What do you do when it starts raining and then it never stops? Somebody asked me that question yesterday. I was sitting across the table as this friend poured out the details of some really difficult things that are going on in his family right now. Really difficult things that I honestly can't understand or relate to because I've never been there myself. So for that reason, I wasn't sure how to answer his question. What do you do when things get dark and there's no light at the end of the tunnel? Actually, let me ask the question this way, because this gets right at the heart of things: What do you do when you pray, beg, cry out for Jesus to step in and calm a storm in your life, and then you wait and wait and wait for the peace to come and it just.....doesn't?

The thing I love most about being a part of the team at First Christian Church is the fact that we are a place for all people, regardless of background or baggage or brokenness, to find a place to belong, to rest, to heal, to grow, to find community, and to ultimately bump into Jesus and allow Him to work in their lives. Over the past few years, we've seen God do some incredible things because of that vision. But the truth is, we believe the best is yet to come. We believe God has even greater things in store down the road. Through the month of June we've taught about our mission, vision and values, and how they are going to play out in what we do over the next few years as we chase after the call Jesus has given us to reach out with unconditional love to all people. If you've ever wondered how a church can become that kind of place, here is what it looks like for us (video after the jump):

I'll bet that if you and I were to sit down over coffee and I asked you if anything is worrying you or stressing you out, you'd be able to rattle off a handful of things without even thinking about it. I could too. There are a few things I've lost more than a little sleep over. Maybe you can relate to this: sometimes there are extended periods of life where it feels like that's my reality. It's more than just a season or a phase...stress just becomes part of the routine. You've most likely experienced the same feeling. We explain it away, try to ignore it or brush it under the rug, or do what we can to endure it. But worry is toxic. It's a slow-moving poison that is deadly. And because it tends to creep in a little at a time, we usually don't do anything about it until it's too late.

As far back as I can remember, I've always had a very particular perception of Jesus. I don't think my version of Jesus was shaped by any particular person or event more than any other. Just years and years of filtering and layering and processing that have all worked together to create a finished product that fits my mold. My version of Jesus was a white guy. I don't mean that to be racist in any way. That's just how I grew up picturing Him in my mind. Maybe you did too. Probably had something to do with all the Bible bookstore paintings that hang on walls of churches and homes of people who like Bible bookstore paintings.