Ok, for for the next few days, I'm going to put down a Topic and Short Thought, all in the same post. All of them about living on purpose in response to Jesus.
2. Since we live in 2 worlds, Our job is to be a Translator
Jesus left Heaven and entered Earth. Creator hanging in creation. While He was here, he was trying to give us a peek into a New Kingdom He was ushering in. This New Kingdom had it's formal entrance when Jesus busted out of the Grave, conquering death, and giving God the opportunity to send the Holy Spirit to remind us of Jesus and lead us into truth. What an entrance! Now we have the kingdom of this world, influenced by Jesus' enemy, "co-existing" with the Kingdom of Our God, with King Jesus reigning. We know, because Jesus told us, how this story will play out. Jesus wins! But in the meantime, the two competing kingdoms are overlapping.
Our job, with "our" meaning every person who has been transferred from death (old kingdom) into life (New Kingdom) by trusting in Jesus, is to Translate this New Kingdom to those who God loves, who He sent His Son to provide a way out of death for, to those who are in the old one.
It's easier, beloved, to just stay in the trappings of the New Kingdom and avoid all the stuff in the old one. It's easier to just go to church, spend as much time there and with Christians as possible. To, rightly, point out all the things wrong with the old kingdom and turn our backs on its stench.
Trouble with that is there is a reason God didn't put an end to the old kingdom already. The reason is He wants people to be transferred from death to life. And if He ends the old kingdom, then such an opportunity ceases to exist. So He's waiting. He's putting up with the stench of sin, holding his nose while we thumb our noses, ignorantly, at Him. He's a kind, loving, gracious Heavenly Father. And He wants all those son's and daughters of Adam to be bought back by the precious blood of Jesus into right standing with Him!
That's where we come in. Jesus told His 12 disciples to go and as they are going to make disciples. Disciples who would then, in turn, go and as they are going make disciples. And, eventually, that's what they did.
We are here to translate for those in the old kingdom the values, the Truth, the Hope, the Love, of the New Kingdom.
1. Gather and Scatter
I regularly emphasize the need for practical discipleship. That is, learning to follow Jesus is what we are actually doing. Often this includes a compare-and-contrast discussion, comparing the lecture/listening types of training environments that are common in our church life with the doing of being of living an on purpose, on mission life of following Jesus.
I was recently invited by some cool friends to be a part of an intense discipleship class. Multiple hour gatherings per week, very legit peeps speaking, homework and heavy commitment for a couple months. My reaction included a desire for the participants to take it to the hilt, and include a participation component, where we go and do based on what we learn in the gathering/teaching/learning times.
I realized that my responses to our teaching/training/preaching times can lead people to think I am anti-gathering, anti-Bible Study. Not So! We need lots of this, and most people who follow Jesus need more, not less Bible.
What I am saying is that for our discipleship to be whole, to be well rounded and bring about the kind of faith and practice that is city-changing (to keep our key metaphor for discipleship going, that because there are Jesus-followers here and churches full of Jesus-followers then from #Goosport2Graywood #theCityShouldBeDifferent), we need lots of practice in the actual doing. Lots of training like this: you come with me as we mentor a young person, then you learn to do it yourself; you come with me as we cook for folks that weren't expecting it and we start conversations, natural conversations, and include Jesus along the way.
So I'm all for the Gathering. I love gatherings! AND, I'm all for Scattering. Sending. Going. Being salt and light all over the city.
My sense is that we, church, need more practice in the Sending part.
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