Brokenhearted Theology, California, Church, Equipping, Leadership, Ministry, Ramblings

Gratitude #4 – Open Door

As we transitioned from life in Los Angeles to life in the East Bay, I’ve been writing a series of reflections on the various ways we saw God’s faithfulness and presence during our time in LA.

Gratitude #1 – Los Angeles
Gratitude #2 – Fuller
Gratitude #3 – Kairos Hollywood

As we’ve continued our transition from LA and are now putting down roots in the East Bay, the gratitude continues.

Now it’s time for some thoughts on this whole transition that I wrote for the Open Door Community, shared here for all of you! 

We Didn’t See This Coming

Last year, Krissy and I began to sense a potential transition was on the horizon. We had been in Los Angeles for seven years and unsure what our next steps were; our two main options seemed to be either digging in for another season of life in LA or uprooting and moving closer to family in the midwest (we’re both from Wisconsin).

What was not on our horizon, or so we thought, was uprooting and moving to an entirely new place – away from both our midwest family and our Hollywood family.

Enter Open Door

In February, I got wind of a church in the East Bay that was expanding its staff team. The position and description of the community resonated with me and felt in sync with the work we’d been a part of at Kairos Hollywood. Mostly to convince Krissy I was proactively participating in our discernment process (you know, since we weren’t going to move anywhere but the midwest), I briefly told her about the job description.

Without knowing many details – including the name of the community – she replied, “well, we should move forward on this and see if God opens a door.”

I’m Kinda Into You

From the first conversations I had with the hiring team, I was intrigued by you. Your commitment to following Jesus through creativity and experimental practice. Your focus on formation and mission in local and global contexts. Your love for families and desire to be shaped into a family following God into the journey.

After we visited in May, our hearts started beating faster and we sensed a clarity in God’s leading that felt like a rare gift.

The You Becomes We

Krissy’s dad is an ecologist and he told me recently about convergent evolution – when unrelated species from different ecosystems have overlapping traits and features suggesting deep connection and relationship with each other. As I begin this season at Open Door, it feels like convergent evolution or, in terms that might be more familiar, it feels like God’s woven together our stories in beautiful and unexpected ways, calling our family to join yours.

 

I’m so excited to be entering Open Door’s story in this particular season of the journey. I love the questions Open Door asks – What does it look like to follow Jesus here in this place? What does expanded mission in the East Bay and beyond look like? How can we best participate in God’s formative and redemptive work among us for the sake of the world? – and I’m eager to join you in seeking the answers and trajectories God’s set forth for Open Door in this next season in the life of our community.

May we continue to grow as those who are rooted in Christ and woven together as family.

May we continue to faithfully extend sacrificial love and cultivate others to be and do the same.

May God’s spirit guide us as we walk in the way of Jesus.

 

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California, Family, Future, Meaning, Ramblings, Urban

Gratitude #1 – Los Angeles

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Angeles Skyline, 5:23AM

Los Angeles, you’ve won my heart.

Despite the frequency you get bagged on by those who live outside your borders (and even more so by those who reside within your borders!), you are a class act.

You’ve exposed me to new tastes and flavors. Bibimbap, boereks, pad kee mao, burrito mojado and boba. Some of the best and worst coffee I’ve ever tasted.

You’ve given me an appreciation for cultures, languages, and people groups from across the world. Where I previously heard unfamiliar noises and sounds, now I hear Armenian, Thai, Korean, Chinese, Tagalog. Beautiful languages spoken by our beautiful neighbors – distinct and unique in the everydayness of Angeleno life.

You’ve shown me the beauty of well-constructed buildings and the redemption possible with the crumbling walls of poorly-constructed buildings. From city centers and pop-up shops to subversively-scrawled poetic prophecies. You’ve shown me that graffiti can be art, that abandoned pallets cry out to be repurposed, and that place-making is a necessary and holy calling.

You are iconic, full of images and symbols. We’ve lived in the shadows of your fame, seeing both the beauty and the brokenness and learning to live and love in the midst of it all.

You are a city of lost boys and a city of dreamers, but you are also a city in which dreams become reality. You are the city where many of our dreams – for community, for family, for a neighborhood – took root and blossomed.

Los Angeles, you’ve been home and, for that, I’m grateful.

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