November has come and gone, and in the twinkle of an eye now enters the festive Christmas decor of lights, garland, songs, and action!
But before we discuss Christmas and all that’s to arrive this Advent season — exciting news to share too, November not only marked gratitude for our family and Mosaic Church Fort Worth, but it was a month for all to simply learn to be in the presence of God.
When I think about what it means to “to be” in the presence of God, I can’t help but think of Hamlet’s soliloquy of “To Be, Or Not To Be, That Is The Question.” — all about life and death, and the fearful uncertainty of what comes after death, which is often a struggle during the holidays for many people and in general for a number of reasons outside of everyday life stresses and struggles.
Of course, I believe many people avoid or forgo such thoughts as they occupy their lives with all the people to see, places to be, and things to do as coping mechanisms.
But why? I mean, how does such a thing happen?
For starters, it’s so easy to get caught up in doing that we forget our being to be (if you will).
In fact, the 24-hour news cycle, and sound-bite culture we live in often lure us into thinking that more doing is the answer to our life’s purpose and being.
But in the end, as many come to learn, it wasn’t our doing, but our being present that mattered the most.
One of the most memorable moments of living out the importance of being present was Mallary and I got to be present for two days at a Plant Fort Worth-hosted event for church plant residents.
We were joined by two other couples also planting in Fort Worth in 2023 and some phenomenal facilitators:
Many memorable moments were shared over the course of two days as we all were challenged to learn to be in our hearing, trusting, and obeying God.
One moment was the exercise led by Ben and Jess Connelly of hearing from God (see below) while reading, meditating, and reflecting on Psalm 23, and learning to obediently be the sheep of the Good Shepherd.
Another moment was when Daniel and Linda Yang, while sharing their journey and testimony in ministry, posed the following question that I believe is important for everyone to answer as a Jesus follower and believer:
“Has there ever been a time that you’ve not served God and knew you were loved as you are?”
This a powerful question to reflect upon, and one that really gets to the crux of the human tendency to prefer doing over being in an attempt to numb or distract ourselves or others from how painful and miserable human life is — especially when one lives far from God!
But even for those of us that believe in God, proclaim Jesus is Lord, and have a relationship with Him, we too often don’t escape life’s painful and miserable sufferings — even in all of our attempts to overcome by way of doing.
The Yangs closed their time with the following statement, urging us of the importance of being versus doing when it comes to our relating to God and others:
Some of you will love the mission of God more than God himself.
Daniel shared a personal testimony of how he and his family were impacted by his overly doing to achieve for God rather than being and doing in moderation with God. His unhealthy doing over being with God became his identity and almost led to an early death, suffering a heart attack at the age of 42.
Let this all sink in for a minute. I share this because the question and statement that the Yangs posed for us all to consider again and again and again daily — whether young, old, or in between — is less about doing for God, and more about being with God.
Whether we are planting a church, leading a ministry or project, operating a business, or practically serving others as the hands and feet of Jesus, we must never forget that a healthy do only derives from a consistent healthy being with God.
While the Yangs helped us to learn to be first and do second, Darius Johnston inspired and empowered us in a session on “Dependence, Spirit-ledness, & Strategy” as it relates to our relationship with God in general as well as church planting.
Darius shared the following nuggets of divine wisdom with us:
- Following the Holy Spirit is about Character, not Competence.
- Prayer is not optional, it is mandatory. Prayer leads us to intimacy with the Spirit and puts us in touch with the Spirit’s Vision, Plan, and Provision.
One of the most meaningful quotes he tearfully closed with was sharing in all that God had allowed him to do over the last four decades in ministry — sermons, building projects, launching 7 churches, itinerary pastoring, and more, it was his being with God and others that people remember the most.
Darius shared a story about a woman he had pastored and eulogized. This woman was a believer, but her daughter was not. Some years later, the deceased woman’s daugther sent Darius a card to share that one of the reasons she came to salvation in Christ was because of Darius and his wife, Cindy. It wasn’t the doing of sermons, money, or flowers, but simply their faithful presence in being there in her time of loss and pain, and being present to consistently check in on her from time to time after her mother’s passing.
In Darius’ own words, “In the time of people’s pain and hurt, relationships matter!”
And speaking of relationships matter, I had the opportunity to travel to Austin and be with other Every Nation brother and sister churches from our Southwest Region.
It was great to connect with one another over meals, games and activities, songs, prayers, testimonies, and insightful teachings from God’s living Word.
One of the takeaways from our time together was focused on being Spirit-empowered churches and individuals through revival.
Pastor Morgan Stephens (see image below), Lead Pastor of Mosaic Church Austin (our sending church), exhorted us in the 5 marks and means of revival that must be present to truly experience revival in our churches, communities and campuses, cities, and the world.
As seen in the image above, I had the opportunity to take to the stage to share about how God is building Mosaic Church Fort Worth through our being present and practical to various communities and on the campus of TCU through weekly prayer calls, meals, game nights, recreational activities, and simply doing life in community with one another.
And speaking of doing life together in community, a few people from our spiritual family in Austin made the trek to Fort Worth — or in Emily’s (previous Mosaic Church Austin member) case, from Irving, Texas — for a surprise weekend visit this month.
We love showing hospitality and sharing all that Fort Worth has to offer to all that visit:
- the famous Fort Worth Stockyards
- the nationally acclaimed Fort Worth Zoo
- the entertaining and educational interactive exhibits of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
- all the various iconic eateries
- and many more must-see attractions
While there is a lot to do and see, most importantly, treat this as your personal invitation to come and be with present the Browns.
Whether you come during the week, for a weekend, or in the case of tomorrow (YES, TOMORROW!) — the first-ever, in-person Christmas Eve and Candlelight Service — come and be present as Mosaic Church Fort Worth celebrates the birth and coming of Jesus as the message and light to a dark world.
Join us at the Clay Center located at Southwest Christian School Lakeside Campus (6901 Altamesa Blvd, Fort Worth, Texas 76123). Services will start promptly at 4:30 pm and doors open at 4 pm.
Please share the image below (and this email too!) with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers,
and everyone you know in Fort Worth.
Come and be present with us as we celebrate Jesus together with an evening of amazing songs, an inspiring message, and other Christmas elements you don’t want to miss.
Again, you never know… what exactly God will do in and through your being present to hear, trust, and obey Him.
As I close, thank you all for your consistent prayers, giving, and always being present. Your relationship deeply matters to us, and we cherish who God has made you as one of His destiny helpers.
We pray that your Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year are filled with the presence of God’s joy, hope, love, and peace.
May God refresh your relationship with Him and all of His people to the ends of the earth in the matchless name of Jesus.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours!
Pastor Alvin & Mallary Brown
email@example.com :: firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. Please don’t forget to invite a friend, family, coworker, or neighbor to the upcoming events:
Food, Fun, Friends, and Family at the Brown’s House
Sunday, Jan 8th @ 5 pm
Christmas Eve Service
Southwest Christian School Lakeside Campus
Saturday, Dec. 13th @ 5 pm
Doors open @ 4 pm
Prayer Requests & Updates
For evangelism to flourish so communities and campuses in the greater Fort Worth area will be reached, and the lost will see and experience the love of Christ and be drawn to his kingdom.
For signs and wonders to follow the preaching of His Word.
For team unity and laborers to help carry the load.
For finances and provisions.
For fully funded campus missionaries (2 per campus) to help reach the next generation — University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), Texas Christian University (TCU), Tarrant County College (TCC), Texas Wesleyan University (TWU) and Tarleton State University – Fort Worth (TSU).
Alvin Brown, the Lead Pastor of Mosaic Church Fort Worth, brings over a decade of pastoral ministry experience and more than 20 years of operational and technical leadership expertise. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Telecommunications Management from DeVry University and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. He enjoys spending quality time with his wife, Mallary, and their three children and contributing as a writer to various media outlets.