January 15th, 2018
John Chandler continues our new Mission & Methods series with a teaching on our first method: We learn practices of Jesus so that we can know, love and follow him.
Quotes & Resources Mentioned:
- Peter was overwhelmed by the “otherness” of Jesus. Holiness is, fundamentally, otherness or separateness from the ordinary realm of human existence in which we believe we know what we are doing and what is going on. It is the idea of “something else,” in current terminology. Peter was saying, “Lord you are something else altogether from me! How can you stand to be around me?” This “something else” presented in Jesus and his gospel makes it starkly clear that we are something dreadfully less. It is the burning sense of this that both breaks our pride and confidence and makes us long to be a disciple. — Dallas Willard
- Willingness to leave “everything” behind—one’s family, possessions, status, economic security, and identity itself—in order to join in Jesus’ ministry of the good news of God’s reign characterizes all of Jesus’ followers. It has implications for the nature and norms of the new community being formed around Jesus, which form the basis of the church. — Sharon Ringe
- Kristin and I have learned a great deal by practicing the spiritual disciplines of being present and self-aware. Practicing self awareness allows us to focus less on defending our hearts by slipping into coping strategies and more on living with open hearts, full of life and trust in God and others. — Ross Gebhart
January 12th, 2018
Are you curious where you or your family fit into Austin Mustard Seed? Do you want your voice to be heard as we chart a course for the future?
During Sunday Lunch on January 14 we will hold a Family Meeting.
In this Family Meeting, you will discover:
- The real life stories that shaped our Mission and Methods
- Why the Leadership Team chose these specific Mission and Methods
- New ways to participate in life together, grow as a follower of Jesus and serve our neighborhoods
Lunch and childcare will be available. Donations are encouraged.
January 8th, 2018
John Chandler leads into our new Mission & Methods series with a look our updated mission statement: To form communities of Jesus who experience and expand God’s work of renewal together.
Quotes & Resources Mentioned:
- “In what sense, then, can he be said to have finished his work? In the light of all we can know about the preaching and practice of Paul, we would have to answer that through his preaching and through the work of the Holy Spirit there have been formed throughout the region communities of men and women who are being offered acceptably to God as the firstfruit of the Gentiles.” — Lesslie Newbigin in The Open Secret
- “We are now well on our way to becoming a classless society. These will be the classes in the classless society. There will be the very small group of people like us, here at this table, who control the screens and the tablets and the phones and the monitor shades that people use to view and manipulate their world. Then there will be the normals, everyone else, who’ve ceded a fragment of their will to power to us…” — a character in Version Control by Dexter Palmer
January 3rd, 2018
In the last four years, Austin Mustard Seed has established a core community striving to live a meaningful expression of Christianity in our time and place. Our Leadership Team has spent much time reflecting on the good that has happened so that we might imagine how our grow into the fullness of who we might be as a church community.
This has led to a fresh articulation of our Mission, and the Methods by which we pursue that mission. These weren’t formed out of ideas that sounded important or good, but out of our own story as a church, and what the best version of that story can be as we move into the future.
Two family meetings will offer extended conversation about how and why this all came about:
- January 14 // lunch meeting after liturgy in the Orange Chapel
A time to talk about how our Mission and Methods came about, why they matter for this next season of aMS, and to offer space for Q&A.
- February 11 // 6pm meeting in a home
A time to revisit the our conversations from the series, talk more about how our community shares in the ownership of our methods, and to offer additional space for Q&A.
And, of course, we will devote time in Liturgy and Community Groups to these topics:
Week of January 7 || Our Mission
To form communities of Jesus who experience and expand God’s work of renewal together.
In the history related through the Bible, we see an invitation to humanity to partner in God’s purpose of setting things right in this world. As a church, we join that ongoing story too. We believe that the best thing we can offer one another is a sense of purpose in this world. We form communities, from smaller groups to new churches and everything in-between, so that we can walk alongside others as we partner with God.
Week of January 14 || Learn Practices
We learn practices of Jesus so that we can know, love and follow him.
We aim to experience and expand God’s work of renewal together, and we recognize that comes through following Jesus. We see Jesus as the fullest expression of who God created us to be. We learn from one another, and encourage one another, to take on the patterns of the Jesus way of living.
Week of January 21 || Cultivate Relationships
We cultivate relationships that lead to both friendship and formation.
God exists as a relationship, and so we too recognize that we are created to be in genuine connection with others. We long to have friendships that are both safe and stretching, so we prioritize embodied and committed relationships with one another.
Week of January 28 || Develop Connections
We develop connections that teach us to how to love those who are not a part of a community of Jesus.
God’s work of renewal isn’t limited to what happens in a church community, but is intended for all humanity and all of creation. We pay attention to how God is at work in neighborhoods and nations so that we can acknowledge and join in that restorative work through justice, evangelism, and care.
Week of February 4 || Seek Opportunities
We seek opportunities to expand beyond a fellowship of sameness to reflect the breadth of God’s kingdom.
Jesus recognized that all humans are created in the image of God, so he continually directed attention to those who were on the margin, those overlooked and unseen by others. We look for and celebrate voices that are not like our own because we recognize that every human offers a fuller way of seeing and understanding who God is and how God acts.
Week of February 11 || Raise Leaders
We raise leaders who have the capacity to form communities of Jesus.
With a focus on forming new communities large and small, we recognize that there will always be needs and spaces for leaders. We train, equip and empower leaders who can enable our mission as Austin Mustard Seed to expand and multiply new communities.
December 28th, 2017
Taste and See
This Sunday, we’ll celebrate all that God has done among us in 2017 and seek the Spirit’s guidance for 2018.
And eat brunch!
When and Where
Sunday Liturgy on New Year’s Day will take place at the home of Morgan & Rob Garza, 1008 Rebecca Dr.
Liturgy begins at 10:30, potluck brunch to follow.
Bring things that are good cold, or can be kept in a crockpot or the oven. Please bring a chair if you can, too.
What to Bring
Due to severe food allergies in our community, please sign up for a specific item.
December 18th, 2017
Chris Morton shares about love from the life of Jesus adopted father Joseph.
December 18th, 2017
Lament Night is tonight at the Orange Chapel at 7 pm.
Grief is normal and natural. It’s often most difficult during the holidays.
“Sure…” you say. “But is Lament Night really for me?”
Lament Night is for (at least) six types of people.
- Anyone who has experienced the death of loved one.
- Anyone who has experienced a major loss, change or disappointment, such as a divorce or break up, job loss or the loss of a pet.
- Anyone who is processing a major disappointment, sense of failure or a setback.
- Anyone who struggles with family tension, especial during the holidays.
- Anyone who feels hurt, scared or disappointed by recent tragedies happening throughout America.
- Anyone who can lend support to someone who is hurting.
That sounds like everyone!
Childcare is available, but please let Kate know.
December 11th, 2017
Gideon Tsang, our friend and pastor of Vox Veniae, continued our Advent reflections with an invitation to live with joy.
Quotes and Resources:
- “If I do not feel a sense of joy in God’s creation, if I forget to offer the world back to God with thankfulness, I have advanced very little upon the Way. I have not yet learnt to be truly human. For it is only through thanksgiving that I can become myself.” — Kallistos Ware
- “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” — Meister Eckhart
- “My own personal task is not simply that of poet and writer; it is basically to praise God out of an inner center of silence, gratitude, and ‘awareness.’…my task is simply the breathing of this gratitude from day to day, in simplicity, and for the rest turning my hand to whatever comes, work being part of praise, whether splitting logs or writing poems, or best of all simple notes.” — Thomas Merton
- “Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about God.” — Thomas Merton
- “I don’t think you can make a decision that ‘I’m going to be present.’ What does that mean?… But if you’re actively noticing things – so you’re going to go home tonight and, if you live with somebody, notice five new things about that person. And what will happen is, the person will start to come alive for you again, and that facilitates the relationship… And this person that you thought you knew will feel different, and that person will respond to you differently.” — Ellen Langer
- TED Talk: Megan Phelps-Roper
“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”
December 4th, 2017
Grief is the natural and normal response to change or loss.
Everyone deals with grief, but the holidays have a way of bringing our loss to the forefront.
Here are a few things you or someone you know might be grieving:
- The loss of a loved one
- The end of a relationship
- The loss of a job
- The failure of an exciting opportunity
- The loss of a pet
There are also have many reasons to grieve in our broader culture, including:
- The wide-spread pain from sexual assault brought to light by #MeToo.
- Multiple mass shootings and a lack of political will to address them.
- How a political and social divide has invaded daily and family life.
How We Address Grief as a Church Community
At Austin Mustard Seed, we know that grief is normal, unavoidable and significantly impacts our daily lives. We believe that God meets us in our grief and even shares our grief.
One way we address this reality is at “Lament Night.”
Lament Night is an opportunity express our grief or stand in solidarity with others who are experiencing it. Lament Night usually takes place in the privacy of homes.
However, due to the more obvious needs of the holidays, we are hosting a special Lament Night Liturgy this Advent.
How to Invite Someone to Lament Night
Talking about grief is awkward and so talking about Lament Night might be awkward to do. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you invite your friends and neighbors:
- Don’t forget our definition of grief: a normal response to change or loss.
- Be specific! Tell people “We are hosting a one-night event focused on grief.”
- Remember who it is for: anyone experiencing grief and those of us who want to support others in grief.
- Talk about the season. It’s common knowledge that the holidays can be painful, so don’t be afraid to talk about it!
We hope you’ll participate in Lament Night and invite a friend.
Lament Night: An Advent Liturgy of Longing is December 18 at 7pm.
December 3rd, 2017
John Chandler Advent, and the new Christian year, with a look at the arrival of Jesus as told by the Gospel of Mark.
Quotes and Resources:
- “proclaiming Jesus is not a philosophical concept or the most recent speculative homiletical theory. It means that proclaiming Jesus to generate hope is grounded in this world and should have an impact on this world.” — Luke Powery
- Wikipedia: Triumphal Arch article