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This Moment in History

Steve Mickel

We started a new journey together back in October of 2013. As Pastor Ken Johnson handed the leadership of Westside Church to a group of young leaders, we declared, as a church family, that God had brought us to this moment in history.

You, just like me, are where you are for a reason. And who you are matters. God knows your past, your pain, your wins and wounds. But He has chosen you and His love for you is a constant thread through your story. Where you live matters. Your city matters. Your neighbors, the people you work with, play with, laugh with and dream with – these are your people, your tribe. God has sent you to serve them, to carry them in hard times and sing with them on mountain tops. You are part of a movement of grace.

As a faith community, our vision is to become a movement of believers, sinners, and dreamers who extend the life and love of Jesus to our world. I love the quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “If you want to build a ship, don’t summon people to buy wood, prepare tools, distribute jobs, and organize the work, rather teach people the yearning for the wide, boundless ocean.” You see, we dream of the day when thousands of men, women, and children are living the abundant life of Jesus and helping others take intentional steps toward spiritual health and eternal life.

In a real sense, we embed ourselves into our communities, just as Jesus incarnated himself. He ate our food, drank our wine, spoke our language. He engaged at a very personal level. And that’s what God has called us to – to live intentionally, fully awake, in our communities as Christ’s ambassadors. To do this we create a culture where dreams can flourish and lives can be transformed; where Westside Church becomes a platform to launch people into all that God has for them.

To extend this life and love will require two things from us: the character that comes from knowing and becoming like Jesus, and the courage to follow Him at any cost.

All of this can be summed up in one phrase: Life.Love.Jesus. The life that we have and can have because of the love of Jesus. The love that we can share because of the life of Jesus. To extend this life and love will require two things from us: the character that comes from knowing and becoming like Jesus, and the courage to follow Him at any cost.

We have an underlying premise – the more people know and become like Jesus the more alive our community and world will be. It’s tied together. The more I look like Jesus, the more attractive His life is to those around me.

But we also know that churches fail to reach their community because they lack courage. Oswald Sanders said, “A great deal more failure is the result of an excess of caution than of bold experimentation with new ideas. The frontiers of the kingdom of God were never advanced by men and women of caution.” Most things in life are designed to insulate us from needing courage. We wear our seat belts, put on our helmets, and drive the speed limit (I’m not suggesting otherwise). But I am challenging the idea that everything in our life is supposed to be safe, predictable, and comfortable. Ask yourself, am I too comfortable to need courage?

Westside Church is what it is, because of people like you who have lived courageously. And now is not the time to coast, to sit back, and enjoy the fruit of our labors. Now is the time to press in, to take another step up, to ask God for more boldness. Because God has brought us to this moment in history and our lives matter to God, to one another, and to our communities.

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