PeterGowesky.com

finding meaning in the mundane

Tag: Community

How Are You? No, Really…

“How are you doing?”  If I asked you this I’m pretty sure that I could guess what your answer is going to be.

  1. Fine
  2. Good
  3. Okay

Or maybe just maybe you would join the 2% of the population that actually chooses option 4–honesty.

One Sunday morning I asked someone how they were fully expecting to get any of the first three answers, either 1, 2, or 3.  But instead they chose option 4–honesty.  What did they say?   “Well actually I’m pretty Sh!&#y.  This was Sunday morning in the church hallways.  There was something so honest and refreshing about his response.  He didn’t need to lie to me.  He didn’t need to cover anything up.  His feelings were raw and emotional.  They were right there on the surface.  And what I really appreciate about the whole interchange is that he didn’t apologize for them.  It was what it was.

Recently I’ve been re-reading “Fail“.  And the author J.R. Briggs says this,

How often are the regular Christian clichés we use nothing more than disguises for our hurt and pain?  They are not only lazy but also deceiving.  Maybe most dangerous of all, we may eventually fool ourselves one day into thinking we’re actually okay.  We hide so much under the rug, eventually we end up tripping on it.

Why do we do this to ourselves?  What are we afraid of?  Too often we are so uncomfortable with who we are on the inside that we couldn’t possibly understand how anyone else could possibly accept us if they saw who we truly were or what we were truly experiencing.  So rather than being honest and vulnerable with people, we choose to project an image of having it all together.

This should not be.

HikerFight the desire to simply be okay–okay is average.  Okay desensitizes you to feeling both hot and cold, pain and pleasure.  To the degree that we understand pain, we will understand pleasure.  We cannot understand the majesty of the mountaintop if we haven’t been down in the valleys too.  I love how J.R. puts it, “we may eventually fool ourselves one day into thinking we’re actually okay”.  How scary is that?  Those words left a haunting impression in my mind.  I don’t want to fool you, and the last thing I want to do is fool myself.

Don’t ignore the people around you.  Do them a favor and be honest with them.  They need it, and you need it.  So, would you be bold enough to answer honestly the next time you are asked how you are?  What if you were courageous enough to go first…  I bet you’d be surprised at how they would reply to your question “How are you?”

I dare you.  Try it.

~Peter

Walking in the dust…

When I think about the Gospel’s I can not help but think about Jesus walking with his disciples. I think about how Jesus walked from one location to another. I think about how Jesus sent His disciples out to travel to nearby cities to proclaim the good news. I think about how Jesus walked along the sea of Galilee and got in and out of boats to travel around the region. It is inevitable. It is found all throughout the Gospels. Jesus moved, He wasn’t static and stationary. This required an incredible amount of travel.

Today, I began to understand a bit of what that could have been like. We hiked from Nazareth to Zippori, and from Zippori to Cana. It was about a 10 mile hike. First off, I would tell you that I was whooped up on after hiking out of Nazareth. Nazareth is situated on the hillside and we went up about 400 steps to get to the top, and then we climbed some more. Then started the descent, which was equally if not more challenging then the ascent.

We hiked this path all day. We stopped in Zippori national park and checked out the ancient ruins and had lunch there. But we walked and talked. There were times when we walked and didn’t talk. Not on purpose, but simply because we were lost in thoughts. One of our group members mentioned tonight that the hike to Cana was like having church with one another. We were sharing life together. We were laughing, talking, sharing, and processing together. It was a communal approach.

I couldn’t help but think about what it would have been like to have been covered in the dust of the trail and sharing life with Jesus. At the end of the day my shoes were dusty. And I don’t mean a little North American dust. I mean the full monty. They were pretty dirty. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to clean them. I would love for them to remain symbolic of my time walking on the Jesus Trail.

I found myself being drawn into the scriptures in new and fresh ways simply because of what I was seeing. There were wheat fields all around us. There were olive groves, and fig trees. There were gated vineyards and there were mountains that surrounded us on all sides. I walked on a roman road which dates to the days of Jesus and I couldn’t help but touch the stones with my hands and wonder if my Lord too knelt there to lace a sandal, or talk to a shop keeper. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was in the same space 2000 years later.

I walked through the day wondering… Wondering who am I living life with, and sharing the communal aspects of life with? Are there people I am missing out on simply because I don’t value them, or their input in my life? I learned this lesson through the power of the wine press, the olive press, and the cistern. Too much to share in this post, but my concept of community is being radically rocked. My concept of loving your neighbor is being challenged in big ways. My concept of what Jesus was actually saying to these men who walked this same path is being shaped by my time here in the land.

I will have to save my thoughts on my time in the Church of the Annunciation for later. Time has slipped away from me, and I must get to bed. But that too was a deeply stirring moment in my day. I praise God for coming especially near to me this morning in the grotto of that church.

Who are you walking with in life? What parts of your life are lived in direct purposeful intersection with those around you?

~Peter

Jesus Trail, Hands Raised

Israel Hillside

Ancient Roman Road

Israel lookout Point

View of Nazareth

Biblical Seminary Trip to the Holy Land

Community

Community is defined as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.  The definition goes on to describe a sense of ownership and desire.  Have you ever felt apart of community?  Have you ever experienced community in such a rich way that you were better off because of it?

Community has become a central and vital role in my life.  I am apart of many different communities.

  • I have my closest community of the most important woman out there and two children.  We experience life together in the most common ways. My Family.
  • I have my close friends.  We laugh with one another, enjoy meals together, bring our families together, speak truth into one another’s life.
  • I have my community group.  This is the group of people from FBC that gather bi-weekly to talk, laugh, encourage one another, pray together, learn, and build one another up.
  • I have recently become a part of a scholastic community of men every week for seminary.
  • I have my neighbors.  Those people who live directly around me.  It has been a great joy in the life of our family to get to know them and be known by them.
  • I have a growing group of students.  I lead and pastor the youth ministry here at FBC, I am gratefully submerged into the community of junior high and high school students.
  • I am apart of a growing community of people online; here on this blog, on Facebook and Twitter.  Even if it’s only 140 characters at a clip, community can be found there.
  • I am apart of the local church body here at FBC.  My family and I fit under the umbrella of those who are inside the Christian faith.
  • Ultimately I am apart of the community of Christ and the Church worldwide.

Community runs through just about every aspect of my life.  It molds me, shapes me, and makes me who I am today.  I can’t avoid this.  How has community affected you?  What communities are you in?  Did I miss any?

~Peter

Pray for me!!! (Selfish I know…)

photo-50Since writing this post I came across another blog post by Lisa Shea.  She was writing about the need to intercede.  It’s a sweet article.  You can read it here…  I know this may sound selfish, but please copy and paste this list and print it off, memorize it, write it on your eyelids, do whatever, but I am asking you to pray.  You can’t say I’m selfish because I did say that I would pray for you too.  So, here is the repeat of the list from yesterday…  

 

  1. Pray for a place for my wife, kids, and I to live.  We have been living with a family for the last several months.  We are craving our own space.  The family has been greatly generous and loving towards us.  It has nothing to do with them.  Just everything to do with the desire to be together again as a family unit. 
  2. Pray for me to lead the ministries that I have oversight with, with integrity of heart and skillful hands.  But pray in that order.  Integrity first.  Skill second.  
  3. Pray for me as I am taking on leading and teaching “The Five”.  This is a new service here at FBC that is seriously trying to make a difference here in this community by unashamedly preaching the Bible in a real life changing culture making way.  
  4. Pray that God would give me great creativity as I teach and lead.  I don’t want to reinvent the wheel.  I want to discover teleportation!  
  5. Pray for Godly guys that would surround me and hold me accountable.  
  6. Pray for my wife
  7. Pray for my kids
  8. Pray for me as I still deal with the loss of my Dad.  It continues to be something that weighs on my heart!  
  9. Pray that I would be a great husband to my wife and dad to my kids.
  10. Pray for times of refreshing and encouragement in my life!  It seems easy for Satan to find things to discourage me with.  
  11. Pray for all the details to work out for my potential enrollment at Biblical Seminary starting this fall!  (finances!!!)

 

Seriously, how can I pray for you?  But don’t write Unspoken!  

Thankful…

~Peter

Community… Love… And all that other good stuff…

You want to know what ticks me off?  Church’s and Youth Groups that are surface level and shallow.  There I said it.  I’ll be honest.  It truly cuts me to my core.  This is so frustrating, because God created us to live for so much more than just a shallow “surfacey” existence with one another.  (sounds like a good song, maybe John Foreman should write one.)  As Christians we should be setting the bar for what it looks like to have relationships with one anther, and what it looks like to belong, and have a sense of importance and acceptance, and genuine love from others.  We have been wrestling with this thought and others recently in our student ministry here at FBC.  We have titled it, “Our IPODS are different”.  We have been checking out and studying 1 Corinthians 12 & 13.  The basic idea is that we are each made incredibly different.  And that is a good thing.  God made it that way.  Yet, why then do we want everyone to look like me, act like me, and be like me?  And then here’s the kicker:  If you aren’t like me, then we just can’t be friends.  

How do we develop community?  What ways can we grow together; Youth Group’s, Church’s, Blogging communities, Scouts, Biker Clubs, even knitting groups… How can we grow together and develop a sense of belonging?  This has got to be the most difficult question.  If I had the answer I would publish a book and sell it.  I might call it something like, “The Purpose driven life” or the “Purpose Driven Church”, or even the “Purpose Driven Youth Ministry”.  I have read all three of those books.  They are great books.  But right now I am looking for more.  

I want our ministry here at FBC to be one which is defined by love; Love for God, Love for others, and Love for Family.  How do we do accomplish this?  Do you guys have any ideas?  How can we communicate love to each other in a real, non romantic way?  How can we start right now and make a difference on our community here in Doylestown PA?

~Peter

© 2017 PeterGowesky.com

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: