New series starts this week!

Hello Element!

This Sunday we will dive into a new series that we're calling Still. It's going to be about stillness, solitude and silence. Sound exciting? I thought so! 

But seriously, this series is going to be an important and necessary look into the ways we engage God - or maybe more accurately, how we allow God to engage us in the quiet. What does it look like to step into that place of being present in His presence? And how do we do it again and again? And as we do this, how might it transform us in new and deeper ways?

Although we will look at some practical ways to do this, these practices are just tools. Tools that we can pick up and use to find God in the stillness. Rest assured, this discussion will be more about being over doing. Author Ruth Haley Barton suggests that being is something that is beyond human effort, and thatlistening is something that is beyond human thought. This is what we mean when we talk about stillness.Being with God in that space, beyond the striving of actions and the limits of language.

And what better way to sit in the truth of our Belovedness? I mean, just look at that word - Beloved. BeLoved. It's that simple. But just because it's simple doesn't mean that it's easy. It's a brave frontier that may not seem appealing to everyone. But I believe that we are called to do this. To be this. And as we learn these truths, we will join a long line of Christ-followers over the centuries who have discovered the transformational power of resting and being still in God's presence. And as always, we'll learn it together. See you at the warehouse!

You are loved,

Benjamin

Posted on April 13, 2018 .

Reflections of the Beloved

Hello Element!

What a beautiful Easter we had together! We brought together our Beloved series with a final word... in addition to being Chosen, Blessed, Broken, and Given... the Beloved children of God are Resurrected. We celebrated the profound truth that while Jesus died and rose again to defeat death, hell, and the grave... the biggest and best reason that he did it wasn't just about defeat... it was about inviting us into the same resurrection life.

His story IS our story. Our story IS His story. That's the whole point of it all.

And so, we are left with an even deeper grasp of our Belovedness, aren't we? I am. I marvel at the truths we have discovered in this series. I rejoice in the ways that my own heart has found new depths of freedom and abundance and joy.

And now... it's time to hear from YOU.

There's something very powerful about taking the truths we have been learning and synthesizing them in a way that can be shared. There's something radically life changing about sharing our stories of struggle and victory in a way that can be a blessing to others. There's something empowering and victorious about taking the ponderings of our heart and putting them into a verbal or written outpouring. When we do this, we embrace all parts of our Belovedness: Chosen, Blessed, Broken, Given, Resurrected.

On Sunday, we are opening the floor to you - to Elementers who want to share a piece of their hearts as a response to our Beloved series. Don't miss this day, guys. These stories will resonate in our hearts deeper than teaching or exposition ever could. These are the poems and prayers from the hearts of our people... these are the songs of the resurrected and redeemed... this are the broken and beautiful legacy of our becoming. Let's celebrate it together.

I love you so, Element.
Melody

Posted on April 6, 2018 .

The Joy Set Before Us

Hello Element!

Can you believe it? It's time for Easter! And we're getting ready to wrap up our Beloved series. We have seen that, just as Jesus took, blessed, broke and gave the bread, we are also Chosen, Blessed, Broken and Given. And so was Jesus.

He was chosen and blessed by the Father. But when He was breaking the bread in the upper room that night, He was preparing Himself and his followers for the harsh reality of His breaking that would come the next day. We don't know exactly what Jesus knew about the future. But I can tell you this: He knew the scriptures. He knew punishment and death were right around the corner.

We focus a lot on the physical aspects of Jesus' breaking. The beatings, the cross. And we should. Meditating and reading and singing about these things rocks me to my core. But we also remember the even deeper anguish He endured. The spotless Lamb of God, tasting the shame and guilt of every type of sin and evil for the first time. And worst of all, He endured the separation from His Father. From all eternity, they had never been apart - until that moment on the cross. Can you even imagine the shattering of His body, spirit and heart all at once? But, consider Hebrews 12:2-3:

"Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

For the joy set before Him. Through it all, Jesus knew that He was being broken so that He could be given. For the joy set before him, He was able to endure all of the breaking. Because He knew what was coming! And then the next verse turns it around to us. We don't have to stay weary and lose heart. Because of the joy set before us. Because we know what is coming! He was broken to be given, so that our brokenness could be redeemed and given too. Thanks be to God!

I can hardly wait to gather with you on Friday night to reflect, worship and meditate on the weight of Jesus' sacrifice together. And then on Sunday we'll gather to celebrate and join in the joy of our very much alive and glorified Savior. In the warehouse, gratitude for this Resurrection life exploding in worship...there's no place I'd rather be.

He is risen!

Benjamin

Posted on March 29, 2018 .

Double Takes

Hello Element!
Last night as I got into my bed, I found a large clump of hair. I could tell it was Kayla's, my 6 year old daughter's, by the light blonde color. It scared me as I wondered where on earth it could have come from, if it had fallen out or was so weak that it was breaking, and what this could mean about her health. She's been sick and has been sleeping in our bed. I tried to not freak out... but it was a lot of hair.

Then this morning I took one look at her and did a double take as I realized... she's cut it. I asked her in shock if indeed she had done the deed, and her sweet little face crumpled as she ran into my arms and wept. I asked her why she would do such a thing, and she mumbled something through her tears about wanting a certain style. Then I asked her what she had done with the hair, thinking she would admit to hiding it in my bed. She proceeded to take me around the house and show me other places where she had hidden clumps of her beautiful blonde hair.

I kept my cool as we got ready this morning, and I put the remaining hair on her head into a strange sort of bun. But once I dropped the kids at school, my heart started turning on itself. What kind of a mother am I, to let this happen? How could I not have noticed it last night? What would her teachers and friends think? What would the other moms think? In my weary and angry place, I took my failure to God. I told Him that every time I look at her now, it's going to be a visible reminder of how I am a BIG FAT FAILURE as a mom.

And then, His kind and gentle voice responded to me.

Is that really what you want to think when you look at her?

Well... no.

What do you want to think about when you look at her? Is she ugly to you now? Do you love her less?

I love her completely. She's beautiful. She will always be beautiful.

What if, instead of letting her hair be a reminder of your own failure, you allow it to be a reminder of your unconditional love for her? And then... maybe you allow it to be a reminder of MY unconditional love for YOU? I don't see you as ugly when you make foolish choices, or when you have a mommy-fail. You're still beautiful to me.

Well by then I was a puddle of tears in my car. I had done a double take on my own perspective. I had almost taken a turn into the land of the cursed, allowing brokenness to dictate my value, to prove the lack of my own worth. But that's not a place for the Beloved children of God to visit, is it? There is blessing. There is blessing even in the broken and ugly places. And those places allow us reminders to see what we have been all along... BELOVED.

I'm grateful today for the double takes. The ones that hurt, that allow us to see our brokenness. When we do, I hope our faces crumble, and that we run, arms open, into the arms of our Father, just as little Kayla did into mine. And in those arms... I hope we receive the unconditional love He offers us.

Be blessed today, church. That is the land where you live.

Melody

Posted on March 22, 2018 .