by Katie Balla | 4.3.18
"It's so unfair!" These are the words that came out of my mouth to my husband after a get-together we hosted. "You always have deep meaningful conversations with people--but I just....can't!" I went on to tell him how impossible it felt to host, make sure everything is going smooth, food is hot, every need of the attendees is met, and then also have time to make connections with people. I couldn't even recall a moment that night where I felt I had a real conversation with anyone and that just felt--wrong? Isolating? Lonely? All of it. The real truth is--I simply kept myself too busy with things that didn't really matter.
A few months ago I heard the story of Mary & Martha told for likely the 100th time in my life--I grew up in the church and let's be honest, this is a classic. But for some reason in this moment a lightbulb went off and I was so taken aback at how much like Martha I am. If you don't know this Luke 10 story, the short version is that Mary and Martha were sisters and they invited Jesus into their home. Mary sat at Jesus' feet, pouring over every word he said- so happy to be in his presence, while her sister Martha was in the background doing all the busy-work. Martha was kind of annoyed with her sister--I mean, how dare she just sit and enjoy her guest? There was work to be done! But in the end Jesus dropped a truth bomb on Martha when he told her that indeed Mary was doing the more important thing--just being with Him.
My focus when it comes to hospitality has always been exactly like Martha. Somehow it took me 33 years to figure out that the gift of connection, feeling heard, and that real quality time together is also an act of hospitality to my guests. In fact, it trumps the perfect presentation of dinner or clean floors.
I'm working to become more like Mary because I want to stop missing out on what's right in front of me. Practically speaking, that means getting things done ahead of time, being prepared, and telling myself over and over again that all the little tasks can wait. It means leaning in. Listening intently. Treating my guests and their time as the gift it truly is. Nothing should be more important in the moments of their precious company.
Our 30x30's at Makers are going the entire month of April and if you're someone a little bit like me-- hospitality can sometimes feel like a chore. But I want to encourage you that our guests aren't actually going to care about the perfectly displayed napkins, or the way you've laid out the chili fixings. But they will absolutely remember how you made them feel-whether in your home, at a park, or at restaurant meet-up.
I don't want to leave any gathering or get-together feeling isolated or lonely again. I want to leave feeling more deeply connected to someone than when they first arrived. So let's go out there this month and enjoy the heck out of one another, shall we? Make others feel loved and heard-that's the true act of hospitality after all.
Sign up for a 30x30 Today! www.makerschurch.org/30x30
by Jayna Russel | 3.26.18
A couple summers ago, I planted a row of fantastic sunflowers in our garden. They started out as fragile little sprouts, poking up out of the dirt like tiny, velvet green teardrops. Then, every day they grew, until eventually, they stood like giants along the perimeter of the garden.
I spent the better part of that summer watching them inch higher and higher towards the sky. Their delicate stems transformed into spiny trunks as thick as my arm, and their heads exploded in a blaze of fiery, yellow glory. Their faces were proud, their spines erect, and their purpose clear. During a season of my life marked by immense personal loss, I felt protected by them, and privy to something magical, something surreal, something important.
Then, one day those giant heads began to droop. The petals fell like golden rain, and the birds picked the seeds of their faces clean. The viridescent leaves faded to brown until the life finally disappeared from their limbs. I’ve never forgotten those flowers. They were just plants, but they meant something real. They taught me that life is a seasonal affair, full of sunlight and fertile soil and abundant rain. And it is also a valley of loss, a lonely path, and a winding trail that ends in extinction.
During the season of Lent, it’s easy to breeze over the less popular days like Good Friday. Who wants to linger over the sad and terrifying reality of death when there are bunnies and baskets of chocolate waiting for us on the other side? Easter is much more palatable. It is the triumph of life over death and the celebration that marks the end of our fast. Easter is good news indeed, representing all that we hope and long for, the promise of life and love everlasting.
Yet Easter is always preceded by Good Friday, that harrowing day of loss when Jesus faced his own dark reckoning, and the tomb was sealed shut. It commemorates the day when Jesus walked into the darkness alone, and perished at the hands of his enemies. Good Friday was the day when all seemed lost. We know the end of this story. We know that there was - and is - rejoicing, but the darkness must always precede the light.
In life, we hold this paradox ever in our grasp, hope alongside despair, emptiness alongside abundance, and death alongside the life. It is in the dichotomy and the struggle that we come to know the joy. It is the contrast and the darkness that makes the victory so very sweet.
When we take the time to observe the loss and darkness of Good Friday, we honor the sacrifice of Jesus. We also acknowledge the inevitability of our own fate, and we accept the path before us. We will walk the path of Jesus in life with all the courage and strength we can muster, and when the time comes, we will follow him into the darkness. Then, on the other side of despair, we will find the light. Hope will find us in the darkest hour and lead the way to redemption.
Join us March 30th for a Good Friday Gathering; an evening of worship and reflection.
6:30pm | Dana Middle School
by Tiffany Lambert | 3.13.18
Art has such a powerful way of breaking through its’ medium of communication to speak to the heart and the soul in meaningful ways. Being an artist is not some frivolous distraction from the so-called spiritual things- such as being a pastor or a missionary in the traditional sense. It is a calling. God anoints us to create, not only for His glory but for the simple sake of beauty. There’s no secular vs. sacred here, it is God breathing life and creativity into our voice and our art. Art is in essence deeply spiritual, yet we tend to compartmentalize. We separate what we feel as “serving God” on one side and on the other we cling tightly to our passions, our dreams, and our desires not wanting to give up control. When in reality God deeply wants to co-create with us in those things as well, to anoint us to be a voice of truth and beauty in this world.
“See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, 4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.” - EXODUS 31: 2-5
Have you ever noticed: the very first person who is mentioned as being filled with the spirit of God in scripture was Bezalel, an artist! Not only was he filled with the Spirit of God, the word says God fills him with “ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship.” Woah. As an artist myself, this blows me away. God not only wants to partner with me in my creativity, He wants to anoint me with skill, with craftsmanship. More than ever this makes me open up to God, and allow Him to play a deeper role in my creative process. To give Him the space to breathe life, breathe creativity, and to give anointing to what I am crafting so that it leaves a deeper impact.
My prayer for you, for me, is that God would anoint us, take us deeper and fill us with His spirit as artists. That we would be God-honoring in not only what we create, but in our character, in how we make people feel, and in the beauty that we craft. Take courage, my friend, for you are anointed for art.
by Kathryn Schulyer | 2.15.18
Last year for Lent, I capriciously decided to give up pizza. It was what I then sized up to be a solid Lenten fast - I ate pizza almost every week but it wasn’t a cornerstone of my diet, it was semi-burdensome, it wouldn’t come up much in conversation, it was totally doable. That was until I went on a date with a guy who I’d butted heads with over faith, and he was hellbent on us getting pizza that breezy night in February.
Instead, we had BBQ.
If you’re not familiar, Lent is a long-standing practice in the Christian tradition of giving up something or taking on something extra during the forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It’s a practice of mourning and letting go, of pressing into what actually matters. The forty days mimic the fast of Jesus in the desert before he launched his ministry, and are meant to prepare us to seriously celebrate when Jesus kicks death in the booty and resurrects on Easter Sunday.
Last year, 40 days of a pizzaless existence certainly didn’t kill me, but I was actually stunned at the way God had used this little fast to put a monumental conversation in my path. I had to actually attempt to explain the value of this millennia-old practice of fasting to someone who put absolutely no stock in it. I had grown up in a liturgical tradition, where the waxing and waning of the church calendar determined the pattern of one’s days, but in modern culture at large, it’s hard to characterize Lent without it seeming anything but outdated and arbitrary.
So why do I do it? Why do we - Makers Church - a community of reinvention, continue to live into this practice of rigidity?
Oddly enough, it’s just that rigid continuity that gets me stoked on Lent. Lent is a beautiful time for us to embrace the connectedness of our faith, from the millions of people this year who are surrendering a little something to leave space for more Spirit, to the generations of believers that came before us, shedding the weight of all that worldly stuff as they went. And Lent is a solid time (with international accountability might I add) to commit to picking something up or letting something go and telling people about it. It’s taking your faith out of your head and letting it sink into your body. It’s letting Jesus put his handprints all over your routine and rearrange your priorities like Scrabble letters.
Lent is built into the church calendar as a season of sobriety, of quieting, of mourning. It assures those of us that jealously ache during a celebration that God never intended everything to be a party. That, as Ecclesiastes says, there are times to weep. Times to let go. Times to give up something you cherish at the feet of someone who cherishes you more.
And in that same acknowledgment of the seasons, Lent reminds us that hardship was never meant to last. These forty days of contemplation and solitude have the happiest imaginable ending - Lent sets us up for Jesus. Chowing down on that first slice of post-Easter Domino’s is just the tiniest taste of how glorious it feels to take part in resurrection. That’s the path Jesus cleared for us, the feast He’s setting out for us.
So if you’re ready to mix up your pattern of faith, give Lent a shot. Give up your favorite food. Volunteer once a week. Join a community group. Read a book. Ditch your Instagram. Go on a daily prayer walk. Consider things that it might be time to shelve, or time to incorporate. Take part in something big - like billions of people big - and watch for the big stuff God is putting in your way. We’ll save you a slice on the other side.
Join Makers Church this Sunday to celebrate the first Sunday Gathering of the Lenten Season!
by Cori Dunton | 1.4.18
I’m really good at getting things done. Ask my friends, they’ll tell you. I’m a to-do list kind of person. I’m always tackling a project, I’m always checking off a box, I’m constantly working to get “there”, wherever there may be. In other words, I’m always going. I blame my mom, she’s a powerhouse woman and growing up it seemed like she never needed rest. She was the problem solver, and I loved her (still love her) for it. So I became like my mom, a problem solver, a do-er. But so much doing eventually leads to rushing, and rushing leads to running out of breath. 2017 was a year of continually trying to catch my breath. I worked multiple jobs, finished my degree and tried my hardest to keep checking those boxes. I pushed myself to exhaustion because I didn’t want to appear unreliable (don’t worry ya’ll, I’m tackling this in therapy). I wanted to hold onto my title of do-er even as my knuckles started to bleed. >
Slowly but surely I began to realize that I was missing the mark entirely. I was accomplishing so much yet appreciating so little. I was walking too fast, trampling the rose bush in the process. My ribs ached so badly from trying to catch my breath that I couldn’t even look up to see the good and simple life shaping around me. I was speeding through it. I was missing it. This past Sunday, Pastor Derrick spoke on the beauty and gift of being present. As he spoke about the power of staying in the here and now every bone in my body resonated with it. Because it is powerful, to really be in your life. To sit in all of it, every bit of pain and glory and not run.
And that’s the type of life I want to lead. A life that recognizes that this is it. This everyday, ordinary stuff is the “there” I’ve been working towards. I’m already here and so are you. Our lives are unfolding in truly weird and wonderful ways; in conversations over coffee and impromptu drives to Sunset Cliffs and bonfires in the backyard. And I don’t want to miss anymore of it. So I’m practicing the pause, every chance I get. I’m thanking Jesus for the here and now, and believing it’s exactly where I’m meant to be. I’m clearing my lungs, I’m looking up, I’m taking things off my to-do list. I’m literally stopping to smell the roses and I hope you will too.
Watch Pastor Derrick’s talk “Presence” now and share it with the ones in your life who need this powerful truth.
by Marc Wallis | 11.28.17
First there's Black Friday (which now starts on Thursday apparently).
Then Cyber Monday (which lasts a full week it seems).
Then #GivingTuesday (which is, you may have guessed, today).
That's a lot of fancy sounding day-names. Perhaps you're still a bit delirious from all the Turkeyday tryptophan - but it can feel a little confusing. What does it all mean? What is #GivingTuesday? And more importantly, why?
The common thread between the three is that, on each, you are challenged to do something - something that will cost you.
On Friday and Monday it is to stop, shop and buy.
You are shown things you never wanted, but that you now need, simply because they're 90% off with free shipping and batteries included (I sound like a grumpy old man I know...just go with me here).
I went online yesterday to buy a few house supplies, yet somehow ended up purchasing a new FitBit (which will track the fact that I'm sitting on my butt buying crap online vs walking to an actual store), a Shake-Weight (maybe I'll strap the FitBit on that to get my steps in) a Hoverboard , Fire-Insurance for my new Hoverboard, a Candy Crush Scented Phone Case (I wish I was making that product up, but I'm not...and it probably smells like sadness...), an Amazon Echo (so that our computer-overloads can better track everything I say, do, buy and think) and this elegant marvel of modern engineering . Ok, maybe I exaggerated a little with my list...but I was very tempted to buy all those things.
See, this system (of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals) makes sense to us. It speaks to and facilitates our need to acquire, to collect, to consume - especially when it's at half the MSRP. Yet this constant pattern of searching for more often goes unnoticed. It becomes an assumed process. A given paradigm. An ubiquitous reality that is part of the fabric of our culture and collective DNA.
That said, I'm definitely not the first to ponder all this - or posit that maybe we love to shop, to buy and to consume because we're trying to fill a sometimes subtle sometimes screaming emptiness that is often hard to describe or name or notice, but that drives us nonetheless.
We think the new thing acquired - whatever it is - will bring us the satisfaction we seek. Sure, we know it won't last forever, but that hit of dopamine feels good...at least for a moment, which is better than nothing we reason. We can always buy the next thing, or eat the next thing, or drink the next thing, or date the next thing, or watch the next thing, or do the next thing, or take the next thing when the first feeling fades.
We may not say it aloud but our actions reveal our deep-seated belief...or maybe it's a misguided hope...that we can somehow buy happiness. That we can purchase purpose. That we can consume our way into a life worth living. It makes sense in a way, but countless generations of those who've gone before us cry out that it's a sham and a shackle. A marketing ploy and a prison. A simple Holiday Sales gimmick.
The truth is that we do not gain through consumption.
On the contrary, it is via the counter-intuitive course, the revolutionary road, the footpath of the seemingly foolish - the way of Jesus - which says to gain you must give.
To find yourself you must lose it first. To love is to lay it down, only to take up that which is better in the end. 'Tis more blessed to give than to receive said the Master himself.
So while Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday all ask us to give up some of our cold hard cash, I'd like to think #GivingTuesday - which was created to encourage people to donate to charities, nonprofits, churches and local leaders doing good work for others - represents a fundamentally different mindset.
One that suggests we need not be slaves to our money, but instead, can choose to use it to fuel goodness in this world rather than just feed our appetites.
There are real needs all around us. Real hurts. Real brokenness and real confusion. Chief among them is that we are alone and unloved. Makers Church seeks, through the brazenness of the Gospel, to conquer those lies with a more powerful truth that we are profoundly loved, and called into beautiful futures full of life, purpose, creativity and hope. And that the story of Christmas - the story of the God of the Universe stepping into human history to save us from ourselves and show us a better way - proves this.
When you give to Makers Church you help multiply that very mission, as well as help fund ministries for local refugees in City Heights, humanitarian projects in Mexico, clean water and school uniforms for kids in Africa, YoungLife activities in San Diego and so much more.
So on this #GivingTuesday, we ask you to consider moving more into freedom by giving rather than merely consuming. It doesn't even have to be to Makers! But we do challenge you to give somewhere good because we firmly believe that choosing generosity can change the giver just as much as the receiver, and sometimes maybe even more.
As this Holiday Season begins we challenge ourselves and our community to consider all we have as good gifts from God, and to step more and more toward a life of generosity and gratitude fueled by the goodness and grace of Jesus knowing that when we, together, give of ourselves, the world is made better.
by Tiffany Lambert | 08.16.17
When I heard about the picnic in the park for Syrian refugee families that Makers Church was co-hosting, I knew I had to be there. The idea of making these families feel at home and valued in our community really resonated with me and I went into the event, excited to build relationships. We were expecting 200 people, but almost 500 Syrian moms, dads, and kids showed up to the picnic! Volunteers spent time serving food, handing out practical supplies such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, and diapers or playing soccer and doing crafts with the kids.
As a photographer, I wanted to use my gift to bless the families. I have seen the power of a photo, and I knew that many of these families were not able to bring pictures with them when they made the journey. So I packed up my portable printer and my camera and headed to the park. I met two women and some of their children and through translation help from one of the kids I offered to give them photos. As soon as people saw the printer I was surrounded by kids and families wanting their photo done. And for 3 hours, there I was. Up until my printer died I had a steady swarm of people, excitedly asking for their photo.
Afterward, a friend and I went to go sit with the first woman we met and she invited us to come visit her home! We hopped in the car and spent the rest of the afternoon sipping on Arabic coffee and tea. Google Translate became our best friend as it facilitated us to be able to talk about where we come from, our dreams and our families. I was also able to take family portraits of them in their home. After I plugged in my printer and handed over the photos, the oldest daughter ran over and lovingly placed them in their empty photo album. They invited us to come back and visit soon for some home cooked Syrian food, and we excitedly accepted!
There was so much beauty wrapped up in this event- people of different ages, cultures, and faith backgrounds coming together to build community. As I sat in their living room, I could not help but have a huge smile on my face, because these strangers were becoming like family.
*Interested in being a part of our Outreach Team? Sign up HERE.
by Kathryn Schuyler | 08.02.17
I remember as a kid having a constant desire to grow taller. It was a contest - my grandma would line us up with a ruler on the crown of our heads, marking our heights carefully in pencil on her scuffed yellow wall. It wasn’t about who was the tallest (my older cousin had that one in the bag). It was about who had grown the fastest since the last Thanksgiving, last Easter.
When it comes to spiritual growth, measurement should happen pretty much the same way. It’s not about which community group member is the farthest along on their faith journey, or how our spiritual gift stats stack up against the rest of the church. At Makers, and in churches around the world, we’re working on our spiritual elasticity, to stretch the small versions of ourselves into someone deeper and more vast, and to snap closer to Jesus.
Paul teaches in Hebrews 5 about spiritual adulting - “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
By Paul’s definition, there are baby Christians who drink milk, there are grown-up Christians who eat solid food, and by extension, there are probably kiddo Christians who eat Cheetos and teenage Christians who eat Jack-N-The-Box tacos, but Paul didn’t feel the need to delve into that much detail. The point is, the Church, scripture, and Jesus meet everyone exactly where they’re at and grow from there. And that growth, the maturity Paul refers to, comes from “constant use” of these resources. It comes from taking a bite of something you can’t chew and just chewing.
That’s the idea behind Grow Track at Makers. Regardless of your stage of spiritual development, or regardless of if you even know what that means, the leaders at Makers are here to meet you where you’re at. With stories from their own lives, with the living, breathing Word of God that transforms at the touch, with personality tests and reflective questions and discussion opportunities, we know this isn’t where your journey begins or ends. It’s where it continues.
Grow Track is a four-week, low-commitment practice of chewing. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to share your thoughts and questions with people you barely know when you’d rather be brunching. Let’s call those growing pains.
Because growth only comes when you press in, despite the pain it takes to feel your shin bones stretching—you will get taller. This time next year you will look back at your pencil mark on the wall and how far you’ve come, thinking I can’t believe all that I couldn’t see then, that I can see now. Your distance from Jesus will shrink. Your capacity to ask will expand. You will come ever closer to the person God made you to be from the beginning. And you won’t be able to wait for your next bite.
*Join us this Sunday for Grow Track. Directly following the 10 AM gathering at Dana Middle School.
by Sarah Witmer | 7.19.17
photos: Evan Yamada
I want to be around people. I really do. But when it comes to walking out the door to go to an event, I sometimes find myself dreading those same people whose company I crave.
Small talk exhausts me. There are always a few bumps and bruises, awkward moments along the way, especially in large groups, and sometimes I don’t have the energy to wade through a socially painful conversation. I just want to know everyone already, skipping the uncomfortable getting-to-know-you phase.
When I look at some of my closest friends, I can’t remember any of the small talk we had to lumber past in order to get to the good stuff. But we did. And you know where we met? Church events. Volleyball games, summer BBQs, and concerts in the park. Event by event, word by word, we chipped away at each other’s outer walls, earning the right to go deeper with one another.
My life has been transformed by these individuals who gave their time and energy to get to know me. Imagine if they just didn’t feel like it. What if they stuck to the people they already knew because it was easier?
I wouldn’t have met my husband through that girl who was brand new to church at the time. The two women I met at a community group wouldn’t have been my bridesmaids. We wouldn’t live in our house, which was handed down to us by a couple at Maker's. Our yard wouldn’t have been bursting at the seams this past Sunday as we announced that I’m 3 months pregnant with our first child.
This is true community. It takes time to build, and even more time to fight to keep it standing. To give. To show up when you don’t feel like it. To open yourself up to new people who want to belong as much as you do.
I have no doubt that I have yet to meet some of the people who will impact my life the most. My future best friend could be at the next summer event, dreading small talk as much as me. I hope we both push past it, seeking the life God has called us into - one where we get over our need for comfort and try our best to love others day by day.
by Jayna Russel | 7.19.17
I didn’t grow up going to church. At least I should say I didn’t grow up going to church regularly. Being a painfully shy kid, this meant that I was perpetually the new kid, always the odd man out sitting alone at the craft table while the other kids played. As a result, church was a strange experience for me, almost like the proverbial poor kid at Christmas time, peering through the shop windows at all the warmth and magic unfolding before my eyes. On the outside looking in, I couldn’t help but wonder what it might feel like to truly belong.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and I now have a child of my own. She’s a sweet little angel of a kid, with the Hungarian hot-temperedness of her dad and the introverted bookwormy-ness of her mom. Like any parent, I want many things for her. Things like riches, fame, and glory would be nice. Yet what I desire most for her is much more down-to-earth, mainly to be known, valued, and connected to a community that reflects God’s love back to her. I want her to grow and thrive among people who know her name and remind her of her worth, who engage richly in the love and work of God, and urge her on towards her own creative purpose on this earth.
Makers Church is a place where we can do that for each other, where we can know and be known, and where we can reflect God’s love back to one another. We can create a time and a place for engaging in God’s creative work together, and the quality of the community we create will be woven into the fabric of our children’s minds. Our love and respect and kindness will create the inner lining of their souls. And when they embark out into the world on their own, they will never have to doubt that they are known, they are treasured, and they are loved.
When we show up with our daughter on Sunday mornings, this is our hope and our prayer. And this is also our commitment to you and your kids. This is the commitment we make to one another, that we reflect God’s love to one another, and ensure that another generation of amazing kids will live to tell the tale and walk in the footsteps of our Maker.
*Take the next step in your family's journey at Makers Church and join us this Sunday for Child Dedications. RSVP Today.
by Katie Balla | 7.12.17
Over two years ago, brand new to San Diego and knowing hardly a soul, my husband and I found ourselves intensely craving community and friendships. It was intimidating and terrifying to be starting completely over. We found Makers Church and each week we attended gatherings, put our children in Kid’s Ministry, met a few faces here and there, but still hadn’t really created any real relationships. I remember telling my husband that everyone here seemed to be at their “max” on friendships and that there was no room for us.
In hindsight, I can see now that those were little lies and mistruths trying to take root in our heart—to rob us of the abundant community that was right there in front of us.
Thankfully, we kept pressing on despite that feeling. We got invited to a family picnic that some Makers Church people put together at a local park. Everything inside me told me not to go. It would be so awkward! We wouldn’t know anyone. We would totally look like the weird, new people. We’d have no one to talk to. Who would our kids play with? It’d be much easier to just stay home. - But we knew we had to just go. So we did.
I still remember every feeling from that day years later. We pulled up to a park where every family seemed to know one another except for us. We were clearly ‘the new guys’ and although everyone was gracious and kind, there were many first-time conversations and all that awkward getting-to-know-you stuff. We didn’t leave that day with any instant-BFF's, but looking back now I can say with absolute certainty that we were beginning the foundation layer for friendships.
That year we just continued to show up. When there were events, gatherings, and opportunities to get to know people, we were there. And we went again and again. Relationships blossomed out of our faithfulness and you know what we discovered? Everyone’s friendship tank was not maxed out. In fact, there were many people just like us, a little bit on the fringes, needing that push to go fully all-in with the mess and beauty of sharing life with one another.
Just a few weeks ago we went back to that same park where it all started with many of the same people from two years ago. Except now, many of those friends feel like family. Our kids all love and play like cousins. My toddler sits on the laps of my friends. We feel safe to share the good, bad and ugly of our lives. And that day I left with a massive smile on my face and joy in my heart because of how far God brought us.
Showing up to summer events and church outings was undoubtedly the foundation for the life-giving friendships we now have and continue to make. A little bit of awkward small talk turned into the depth and beauty that we always prayed for.
My encouragement to you today is to just go. I know it can be awkward the first few times—but go. And show up. And then show up again and again because you are worthy to be seen and to know the depth of love an amazing community can bring. It takes some work but it is oh so worth it.
*Join us at a Summer Event this month and start connecting! Build life-giving friendships and dive deeper into a beautiful community. www.makerschurch.org/summer
Saying "No" to Good, Saying "Yes" to Best
by Marc Wallis | 6.28.17
Many know the story of Martha & Mary, or at least a version of it. It's a tale of two sisters who host Jesus and his followers for a meal.
Martha is busy cooking, cleaning, serving (basically being a good host) while Mary sits listening to Jesus.
Martha complains that Mary isn't pulling her weight and that Jesus should command her sister to help her in the kitchen.
But instead, Jesus gently rebukes Martha and commends Mary.
The typical takeaway is Martha's need for better work / life balance - to be more like Mary who's able to sit and relax and just be with Jesus.
Don't get me wrong - that's super important, but there's a deeper truth we often miss, hidden in the ancient context, that's incredibly powerful for us now...
Two crucial things to know...
1. Scriptures say that Mary... "sat at the Lord’s feet listening." In First Century Israel this was a weighty phrase. Every Jew knew it was reserved specifically to describe a "disciple." An honored student. An apprentice. One who would carry on the work of their Master. "To sit at the feet" of a Rabbi was a mark of honor, and a place, position and power reserved only for chosen followers and leaders-in-training.
2. First Century AD Women were not supposed to "sit at the feet" of Rabbi. Women were not allowed to be anyone's "disciples." In fact, women were not even supposed to be in the same room as men when a Rabbi was teaching.
So if you read Luke 10:38-42 with those two things in mind the narrative takes on a whole new meaning.
Martha isn't mad primarily because she's left alone to do the work - but because her sister is breaking the rules. Mary's not staying within the BOUNDARIES of culture and "good" society. She's not staying in her lane.
When Jesus responds to Martha's complaints he does not reprimand her for working hard or being a dedicated host. Instead he gently corrects her for being "worried and upset." Martha is worried about what people will say, about her sister breaking the rules, about being left out, about so many other things.
But Jesus says... "few things are needed - or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Boom. Mic drop Jesus. Way to focus in on what's really important.
It reminds me of a Steve Jobs' quote that says, "People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not it at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas out there. You have to pick carefully...Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things."
Mary demonstrated this fact beautifully. She made healthy boundaries for herself so she could break unhealthy ones. She said NO to letting others’ opinions dictate her actions. NO to letting culture keep her from her Christ. NO to many good things so she could say YES to the best; to sitting at the feet Jesus. YES to pouring all of herself into her goal being a Disciple - to learning from the Master, to experiencing his presence and intimacy so she could grow and develop and do the work that was prepared for her.
In light of this historical context it is utterly fascinating to me, and, frankly, a little scandalous that Jesus did not rebuke Mary for being where she was not “allowed.”
In those days Jesus had the right, and likely the obligation, to correct Mary...to punish her presumptions, to chide her pride (rhyme boom), and make an example of her.
Yet he did none of those things. He did not embarrass, callout, correct, punish or belittle Mary...nor did he remind her that she was in a "man's" place. He didn’t Mansplain and he certainly did not tell her to stay in her lane.
Instead he commended her.
He declared to all present that Mary, the boundary-maker and the boundary-breaker, had chosen what was better, and that that would never be taken from her.
Crazy stuff! Jesus is so compelling to me. Calling him “Progressive” just doesn’t do it justice and misses the point. He goes far beyond the imaginary boundaries we create...and calls us to follow.
I pray that God's Spirit gives us the courage and self-control to create healthy boundaries and say NO...not just to the bad, but to the mediocre - and even the good - so that we can say YES to what is truly important, to what is best - to sitting at the feet of the Master.
by Ozioma Enworom | 6.14.17
As a registered nurse working in the Emergency Department, I had the privilege of joining a diverse team from Makers Church as we launched our first medical clinic in Punta Colonet, Mexico. The purpose of this clinic was to gather general information about the people living in the local community so that we can learn how to better serve them in the future. During our time there, we were able to administer a health survey to assess the medical needs and current resources available to the people in the community; perform a basic physical examination; and hand out vitamins and pain medication according to each individual’s needs. We were very fortunate to have team members and translators who spoke Spanish help us communicate with the native people. After the clinic, we were invited to the Mayor of Colonet’s home for a delicious meal. I am so humbled by the hospitality we received throughout our trip and the potential partnership opportunities for Makers Church in the future.
Outside of our time in the clinic, we worked on basic construction projects. The simple act of staining a door or sanding a staircase may seem trivial, but at the end of every day, each repetitive movement helped contribute to building a beautiful foundation for a future children’s day care center. My favorite part of the trip was getting to know the people from our Makers community. Whether it was sharing silly stories on the road, playing with estranged animals, or shrewdly building allies through the mysterious game of Mafia, we were able to connect with each other on a real level. Although the work we have to do as a movement is still unfinished, it is encouraging to see how God is using the Makers community to cross cultural and spiritual borders in order to make on earth as it is in heaven.
by Makers Team | 5.23.17
Last Sunday, Pastor Derrick shared just a preview of what the Bible teaches about generosity related to money. The bottom line is that Jesus is way more concerned with the posture of our hearts than the amount of our financial giving (Matthew 6:21). He wants to increase our righteousness by releasing us from the grips of debt and the worship of money (Matthew 6:24).
Derrick also challenged all of us to test God in how generosity can transform our lives by giving for 90 days. As he said, we’re not testing God so that He will bless us with material things or more money. We are confronting our own control issues and asking God to set us free from all the baggage that the love of money brings.
Pastor Derrick asked us to start giving somewhere, to something worthy. But what he didn’t have time to go into is the idea that the most important entity you can give to is the local church.
Look, we get it – there is a lot of cynicism about giving to any religious organization, let alone a church. Our history isn’t perfect, but the God we serve is. And He has chosen to use the broken and imperfect church to do his greatest work in this world.
Giving somewhere is better than giving nowhere, because giving nowhere will never teach you how to share. - Pastor Derrick
If you haven’t had a chance to check out our Makers’ values, goals, and plans for the future, you can download the PDF here.
We have 26 new recurring givers since we started talking about giving a few weeks ago, resulting in over $6,000 in new gifts per month. Thank you so much to each of you who are supporting our mission with your finances.
So here’s the challenge: ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom about giving financially to a church. (If Makers isn't where you call home, it doesn't have to be here.) Be open to where you feel compelled to give, and then take a step of faith and give for 90 days.
We can’t wait to hear what God does in your life! (Be sure to share your story with us at email@example.com.)Setup Recurring Giving
by Gill Sotu | 5.16.17
Shhh... now don't tell nobody
but I HEAR tell that a mama's kiss don't just die after it's left its mark on your skin
No sir, no ma'am...
I ain't no mama,
But I am told that a mother's kiss can exist years after it's initial creation
It becomes pure energy, building invisibly like Super Mario bricks
to help mothers see over the walls we build when we get a bit too much “TEEN-AGY”
A mother's kiss is verbal and nonverbal
it is physical and spiritual
It tattoos itself upon your being
Its ink becomes a part of your bones, your blood
That is why when you are about to step out of the boundaries of your character,
your mother's voice echoes thick inside of you
(I know ya’ll ignore it, but it’s there!)
Mama, we are ETERNALLY bound together
with rope only God can see
And according to you, none of MY MISTAKES can break
We are both BROKEN but you make the pieces come together beautifully
Like puzzles, of crosses, of a Savior,
washing the feet of those who felt like they didn't deserve it
I never deserved it
I HATED rubbing your feet when you were tired from spending your time protecting mine,
serving my happiness Mama the cook and the waiter/mama the soldier...
Mama the poet, Mama the judge and jury
Mama the silly, Mama the psychic
Mama the prayer warrior, Mama the quiet
Mama the single parent, Mama the lioness
Mama the life tamer, Mama the entrepreneur
Mama the soft strength through hard times
Mama the big smiles dealing with small people
Mama the love, mama the love,
I am SO HONORED to be awarded recipient of your love
A mother’s kiss means PROTECTION
A mother’s kiss means you are probably crying over something that is ultimately not that important,
but we will both PRETEND that it is
A mother's kiss means you have just MISSED the lesson that is SO IMPORTANT,
but we will both PRETEND you are STILL the BRIGHTEST bulb in the Vegas
Scientists are still trying to discover why a mother’s kiss heals an
injured SPIRIT or SCAB 77X faster than the leading brands
A mother’s kiss means there is SO MUCH I want to tell you
It means I want to INTIMATELY know ALL that you are,
From your DISNEY DREAMS to your BEDROOM BOOGEYMEN
A mother’s kiss means GOD will heal all things I can not
It means that it is not always easy,
but I am giving you over to HIM
I only want THE BEST for you…
I want to be MY BEST for you
My kiss is my magnet, bringing out the best IN YOU
Mama the chocolate thief, Mama the constant cuddler
Mama the baker and the candlestick maker
Mama the homework warden, Mama the fun police
Mama the party starter, Mama the embarrassing dancer
Mama the graceful, Mama the maker of feast from famine
Mama the biological, Mama the chosen
Mama the selfless, Mama the underrated
Mama… MY LOUDEST fan in the audience,
I can hear you over EVERYONE,
And I KNOW I am unabashedly yours
Mama the love, Mama the love,
Today I stand SO HONORED to be awarded recipient of your love