BEFORE Love Fullerton 2017
Participating with God and His Mission
On Saturday, April 29th, you will be participating in something much larger than yourself. You will be working alongside 2,500 participants on projects that are meant to be active signs of loving Fullerton. As followers of Jesus, our whole life is gathered into God’s saving purposes for the world. Our saving relationship with God and being on mission are not sequential, one following the other. Instead, when we answer the invitation to a saving relationship with God we also say yes to participate in God’s saving purpose and plan for the world.
God is always at work loving and restoring His creation and He is constantly inviting us to share in what he is doing. Just like Jesus, we can join in with our father when we see him at work (John 5:17-19.) That’s what Love Fullerton is: an opportunity to work with our father and be a part of what he is up to in our city. What happens on this one day is a foretaste of what God is always doing and an opportunity to learn how we can participate with God every day in our neighborhoods and city. Our prayer is that Love Fullerton is a catalyst and experiment in participating in God’s mission.
To prepare for Saturday, take time to pray and reflect the week before.
“Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.”
Colossians 4:2 (The Message)
Our job, as Christ followers, is to be awakened to God’s movement and join in with Him when prompted. Paul wraps up his letter to the church of Colossae by asking them to be observant with a thankful heart.
· Pray daily for the project you signed up for.
· Pray for the volunteers and their experience
· Pray for those who will be receiving the love from the project
The church of Colossae’s job was not necessarily to start new projects or ministries. Instead it was to be aware to what God is already doing and align our hearts to His heart. He encourages the church to be in relationship with those who are not like them and to be filled (or seasoned) with God’s grace.
Trusting that God is at work before you even show up is important. When you participate in your project, part of your job is to find God in the lives or even in the service you are providing. Whether you are cleaning up trails at a local park, painting over graffiti, or sharing a meal with others; you are working with God in his restoration of creation.
One way to prepare for this is to take time before each new task or movement in your day to ask God what He is up to.
· When you wake up
· When you start your commute
· Before you start work or before each class
You can do this by saying a short prayer like:
· “Father I know you are already here and I want to be present and partner with whatever you are doing. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear what you are up to.”
· “Speak your servant is listening.” (1Samuel 3:10)
Consider practicing reflection every night for one week. Find some time at the end of the day when you no longer have any pressing responsibilities. Ask one, or all five, of these questions (You may want to journal your responses):
· Start with thanksgiving, noticing the moments that you were most grateful and least grateful for.
· Ask when did you give and receive the most love today? When and where did I give and receive the least love today?
· What was the most life-giving and life-draining part of my day?
· When today did I have the deepest sense of connection with God? When today did I have the least sense of connection?
· Where was I aware of living out of the fruit of the Spirit? Where was there an absence of the fruit of the Spirit?
AFTER Love Fullerton 2017
Reflecting on God’s movement and what’s next
Once Love Fullerton wrapped up, all the preparation, organizing, sweat, and new relationships finally came to a close. We worked hard cleaning, serving, and loving the city of Fullerton. God’s name was glorified and the Church was at the center of all of it. So what is next?
There were amazing stories of new relationships, tangible signs of city transformation, God’s people moving within His city. Yet, that is not the end. Love Fullerton was a one day event always designed to give the people of Fullerton a taste of God’s never ceasing Kingdom movement.
As we look back at April 29th and Love Fullerton, we want our hearts to be filled with gratitude for what God did. At the same time we are asking that God will stir a yearning for something more. We will ask God for what He desires of us next.
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.”
James 2:9 (NIV)
James points out an important fact that we often forget when we serve others. That all are created in God’s likeness. Sometimes when we have a task to accomplish in front of us, we forget to reflect on the Father’s likeness that surrounded us.
· Sit quietly and focus on God’s presence; imagine He is sitting next to you.
· Ask God to highlight an individual from Love Fullerton: a neighbor, a student, or a co-volunteer.
· Ask God how He views that person. What fruit of the spirit did you see that person exhibit? When did you experience God’s love from that individual?
Even though Love Fullerton is over, God’s Spirit is still moving. James goes on to talk about living a “good life” by continuing to do deeds in humility coming from wisdom (vs 13). Christianity is much more than a serve project, it is a lifestyle of being people sent on mission.
· Ask God: Ask God to show you something from Love Fullerton that you and your family should continually pray over in this next season.
· Journal: It is so important to articulate what God has been doing in your life and in the city in a way that allows the seed of missional living to sink deep into your heart and take roots. Transformation takes place when we (a) experience God and then (b) articulate what He is doing. Spend time journaling your experience, or take a friend out for coffee and share what God is doing in your heart.
· Scripture Meditation: For the next week read Jeremiah 29:7 every day. Ask God to reveal what it means to “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city” in your own life.
Did you enjoy what God did at Love Fullerton; here are some possible next steps to continue to love your city.
· Prayer walk the city: Go out with your family and walk around your Love Fullerton site for 20 mins. Open your senses to what God may have for you. Pay attention to God what might be drawing you toward by using your sight, hearing, smell, touch, or taste. Ask Him to bring clarity to why He revealed that specific sense to you.
· Engage a school: Become a tutor or a teacher’s assistant for the rest of the semester. Our teachers need help grading, tutoring, and being someone who is willing to LEARN and then ACT. See if there is a need at your local elementary school.
· Volunteer at SOLFul: Sign up and volunteer for 4-7 weeks in the city wide summer school program. www.fullertonact.org/solful.