“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, itremains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The manwho loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this worldwill keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where Iam, my servant also will be.” - John 12:24-26
In this brief parable about the grain of wheat, Jesus was speaking of Hisimpending death and resurrection, but He was also speaking of a spiritualprinciple: In the Kingdom, death precedes life. The writer of the book ofHebrews said it this way:
“He takes away that He might establish.” - Hebrews 10:9
We see this principle throughout the scriptures:
· Abraham is told that he will have a son and will be the father of a greatnation, only later to be told to kill this promised son.
· Before Moses can deliver Israel from Egypt, he loses his position of powerand influence and becomes an outlawed exile.
· Joseph is given a dream where he is exalted above his brothers and thenalmost immediately is thrown into a pit and sold into slavery.
· David is told by Samuel that he will be king of Israel, only to spend yearsrunning and hiding for his life in the wilderness before the prophecy actuallycomes true.
The list could go on and on because the principle is repeated all through theBible. We even see it in the Genesis creation story where darkness existedbefore God said “Let there be light.” In Israelite culture, the beginning of a new day was in the evening. What we would see as the ending of something, God sees as the beginning.
Carla and I believe that this lofty spiritual principle is at work in the local level of our little ekklesia. We believe that we’re being instructed to let TIC/TAC “fall to the ground and die”. Our hope is that the eventual outcome will be a resurrection in some form or other, but honestly, we don’t know if that’s what He has in mind. We only know that we’re supposed to let go.
We can see several possible reasons for this, and I’ll explain a couple of them:
· Our departure from Smokey Point Vineyard was not in the timing or manner that we would have wanted. As a result, we felt prematurely thrust into the newthing that we had been moving towards. The Lord spoke very clearly to me during the early phases of “TIC/TAC” to be careful about what foundation we built upon; that in order to stand, our foundation had to be Christ only. This is why we didn’t join up with the Vineyard (although that door was open) or any other denomination. What I didn’t realize however, was the amount of “baggage” that we were bringing from the old thing into the new thing. Because there was no “down time” between SPV and “TIC/TAC” we ended up mixing a lot of SPV stuff into our foundation. This “stuff” included expectations, judgments, wounds and even practical challenges like the fact that we were geographically spread out all over the place (which worked for SPV but was problematic for the vision of“TIC/TAC”).
· Paradoxically, at the time that SPV was “winding down” I felt a responsibility to provide a safe place for people to land. I had made a commitment to pastor the people of SPV and was bound to honor that commitment, even after SPV shut down. My hope is that “TIC/TAC” provided a landing place for some, even if it was only a temporary stop before they moved on to something else. At this point, however, most have moved on and I feel that I’ve been released from that duty (which, by the way, was a joy while it lasted).
So now at this point, we need to make a clean break with the past. We are going to take the next couple of months to rest and seek God about where to go from here. The values behind “TIC/TAC” are very much alive in my heart. These are the values we explored together; such as community, making a place for all the members of Christ’s body to function, seeking to build one-another up, being patient and forbearing with one-another, restoring the priesthood to all believers, giving to those in need, sacrificing our rights for the good of others and, most importantly, putting Jesus at the center of all we do. We will continue to pursue these values and to pursue our friendships.
So although “TIC” as a scheduled weekly gathering is going “into the ground”, we hope to continue hanging out with you, our friends, as we “spur one-another on to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24) and “sharpen” each other (Proverbs27:17) in the Lord.
Please pray that God would have His way. If He chooses to resurrect “TIC/TAC”, I assume it will look different (as reborn things tend to do) and yet have the same essence. After a season of rest, we may find ourselves being gathered together again, or He may choose to let “TIC/TAC” take on new life in a scattered form, as we carry the lessons we’ve learned this past year off to new places. Either way, it’s been a very, very good year.
Thanks and God bless! - Danny & Carla