Shoveling & Loving DC

Snow In Chinatown.jpeg

I’ve had a lot of time to think the last few days.  Most of it has come while shoveling.  I’ve been thinking about snow, our city and the mission of God.

As one of my neighbors said at some point over the last few days, “snow brings people out.”  It’s true.  We got to meet a neighbor who moved in three doors down two months ago and hasn’t been seen since.  I found out a neighbor I always thought was a jerk is, in fact, a really nice guy.  People are genuinely happy when you help them shovel and there were many chances to make people happy in our neighborhood.  There’s more waving on my street these days and more smiles.  We’re greeting each other by name.  It’s all rather pleasant.

It’s also an incredible demonstration of how we’re called to love our city.  Our hope of reaching DC is directly tied to our willingness to relationally engage and sacrificially serve.  It’s a beautiful thing when the church gathers.  And it’s a powerful thing when the church scatters, if we’re scattered with the mandate to engage and serve.  You don’t need to fly somewhere to take a mission trip.  You need to walk out your front door.  

My love for this city has only deepened in the last few days.  It’s filled with extraordinary people doing their best to get by in a city that can be really lonely and overwhelming at times.  There’s no other place I would rather pastor.  But I don’t want to just preach to the saints on Sunday.  I pray we would be the best neighbors on our block or in our apartment buildings.  I pray we would be the relationship builders and I pray we would be the servants.  It’s funny.  When we’re willing to engage and serve, God opens doors to share. Yes, He’s what our city needs most.  It’s our job to make Him as visible on our streets as He is in our sermons.

Restoration City, we’re a people on mission.  We aren’t creating a comfortable gathering for us.  We’re fighting for the good, the life and the salvation of our city.  Don’t sit on the sidelines!  Engage, serve, share.

It’s how streets get shoveled and lives are transformed.

Don’t Waste Your Blizzard

Waste Snow

You may have heard there’s a little snow heading to DC.  It seems like the only question is how much.  While we all wait to see the answer to that (and whether or not we’ll gather as a church on Sunday!), let me suggestion another question: how do we avoid wasting the blizzard?

It’s going to be incredibly easy to waste the next few days.  Some of us will be tempted to waste it on a massive Netflix binge.  Some of us will be tempted to waste it in ways that lead to even greater regrets.  I can’t tell you how many young couples I’ve talked with over the years that felt like they should spend the night together for safety and somewhere along the way, safety turns into sex.  But this weekend doesn’t have to end in a lazy, unshowered, media saturated storm of regret and waste.

Here’s three thoughts on how not to waste a blizzard:

REST

Get some sleep!  Do your body, mind and soul a favor – take a nap or sleep in or do both.  So many of us are running in a state of near constant depletion.  We’re tired, ineffective and constantly stressed.  The world is going to shut down for the next two days or so.  Give yourself permission to do the same.  How awesome would it be to emerge from this weekend feeling rested?

READ

I mean this one in two different ways.  Yes, there’s part of me that is thinking books in general.  I’m currently reading three different books and if this weekend lets me make a little more progress than I had planned, I’ll be thrilled.  But I’m also thinking about the Bible.  This is an opportunity to linger in the pages of Scripture – to read, to pray, to meditate, to process.  Don’t rush through your daily reading.  Have an extra cup of coffee and enjoy the chance to really engage with Jesus.  Even the most boring weekend can become extraordinary if you believe Jesus is speaking to you through His Word.  Netflix isn’t bad – but an 8 hour movie marathon accompanied by a neglected Bible is a tragedy.

SERVE

At some point over the weekend, you’re going to get a chance to put the book and hot chocolate down and go serve someone.  Shovel a sidewalk, help dig out cars, check-in on a neighbor, invite a neighbor over for dinner.  I bet you anything there’ll be someone living within 1,000 yards of you that will need help this weekend.  While you’re out there helping, meet some people.  It’s honestly going to be a great chance to meet neighbors, build relationships and develop a little community with people that live right be you.  Be salt and light!

Who knows what the weekend is going to hold, weather wise.  My prayer is that whatever happens, we’ll use it for the glory of God and the good of our city.  Don’t waste the blizzard – be safe, be smart, have fun and use it well.