Wait for the Promise

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For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it. — Hab 3:3 NASB

It has been a crazy year of transition.  One whole year.

Aug 9, 2013 I met with leadership to formerly hand over the work I started in South Sudan to my sending organization.  Aug 10, 2013 I entered a year of letting go.

That is what transition is.  Yes it can be exciting.  But when obedience costs you everything you hold dearest to say yes, it is loss. Then transition is about trusting in the valley of the shadow of death and holding on to the promise even when everything around you is crumbling and you can’t even imagine how any promise will be fulfilled. It is a dying to what was so we can live to what will be. And it is the most painful thing I have ever walked through.

Even though the vison delays… wait for it. Hold on.  And when we can no longer hold on trust He is holding on to us.

Aug 9, 2014 one year to the DAY of that meeting last year I was sitting here in Jacksonville with my Congolese friendship family for the first time. We are a gateway city and resettling location for 100s of refugees, many of them from Congo and South Sudan.

Before I knew it friends came over and we all sat around telling stories with the help of our precious interpreter. Doors flung wide on a whole Congolese and Sudanese refugee community in my backyard in ways that I am still stunned by. Tears of joy friends. I have no words for how grateful I am.

The next day, the first day of this new year, Holy Spirit whispered one word to my spirit. NOW.  The vision for Create 61 has been in a fuzzy holding pattern of sorts.  Largely because I’ve been in a holding pattern.

No longer.  The time is now.  The vision is clear.  The shift has happened.  We are called to be part of raising up healthy missionaries and leaders that see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is heaven.

So here it is. The organizational statement part.  Some of my friends have been asking, sooooo what exactly is this Create thing you are starting?  And I’d sputter out fairly generic, undefined responses.  Because I had a glimpse, but really didn’t know.  And I didn’t have a green light to jump into the unknown.  Until yesterday.

Drum roll………

Create 61 is an organic church network of missional micro-community groups {MCGs} with a vision:

  1. To reach and disciple unreached marginalized populaces in our city and region.
  2. To partner with like-hearted churches and organizations in our region to help equip and empower healthy leaders and authentic communities that are walking in the fullness of God’s Kingdom and are experientially prepared for urban and/or cross cultural missions.

We do this primarily through:

  • C61 MCGs are MCGs that meet with focused people groups with goals centered around Isaiah 61 transformation and equipping and empowering those involved to embrace more of the fullness Jesus has for them.
  • Joint MCGs function in partnership between C61 and other like-hearted local churches/ministry training schools/organizations that want to implement missional MCGs in their contexts and would like Create 61 to partner with them to train/nurture group leaders either for a short term period or on a continuing basis.
  • The School of Indigenous Leadership {SOIL} is the culmination of 20 years of study and experience raising up leaders in urban and international missions. I first implemented a portion of this during my time in South Sudan.  Now we are restructuring it to be a tool that can help raise up and release healthy, effective, ignited Kingdom leaders overflowing with God’s heart for their communities.  It is a value-based modular structure that can be offered in a virtually endless number of ways as God leads and depending on what works best for our host communities/participants.
  • Mosaic is our creative worship experience we host regularly {the goal is monthly}. It is a time filled with free-flowing, interactive experiences where you can explore new ways of connecting creatively with God’s heart.  And you absolutely do not have to be an artist or even consider yourself creative to join in, just hungry for more of Who He is.
  • Our Love Feasts are regular {eventually every 4-6 weeks} of all our C61 and Joint MCGs.  It is a time to share a meal together, tell testimonies and have a worship celebration as a broader family regionally.

I’d love to connect with you if any of this sounds even mildly interesting. ;-)  Stay tuned as we solidify a few details here in the month of August.  It is my hope to set up an interest meeting in September for leaders in our city and anyone who might like an absolutely-no-obligation chance to hear more. {And of course eat food!}

–Michele Perry, C61 Founder/Sr. Leader

A Monday Moment

1780845_10203304170231973_1055264112_nJust want to take a moment on Mondays {#mondaymoment} to share some inspiration from God’s heart to start your week off right!  You are loved- Michele

The Need For Family

Hi friends, I’m so happy to introduce one of our leadership team with Create 61 today.  Lisa is an incredible gift to our family and it is with great joy we offer her words and insight to you.  She will be writing here regularly what God puts on her heart.  So with out further adieu…. here she is in her new column Doing Life Together.  You are loved – Michele

Lisa holding her fur baby, our honorary mascot, at our first Mosaic gathering.

Lisa holding her fur baby, our honorary mascot, at our first Mosaic gathering.

Hello, my name is Lisa Angel and I for the last 20 plus years  have been honored and privileged in bringing family life to others, repairing family life that already exists, and creating family life within God’s church.  {Which just to clarify, His church is His people.}

Humanity, every single one of us breathing alive today share this common, innate deep desire to be loved and to give love.  We all need to have unconditional love and acceptance in this journey called life.  The healing that comes forth when people are joined in a space that God made possible for us to love each other in brings miracles of restoration.

I know because I have seen this thousands of times in my work as a therapist and as a leader in the church.  And you do not have to be blood related in order to be family!  You can get extraordinarily close to people in an environment that is honest, trusting, loving, and accepting.  It may surprise you just how little time it takes in order to consider someone family when you are respected, honored, and heard.

Just as God loves each of us unconditionally and accepts us no matter how many mistakes we make, we can love and accept each other unconditionally through God loving us.  He is the expert on family because He created us to be family.  God knew what He was doing when He planted that desperate longing for connection and relationship in us. 

Some of us have spent too much of our lives looking for this love and connection in all the wrong places.  What we have been looking for all along is found in God and can be found as we look to Him. So, why not you?  You can experience God’s love and be in relationship with Him and other Jesus lovers who have a passion to be in community and live out a relationship with Him and His people.  His love is for you.

And this is what is on my heart: living out His love for each other authentically, creatively, and abundantly.  We need His love more than ever in a culture and society that seems to be getting less and less loving every day.  

At Create 61, God’s love, family and community are a vital part of our DNA.  We love God first and people second.  We want to build relationships and be in community so we can do life together out of the overflow of His love.

God so loved us that He gave His one and only Son. {John 3:16}  That Son is Jesus and He is top notch when it comes to loving each of His children unconditionally.  He also calls each of us to love one another.  This command is so important to God that it is second only to loving Him.  Love God, love people.  Our Create 61 family wants to help bring this love to you.

Would you join me in prayer?

Thank you Jesus for sending people into our lives to push us to take a chance to love and be loved and be a part of a community that loves God.  I pray that while you read these words that you would be blessed and that hope will rise up in you so profoundly that you will take a risk to let God love you.

Look for more blogs on God’s love, relationships, and family to come.  I hope to give you something that can practically help you in your daily life. May God bless you and keep you. And let’s do life together.

Four Threads

Go low, start slow and keep close to His heart.  It’s the slow part that gets me.  Every single time.

I’m a creative, a visionary who tends to see 10 years ahead and then run headlong into the future I see.  Until Holy Spirit grabs hold of my belt loop like my folks used to when I was little, running ahead for the adventure I knew was mine for the exploring.

But I’m trying hard to stay in the pace of His grace with this next part of my journey.  I know this season is about building for the long haul, not only getting something started.  If we had a building I could give you a tour, but right now it is simply a meeting place of heart.  Consider this the beginning of an introduction to the heart and the vision behind Create 61.

I have walked with those who see the supernatural realities of heaven happen around them every day, forerunners who call us all higher and deeper into God’s promises.  Others who spill creativity and beauty and transform the way we see our world through the arts and creative expression.  In other places I find ones longing for belonging, family and a safe place to lay aside pretense.  And still others who move into forgotten corners of written off neighborhoods and determine to love their neighbors well.

But rarely do I find a place that intentionally weaves all four threads together.  They do exist, but they are rare treasures. Many have one or two threads.  Some have three. Few have all four.

In my own journey, I have had a longing on the inside of me stirring for nearly a decade now.  It has been a longing that defied language. I’d catch the edges of its whispers in the silent hours of the night.

I celebrate every place God’s Kingdom comes in and through His people.  I cherish my time with each expression of His Body. But in my heart of hearts, I have been longing for the ancient echoes of eternity, to see a company of people whose walk bridges heaven and earth and weaves these four threads into a display of God’s beauty.

Supernatural Lifestyle. Creative Expression. Authentic Community. Engaging the Margins.

Four threads. One mandate. Organic, intentional; utterly consumed with His love and infused with His power.  Weaving something rarely seen since the time of the ancient Celtic Christians.  And it is stirring again in this hour, in this generation, born for such a time as this, a generation not defined by age but choice.  This is but a glimpse… Expectant, I am, for all that lies ahead…

The Inspired Life

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Today was nothing short of inspiring.  It never ceases to amaze me that when you find like-hearted community to journey with… inspiration multiplies.  And Florida’s First Coast is home to one of the top art communities in the USA.  I just learned that today thanks to an amazing visionary friend of mine who is starting the premier fine art supply store and creative community hub in our nation’s oldest city {about 30 min from my flat.}.  The Red Sable and Mel Roby… check her out!  So honored to journey with her and her huge heart and vision.

So many times I hear folks say, but “I’m just not creative. I’m can’t ______. Or I’m not a ___________.”  Isn’t it so funny how we each have a box we try and shove creativity into?  Anyone else see irony in that?  One of our four interwoven central threads in Create 61 {more on that coming shortly} is Creative Expression.

We don’t have a lot of events just yet, this journey has taken turns I could have never foreseen and there are many things still forming. {including this website.  It is more of a blog so it takes time to become what it is fully meant to be.  Kind of like each of us.} But I wanted to make available to you a 7 session free online workshop I designed last year to jump start your creativity and take you right back to the Source.  I’m chatting with some friends locally about one day having a live, in-person version where we can get messy together, but for now… won’t you join us over the www?

Hop on over to The Inspired Life: Unlocking the Everyday Creative.  {And you will get to see my lovely little art studio where it is hosted…}.  Once you click over there, scroll down to the very bottom of the page {aka first post} and work your way up.  Grab a few friends, spread the word and let’s get a pARTy stARTed!

May you be swept up in the wonder of His love ~ Michele

All Things New

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Hi you.  Yes you.  I am *SO* glad you are here.

I’m Michele.  A wide-eyed dreamer, heart-stretched seeker.  Word weaver and idea scribbler.  Paint slinger. Grace clinger. Sunset gazer. Pixel tamer. I am a creative to the core on a journey that will take me the rest of my life and all of eternity to explore… His love… His heart turns mine inside out and sets me free to be.  BE.  Breathe and scribble and splash in the waves.

All I have is this one life to love with, this one moment to say yes with all I am.  And all I can love with is His love I’ve been extravagantly loved first with.   I’m a Jacksonville girl who has walked many miles under bridges and spent seasons hanging out in brothels and found joy in tin shack shantytowns and hope in dead end alleyways. Such riches in burnt out warzones and places the world is running away from.  Let me run THERE.  My life has been one beautiful treasure hunt to find the most precious of gems in the hidden, darkened, broken-down unrespectable patches of earth crying out for heaven.  The least of THESE.  The discounted and despised.  They still receive this crazy upside down Kingdom and I want to be where He is.  And only there.

Create.  Create 61. {Isa 61}  It’s a wild audacious positively undignified experiment in abandoned trust.  Whoever {whoEVER} lives in love, lives in God and… God. In. Him.  God. In. Her.  And what is this whole Jesus-life about if not that?  If not that then nothing.  Is there a company who lives supernatural inside out inconvenient costly poured out love?  Who dares to risk transparent authentic community?  Who values creative expression not as showtime entertainment but as a positively divine call?  Who weaves all of these untamed threads into a walk fused in the unseen places purposely engaging the margins not to fix them but to embrace them and become the very message we say bring.

Good news.  Riotously good news.  Parties for the passed over.  Celebrations of grace splashed in color and life and truth and word and song and presence and yes just being His.  Being loved.  From there loving and learning and even leaving a legacy only eternity is worthy of.

I have lived it in India and Bangladesh and the Middle East and South Sudan and far flung corners where this might be more expected.  But what about here?  Right here.  On Florida’s First Coast.  In this backyard.  Right here dare to believe.  His pierced-through love will change the world and make all things new, even our own failures and weak places.  In fact it is the only thing that can.

So won’t you come along for the ride and see what this adventure might hold?  I sure hope so.  You are loved.  And you are welcome…  more to come soon!

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