Today we have a guest post from my friend and teammate Dan Wilson. Dan is part of the Ecclesia team, and has been a passionate leader for us. He's a wonderful worship leader, preacher, and lover of people - and I'm blessed to have him join the adventure that is Ecclesia. So, here are some reflections from Dan flowing out of some of his experiences and conversations with Ecclesia:
I’m called to be alive; not just to live. Not even just to be.
The bible doesn’t start with sinners in a sinful world where we are just hanging on to be; that was never God’s intention. His intention was for everything to have life, to be sustained, to be perfect, to be loved, to be cherished. In the Amplified Bible version of Genesis, specifically the creation story, after every moment he created something – He spoke it to be – it says “it was very good and He sustained it completely.”
Sustain simply means to strengthen or support. However, I have a feeling that from the beginning this word was perhaps translated to mean more than just that.
God wants. God desires. He loves and orders everything He created to be. There was (and is) no chaos. Even in other translations of the bible, it often just ends with “and He saw that it was good.” There is nothing wrong with that, but I just get the sense that in these moments, when He created something and knew what He wanted it to do – very specifically – it was so indescribable, that “good” was the best word to be used for us to understand. I mean, when we create something we spent time on, had a vision, and love once it’s complete, we think it’s more than just “good”, don’t we?
So what does it mean to be alive, then?
I’m breathing, so I’m alive.
I can move my hands and feet and arms and legs, so I’m alive.
I can relate, interact, see, taste, feel, touch, so I’m alive.
This is what the world often refers to, when it thinks about life or being alive. But there must be so much more to it than that.
To be means: to exist. To be identified as someone or something.
To live means: remain alive, have life. To continue in existence or operation.
To be alive means: living, having life. In existence, alert, active.
They all, on their own, have a specific intention and can be sustained on their own. Some people strive to be – they need an identity and once they find it, they may find that life has meaning. Some people strive to take that identity and live; or maybe just live without an identity finding ways to just remain alive (work, alcohol, drugs, pornography, relationships, food, etc). Some people may want to long to feel alive, maybe go sky diving or white water rafting or some kind of extreme sport or once-in-a-lifetime activity.
See, when God created the world He called something to be, then He gave it life, but then He also wanted it to have purpose – He wanted it to be alive, to be alert and active. Everything He created was given purpose. The sun, the stars, the moon, the water, the sky, animals, plants, humans – they were all given a reason to be alive.
One thing I’ve learned over the last three or four months is about purpose. What’s my purpose? What’s our purpose? What’s the worlds purpose? I was looking for a deep, long, complex answer that would satisfy that craving for knowledge, only to find out that this craving will never actually be defeated – the more you get, the more you crave.
Knowledge isn’t a bad thing, but it needs to come with an understanding. If we don’t understand what we’ve come to know, then our whole foundation can be moved, rocked, swayed, cracked, maybe even destroyed.
One thing I have learned in taking part in the beginnings of planting a new church is how essential a foundation is not just to a building, but to life itself. If we don’t understand what we are called to do, who we are called to be, how can we possibly build and sustain a foundation that we want to stand on, believe in or support our every movement and step we take?
Our city is. Our city lives. But is our city truly alive? Is our neighbourhood truly alive?
God longs for us to dream, to live out a calling, to hope, to long for and desire to see something more; something good happen. Just like He did, from the very beginning of creation. After 30 years (now you can try and guess how old I am) I have finally come to not just know, but understand what my calling is; what makes me alive, what God’s purpose is for me.
This was because I finally surrendered wholly and completely to God and said, “God, how do you want me to be alive? Tell me my purpose.” Not and what I think God wants. It’s a posture of surrendering, waiting, and actively listening to God’s voice and paying attention to His story – being intentional about wanting to actively be a part of it.
You’d think I would have done that a long time ago. But it’s also a scary thing to do. It means giving up full control and walking with God, not just beside Him, but with Him. Then, having faith in that step of obedience, hoping and trusting in Him and His kingdom coming to earth; which we, as followers, get to be a part of.
I can’t tell you how excited I am, how giddy I get sometimes, how overwhelming I feel in knowing, hoping and trusting in what God is going to do in me, through me, in and through us as the church and in this very neighbourhood we want to build our foundation.
I have no doubt that when this little idea was just a seed being planted, God surely said with a glowing smile, and with excitement breathing out in every word, when He said, “it is very good and I sustain it completely.”
He wanted Ecclesia to be.
He spoke it to life.
He calls it to be alive.