I Have Learned

It’s a little detail, but at the beginning of Philippians 4:11-12 Paul says, “I have learned…” Have you ever paused to think about that? This implies that there was something Paul didn’t know how to do in his walk with Christ and had to practice in order to “get it.” So just pause here and ask yourself, “What do I have to practice?” and then add on, “Do I?”

I was at the Connect Center looking at these four cards and thought of how this little display captures the priorities of what we have been called to practice:

Say YES — it’s a first step, but it is a surrender our whole life long. Are we practicing surrender? Surrender to the beautiful Gospel truth of our absolute need of the cross, and then to living out this life of freedom because of Jesus? Can we say we are learning to?

BiBLE — are we even trying to practice this? Right below the card is a journal and a reading guide. How many in SunRidge are learning from their Bible, letting it reach into their daily lives? Are we slowing down to let the Word of GOD speak, are we humble enough to try journaling to let our pen on paper be led by the Spirit? Oh I so loved this quote by John Piper: “there are eyes in pencils and pens.” Yes! I know this to be true! Are we learning here, allowing this good habit to drive out our harmful ones and introduce life back into us?

PRAYER — Daniel prayed three times a day “just as he always had done”, practicing. What did he practice? Thankfulness above all! (Daniel 6:10). This is what we learn in prayer, eventually. That prayer “to be prayer, to have any power to change anything must first speak thanks…prayer without ceasing is only possible in a life of continual thanks” (1,000 Gifts, Voskamp, 60). This actually creates a seismic shift in how we pray…I am learning this.

CONNECT — this surrendered, Word of GOD filled, prayer life always ends in connecting with what GOD loves, His mission. When we practice these things we always end up practicing loving, outreaching community because we can love the church and love the people of the world out of what we are learning in our times of surrender and solitude with the Spirit of GOD.

Four little cards. They call out to us — Yellow, Black, Blue, and Red — practice….

Though Pastors had preached, “I had never practiced. Practiced until it became second nature, the first skin. Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation. Practice, practice, practice…” (Voskamp, 54)

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen


How Did You Get There?

Sometimes things stop me in my tracks and speak to me. On Sunday, this happened. It was post-Gathering when only 6 or so were left hanging around; I was mid-sentence in a conversation when I looked up and saw this:

vine medium.JPG

Look closely and you will see a vine drilling its way between wall and roof, straight out from the poster that says “Live Mission.”

At first I laughed and said what I have said many times over the past 22 years: “Only at SunRidge.” Only at SunRidge through these barn walls, into this simple meeting place, among this hodge-podge collective would this happen. Just another oddball thing to keep us laughing. How silly is this? How did it get there….?

But then I had that familiar feeling of the Spirit telling me to look closer and deeper and there it was. This is the way of the Vine, the stubborn vine that won’t be stopped when money is short, when staffing is thin, when prayer is wobbly, when community is complicated, when culture is messy, when the future is foggy. This is the character of Jesus the Vine, the true and tenacious Vine going wherever He wants, however He wants no matter the terrain, the climate or the circumstances.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Won’t He go where it doesn’t make sense for the sake of His Mission? Won’t He show up miraculously during impossible times? Aren’t we invited, called actually, to go along for the ride where literally no wall can stop Him? Won’t we hold onto Him even then, growing in obedience, seeing Him everyday as unlimited?

So Praise GOD today, people of SunRidge, for the beautiful ways of Jesus. And take a look at the vine in this picture (not sure if the facility team will be quite so keen to maintain its existence indoors). It represents the idealism of GOD and His absolute commitment to get where He wants to go with His people: NO MATTER WHAT. The wonders of GOD never cease and in our time we will see this if we have eyes to see.

Unstoppable God, Let your glory go on and on

Impossible things, In Your name they shall be done

Nothing shall be impossible
Your kingdom reigns Unstoppable

We'll shout Your praise forevermore
Jesus our God unstoppable

  • Unstoppable GOD, Elevation Worship

Thanks Father for this little reminder…we got the message.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen