So for this Valentine’s Day I decided to “speak” the love language that my wife Gina speaks the most to people she loves; food. She has a gift for preparing, presenting and downright enjoying a great meal with friends. It’s one of the ways she communicates and receives love. I had the idea to make something for her so that she would experience what others do by her taking the time it takes to plan the meal, buy the ingredients, prepare the items, cook them at the right time and in the right order so that every item of the meal comes together hot, not undercooked or over cooked, but perfectly! Not to mention she makes it look so effortless…like a pro!
Me on the other-hand, I can barely make cereal or toast! But be that as it may, I decided to cook her a Valentines meal with the help of my boys. I settled on steak (really though, this meal was for her, I just shared in the benefits). Well you just can’t grill up a slab of meat and serve it up as a meal exactly now can you? So what else can I put along-side such a fine cut as a rib-eye? Salad. Yes. Ceasar. Vegetables. Yes. Asparagus & broccoli. Perfect! What else? Oh almost forgot! Appetizers! Ok, so crackers, cheese-spread, anti-pasta plate with olives, marinated peppers, salami-slices, prosciutto-mozzarella roll. Perfect! A glass of Chardonnay before the meal and a glass of red with the meal! Perfect!
Oh my gosh! I have to go buy all of this now! With the boys? At the grocery store? What have I gotten myself into! No turning back now, let’s go! Upon returning from the store it’s time to prep the food. The boys set the table, music on the stereo, praying all the way through for help, we finally got everything together and ready to serve. Appetizers first, meantime get the grill hot and ready, in and out of the back door between grill and oven, the boys had already made the brownies for dessert later and it seems like everything is going relatively smooth. Well, that was until I looked closely at the ingredients for the glaze I was about to make for the topping on the steak.
It was measured for six to eight steaks; I had two!
It seemed like everything was about to fall apart! Remember, I’m a guy. I need it to be idiot proof! Exact directions with exact measurements, times, temperature etc…what do I do now? Then it hits me; “the ingredients are the same, the measure is the only difference”. Ok! I can do this! Everything resumes and we’re back on track! Pull the meat off the grill, tent with foil (Gina taught me that too), plate the veggies, drizzle the glaze over steaks, pour the red wine, boys call Gina down to the table and we sat and enjoyed a Valentine’s Day meal together. We were able to give to her what she gives to us and so many. Love via food.
The Ingredients Are Same – The Measure Is The Only Difference
Over the next couple of days I began to hear the Holy Spirit bring this back up to me in a couple different ways. I see this in scripture and in the world around me. But one place I want to focus in on in this letter is where I see it in the Church. Yes, the Church.
For four years now theRoots has been an official “entity”. A Church. Some would struggle to see it as a church because they don’t see some of the key “ingredients” they expect to see when looking at a “church”. There’s no building to begin with. No church offices with front office receptionist. No pastoral offices because there really isn’t an official “staff”. No children’s playground or program. No youth ministry wing or youth ministry program. No parking lot, ushers, greeters, church bulletins, or tithe baskets.
There’s a post office box and a web-site. Once a month there is a gathering at our house of about 30-80 people depending on the weather and what the sport-season at the time is. Yet in some strange way there is an undeniable reality that a “church” people refer to as “theRoots church” does exist. But where is it? What does is look like? How does it work? What do these people who call their “church” theRoots do the other 29-30 days of the month?
It all begins with the ingredients.
Jesus is King of Kings. And yet the Kingdom is with Him. He brought the Kingdom with Him and then placed it within us.
Jesus is the Head of the Church; His people. And wherever two-or-more are gathered He is there with them in the midst. He is the Head, presiding over the gathering or two or two-thousand. He directs their movement through the Holy Spirit in them, upon them and with them. And it is this very thing that makes the ingredients the same but the measure different. He uses His Word, His Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. He uses whatever He desires to use in order to direct His church. Mostly, He uses love.
As we read through the New Testament we see that there are times, especially in the Book of Acts, that there seemed to be a very large multitude of people gathered in one place as something significant happened or happening. Brings to mind the Day of Pentecost, or after Peter’s message in response to the Holy Spirit’s baptism that day of about 120 people. It happened multiple times as Jesus walked throughout Israel and healed people, did miracles and taught them of the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet when it comes down to it we see the “life” of the Church not just in activity but in relationship. Specifically in relationship to God and to others.
The life of the Church is not carried on the activities people alone. It is carried in the people themselves. In the OC the Ark was carried on the shoulders of the priests, but in the NC the Presence of God is carried in the hearts of men & women. No wonder Jesus said that where two or more are gathered in His name he would be in their midst. In the OC there was division of Jew & Gentile. In the NC there is One New Man in Christ. A “New Creation” in Christ. The Church. The people in Christ, the people of Christ. When Jesus looks upon the world He sees one Church; those who belong to Him.
The measure changes when we look at a nation. It changes again when we look at a region. It changes again when we look at a city, a town, a neighborhood, a home. But the ingredients are the same. Jesus and His people.
Once a month theRoots gathers in our home for “church”. People ask me what time does it start. I tell them 10:00 a.m. because if anyone comes earlier you might find us all running around trying to get dressed! But once people arrive; “church” has begun. Do you see what I mean by church is not carried on the activity of people alone? Church is when two or more gather in His name; Jesus. When we intend to be with one another because of our relationship to Jesus and to one another; this is church. It may be carried out in being together, but it resides within us too; just as the Kingdom does.
We bring food and drinks to the gathering so we aren’t hungry and can hear what the Spirit has to say over our talking stomachs! But in the same way we each bring a food item that makes the meal a banquet, we too, when we gather, each bring a “spiritual” element to the table. Each of us has been given gifts. We bring them and use them for the good of others and the glory of God. The more we bring the more it looks like a banquet. We worship, pray, bring words of prophecy or testimony or teaching or encouragement. The measure varies with how many people show-up on any given gathering, but the ingredients are the same; Jesus and His people.
Why am I going to such length to say all of this? My point? My point is I (we, the Crozier’s) don’t want to mislead anyone in any way shape or form in what Church looks like or could look like or where and how it happens. 954 Capri is not the only place theRoots comes alive. theRoots is like a zip-code, that’s all. It’s a name given to a group of people within a certain region in San Diego that have a relationship with God and each other and choose to intentionally be with one another in Christ. However that may look is entrusted to those in the relationship. But “the church” is the official name and designation of those people. The “CHURCH” of Jesus Christ is the PEOPLE of Jesus Christ.
I would suggest that you each consider how to be & do church yourselves. Start with your family. Or start with a friend. Two or more remember? The ingredients are the same, the measure scales accordingly. Find a way to bring the “ingredients” together as best as you can. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you, lead you, empower you and anoint you. Whether you decide it is for prayer, Bible study, worship, serving, fasting, reading through a book together, sharing a meal together, going on vacation together, the beach, a short-term missions trip, it can be so many different ways and measures, because the ingredients remain the same; Jesus and His people.
Reduction = Flavor
When making a pasta sauce, a glaze or something of the sorts, you begin with a certain quantity of ingredients but then over time and with heat the ingredients are broken down to bring out all of their individual characteristics. Together, these bring an aroma and a flavor that apart from one-another could never exist. The same is with the Church. It seems that it always starts with a large amount of ingredients but over time and “heat” the reduction process begins and all the flavors begin to surface and mix together to create something unique and magnificent! All the while the “Head” Chef is carefully working and watching over the ingredients in the pan.
I want to exhort you to “pour yourselves out” on His behalf. Come together with your family, brothers and sisters in Christ as often and in as many ways as possible. Let Him be Head over all of us and our activity together. We will find all the ingredients we need within one another and within Jesus Christ.
Tim Crozier is a surfboard shaper, owner of Blackbird Surfboards and an organic church planter. He currently leads “therootschurch” network in Leucadia, California where he and his wife Gina and their two surfing sons, Caleb and Micah live.