What’s Coming Up

What’s Going on at Love First Coast?

  • March 31 – Annual Meeting with dinner.  Text Jesse 904-599-2889 if you’d like to join us. (6pm at 3455 SR13, 32259)
  • April 7 – Worship Gathering (6:45pm @ Faith Community Church 3450 CR210, 32259)
  • April 19 – Good Friday Sunrise at Mickler’s Landing (6:55AM)
  • April 21 – Easter Worship Gatherings (10:00 at 320 S. Buck Board Dr., 32259)
  • May 5 – Worship Gathering (6:45pm @ Faith Community Church 3450 CR210, 32259)

Want to join a group or get connected to a mission- call or text Jesse Alexander – 904-599-2889.  I’ll connect with you someone who can tell you  more.

Groups: Discipleship Lunch, Book Club, Conversations that Matter, Food and Spirit

Missions,  w/  Apartment dwellers, w/ Young Lives Jax, w/ Young Lives St. Augustine, w/ North St. Johns County Young Life, w/ military funerals, w/ special needs kids, w/ ISI Evangelistic Outreach, w/ Neighborhoods

Are you feeling called to life on mission on the First Coast? How can we pray for you, encourage you, and build you up?

 

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A Question Worth Asking Yourself

If the Kingdom of God being more fully revealed in your city was dependent on the quality of  your relationships with your neighbors, how would you live among them?

I bet it would look a lot like the way Jesus lived among people.

You can learn more about that by reading…

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John!

Have a great day!

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Worship Gathering This Sunday

With Jesus, what seemed ordinary is transformed.  This Sunday night, we’ll look at the story of Jesus saving a party by turning ordinary water into the finest wine. (See John 2).  With that in mind, we’ll consider the question – if Jesus does that with wine – what might Jesus do in us and through us.
Sunday, Mar 3, 6:45pm in the St. Johns Room at Faith Community Church 3450 CR210, 32259.  Come and be equipped and encouraged for life on mission!
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Retreat Report – Missional Micropost

Briefly… It was pretty special.

This morning, I was reflecting on our retreat.  Often, when I am in the middle of leading something, it’s easy to not notice what’s happening.

For years now, I have been praying for a movement of mission and discipleship on the First Coast – and that the Lord, in his grace, would allow me to be a part of it. This weekend, I was on retreat with a couple of dozen people.  The gathering was a pretty good representation of the diversity of our city (with three visitors from Orlando for good measure).  In our diversity we were united around our love for Christ and our desire to see God’s kingdom come and God’s will being done on the First Coast as it is in heaven.  I got to spend the weekend with two dozen people who were seeking clarity about the way the Lord is calling them as they serve him on mission in the First Coast.

Sometimes, it’s easy to miss, to fail to notice, that an answered prayer is right there.

You know, I hope I get to write more about the retreat.

God is good!

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Worship Gathering and Retreat

Quite honestly, I’m having a hard time preparing for this Sunday.  That’s because I’m really excited about the retreat the following weekend.  At the retreat, we’ll be focusing on clarifying God’s calling, both for ourselves and others.  But there is something so vitally important that must precede responding to God’s call – and that’s what will be looking at this Sunday.
We were created for life in God’s Kingdom, and God graciously works through us to invite others into that life.  But what will life in God’s Kingdom like?  Following Jesus means we get a taste of it here and now, but it is not yet fully realized.  And it’s mixed with the often bitter reality of life here.  But what helps us to fix our hope on Christ?  That’s what we’ll be working on.
This Sunday, we will gather for worship in the St. Johns Room at Faith Community Church at 6:45 pm.  Come and be encouraged and equipped for life on mission.
Now, about the retreat…
We’ll be heading back up to the ECO Lodge in (fabulous) Fargo, Georgia Feb 15-17.  The retreat is already payed for, but most of the slots are filled.  We all pitch in to bring food and everyone is involved in food prep and clean up.  (Think extended family.)  Let me know soon if you’d like to join us.
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Where To From Here?

Our next worship gathering is Sunday February 10 at 6:45pm in the St. Johns Room at FCC (3450 CR210, 32259).

Five years.

When we started LoveFirst Coast five years ago, none of us knew how things would unfold.  But we all agreed that it was worth trying.  If nothing else, our understanding of what it means to follow Jesus has grown wonderfully in that time.  Thank you for being on this journey!

Over this time, I think we’ve learned something of the heart of Christ, of his sorrow and his joy.  We know something of the sorrow of Christ, because we have gained some insight about God’s Kingdom, and how things would be different if it was more fully realized here now – and yet we live in the reality that God’s Kingdom is not yet here.  Our hearts break for people we love who are struggling. Our hope is strained when missional efforts are frustrated.  And our faith is tested when people we’ve prayed for and reached out to walk away.

We’ve experienced that.  So did Jesus.

But we also know something of the joy of Christ.  We’ve had the privilege of seeing God’s Kingdom advance.  Through prayer, through giving encouragement, through acts of generosity, through hands on service, we have seen it and had the privilege of being a part of what God is doing, too.  God has provided hope for the hurting, encouragement for the discouraged, comfort for the grieving, community for the lonely, healing for the sick, deliverance of the captives, relief for the distressed, concern for the orphan, the widow, the alien.  I can say that because you have told me so. And some of these things, God has done through us.   It has been very good.

So how are things at LoveFirst Coast?  The size and scope of our community hasn’t changed much.  The core has stuck together.  And thanks again!  But there isn’t much to report in terms of a movement of mission and discipleship on the First Coast beyond hints and teasers that God is involving us in something bigger than ourselves.  That’s one of the things we’ve been praying for over the last five years.  But where is it? And what do we do now?

In times like this, I like to turn to the scripture.  We are not the first people who’ve wondered what God was up to and when God was going to break through.  We have something in common with the Colossian church, and perhaps every church.  They were a relatively young church and things were going well.  They also had a sense of God’s Kingdom breaking in.  But things were not going as they had expected.  As Isaiah says, God’s ways are not our ways.  What do we do when our reality doesn’t match expectations?  Maybe, in humility, we should just relax a bit.  It’s great to make plans, but God’s plans for us are different, and better.  Still, the tension and the waiting can be a bit of a challenge.

In Colossians 1, the Apostle Paul prays for the people to “be strengthened with all power according to God’s glorious might” in order that they would “have great endurance and patience.”  The Greek word for “great endurance” can also be translated “persevere.”   Paul prayed that they would hang in there.  That they would keep on keeping on.  That they would stick with it.  And I think this is our time to stick with it, too, to persevere with patience.

So what is God calling us to do while we “persevere with patience”?  Speaking for myself, I have sensed the Lord inviting me out of my role at Sawgrass Chapel to better focus on LoveFirst Coast.  (My last Sunday there is March 31.)  If you are engaged in mission or trying to start one, I will try to connect with you regularly in the year ahead to encourage and pray for you.  How you respond to God’s call is so important to me.  I want to do whatever I can to help you.  Additionally, Heather and I will begin serving our immediate neighbors, working at building community here.  We believe God wants our neighborhood to be more like heaven.

How is the Lord leading you?

We will keep gathering for worship – usually on 2nd Sundays.  That gathering will be focused on encouraging and equipping those who are living life on mission.  I hope we’ll be gathering at other times, too.  And I look forward to our times ahead, worshiping the Lord, bearing one another’s burdens, encouraging one another, stirring up one another to love and good deeds, praying for God’s will to be done and for God’s Kingdom to come until Christ comes or until God’s Kingdom is revealed in every square inch of our city.

You go nowhere by accident!

God is good!

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Cheer Leader – Rose’s Story, Part 1

God is at work through many people on the first coast.  Tonight’s blog entry is a part of Rose’s Story.  Rose has been living missionally on the First Coast for several years and God is stirring up something new in her heart again.  This is the first of a series.  What insights and encouragement do you find from her words?

We all need a cheer leader, someone who sees the best in you at all times. They know your short comings and failures but they are there to uplift you. A reminder that you are worth it, they see your potential more than your failures. They understand understand what it took for you to get to where you are, as well as what it takes every day for you to stay, keep up keeping it up. They are ready to encourage you, remind you that your best outshines your failures daily. With them cheering you on, reminding you of the best you there is. There is no failure, just a bump in the road, a rough day that will soon change, that tomorrow will be so much better than today. They never give up on you.

For me my best cheer leading team has always been my family. However there are times even they get tired and need help. In those moments they need their own cheer leader, reminding them who they are.

The last 19 years I have had a great cheer leader. He has never given up on me. He knows my faults better than I know them. However, what is best about Him is that He sees the best in me and always reminds me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. He reminds me to be courageous, taking away the fear.  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (Deut: 31:6)

             He always wants the best for me, never gets tired of me, never lets me down. What is even better than that is I can never let Him down or disappoint Him. He is the best friend I could ever have, the best parent, the best everything. Yes He is that good.  You have searched me, Lord,  and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise;  you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down;  you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before,  and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. (Psalms 139:1-6)

Yes He is that good. So in the next few weeks I will share with you how much He has taught me. He knocked on my door and invited me to a dance. A dance that is unlike any other. Once I answered the knock and let Him in, He invited me asked me to ‘come dance with Him’. So I have been on a dance like no other. Welcome to my dance with Jesus, who has promised to love me, who reminds me that each day is a new beginning. Each day I learn a new dance routine.

What is your dance with Jesus look like. Mine is a continues searching, learning and changing for the better with His help.  Search me, God, and know my heart;  test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me,  and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps 139:23-24)

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