Monday, August 20, 2012

House Concert

So Shaun Groves came to Waco and played a house concert for our church and it was totally awesome. For pictures, see Rishi's blog. (I think one of my favorites is the one of Micah, Shaun's booking agent, playing on the floor with my Micah. Fun.)

I had first heard Shaun's music several years ago on the radio, and Aaron reminded me that we had seen him in concert once before. Since then, a lot has happened with Shaun and his music, and you can visit his blog to read about it. Long story short, he is no longer a famous Christian musician, but he is living out his faith in very real, very practical ways, and he's still making great music.

After reading his blog and listening to his new CD, Third World Symphony, I contacted Micah about the possibility of Shaun coming to speak to and sing for our little church. It took a few months, but we were able to work it out, and we had the honor of being Shaun's first house concert last Saturday night.

There were several highlights of the evening. Here, in no particular order, are the things I enjoyed the most or that left a lasting impression:

*Good music. Man, I knew I liked these songs when I first heard them. but hearing them live? My enjoyment could have been complete just based on the music alone. If you haven't checked out Shaun's new album, please give it a listen. Then imagine it in your friend's living room with just a guitar and a piano. Mm-hmm. Fabulous.

*Good food. Yes, we had a potluck before the concert, and that's always means good food. But the nourishment went beyond cheese enchiladas and chocolate pie to spiritual meat. The lyrics to Shaun's latest album are profound and challenging. They were the driving force behind a teaching I brought to the church several months ago, and all of that was the impetus for this concert happening. Listening to all of the songs together, and hearing the stories behind the songs, was akin to hearing a really good, really relevant teaching. (*Teaching equals sermon for us house-church-ers.)

Shaun talks and sings with vulnerability, honesty, and eloquence. Truth--sometimes very hard truth--is delivered without apology, but also with the heart of one who has lived those truths. Shaun has struggled with depression, and he sings about a healed mind. He has seen slums and children in need, and he sings about God's kingdom coming through us. What a good, hard reminder that the Lord wants to advance his kingdom beyond the comfort of our living room gatherings. He wants to work through us to save people from this world, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Like so many other truths of the faith, this is something I know but had sort of forgotten. Shaun challenged our church in a way that we needed. He reminded me, and us, that the Lord wants to live his life through us. He wants to build and grow up and love his church.

*A continued, corporate response. Based on the sign-up sheet for the pre-concert potluck, I was initially worried people wouldn't show up. I took a lot of responsibility on myself about this, because I was the one who had organized this thing; what if no one came? That would be terrible! It would be horrible! It would be no good and very bad! (In reality, it would probably have been just fine.) But more than 50 people showed up and packed into Rishi and Amanda's living room. I was thrilled. And not only was there a great turnout, but I've had several face-to-face and email conversations with people who wanted to let me know how much they enjoyed the evening and how they are still mulling the truths that were shared. It's easy for us to become complacent, and it was really good to have someone from outside our little group encourage and challenge us.

*Sponsored kids. Our corporate reaction to the evening was not just internal. At least 8 kids were sponsored that evening through Compassion. This was more than I would have dreamed, and I am so excited by this practical way that our church is loving beyond ourselves. I have also been a part of conversations about how we can be more involved in helping those in need here in Waco. This was a passion of mine for a while, getting our church involved in outreach of some kind, and the concert and our reaction to it have rekindled my desire to see the kingdom come through our house church.

*Passion and purpose. Our church started for a lot of reasons, one of which was the radical idea that Jesus wants to live--right here, right now--through his body. And his body is the church. And his church is us. He doesn't expect us to try really hard to do or not do things. He expects us to yield to him. I've been talking to my kids about this during the summer, but I've sort of lost sight of how it plays out in my life and corporately through the church. The concert was a moment of refocus, of reminder, and of rejuvenation.

I am so pleased by how everything turned out that evening, and I'm still pondering these truths as I'm driving around town:

Awake, my soul, to live this moment.

Please don't give to me wealth or poverty. God, I ask only for enough.

All is grace.

The One who has no start and no goodbye,
The One who mourns our fall hears our cry,
And comes to live with us
And die for us
And live through us
Down here.


Angela said...

Thanks for sharing. Sounds like it was a great concert.

Rishi said...

Well said!