the best is yet to come…

The ocean was calm this morning. It has remained still most of the day, and the breeze has even been a bit easier on my normally strained umbrella. All day there was a sun-dulled sense of anticipation that the best was yet to come. Hmmm.

Ephesians chapter five was a great study this morning. I’m thinking, at this point, we’ll take CCC through Ephesians in 2011. God, let us be in awe again of the Bride of Christ. Paul’s analogy of the Church and marriage is a good one. As much as I appreciate, work on, and lift up my marriage and bride, I hope God will allow me to lead and teach in a way that appreciates, works on, and lifts up the Church… the incredible Bride of Christ. For Cumberland and the Bride, I think the best is yet to come.

I’m asking God for a renewed love for His Church on behalf of Cumberland. Oswald reminded me that asking, Biblically, is in essence begging. Am I desperate enough for the glory of the Bride to be shown? Is CCC to the point of hunger and begging for Jesus’ Church to be beyond our dreams and imagination. Will we beg for the fullness of Jesus to be realized through His Church at Cumberland?

“The Shaping Of Things To Come” has been interesting to re-read and process through. I’m going a bit slower this time. I’m about a third of the way through. The authors, Frost and Hirsch, seem at some points bent on trashing any hint of the institutionalized church. I have struggled and questioned more of their thinking this time around then I did last year. It feels like “The Shaping Of Things To Come” at times takes an either/or approach on what the church should look like. I’m believing the genius of the “and” can bring structured gathering and incarnational, missional living together to make the Bride an even greater sight to behold.

However, I do believe there’s way more good to this book than not. The idea of relational nets throughout our life to make an impact is a good one. The three “C’s” of communion, community, and commission are good filters to process things through. Developing a mode of church instead of another copy cat model seems right. I still like the idea of a third place to rub shoulders with those not connected with Jesus. Honestly, I want and pray for the abandoned Folks restaurant to the front of Cumberland’s property to become ours and a strategic third place.

Hirsch and Frost also make a push that socializing (being missional outside the walls of a Sunday morning) must be intentional, missional, grace-filled, and generous. And THIS is where I think the best is yet to come for this day… or evening as it were.

At about 10 this morning, Sherry and I made another trip to the local Publix. We bought some brie cheese, raspberry preserves, really good crackers, and a bottle of Shiraz red wine. You gotta know with a grocery list like this, the best is yet to come.

Tonight is our beach dinner with Lucy. I can’t wait. I hope she shows. As excited as this 85-year-old beach dweller was yesterday when I invited her, I think we need to make sure were out in the sand at least by 6:30. She’s supposed to show up at 7 p.m. I want to give her a little taste of Isaiah 25:6. Although we won’t have the best of meats, we’ll have some of the best hotdogs available… along with the wine and cheese. I want to give Lucy a taste of heaven on earth. I think this is intentional, missional, grace-filled, and generous (the wine wasn’t cheap, and I didn’t want it to be).

So you see… this is why I’ve been sensing all day that the best is yet to come. This has been a year long journey to have dinner with Lucy. It’s now 5:17 p.m. I’ve got to get ready. I’ll take some pictures and finish this blog later tonight. Can’t wait. The best is yet to come…

It’s now 10:21 p.m. Lucy never came. I was very disappointed as I continued to look up and down the beach for the silhouette of her frail frame. Nothing. The wine was poured, but without the anticipated celebration. The uncorked bottle became as empty as my hopes for what I expected God to do tonight. My intentional, missional, grace-filled, and generous efforts will continue early tomorrow morning when I scout for Lucy to walk by again. I have two more days. Maybe the best is STILL yet to come.

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