Monday, January 12, 2015

God Builds Teams

One of the first people I met in Camarillo, when Star and I and the girls arrived in June, is Don Harper.  It should be said that upon meeting him, anyone would say that he is one of the kindest, most down to earth, "normal" people you will ever encounter.  He's just a genuinely good guy.  Don had an office across the way from ours in the historic Lewis building on East Ventura Boulevard.  I would occasionally run into Don in the hallway, and when we passed, we would exchange pleasantries; "Good morning, how's it going, have a good day."

About a month into our time in Camarillo, I visited Don's production studio, which is in the same building.  It is complete with sound baffled walls, the latest recording equipment, the best microphones on the face of the earth, and has the penumbra of some of the famous recording studios like - "Abbey Road" in London.  To my surprise, Don offered to record the first video production that Mission Street ever produced.  That recording is on our website, and is the interview and the message called, "The Most Important Thing."  It's superbly choreographed and recorded.

One day, another mutual friend, who knows both Don and I said, "You know who Don Harper is, right?"  I said, "Yes, he's a great guy that we recorded our first message with."  "Yes," they said.  "He also happens to be one of the most prolific composers, songwriters, conductors and arrangers in Hollywood.  Some of his film scores include, The Guardian, National Treasure, Training Day, Armageddon, The Rock, Twister, Broken Arrow, Assassins, Speed, The Lion King 1&2, Tarzan and Jane and Houdini."  "Wow," I said, "that's amazing."

A month ago, Don and I were talking, and he said, "You know, I have a large studio office upstairs in our building.  It's more space than I need.  Would Mission Street Church like to rent some of that space with me?  It would be fun to work in the same space together."  And so, this month, we will have our first official office space for Mission Street Church in partnership with, and in the same space, as Don Harper Productions.  To say that I am humbled to be breathing the same rarified oxygen as Don Harper is an understatement.  We are over the moon to be in partnership in the same office space with one another.

And then, one of the oldest and surest dictums of my ministry came to my mind.  I have found it to be true again and again in my 15 years of ministry:

God Builds Teams

Wherever you find God on the move in very significant ways, you always find teams.  The history of the great evangelical movements in the Bible is a history of teams.  It's a history of God putting together people who wouldn't ordinarily work together to do something larger than they were capable of doing on their own.  The Bible is rife with examples.

The first two sets of disciples in the Bible were Peter and Andrew (who were brothers) and James and John (who were brothers).  All four were likely members of rival fishing families.  Fishing, in the first century, around the sea of Galilee was a very competitive business.  There were only so many fish to be caught, and only so much time in the day to catch them.  But God (Jesus), brought the two families together in a way that they couldn't have been brought together on their own.  All four were brought together for a higher good, a larger purpose, a more important end.

When the Gospel was first carried into the larger Mediterranean world, God put together two people that would never normally have worked with one another:  Paul and Barnabas.  Paul/Saul, of course, was raised in the Jewish Sadducee establishment of Judah.  He later became one of the leaders in the effort to stamp out Christianity, in the first century in Jerusalem.  Barnabas, originally named "Joseph", was from the island of Cyprus - basically a Greek country.  Barnabas came from a wealthy land owning family.  Cypriots are a strong, deeply proud people, who's heritage and culture is as unique as the isolated island in which they inhabit.  The two, Paul and Barnabas, were as far apart from one another culturally as can possibly be imagined.  God brought Paul and Barnabas together to spread the gospel to the world.

And the list goes on and on.  Wherever you find partnerships being formed, in completely unlikely ways, for the potential greater good of the kingdom of God, you find God at work.  I have learned that these types of bonds are God's favorite work, and a unique power of the Holy Spirit.  In most cases, these bonds could not normally occur on their own.  Only God can form them.

What will Don Harper Productions and Mission Street Church do together?  God only knows.  I hope it's something great.  And I am so grateful for God's central quality of matchmaking:

God Builds Teams

What sort of team is God building in your life?

All For Now,

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