Cole Brown joined us as a guest speaker on Sunday, October 1st. Cole is the founding pastor of a multi-ethnic church in Portland, and most recently served as a missionary helping plant churches in Mexico City, Mexico. He is a Humble Beast author and speaker, and has authored several books including, Daddy Issues: How the Gospel Heals Wounds Caused By Absent, Abusive & Aloof Fathers and The Gospel Is: Defining the Most Important Message in the World. Cole, his wife ReShawn, and his kids are longtime friends of the Jones family and have ministered to many.
On Sunday, September 24th, we had the privilege to hear and learn from CJ Bergmen, pastor and church planter of Citizens Church in San Francisco. CJ and his wife, Renee, have ministered in San Francisco for the past 5 years, beginning with Redemption San Francisco, and now with Citizens. Citizens is one of the church plants that Reality regularly supports and we are excited to have CJ and Renee join us for the weekend to stir our hearts for God’s ongoing mission in other parts of our country. The Bergmens have a burden to be a part of a diverse, multigenerational, multiethnic church that serves the least of these, pursues health, and is a safe place for those who are hurting.
The wisdom of the proverbs is an invitation to life because it is a description of the life of Jesus Christ, who is the wisdom of God. In order for it to enter and transform our hearts, we need to retreat from the competing voices in this world and commune with him in solitude. Only when we are united with him in the desert will the teaching of this book become like a fountain of life within us.
A life of integrity gives strength to the wise, builds up important relationships, and brings rewards that last for generations. However, life daily tests our character and tempts us to take short cuts and make compromises. Only Jesus truly passed those tests. Thankfully, through the Gospel we have been given his righteousness and the desire to learn from him. Through submission to the Father, and by the power of the Spirit we humbly walk down this road of wisdom desiring to be men and women of integrity.
Nehemiah came to Jerusalem to seek the welfare of the people, and – with the wall building now finished – he turns his attention to the spiritual state of the people of God. After an intense season of serving and working together, they’re in need of personal and corporate renewal. So the people call on Ezra, the priest, to open up God’s word and feed their weary souls. As Ezra reads, we learn what sort of posture we must embrace to experience the kind of ongoing renewal we need to persevere in a life of service.