We are spiritually thirsty, and longing to grow. As scholar and author C.S. Lewis wrote, perhaps you have these desires because there is something there to be longed for. God desires for us to be reunited with himself: the one who created us, loves us, and makes us new… and through Christ we are invited into union with God. For some of us, this feels like a reunion with the divine as we reawaken to a faith connection we once knew but have lost. For others, it is a union for the first time, as we realize that the call to follow Jesus is an invitation to trust that “God became one of us, so that we might become one with God.”
As we reunite with God, we come more truly alive and experience what scripture calls the fruit of God’s spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5). There is a new freedom and sense of identity as we receive what God says to us in baptism, “You are my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.” Throughout life, we are reminded and invited to trust Jesus’ promise, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
This reunion is an invitation to experience God’s grace and forgiveness, as scripture invites us to “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34). We go on the deeper journey of faith and realize that Jesus is the only one that when we give all to follow him, we don’t lose our selves… rather, we begin to find out who we truly are. And when we fail him, he forgives us.
We are invited into lives marked by radical grace and forgiveness, and are compelled to live in both humility and boldness.
As we are reunited with God who made us, loves us, and is renewing all things… we come alive as we grow in connection with one another in community. And in the process, we discover who we truly are. Christian faith is inherently plural. It is personal, but never private. When asked what is most important in life, Jesus taught:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Loving and knowing one another are directly connected to our sense of being known and loved by God. At Renew, we intentionally reconnect with one another in community. In a city that can be beautiful but superficial, we are authentic and real. In a political landscape that becomes tribal and divisive, we are inclusive and gracious with one another, especially with those who think, live, or act differently. In a social media culture where image is everything and real relationships are fleeting, we connect face to face to know and love one another. And as we do this, we discover our truest selves.
In addition to cultivating prayer and meditation, we also use and recommend ancient tools such as the Enneagram and modern instruments such as Strengths Finders and Myers-Briggs, as well as resources such as psychological counseling and therapy for emotional and psychological health. As the church leader and reformer John Calvin wrote, “To know God, you must know thyself.”
As we’re reunited with God and reconnected with others and our true selves, we don’t stop there. We are redirected outward in God’s mission of renewal to a beautiful and broken world. Renew San Diego is an outpost of Jesus’ resurrection renewal, and we are called to be Jesus’ very hands and feet wherever we go. We exist not only for the good of those inside the church, but for the good of all our neighbors to experience the wholeness, joy, beauty, life and love of God.
This is not a new idea, it flows from the earliest calling of God in Genesis 12 in which God declares to the people of God,
“I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing… (and)… in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Later, when Jesus expanded his earthly ministry of renewal, he would go into a town and welcome all who came to him. He would forgive others, heal the sick, fill the hungry, make outsiders into insiders, speak God’s truth in love, and renewal sprung up wherever he went! And... he didn’t stop there. Jesus would take those who he was renewing and bless them and send them out to be his very presence, blessing and agents of his renewal wherever they would go: some to their families, others to their towns and others to the surrounding communities.
At Renew San Diego, we see it as our role to live into Jesus’ great calling today: to receive God’s blessing, to be renewed in mind, body and spirit; and to reflect that renewal wherever we go!
This is why we are a church:
That remembers what it’s like “not to believe”
For those who are spiritual but not religious
In the neighborhood, for the good of all our neighbors
For the spiritually thirsty and physically hungry
That preaches and embodies both spiritual and physical transformation
That pursues both individual and communal renewal
That you can bring your friends to anytime
That is both a hospital for sick and hurting people who need to be healed and a launch pad for mission that sends out wounded healers to move toward the pain points and needs of our neighborhoods, city and world.