OneLife Nashville Podcast!

Great news everyone! We have launched a podcast! We (Tim & Tiffany) are hosting OneLife Nashville Podcast… having rare but vital conversations about Jesus. This has been something we’ve felt like God was leading us to do for a while, along with encouragement from a couple of friends. What better topic of conversation than Jesus?! We are taking a mostly chronological approach, starting with Jesus before the beginning. Please pray for us as we try out this avenue of sharing the Good News. Hope you will check it out, subscribe, and share!

Listen on our website or your platform of choice…

Reflections…

Last week some pictures popped up on my google photo highlights from years past.

From 5 years ago…

From 1 year ago…

When I saw these photos, all I could think about is God’s faithfulness and provision. These two time periods – mid October of 2015 and 2019 – weren’t the easiest and were filled with uncertainty. In both of those years years we were completely committed to walking in God’s path for us no matter how weird it was.  And let me tell you…now from the other side…it was worth it!

5 years ago, we were in temporary housing and ready to move to Nashville. On a specific day God asked us to drive our truck down to Nashville (set up to sleep in.) He was sending us here to reveal where we should live but we didn’t know how long that would take. Turns out it only took a day and he gave us our apartment in west Nashville. It was a gift, just as he said it would be. We loved it there and it turned out to be not only a fun place to live but a great place to pray over and learn about the city! We went with no jobs or connections and with only the money we had saved up in previous years. And throughout the 4 years of living there… we used our savings as long as it lasted and He always provided. Always on time. Always enough. And in the mean time He taught me so many things concerning His provision, His generosity (and mine), and living life in His Kingdom economy.

Then last year we found ourselves in temporary housing again in the very same time of year. With little income we started looking for a new home since we had to vacate our apartment. It was a sad time since we enjoyed the location but because of God’s tremendous track record of providing over those 4 years… we knew He’d come through. And He did! And it seemed impossible! If you read the post from about that time you’ll know it was hard, and it took some time and work, but He made the impossible happen, and more.

In our new home we’ve had people over often, whether it’s T-group meetings (discipleship group), weekly group meals and gatherings, or just spending quality time with the people God has brought into our path. God has been so good to fill our home with people who are walking this journey with us.

Even now I’m sitting in my lovely patio typing this and my mind can hardly wrap around how good God has been. We bought our home last November which was a miracle in and of itself and on top of that God has provided so abundantly. It really blows my mind and has over the last months! We were able to fix up our house and make it our own. And even through all the Covid-19 craziness God has given Tim plenty of work. Work that uses his amazing gifts to build up churches and leaders and still leaves plenty of time to continue to grow OneLife here in Nashville.

So, as tears fill my eyes thinking on all of this, I guess I just want to write this to proclaim that God is faithful! I want to say that walking in His way for you is ALWAYS the best way. Yes, even when it doesn’t make sense or seems impossible. We are children of The King and His resources are unlimited. And it is so very true that if we seek first His kingdom and righteousness all of those other things will be added to us. God has been so good and I know I don’t want to go back to any other way of living! Thanks for listening to my reminiscent ramblings. I hope it at least makes you think on God’s goodness.

Vision-eering

vision

As we are getting settled in to this new community in southeast Nashville, we have started having a series of conversations around the vision God has given us for OneLife. In short, our vision is this:

We see a transformative movement of discipleship, community, and mission

To explore what this looks like on the ground, we have organized our conversations in this way:

Vision Night #1 – Community For Who?

Vision Night #2 – Community For What?

Vision Night #3 – Building An Extended Family On Mission

Vision Night #4 – A New Wine Skin for New Wine

We are about to have Vision Night # 5 – Discerning Our Missional Context. In this conversation we are going to explore ways for discerning what neighborhood, network, or need that God wants us to adopt, develop advocacy, and advance the gospel in. This process will be saturated in prayer, revelation, and Spirit led obedience. We want to stay in step with what the Spirit is doing, and step into the places he has already been preparing us for. We know the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So we ask that you start praying with us for two things:

  1. Clarity about what harvest field he wants to send us into
  2. For God to raise up workers to come with us into that field.

We are confident that the Lord of the harvest will show us the right field, at the right time, in the right way.

Moving into God’s Yes

If you read my (Tiffany’s) last post, you will be glad to hear that we have officially landed in a new home to live in! We now have more space for OneLife to grow into and out of! It has been quite a whirlwind journey (kind of exhausting and requiring much patience). Nevertheless, God has been faithful, as usual. It all got started at the end of September when we had to move out of our apartment as new housing developments are taking over Nashville. Just the other day a friend sent us a picture of our old building which was gone.1580308821025_2323974552

At the beginning of September we were looking toward finding another place to lease but quickly knew God was leading us to buy a house. I thought that would be impossible, but God is the master at paving a way through the impossible! I lost count of how many “No’s” we got for receiving a mortgage loan but each day there was a “No” there was always a thread of hope… another possibility. We kept following in the way the Holy Spirit led us and doing what he was telling us to do and waiting. Lots of waiting. Meanwhile, we had to move out of our apartment and several friends kindly opened their homes to us, depending on where we needed to be, and when. A special thanks to each of them! We couldn’t have made it through without them.

By mid-October we at last had a lender willing to give us a chance, a non-profit called Affordable Housing Resources. They, along with our realtor, were very gracious and always pulling for us. We picked out several houses to look at but ended up buying a place that wasn’t on the list. It wasn’t even on the market yet when our realtor got us in to check it out. After we looked at it we stopped by a nearby park to pray. During our prayers, we felt like we were to continue seeking Him about this particular house. So we found a place to camp that night and spent the evening and next morning discerning what we should do.

In our own eyes… this was not the place for us as we had no plans to look in this area. It was everything opposite of where we were living. We really liked it there because it was in the center of things. This new place is technically in Nashville but it is literally on the edge. It’s extremely quiet. Instead of being able to walk to 10 coffee shops and ride bikes a couple of miles to downtown… we can walk to the lake. It’s not our kind of neighborhood. To top it off we didn’t like the house itself and it needed lots of work. Too many automatic strikes for me!

While we camped, we came to God with a lot of questions, asking him what to do. I definitely felt turmoil as my flesh said, “Noooo…” while God gently said, “Yes.” and reminded me of things he had told me over the past month or two. That next morning, I continued to submit it to the Lord and a peace came over me. No overwhelming feelings or excitement… but peace. Tim had already come to this place, but it was then that I knew it was time to move on it. We put an offer in that day and here we are!

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Later, we discovered that not only had other offers been put in on this home, but someone had put a better offer in before us and yet… we still got it! Many small and big things like that have happened throughout the whole process to let us know that God is truly the one making it happen. I know there’s so much we can’t even see.  Since moving in on November 15th we have been working constantly to renovate this place and make it into our home and a place for OneLife to grow in.

We have worked hard in this housing transition to get to where we are at today, but let me be clear: we literally could not be here if God had not been doing it! It has been hard, but it would’ve been impossible without God. He has worked it out and sustained us. He has given us resources we didn’t have and is still graciously providing. He’s moved mountains and given us helpful people when needed. Thank you to the friends, family, and strangers who have pitched in and prayed for us during this transition. Big thanks to God for paving the way and working it all out.

We still don’t fully understand why we are here in this particular place but we are excited to see where God is taking us! This area of Nashville is quite diverse and that is probably my favorite thing about living here. Oh, and being able to take a walk to the lake is a nice perk, too. 🙂

Tim wrote a blog on how we are sharing the vision of OneLife and discerning our missional context with our group. Hope you will go read that! Prayers are appreciated as we continue to work and look towards the future.

Moving with God… Literally

I got home from being away with family. I brought my bags in and set them in the floor of the living room. Usually I put everything away as soon as I get in. This time the first thing I did was go sit on the front porch of our apartment building. I look straight out and there sits the Parthenon with downtown skyscrapers in the background. Centennial Park is bustling with runners and tourists as normal and traffic is buzzing past. The scene gets blurry as my eyes fill with tears.
Going back a few days ago, while in Alabama with family, I received an email from our new property owner telling us that all residents must be out by September 30th. Just like many other places in Nashville someone wants to tear down this old building to make way for bigger and newer. This was surprising and not surprising all at once. We always have been in awe that this old building is still standing at the rate they are building new ones around here. I have been sad thinking about it while away but thanks to God I have remained in complete peace about the situation. And as I arrived to this place we’ve called home for almost 4 years I needed a moment to let it sink in.
So as I sat on the porch and my eyes filled with tears, I began thinking on this gift of a place we’ve lived. God told us prior to signing any papers that he was giving us this apartment as a gift. Reflecting on it…that is truly what it has been. I understand the building is old and less than desirable for many, but this place has been perfect for us. The location is not only fun and enjoyable but it is very strategic and central. The park has not only given us walkable access to some of the best urban green space, festivals and free music in the city but also has hosted many intimate and revelatory moments with God. The hill next to us has been my most consistent, favorite ever “secret place” to spend time with God. Not to mention all the great walkable places to work, eat, or enjoy. Strategic in its perfect alignment with the Parthenon and state capital… hundreds of prayers have gone out from here. Prayers against the principalities and powers of darkness and proclamations for the kingdom of God to come in Nashville.
I spent the next few minutes thanking God for how he led us here and gave us this space to live, work, enjoy, and carry out the ministry he has called us to here. It has been a perfectly good space for us personally as well as to host OneLife and all those God has brought into our orbit. So, all of that, in short, is why I’ve been a little sad as I think about moving on. But as I sat there, with the city buzzing as usual, I felt a rest so thick I could almost touch it. A safety. A peace. Then I prayed for the city as I have so many times.
As I think ahead… I have no clue where we’ll end up, how fast, or how we’ll get there. The things I do know… God gave us this place when we thought it nearly impossible and He can give us another even better place for this next season of our life and OneLife. We know, as clear as ever, that He wants us here in Nashville to build extended families of disciples of Jesus that live on mission together. He has provided every little thing we’ve needed so far in our journey here. It hasn’t all looked like we expected but He has been faithful to speak to us and lead us all along the way.
I feel that Tim and I are fairly flexible in our living conditions but our apartment has become a safe place for people to come and visit throughout the week and it hosts weekly gatherings for OneLife. I’m asking for you to please pray with us. That we stay attuned to The Spirit’s leading to know what to do, where to go, who to ask, etc. That God will open up doors that nobody can shut and that He will provide and show us how to receive an even better place to live and for OneLife to continue operating from.

Honestly, it seems even more impossible to find a place now than it was when we were first moving to Nashville but I know the One who has called us here and how He has already made the way… and I know it is possible.

Thank you for your prayers and all the ways you have already joined us in what God is doing here!

Tiffany

Rom 8-28

God’s Perspective

Over the first part of this year it has become more and more obvious to me the importance of perspective. More specifically, the importance for me to seek out God’s perspective in life. It’s true that I wouldn’t be where I am or doing what I’m doing without His perspective. Though, recently I’ve felt the Holy Spirit has given me a stronger desire than usual to want to know the perspective of God (Father, Jesus, and Spirit) which I, Tiffany, know I need more of in my life. Tim has also, maybe in a different way, felt an increase in his desire for God’s perspective, often picturing Jesus with him and listening to what He’s saying.

I have felt this desire for divine perspective show up in many ways – from larger world or cultural patterns (often that I find discouraging) to just wanting perspective on how to work through a personal situation or how to relate to a person. So, at times when I was feeling disgusted or discouraged at something in the world, I turned to the Father and saw that He was filled with compassion and love. When I have felt frustrated or grumpy about a situation, I looked and saw Jesus just as jolly as could be. And in each situation… just that glance to look at God and ask what He thinks… it completely changes me – how I’m thinking, acting or reacting, or what I’m doing.

I think we all probably know that we need God’s perspective, but I have never turned to Him this often to seek it in big and small things. I’m realizing that I need to do this even more. When I see His perspective it brings more peace, more hope, more joy, more love, more kindness…wait, this sounds like the fruit of the Spirit. I guess that makes sense because this is who He is. He fills me and the situation with all of these things and more.

I’ll end this thought by sharing a little of Jesus’ heart for this city. One day last month I was praying for Nashville and asked Jesus for His perspective and prayer for the city. I wasn’t feeling down about it or anything negative. I was just praying and wondering what He was wanting and thinking. Here’s what I felt He shared with me…

Unity in diversity.
That bridges will be built between different people groups.
Not for the sake of unification but for the sake of people.
That there will be more paths for all people to walk toward Me…
Toward My love, My power, My peace, My hope, My abundant life for them.
That my Kingdom will reign.
Not for the sake of reigning but for the sake of the people.
That My transformative light can shine into all people
so that they can live into the fullness of their potential.

Yes, Jesus. Yes… that! I know it’s a better prayer than whatever I was praying!

Clarity About Vocation

Many of you have been following our journey here in Nashville for the past 3 years. So we wanted to share a significant revelation from God about the nature of his calling in my (Tim) life, and the implications it will have for us moving forward.

God has confirmed time and time again that he has called us to this city. We love Nashville, the people, and are passionate about making disciples and starting new expressions of the church here. Our first assignment from God in that regard has been to start a missional community in the Osage neighborhood of North Nashville. While our progress has been slow, it has been steadily marked by God’s supernatural provision and favor. We know this is where God has anchored us, and we are anticipating a fruitful year in 2019.

While Nashville is the city God sent us to live in, make disciples, and start new expressions of the church, God revealed to us early on that we would be doing mission in multiple contexts. Initially, we weren’t quite sure what that meant. At the very least, we knew it meant the scope of our calling would reach beyond the boundaries of that neighborhood.

The first context God opened up to us beyond the Osage neighborhood was in Huntsville, AL – 120 miles away. My mother lives in Huntsville, so we were already making periodic visits(often monthly) to tend to her needs. Long story short, a church down there that had been experiencing a trended decline invited me to come in and help them work through some of the foundational challenges they were facing. Over the past two years I have been going down there once a month to invest in their leaders, set up leadership structures and discipling processes, and conduct various training’s and workshops focused on discipleship, community, mission, prophetic ministry, and women in leadership, to name a few. God has done absolutely amazing things in that church. Their leaders have been Spirit-led, courageous, and incredibly wise in the ways they have served and led the community there. Transformation is taking place, new life is emerging, and we are so excited to see how God will carry out his plans for this church.

ClarityAt the time I started walking with them, I really didn’t consider Huntsville as one of the “multiple contexts” that we would function in. Yet it seemed like God was opening up more doors in Huntsville than he was opening up in Nashville. In fact, for the past two years I have consistently asked God if he wanted us to move down to Huntsville. However, the more I asked God that question, the more he said, “No, stay in Nashville.” I was so puzzled by this. Why would God open up a door for us to work with such an amazing group of people in Huntsville, but not open up that kind of door for us in Nashville? In fact, when I would get really frustrated with how slow things were going in Nashville I would think to myself, “God should have sent us to Huntsville, not Nashville!”

It wasn’t until the end of 2018 that I started to understand what God has been up to all this time. As I was complaining to God one morning in my prayers, I heard him tell me to start reading 1 and 2 Timothy. For the next few weeks that’s all I read every morning. At first, I wasn’t sure why he had me reading these two books. So I asked him, “Why are you asking me to read these books?” I heard nothing. I asked him the same question over the course of the next several weeks…and still…I heard nothing. Then one morning, as I read these first two verses from 1 Timothy, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, To Timothy, a true son in the faith…”, God revealed to me something really significant about the nature of my vocation. This is how the conversation went:

God: Did I command you to be an apostle like Paul?

Me: No…

God: Then why do you feel like you have to be that for me?

Me: ………….

God: You are a little “a” apostle, like Timothy, and the others. You don’t have to do what Paul did, or be what Paul was. I am releasing you from that burden. You answer to me. Your calling is from me.

This was a big revelation for me because I have always known that I had an apostolic gifting, but I had assumed it was of the Pauline variety – that my primary calling was to start new expressions of the church, from scratch, in multiple contexts.

Did I mention I had made an assumption?

God knows us better than we know ourselves. And to be honest, if God had spoken this to me a year ago I probably would not have been able to receive it. I assumed I was a Pauline apostle because I have always struggled to work at the center of an organization. I am drawn to the wide open spaces of the frontier. Also, there has always been a part of me that has thought the most effective way to participate in the mission of God was to start new churches from scratch. And to top it off, I really enjoy starting things from the ground up. If you leave me alone long enough, I’m going to start something. But God always knows when to reveal things to us, and how to reveal them in a way that we can receive it.

This insight about my apostolic gifting being like Timothy’s has opened up new levels of clarity as to how I most effectively participate in the mission of God. For example, I have really enjoyed the kind of work I have been doing with the church in Huntsville! In fact, God basically told me the nature of that work in Huntsville is very similar to the nature of Timothy’s apostolic work. For example, Timothy not only established new churches (with Paul, Silas and Luke), he was also sent into various fledgling and flourishing churches to examine the existing culture of the church (Corinth, Thessalonica, Philippi), encourage greater faith development (Thessalonica, Philippi, and Ephesus), exemplify what it means to live and lead as a disciple of Jesus (Corinth and Ephesus), establish new leadership structures (Ephesus), educate God’s people about the foundational mystery of the gospel (Thessalonica, Corinth and Ephesus), evangelize (Ephesus), and expose false teaching/teachers (Ephesus). Basically, Timothy’s work was focused on helping churches become both sustainable and scalable. When a church developed those capacities, Timothy would make an exit, leaving the church in that area more healthy and missionally fit than when he arrived.

Implications for Our Work in Nashville

The obvious next question I had for God was, “How does this affect what you have called us to do in Nashville?” This was God’s response, “It doesn’t. You are still called to Nashville. Keep moving forward.” We were excited to hear this! The next thing I asked him was, “Then what needs to change?” He said, “The way you measure your fruitfulness.” You see, as I mentioned before, our journey here in Nashville has been slow…sometimes excruciatingly slow. To be honest, at times, I have been really discouraged about this. In fact, when people have asked me how things are going in Nashville sometimes I often cringe because we do have “fruit” from our work here, but not a lot – numerically speaking.

By way of contrast, when someone asks me how things are going in Huntsville, I have all kinds of great stories to tell. The leaders in the church there are experiencing genuine transformation, they have established scalable leadership structures, and the church overall is developing a focused capacity to walk in the power and guidance of the Spirit. There is a real momentum starting to develop there.

Now that I know the scope of my ministry is larger than Nashville, my metrics for what counts as being fruitful is changing. I’m no longer just going to “count” what’s happening in the local Nashville scene. I’m also going to start “counting” what’s going on trans-locally as well.

I am still working out the practical implications of what it means to function within a Timothy model of apostleship. I’m confident the Father will reveal more about the nature and function my vocation as I continue to walk in it. My request is that you pray for me to fully receive this revelation so I can walk in the fullness of what God has called me to.

Tim