Three Requests in Anticipation of Launching our Third Gathering

Hey Summit Family, 

I was recently reading an article by one of my mentors, and he wrote something that really struck me as he talked about how the church’s prayers are meant to impact the community in which they exist: “people were supposed to hear about this prayer-answering God and come to the temple and experience a prayer-answering God. That’s the reputation we are supposed to have, in Jesus’ name, in our community.” 

Since The Summit’s earliest days, we’ve desired to experience something so astounding that the only explanation is that God stepped in and moved - a request we’ve been fortunate to see granted. But as we take this next great step of faith to add a third gathering, I wanted to remind you of the three big requests we’ve been making of God this year, and call you to prioritize a time of intentional prayer in the coming days to ask God to move in these specific ways:

1 . God, multiply your presence, through us, to our city and world

One of the unique privileges of belonging to the church is we have the privilege of being the “body of Christ.” That’s more than a churchy saying - it’s a unique opportunity. Whenever we’ve multiplied in 2016, whether it was us helping start a new church in Guatemala City, planting a new church in Denver, or launching this third gathering, we’ve had the chance to give the people around us a greater opportunity to see the goodness of what life looks like when Jesus Christ is Lord. 

2. God, let our church grow in the most difficult, beautiful way possible

One of the aspects I love of launching a new expression of the church is it creates empty space in the room that reflects that our mission is only just beginning. While we love seeing anyone join our church and love helping people who already identify as followers of Jesus grow deeper in their love and obedience of God, we are asking God that we see much of our growth in these new gatherings come through our friends, neighbors, and coworkers becoming followers of Jesus.

3. God, let your supremacy be further reflected in our diversity

We also are praying that as we launch these new expressions, we grow not just numerically, but also in ethnic, generational, and socioeconomic diversity. We have been asking God to grow our diversity as a church not because this is a concept that happens to be in vogue in the modern era, but because we believe that this is aligned with the heart of God, and that His supremacy is best reflected in the church’s diversity. The challenges in this request seem overwhelming, but we serve a God who does “immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.”

Summit family, my heart is full and my hopes are high. Please join me in asking God to do these things in the life of our church and our community, and let’s await with great expectation His movement for our joy and His fame. Please know we love each and every one of you very much.

For the gospel,

Bryan

Resources on the Gospel and Race

Yesterday, Bryan preached about how as we live lives on God's mission, we have the responsibility to think well about how the gospel informs our understanding of race, ethnicity and culture. In order to help you grow further in your understanding of these complex issues, we wanted to provide some additional resources.

Click HERE to listen to Bryan's sermon, "Life on Mission: Race".

1. D.A. Horton's Reading List

Under the subpoint for "Intellectual Equipping," D.A. provides a reading list that's a helpful starting point for developing a reading list. D.A. will be with us in March 2017 to speak further about matters of the gospel and race.

2. Tim Keller and Bryan Stevenson - Grace and Race

A thoughtful dialogue that provides a helpful framework for thinking biblically and engaging practically.

3. Malcom Gladwell - Carlos Doesn't Remember

The story of a young man's struggle to break the cycle of poverty - a helpful narrative that humanizes and personalizes the realities of systemic injustice and privilege.

4. ESPN's O.J.: Made in America (Particularly Parts 1 and 2)

The first two parts of this documentary do a fantastic job setting the historical backdrop of America's mishandling of race, and how this has contributed to much of the tension and controversy that we're experiencing today.

Worship for Your Week - Summertime

This blog exists to help fuel our worship - to help us see and savor God as the greatest treasure in all of existence! We'll be posting playlists of songs and a brief reflection on particular issues related to worship. Be sure to check out the links to the playlist below.


Several times throughout this summer we will be having what we are calling a Night of Worship & Prayer — evenings set aside to simply worship God together, specifically as we sing with passion, pray with boldness and think on God's Word in truth. Here are three big reasons we wanted to do this:

1. To more faithfully embody the central value of worship as a community.

We were made by God and for God (Col 1:16); so, we desire to increasingly be about God in our worship. We exist as a community restored and transformed by the Gospel of Jesus to be a God-worshipping people (1 Pet 2:9). Because of this, we want, by His grace, to more deeply value, treasure and love (read: worship!) the God who made us and saves us for Himself!

2. To grow in fully responding to God specifically through singing and prayer as a community.

Scripture is littered with the notion of worshipping God through song. Psalm 95 says, “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song…Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God.” In fact, there are over four hundred references to singing and around fifty direct commands to sing throughout the Bible. The longest book, the Psalms, is actually a collection of songs. And several times in the New Testament we’re told to sing when we gather together as God’s people (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16). 

These intentional nights meant to focus primarily on worship through singing and prayer can stretch us in our response to the magnitude of God holistically — with our hearts (i.e., our affections, desires & emotions), our minds (i.e., what we believe & know), our bodies (i.e., our physical postures) and ultimately the entirety of our lives (Mark 12:30-31).

3. To pursue and grow to absolutely love the presence of God together as a community.

The Bible begins and ends with people dwelling in the presence of God (Gen. 1-2; Rev. 21:3), and this is what the Gospel restores us to — God HIMSELF! (Rom. 5:1-2; Eph. 3:15-19). So, we want to be a people who love God’s presence and are set apart by it as a community! Notice how Moses pleads in Exodus 33: “God, if Your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I and your people have found favor in your sight? Is it not your going with us that makes us distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” Or how the Psalmist declares in Psalm 26: “O LORD, how I love the house where You live, the place where Your glorious presence dwells.” And in Psalm 16: “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, and at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” 

Friends, let us sing and pray and beg for this to increase among us! May we be marked by God's presence through His Spirit (Acts 2). May people walk away from our gatherings saying there is something distinct about our community, our relationships, our love. May people leave time spent in any interaction with us saying, "God really is among them" (1 Cor. 14:25).

Let’s pursue and worship Him together. For His glory and our joy.


Be sure to check out the playlist on Spotify and YouTube.