The Church Connected
One of the most interesting prayers of Jesus is the one recorded in John 17 when to God He says that when the church works together as one then people who do not know God will see that unity and will glorify Him. That passage always hits me in the gut when I drive through the big city and see a church on every corner and only know them for their differences rather than their similarity and unity in purpose. When people who don’t believe see a divided Church then they must be even more confused.
Crested Butte has three major Christian communities that have buildings- Oh Be Joyful, Union Congregational, and Queen of All Saints. I am thankful to be able to say that Oh Be Joyful has been cooperating and collaborating with our brothers and sisters at these churches for years. Last fall we collaborated with UCC in bringing awareness of human trafficking to our town through a video screening at Rumors Coffee shop. For several years we have collaborated with Queen of All Saints to support the staff and activities of an endeavor called Crested Butte Community Youth - better known by the name Young Life - CrestedButteYoungLife.com.
For the past year I have been investing a considerable amount of time in learning about a partnership that OBJ has with twenty-five churches in a group called the Colorado Divide Association. The CDA has been helping to connect and plant churches on the Western slope for 56 years. That partnership is one worth keeping.
We are also in the process of engaging with several churches and organizations in the public sector in Gunnison with the goal of serving people in poverty more effectively. This is a new and exciting way to do much more together than we ever could separately - a second meeting is planned and soon we should see positive results.
Recently I took my first Sunday off since my family arrived in CB, but it wasn’t really a vacation, it was to do something I am very excited about. Claire and I traveled over to the other side of the range to Aspen to meet with the leaders of Crossroads Church. Our goal was to begin the process of getting to know that Church to do a little church dating - determine if we can collaborate, to build trust, and see if we like each other. I believe that on both sides we came away with a good feeling about future opportunities. Crossroads is a place with leadership and a body of believers that is like-minded with OBJ; we are Bible based churches seeking to bring the hope of reconciliation with God through Jesus to our respective towns and valleys, to greater Colorado, and beyond. Building meaningful partnerships between churches is a long process, but I believe it is likely that we will be talking about serving Christ together with Crossroads in the future. CrossRoadsChurchAspen.com
If we can work together then we will be engaged in answering Jesus’ prayer that THE Church would act as One.
Walking Through Tough Times
Recently we have begun the process of going through some tough life events at Oh Be Joyful. Probably the one that will have the greatest impact on us is Tyler Hansen stepping down from his role as our Worship Leader and as an Elder so that he can deal head on with a family crisis situation. We need to be honest, here. This is tough news. Tyler has been a part of leading this church in one way or another for something like twelve years and he has guided us to very important moments with God on many occasions. When someone that important to us suddenly takes a step back we feel exposed and anxious - we just do. Our natural reaction is to seek out how we can help and offer ourselves. We want to know what is going on and know what part of a solution we can be. I remember when I first made the announcement about Tyler stepping down - I could see in the eyes of everyone in the room the question, ‘what happened?’ My reply to the unspoken question was something like this, ‘What Tyler and Janna need most is for us to go to God for them, to lift them up to the One who can truly help.” What I feel very comfortable saying is I am convinced that Tyler and his family are taking the very best steps to go forward and that the best thing we can do is bring them to God in prayer. It has been very gratifying as a member and leader at OBJ to see the body respond to this difficulty with conversations with God about it and a heart of concern and a willingness to understand that the family needs privacy right now.
How long the process they are going through will take is not certain, but we can move forward taking one step at a time and trusting that God is committed to the Hansen family and to the OBJ family.
Tyler is still on receiving his salary from OBJ and will continue to during his break from serving here this Fall. In the coming months we will stand beside he and Janna and keep the members of OBJ informed of important information as we work through next steps. Please feel free to contact any one of our elders if you would like to visit more. We are here for you and are committed to walking through this time hand in hand as a body.
Sometimes tough stuff happens concurrently…
Last week we lost one of our young men, Bo Stambaugh. Many of you have been blessed by the Stambaugh family over the years and perhaps you attended the memorial service held at OBJ last Saturday. Jamie and her two boys had recently been back inside the doors of OBJ - visiting us as regularly as possible from her home in Montrose. It was just over a week ago when she shared during our prayer time in the Sunday service about the blessing that the family of this church had been to her. If you were here you were moved by her sincerity. Our hearts go out to Jamie and the boys as they make their way in a different world than expected.
Please pray for the family and for the many members of OBJ that will feel the effects of Bo’s passing for years to come. Pray for hope and for God to show Himself to be good and to be faithful.
While these situations are very different and independent we are affected by them similarly as someone we love and care deeply about has been removed from us suddenly. These events are a blow to us collectively and we are shaken by them. But we have a good and gentle God who will carry us through and we will experience that gentleness from Him all the more if we truly put our trust in Him and keep our eyes on Him.
If you would like to make a donation to a fund that has been set up for the Stambaugh boys please visit OhBeJoyfulChurch.org and scroll down on the first page or go to the ‘giving’ page and follow directions from there.
Simplicity and Excellence
Tyler’s absence has, as you would guess, allowed us to see many of the things that he covered behind the scenes. One big place of his expertise was with the soundboard. For the Sunday Morning Service there are few things that are more important to success than problem-free music and audio management. Thankfully, several people have stepped up to help us navigate the board and its intricacies - which is not unlike untangling a six year old’s ball of kite string. Please be patient as we work through this process - it won’t be long before our team has worked things out beautifully. Then we can be back to the simplicity that is indicative of Oh Be Joyful and hopefully we can provide excellence in that simplicity.
It is that time of year, albeit brief here in the high country, when vibrant colors linger barely long enough for us to enjoy them for a moment as the greens fade to browns and grays, as the fleeting midday warmth is swallowed up by a deep chill in the mornings and evenings.
Many times it is a quick season change such as this that can wake us up, bring us to the surface, cause us to see things that may have been right in front of us but we had not previously noticed or acknowledged. We are refreshed, renewed, invigorated. More than one friend of mine has been compelled to clean out rooms in their homes, to simplify, and to make some substantial changes.
There are the obvious things like the leaves and the change in the weather and the shorter days, but there are also the less obvious things. How are our relationships, our habits, our moods? Things we have accepted as part of our lives, but never examine? Brought to light, we may acknowledge something we do not want to see, so we look away immediately. Anything that we want to avoid, however, is usually the very thing that needs the most attention. Dealt with properly, its impact can be reduced or eliminated, and we can then be brought to a new level of freedom we had never previously imagined.
It may be an addiction, but perhaps addiction is too strong a word, maybe we could allow it has the potential of becoming one. Or it may be an ongoing habit we have been unable to overcome, a lingering depression, or signs of codependency. It matters not how we define it, it is never too soon to face anything that may be blocking our relationship with our Savior. As we discussed this week in our Principle 3 lesson, indecision is actually a making a decision against something. But the invitation is always open: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” -Revelation 3:20
Working the steps of Celebrate Recovery can be challenging at times, but it is worth it; it brings great reward. We can begin to experience life at a brand new level, and give from resources that we now finally possess. We can see things more clearly and we can love others more freely. We find safe people to join us on our journey, in a place of support and no judgment, with many tools to help us along the way. It does not matter if it is a hurt, habit or hang-up you may be facing, nothing is too difficult for God, nothing bars us from His love, and with His strength we can overcome.