to stay but were free to go if we were so inclined. Not to mention the very humbling and confusing series of events surrounding this situation, staying meant worshipping each Sunday in Korean, and having a little headset for someone to translate the Korean sermon into broken English so we could have a remote clue as to what was going on.

And just as God brought us here to minister, God also brought us here to learn, and to be humbled, and to strip down completely anything that keeps us committed to a place other than for the sake of His beauty displayed in Her…

The beauty of a Savior who washed peoples from all cultures and all nations so that there could be a beautiful image of His love and unity in His bride,
The Church.

Not the activities associated with what the Church does.

And, if anything, this whole humbling mess brings questions that clear away the fog of what we think we are committing to on a Sunday morning…

Why do we show up to a place of worship each Sunday?

Is it for the awesome praise band? Is it for the preaching (my husband’s a really good preacher, if you don’t mind me saying so)? Is it for socializing with all the people I can easily relate to and receive encouragement from? Is it a grand social club? Or entertainment? Or a spiritual message that makes me feel better? Is it even just for the sake of ministry?

Or is it the coming together of unlikely siblings to rejoice together over a common love of a common Savior that has made us into an uncommon family. And despite language barriers, and cultural barriers, can I show up in expectation that I will meet my Father, and hear my Savior’s voice even in the eighties praise songs joyfully belted out in Korean, or the sermon translated into very simple English with a lot of disconnect in ideas, and a very different leadership style. Do I really believe that when I show up to all the foreignness that I show up to experience the fullness of Him who fills all in all? (Ephesians 1:23)

Do I show up because I long for…

Him?

And HE has made her to be His means of moving and speaking and ministering, this side of glory.

I long for all the fullness….even fullness that gets uncomfortable

So,

I show up because she is HIS.