Introducing the “Deep Well”

“The Deep Well” is born out of a few threads that emerged during a Sabbatical in 2013.

The first came out of Isaiah 55, where God is reminding his people that they have spent resources—a lot of resources—on “food that is not really food” and “drink that is not really drink.” Folks have wasted their time chasing after things that don’t really satisfy. In contrast, God says, “All of you who are thirsty, come to the water! Whoever has no money, come, but food and eat! Without money, at no cost, buy wine and milk… Listen carefully to me and eat what is good; enjoy the richest of feasts” (vv1, 2a).

The idea that came to me was to just set up some space where God’s people could “feast” on Him. Not really much of an agenda—just provide an arc and a space where people could throw themselves into God and He could satisfy their deep thirsts and hunger.

The second came out of the idea of our “belovedness” in God’s eyes. This theme, echoed in a few writers for me, is necessary (to my mind) because sometimes the very reason we run after so many other things that do not satisfy us is because we are terrified what God may actually think about us—that He actually may not like us.

It occurred to me that reminding folks that they are beloved in God’s eyes would be a good thing to do.

These two ideas—to let people feast on God, and to remind them that they are the beloved—form the backbone of this thing I’m calling “Deep Well”. There are other thoughts and inspiration mixed in as well, but these form the spiritual core of what I’m doing.

It’s pretty simple; I’m thinking that most good ideas are. I’m thinking I’d like to see just how many folks out there are hungry, and thirsty and how many need to be reminded that God’s forgiveness (and love) precedes their repentance. Right where they’re at.

For now, if you want to know about this thing called “Deep Well” you can come here and follow me, or stay posted on Twitter.

The first “Deep Well” event will be happening on June 7 at Element3 Church in Tallahassee. Doors will be at 7:00, and the music will start at 7:30. I’d love for you to come and invite as many friends as you care to.

Let’s see what happens.

Baptism, Belovedness, and Brené Brown (See what I did there?)

My bible study has started one of our epic journeys again, this time through Mark’s Gospel. Last week we spent some time in chapter 1, and we talked a bit about Jesus’ baptism:

About that time, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. While he was coming up out of the water, Jesus saw heaven splitting open and the Spirit, like a dove, coming down on him. And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”

There are a few interesting threads going on here, but for where I’m at right now the thing that has always stood out to me about this story what Jesus hears from his father before his ministry begins.

Before the healings.

Before the feeding of the multitudes.

Before the transfiguration.

Before the cross.

Before all of that is, “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”

Those words precede Jesus’ ministry, and—I would suggest—were so deeply woven into his identity and his spirit that he was able to live out his ministry that they were (and are) in a sense Jesus’ ultimate identity.

He is the Beloved.

And the Father is pleased with him.

I’ve seen and heard Brené Brown’s name recently, and though I haven’t yet read her book Daring Greatly but if the 20 minutes of this TEDTalk are any indication, I think it’s going to be an important one.

She is ultimately speaking on vulnerability, but she begins with a concept that grabbed hold of me. In speaking about people who are have a healthy sense of what she calls “worthiness,” she says that “The people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believed they were worthy of love and belonging.”

She goes on to explain that this sense of worthiness, what she calls being able to “wholehearted”, flows from this belief, and ultimately allows people to live with courage, compassion, and connection to others.

Doesn’t that describe Jesus?

The courage with which he embraced his mission and vocation, the compassion with which he dealt with the hurting and broken, and the deep sense of connection that I believe he had with his disciples, all of these things flowed—in a sense—from that statement in Mark 1v11.

“You are my son…

“Whom I dearly love…

“In you I find happiness.”

Does that describe you? 

It actually does. 

The words that the Father spoke to Jesus He longs to speak to you; the difficulty is that sometimes we are either too scarred or too distracted and busy to hear it.

But this statement needs to proceed anything you do or want to be.

Because otherwise you’ll be unable to have the courage, the compassion, and the connection that you could possibly have.

And it takes time: trust me. I know I still fight to hear these words sometime.

But they will be spoken; they will come.

If you’ve never tried, you can begin to open up your heart and life to this by just setting aside a small body of time—even just 5 minutes—and begin to repeat that verse to yourself:

“I am God’s son/daughter; I am dearly loved. In me God finds happiness.

It’s not a quick fix, but most good fixes aren’t quick. Say it long enough, and it will sink down deep into the rhythm of your life…

And you will believe.