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“The Last Verdict”

Monday, March 21st, 2016

We are excited to announce that one of our pastors, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, has just released his newest book. Here are the details:

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What would you do if your child was murdered?
What would you do if your child was convicted of murder?

Alice Goodman has known great loss. Since the brutal murder of her daughter Madeline decades earlier, she has tirelessly fought to see the killer pay for his crime. Now, after twenty years, the day has arrived that she will witness his long-delayed execution. Will justice finally be done? Will she finally find the peace that has long eluded to her?

Lori Williams knows she was not the perfect mother, but she never believed her son Mark could be guilty of the crime that placed him on death row. Confronting every challenge along the way, she refused to give up her pursuit of the truth—a truth she believed would set her son free. Will it be enough?

Both women are fighting for a justice they believe has been denied their children. Now, their lives are on a collision course with each other. Is either woman prepared for the truth?

 

BUY NOW

Amazon.com: Paperback – Kindle (coming soon)
Amazon.ca: Paperback – Kindle (coming soon)
Amazon.co.uk: Paperback – Kindle (coming soon)
CreateSpace eStore: Paperback

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“A deeply moving story of one mother’s journey to forgiveness that may change the way you view the death penalty. Beautifully written, honestly presented, compassionately offered, ‘The Last Verdict’ will bring you into a complex world of pain and struggle but also grace and hope.” -James Martin, SJ, author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage

 

 

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“As the 100th person in the United States to be exonerated after being sentenced to death for a murder I didn’t commit, reading ‘The Last Verdict’ resurrected memories and emotions that can never be fully put to rest. Jamie Arpin-Ricci has skillfully taken the reader inside the hearts and minds of the loved ones of the condemned, as well as those of the victim. Revenge and justice are often thought of as interchangeable, and Jamie has brought that error into clear focus with this novella. An insightful look at the ever-widening ripples caused by a murder, ‘The Last Verdict’ provides the reader with an opportunity to experience the impact on those most immediately affected. Jamie has effectively avoided the temptation to simplify the modern interpretation of “an eye for an eye”. A fictional account of an all too common occurrence, ‘The Last Verdict’ offers no easy answers, but raises questions that must be asked. No matter what your stance on this difficult topic, ‘The Last Verdict’ is a must-read.” -Ray Krone, death penalty abolitionist & the 100th inmate exonerated from death row since the death sentence was reinstated in 1976

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“Jamie Arpin-Ricci aims for and reaches higher ground in this book, bringing surprise, insight and a startling humanity to a subject from which too many too easily avert their eyes. Step up to ‘The Last Verdict’. You’ll profit from doing so.” -Mike Farrell, author, activist & actor.

 

7029236-3x2-940x627“A powerful exploration, forcing the reader to ponder some key questions in the death penalty debate: family, guilt, revenge, mercy, justice. ‘The Last Verdict’ will stimulate passionate discussion.” –Julian McMahon, Barrister for Van Tuong Nguyen and members of the Bali Nine.

 

 

“Shot through with images and phrases that reach to the heart, ‘The Last Verdict’ helps carry readers on the journey taken by two mothers- of the victim, and of the killer. It paints a picture of the devastating aftermath of murder, and how its impact never leaves those affected. It receives our enthusiastic endorsement.” –The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

“In this beautifully written story of heartache and forgiveness, Arpin-Ricci takes the horrific loss of wrongful conviction and tells a story that may very well change the way we view the death penalty and final justice. I loved ‘The Last Verdict’, putting a voice to the words I could never find.” –Mary Puckett, mother of Mississippi death row inmate Matthew Puckett, executed in 2012

“Arpin-Ricci takes on the death-penalty by telling a story of anguished heartbreak in both the family of the victim and of the accused perpetrator who is put to death. In ‘The Last Verdict’, the reader is reminded of the lethal and tragic consequences of the truism ‘to err is human’ and how that plays out in our judicial system when potentially innocent lives are at stake.” -Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush Senior Vice President, Public Engagement, Auburn Theological Seminary

BUY NOW

Amazon.com: Paperback – Kindle (coming soon)
Amazon.ca: Paperback – Kindle (coming soon)
Amazon.co.uk: Paperback – Kindle (coming soon)
CreateSpace eStore: Paperback

High Resolution Front Cover_6047006

Mud Slinging With Jesus

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Not long ago at Little Flowers Community, I taught (as many did) from John 9- namely, the story of the man who was blind from birth and whom Jesus healed. The text it full of important truths, but there was one aspect that emerged for me that I had not considered before, so I wanted to explore it here with you.

In the text, Jesus heals the man by mixing mud, putting it on the man’s eyes, then having him go wash it off. When the Pharisees hear of this, they are very upset that Jesus would dare to break Sabbath by making mud. As most of us know, Jesus didn’t need to make mud to heal the man, it seems as though breaking the rule was the whole point. He knew the response this would cause. So why did He do it?

Before we answer that, let’s unpack why it was a violation. Fittingly, we need to start in Genesis:

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” -Gen. 2:2-3

The word “work”, as we see it used above, is the Hebrew word melakha (מלאכה) which does not translate well into our understanding of the word in English. We can see from the context that there is something much more significant than just “activity done in order to achieve a purpose or result”. It is related to creating. Thus, when we read the word melakha again in Exodus 31:12-17, we see the challenge:

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy. “‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people. For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death. The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”

As a result, much debate has been had (and continues to happen) around what constitutes the work that is prohibited during Sabbath, as it is not explicitly laid out in Scripture. Rather, based on the Mishna Shabbat Shabbat 7:2, thirty-nine activities were identified as prohibited. They are:

  • Sowing
  • Plowing
  • Reaping
  • Binding Sheaves
  • Threshing
  • Winnowing
  • Selecting
  • Grinding
  • Sifting
  • Kneading
  • Baking
  • Shearing Wool
  • Cleaning
  • Combing
  • Dyeing
  • Spinning
  • Stretching the Threads
  • Making Loops
  • Weaving Threads
  • Separating the Threads
  • Tying a Knot
  • Untying a Knot
  • Sewing
  • Tearing
  • Trapping
  • Slaughtering
  • Skinning
  • Salting
  • Tanning
  • Scraping
  • Cutting
  • Writing
  • Erasing
  • Building
  • Breaking Down
  • Extinguishing a Fire
  • Kindling a Fire
  • Striking the Final Hammer Blow
  • Carrying

Jesus, then, would have been in violation of the rule against kneading, which included creating something new by combining two things, such as water and earth to make mud (which is called Blilah Aveh). Violating these rules was not acceptable, except in the case of Pikuach Nefesh (פיקוח נפש). This is the principle in Jewish law that allows (even requires) the breaking of laws in the case of saving someone’s life.

It is very likely that Jesus’ violation of these rules was, at least in part, a commentary on His interpretation of what was acceptable. It would be a mistake for us to use this as an example of Jesus showing no respect for (or even throwing out) His Jewish faith, traditions and laws.

Further, we might also argue that Jesus sees the man’s blindness as separating Him from God and neighbour (given his social and religious standing as a beggar and “unclean”), thus a threat to the quality of His life that qualified as a reason to violate the rules. Even here, though, the use of mud was unnecessary, so we are left wondering.

As I considered all this, something occurred to me: Jesus didn’t perform miracles to show off how powerful He was. He was moved by compassion, by love. Therefore, what if violating the rule was an act of love? And if so, how was it an act of love? That’s when it struck me:

By breaking the rule, Jesus placed Himself outside the religious and social boundaries of acceptability, moving into the same margin in which the blind man found himself.

In other words, Jesus did the very thing the incarnation was all about- God dwelling among us as one of us, even when such presence would be seen as a condescension for the divine. Rather than a God that demands moral purity before He will allow us to encounter Him, Jesus is God-made-flesh, pursuing us in the midst of our sin and brokenness, even to point of ultimate exclusion- death on the cross.

The implications of this for us are overwhelming. Even when doing so violates long-held religious and/or social norms, we are called to relocate our lives alongside those who have been pushed to the margins. It’s not about thumbing our nose at the institutions or powers that be, but rather we are motivated by the same love the pursued us in spite of our failings. This distinction is important because, while prophetic rebuke of injustice is critical, it is not our primary vocation. Our vocation, as followers of Christ, is to love God and love others as ourselves.

May God open the eye of my heart to see those on the outside as He sees them, following Jesus to stand among them in love. Amen.

Why Housing Is A Passion For Our Church

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Many people are not aware of how costly homelessness is to everyone.  Providing affordable housing initiatives has the potential of saving our country hundreds of millions of dollars- perhaps billions.  Yet why does our government continue to cut housing funds?

Special thanks to The Homeless Hub for the stats & graphics.  Check them out:

www.homelesshub.ca

Also, please support our housing initiative, Chiara House.  Visit us at:

www.chiarahouse.ca

Living Into The Kingdom – Matt. 23-25 Series

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Over the last 3 months, Little Flowers Community has been exploring the powerful teaching of Jesus in Matthew 23-25.  We see this text as an essential parallel to His teachings in Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount (a series that resulted in the book “The Cost of Community” by our pastor).  Pastor Jamie Arpin-Ricci blogged the series.  Find the links below.  We’d love to hear your thoughts:

Living Into The Kingdom Series:

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5

Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10

What’s New At Little Flowers

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Hello!  My name is Kathryn and I belong to Little Flowers.  I noticed that this website is a bit lacking in posts, so I thought that I would do something about it.  How does a little update sound?  In an effort to keep things short and concise I shall only document 3 new and exciting things.

1.  Jamie and Kim have brought their son, Micah, home at long last.  In mid-August Kim traveled to Ethiopia to bring him home.  Micah (who turned 4 in November) loves airplanes, cars, and pizza.  He also loves to laugh.  He does not like girls (we know this to not be true, but don’t tell him that I said so).  We like him a lot.

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2.  Little Flower’s has changed our starting time!  In an attempt to be more family-friendly we have been experimenting with a new start time.  Our potlucks start at 5 o’clock now (still on Sunday nights), and the rest of worship begins at 6 o’clock.

3.  We have just hosted our very first Newcomer’s Tuesday for Little Flowers.  We have had a few new people join us regularly, so the leadership team decided to have a night of sharing the story and journey of Little Flowers.  It was a celebration too, so there were balloons and cake!  We look forward to more nights of story-telling!

Well.  Those are my 3 things to tell.  Thanks for reading!  (And yes, I realize that I use a lot more exclamation points than Jamie, and I’m perfectly ok with that.)

P.S.  If you’re interested in reading our bulletin for the month of May, you can click here.  Yay!

An Apology & A Few Links

Friday, January 21st, 2011

I have clearly been neglecting the Little Flowers blog over the past few months.  In my defense, I was focusing on getting my new book written (“The Cost of Community: Jesus, St. Francis & Life in the Kingdom” – IVPress, Nov 2011), but since I’ve been getting back to writing in my own blog, I guess that is a weak excuse.

However, many of my posts over at the other blog are about Little Flowers, so here are a couple selections: Surviving Missional and Community: A Costly Missional Necessity.

I hope to be blogging here more often.

Silencing Fools

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Yesterday Kim & I went and saw the movie “Easy A”, a teen romantic comedy about how model student, Olive Penderghast (played brilliantly by Emma Stone) earns the untrue reputation as the school slut.  Olive (like the movie itself) is inspired by the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel “The Scarlet Letter” and makes the most of the misunderstanding.  However, it brings upon her the wrath and judgment of her peers, especially the zealous Christians in the student body.  The movie was surprisingly entertaining, and not surprisingly all too quick to throw Christians under the bus with barely a smidgen of qualification.

At first, my impulse was to be frustrated with the portrayal of Christians in our culture.  While not entirely unfair, having seen almost explicit examples of similar behaviour in real life, it failed to leave any room for a more balanced look at the wider Christian community.  However, I resisted my impulse to go on the defensive.  Arguing against such stereotypes, regardless of how true they might be, is rarely productive.  Our culture needed a response, but grumpy tirades would certainly only reinforce those very stereotypes.  So what to do?

Considering these challenges, 1 Peter 2:15 came to mind:

“For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”

As the name of this blog suggests, I am deeply convinced that one of the strongest witnesses to Christ that the world can see are lives lived according to the radical teaching and example of Jesus.  Our best defense against accusation and critique, especially where it is warranted, is to live the better alternative.  In other words, if we don’t want people to say that all Christians are judgmental and self-righteous, rather than argue against it, we must seek to live lives of humility, grace and forgiveness.  We must be living alternatives to what the world sees and expects.

However, when I read this Scripture again, something caught my eye.  My assumption has always been that the “foolish men” referred to in the text are people in the world who accuse and denigrate Christians and Christianity.  While this may very likely apply to them, I suspect Peter was referring to something more.  What immediately came to mind was Jesus’ closing words in the Sermon on the Mount:

“But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matt. 7:26-27)

Here we see Jesus linking not doing His will with being a fool, just as Peter points out that doing His will will silence the fool.  This parable is not to be understood as a teaching about the Christian (the wise man) versus the non-Christian (the foolish man).  Just like in the previous section of the Sermon where both sides call Jesus ‘Lord’, here both sides work for the same end, to build a house.  The foolish man is not someone who rejects Christ, but someone who seeks to claim Him as Lord without being faithful in doing so according to Jesus’ teachings.  It is like an Olympic high diver who chooses the lower diving platform or seeks to simply slip into the water from poolside, rationalizing that end is ultimately the same.  Jesus is referring those of His followers who seek the path of what Bonhoeffer calls “cheap grace”.

Therefore, perhaps Peter is not talking about accusers from outside of the Body of Christ, but rather those within the community of faith who do not represent Christ by their words and/or deeds.  They sully the name of Christ and His Church, stirring in us a desire to openly reject them, to distance ourselves from them.  However, if they are indeed our sisters and brothers in Christ, we cannot deny them.  As Peter goes on to say, we must “love the brotherhood of believers” (v. 17).  Rather, it is when we obedient hear the words of Jesus and do what He says- when we do God’s will by doing good- we will silence the fools.  Perhaps they will be silenced by the gentle rebuke of our example.  Perhaps they will be silenced in that those who see the Christian community will dismiss their foolishness as aberrant in the light of our faithfulness.  Either way, the way to silence such foolishness is to live faithfully according to the teaching and example of Jesus Christ.

How might this perspective change the way you respond to critics, both within and outside the church?  How does your ideals for following Christ differ from the reality of how you live your lives?  What next step of obedience do you believe God is calling you to follow Him into?


Announcing Chiara House

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

I’ve been hinting at this off and on of late, but now am very excited to official announce our plans!  The following is the exciting new vision that we are beginning to pursue at Little Flowers Community.  We need people to join us in making this happen.  If you are interested, please drop me a line at info@littleflowers.ca

__________________________

Chiara House will be an extension of the ministry of Little Flowers Community & YWAM Urban Ministries Winnipeg. The values of these ministries shape & define the values & practices of Chiara House. While some core members will be part of these communities, such involvement will not be required of all those participating in Chiara House.  It will not be a shelter, detox program, food bank, etc. Rather it is a group of people called to love God & their neighbours together in the context of shared life & community.

Chiara House residents will be represented in three general groups:

  • Long Term Members
    Long term members will be people with a commitment to specific Rule of Life and code of conduct, willing to commit to a specific time frame and function as servant-leaders in the community house.  These members can include, but are the restricted to, member of Little Flowers Community/YWAM.  All members will be employed outside of the house.
  • Transitional Members
    The house will also welcome short-term, goal-oriented transitional housing for locals facing specific challenges. These members will be drawn through relationship and/or referral from other ministries or social agencies. A clear & legal application process would be in place to screen applicants for appropriate fit in the program.
  • Internship Members
    A missional formation internship, with both short & long-term options, will also be made available, through the model of a missional-monastic order. These members will be primarily focused on young single adults, such as university students, who are seeking community and missional formation while studying, working, etc. in their own context.

(A clear Rule of Life will be articulated for long-term members, with an appropriate covenant commitment for interns, and a Code of Conduct for all residents.)

The nature of the building Chiara House ends up in inevitably shape the nature of the housing, but the following is a general overview of the ideal setting for such a community. Chiara House would ideally be set in a multi-storied (3+) building. Each floor would have controlled access.

On the main level would be a more open community space for shared programs, community gatherings, worship, training, etc. Ultimately it would be set up like a “community living room”, with access to public bathrooms, a kitchen and possibly a small hospitality room for short-term guests or emergency housing.

The second floor would be broken into group community units housing 4-6 people per unit. They would share access to the living room, dining room & bathrooms (expanded to accommodate larger numbers), but would have secured individual or roommates space for sleeping. These spaces would be designed for long-term members to share life with transitional housing members (ideally 50/50).

The third floor of the building would be designed similarly to second floor model, but would be dedicated to shared life with the missional formation members, with at least one long-term member as well. They would have relationship and shared activity with the transitional housing members, but due to the shorter-term nature of their involvement, would have to apply for living in that portion of the house.

Depending on the size of the building, every (or selected or one floor) could also have traditional apartment suites designed for families, allowing the security & space for family life, while allowing families to share life with the singles in Chiara House. The option of a family unit for transitional housing is also an option to consider.

Every member would contribute equally to the room & board of the community, though some members may be given a reduction for fulfilling certain duties (i.e caretaker, etc.). The long-term members, along with the Little Flowers Community/YWAM UMW leadership, will function as the servant-leadership team of Chiara House. However, whenever possible, all members will be encouraged to participate in shared responsibility & community leadership.

Prayers For Living Into God’s World

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

After years of doing spiritual & missional formation with college age Christians, one of the trends that stands out is the struggle many have with communal prayer.  While I still affirm times of open group prayer, I have also noticed that many struggle with performing their prayers, while others remained silent for lack of “inspiration” or because they felt their prayers inadequate compared to the more eloquent prayers.  These and other reasons contributed to a difficult challenge in our community.

It was while we were exploring these challenges a few years ago that Christine Sine contacted me about reading an early draft of her new book “Light for the Journey: Morning & Evening Prayers for Living into God’s World”.  This collection of morning & evening prayers, laid out to cover a full week, take us through different emphases of faith in reflective and creative ways.  With her permission, we adapted the prayers for use in our community as an experiment.  Since then, they have become a fixed part of our community life, as well as for many of our personal times of private prayer.  It was and is a real gift to us.

I was excited to learn that “Light for the Journey” is now available for order through Mustard Seed Associates.  I highly recommend this resource to you and to your communities.  Born out of their own life in share community, the tested authenticity of the material is clear throughout.  Christine briefly explains each theme (from the introduction):

Sunday’s theme begins the week with the celebration of Sabbath and anticipation of God’s eternal shalom world. We rejoice in this vision of wholeness and abundance which will one day be completely fulfilled in Christ.

On Monday we focus on our restored relationship to God our Creator and the call to be stewards of God’s creation. The gospel always comes to us in the midst of the created world, which was made through Jesus Christ and is being recreated through him.

On Tuesday our focus shifts to Christ our Savior and what it means to carry his incarnational presence into our world. As Christ’s followers, we are called to live out the claims of the gospel.

Wednesday focuses on the in-dwelling Holy Spirit who equips us with the gifts and abilities to carry out the gospel call as God’s servants and proclaimers of God’s resurrection- created world.

On Thursday our reflections turn towards community and what it means to be part of God’s eternal family from every tribe and nation, rich and poor, male and female.

Friday reflects on the Cross and the wholeness achieved through repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

We conclude the week on Saturday with a focus on the kingdom of God and the clouds of witnesses who have gone before us.

Phyllis Tickle, author of “The Great Emergence”, had this to say about the book:

“In the history of Christian formation literature, it has consistently been the small volume that has conveyed the greatest worth. That principle nowhere holds more true than it does here. Like the light which its title references, this manual, in its succinctness, travels broadly and illumines perfectly. Presenting both assigned prayers for each day of the week and also rich instruction in how the Christian forms a life of prayer, Sine speaks to us gently, but authoritatively. There is, in all of this, a kind of poignancy as well. We understand that Sine is writing to us not about some theory, but out of experience and about the sure knowledge of a life of prayer fully lived. Like every wise Christian teacher before her, Christine Sine understands—and persuades us—that it is in community that Christians pray most formatively and in community that we must seek to pray.”

Head over to Mustard Seed Associates and order a copy (or 10!) today.  It is well worth it.

Gardening In Exile

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

What are you waiting for?

This question strikes home for me.  Over the last few years I came to the realization that I was unconsciously living my life in expectation for something to happen.  I lived with an inarticulate assumption that, someday in the near future, my life would change.  Somehow, I would be living to my fullest potential, I would more faithful in my relationship with God and I would be doing that which God had created me for (but had thus far not fully figured out).  It was all just around the corner and I was waiting for it to happen.  I thought I was alone in this assumptive state, but when I started talking about it I discovered that a lot of other people live with this same expectation.   Do you?

In Mark 5, right off the heels of Jesus demonstrating His authority over nature itself, He and His disciples reach the far shore.  Here is what happened:

“When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.  When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!”

It is immediately interesting to me that the text says that Jesus got out of the boat.  While we can’t be sure, it seems to be saying that only Jesus got out of the boat.  I guess it is understandable.  After all, this man in this context represented the most unclean of the unclean to devout Jews.  This was not their land, not their people, not their concern.  However, I suspect it was the threat to their safety that most kept the men in the boat.  I suspect I would have responded much the same way.  Yet Jesus gets out of the boat and brings His Kingdom with Him.

I could not help but think of the prophet Jeremiah, that rather moody and dramatic Old Testament figure who warned the people of Israel about the consequences of their unfaithfulness.  His warnings proved true, with the people being taken into captivity in Babylon, a pagan nation far from the Promised Land that was given to them in covenant with God.  I can only imagine what they might have felt: fear, confusion, anger, vengeance, despair.  After all, that very covenant with God promised them that they would be a great people, through whom all nations would be blessed.  As long as they were slaves of these godless people in this godless land, those promises would remain empty and unfulfilled.

And yet Jeremiah brought them the word of God:

“This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:  “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

The stunning impact of these commands should not be lost on us.  God called them to live out the covenant promises faithfully in the midst of Babylon.  More than that, God’s blessing of them would be linked to the blessing of their captors.  How easily might they have quoted the promises of cursing their enemies in the covenant.  Rather, God was reminding them of two things: first, that their captivity was result of their own unfaithfulness, not to be minimized in the hatred of their enemies; and second, that God’s blessing of all nations through His people was far more central to His ultimate intention.  (Notice the parallel Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where He powerful subverted the expectations of the people for a militantly liberating messiah.)

As individuals and faith communities, we all too easily fall into the same assumptions.  We live as though God’s will for our life might happen in the future, when things are better.  Once we get this or that set of circumstances worked out.  Once we are out of debt or have a better job or find that significant other.  Once all the ducks land in a row, then we will passionately live our lives for God to the fullest.  This is not to say we are completely complacent now (at least not all of us), but rather we find ways to accept mediocrity.  This acceptance is further encouraged as we look around and see others living with the same level of expectation.

Yet Jesus calls to live the Kingdom of God now, even in the midst of our circumstances.  After all, if He calls His people to thrive and prosper while they are slaves of pagan oppressors, I think our excuses fall quite short.  As I recently heard the following quote (from a VERY unlikely source):

“We live as though the world were as it should be to show it what it can be”

So the questions remain:

What are you waiting for?  What are we waiting for?

When we confront the struggles & weaknesses in our lives & communities, what are we waiting for?

When we consider the future and all that is possible, what are we waiting for?

When we imagine what God will do through in and through us, what are we waiting for?

“Choose this day whom you will serve” -Joshua 24:15

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  • “The Last Verdict”

    Posted by admin on Monday, March 21st, 2016

    We are excited to announce that one of our pastors, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, has just released his newest book. Here are the details: What would you do if your child was murdered? What would you do if your child was convicted of murder? Alice Goodman has known great loss. Since the brutal murder of her daughter […]

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    Mud Slinging With Jesus

    Posted by admin on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

    Not long ago at Little Flowers Community, I taught (as many did) from John 9- namely, the story of the man who was blind from birth and whom Jesus healed. The text it full of important truths, but there was one aspect that emerged for me that I had not considered before, so I wanted […]

    continue reading