This past Sunday I presented the new vision for the community that God has given us. We exist as Oasis Church to: Go and Share the love of Jesus that Unites diverse people in Refreshing community. This shifts our focus from being an attractional church (come and see) to being a missional church (go and tell). We go into our neighborhoods where we live, work and play to share the love of Jesus in creative ways that bring together isolated, disconnected people to form refreshing community. It all begins with praying for our neighbors – praying Five blessings… for Five neighbors… for Five minutes a day… for Five days a week… for Five weeks. Everyone can engage in praying this way for the wind of Holy Spirit to move upon the waves of God’s love. Think of it this way: Imagine an island with a beautiful sandy beach, plenty of palm trees, palm fronds swaying to a gentle breeze. You can smell the ocean and hear the ripple of waves. Out on the ocean there’s a scene unfolding. You see lots of people floating on the water about 200-300 yards from shore. Some are floating on inner tubes… some on air mattresses… others just floating on their backs… you can see a few heads & shoulders of people treading water. They’re all just drifting aimlessly along… separate… isolated… disconnected… not talking to each other… suspicious of each other… even afraid of each other. You can see some of them are asleep… some have a worried expression… all of them don’t really know where they’re going… some are leaning over the side because they’re seasick… some are oblivious… others are sad, lonely… many are flailing helplessly – the riptide pulling them down, fear on their face.
On the shore at the beach is a gathering of people. All kinds of people – Islanders, Latinos, natives, Samoans, Jamaicans, Haitians, African-Americans, Brazilians, Asians, Italians – all kinds of people, white, red, yellow, black. There’s a campfire on the sand. There’s food cooking on the metal grill over the campfire. The enticing smell wafts out to those drifting on the ocean. There’s laughter on the shore. Children playing. A group of young people singing along with a guitar. The scene is inviting… it looks refreshing… joyful.
When the drifters out on the ocean catch sight of what’s happening at the beach, they sit up. They take notice. They smell. They hear. They see. They suddenly want to be a part of what’s happening on the shore. There’s a longing in their eyes, a desire in their hearts to be there. But the current is pulling them farther away, out into the ocean. They’re being pulled away by the riptide that threatens to drown them. Those on the shore look out and wave. They call to them. Many on the shore realize the danger all these people are in. They see what needs to be done and go out into the water to reach the drifters and grab the flailing arms and save them by pulling them to shore as fast as they can. But then, something new happens. From out of nowhere a gentle breeze picks up. No one knows where that wind came from or where it’s going. I call it the Wind of the Spirit. It’s blowing toward the shore. Gentle ocean waves push the isolated, disconnected, fearful drifters together toward the shore. They’re riding on gentle waves. I call them the waves of God’s love. The love draws them. It moves them to the shore where they’re welcomed with open arms to join in the refreshing celebration at the Oasis!