I really enjoyed my time in America. I might not want to go back there this instant (sorry hubby) but I did Love the time I had there.
Anna and Noah, the gorgeous kids I au paired for are now all grown up. They are my friends on facebook (they were just 6 and 8 when I lived with them) and sometimes I am a little shocked with Noah’s haircuts but they appear to be wonderful people. Clearly loved by an amazing Father and a very special woman who stepped in to be thier ‘mom’. The amount of Uno games I played with Anna must have geared her mind up in some way as she has been accepted to UCONN.
Besides Anna and Noah, CCC (Community Christian Church) made a HUGE impact on my life that first year in Illinois. Not only did I really come to an understanding about who Jesus is and how deeply it can affect my life, I learnt what church could be. Church should not just be a building. It shouldn’t be somewhere we go to once a week to get our ‘goodness’ from. It isn’t a place that we should feel as if we are doing the right thing because we serve in some capacity (although….we should serve in some capacity out of a desire too.) But most of all Church should not be unseen.
Community Chistian Church just last weekend took in an offering of $575 000. Amazing right? No. What is Amazing is that they gave it all….ALL away. In a weekend they call Celebration Generosity they ask the congregation to think beyond themselves and about Reaching, Restoring and Reproducing. The money is divided among four teams; Haiti, the Phillipines, Community 4:12 (a ministry of the church that works in low income neighbourhoods to reach, restore and reproduce) and to Newthing Network (a church planting organisation).
But….now CCC is doing something else. They are closing the doors of ‘church’ one weekend. No services at the 13 campuses they have for one whole weekend. Instead, they are turning the church inside out. Literally. The church is going to be going out to the community and serving. Obviously you can’t have 1000’s of people showing up at some person’s home to paint, or 1000’s of people working to clean up a refuge. CCC has organised various service opportunities that everyone, kids too can be a part of. Amazing right?
I can’t help feeling that this shouldn’t be amazing. This should be normal. Jesus came to serve. Jesus came to be with the down and out. Jesus came to encourage. Jesus came to clean the temple out. Jesus came to heal. Jesus came to love others. The church isn’t a building. The church isn’t someplace you go on a Sunday the morning. The church should not be concerned solely about itself. The church is a reaching, restoring and reproducing movement of Jesus in the world.
I miss the energy that CCC has. The ability to think outside of the box. The way they love people. I am thankful for the time we had at CCC to learn and incredible thankful to still be connected to some wonderful leaders there. I need to remember though that CCC isn’t ‘my church’ any more then Carey is ‘my church’. We are the Church, the living, breathing hands and feet of God and by golly….we should be giving $575 000 away each week and we should be getting out there and loving our community every day! Jesus turned people’s worlds inside out, and boy is the world in need of some change. I know the church both here in little ol’ Perth as well as Chicago and throughout the world needs to be a part of that change now.