Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book Club: Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker: Week 2 {pgs. 47-72}

As I read this section of the book, about living a life that esteems the weak, the poor, and the lower place of serving, so many thoughts swirled through my head. Mostly, it made me ridiculously happy.

I absolutely love Jesus, in all his odd glory. I love the way He rips down the rat race of human greed and ego. I want to kiss His feet for setting us free from the need to achieve and impress the world. I could dance a jig when I consider the beauty of living for more than my comfort, security, and fame. Self-promotion is exhausting and Jesus' brand of peace is the best thing ever.

It is for freedom that Christ set us free, and any freedom derived from sacrifice looks pretty strange in our modern world. Sometimes it looks like filling your calendar with acts of service instead of lunch with your girlfriends, spending your money to go on mission trips instead of upgrading your computer, or spending an hour praying instead of sleeping in.

Always, freedom in God's Kingdom looks like running to the cross because we are in dire need of a Savior. I am beginning to be truly thankful for the weaknesses and struggles in my own life, because my pain prioritizes my needfulness, and I can't help but run to the gospel.

My prayer and my hope is that God will redefine us, stretch us out over a hurting world, and rebuild us so we can build His kingdom and take the gospel to the ends of the earth. That we would be a different kind of people, strange in our ways of living and giving, odd in how we pour out mercy to underserving souls because we know we are among the least deserving ourselves, and completely revolutionary in how we parent our children, talk to our spouses, and view the world with a "what can I do to love more" mindset.

Here is the discussion guide for this sections. I hope God speaks to you as you read through it. Happy Wednesday. :)

Next week we will discuss pages 75-102. Until then, happy reading!

Interrupted: Week 2 {pgs. 47-72}

general summary:
This section of the book focuses on following Jesus to the lower place, serving, living broken and poured out for the sake of the gospel. Hatmaker tears down the notion that increasing power and wealth are fulfilling, pointing to the emptiness of such pursuits and the emptiness that comes with moving one more rung up a ladder that seems to have no end. Jesus calls us to live differently than the world, and cramming our Christian lives into the box that the world marks as “success” will never really get us far in His Kingdom.

Excerpts to discuss/ Discussion questions:

“The Trouble With Bananas”
{from p. 49} “Thus began a period of reorienting my mind in the redemptive mission of Christ. I was convinced of the need to change my mind, but what came next was actually changing my mind, and I didn’t envy GOd that task.”

First, let’s just all talk about how hilarious the banana story is on page 48. (I nearly died laughing.) Have you ever had a ‘banana that broke the camel’s back’ experience, in which GOd changed your mind about something? Or is He doing something like that in your life right now?

“Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks”
{from p. 51} “The part that grieved me most was the word different. Because, sure, parts of my life were different from your average Westerner, but not really….. .I realized I was completely normal.. But my Savior was the most unnormal guy ever. And it was His unnormal ideas that made everything new. Truly, Jesus never fit in. He was never the cool guy. He was always wrecking everyone’s life. I’m positive the disciples sat on pins and needles when Jesus talked to a crowd, worried what crazy thing He might say next. (Pretty talk: ‘I am the bread of life.’ Minutes later: ‘Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink of his blood, you have no life in you.’ Dang it!)”

Have you ever considered this concept of living differently before? What do you think about it? In what ways is your life different because of the gospel? Are there any areas that you feel GOd is pointing at, asking you to change?

“Desiring, Doing, Remembering”
{p. 54} “COmmunion is more than a memory, more than a reverent moment when we recall Jesus’ heroic sacrifice. Remembrance means honoring Jesus’ mercy mission with tangible, physical action since it was a tangible, physical sacrifice. In other words, ‘Constantly make this real.’.... Become broken and poured out for hopeless people. Become a living offering, denying yourself for the salvation and restoration of humanity. Obedience to Jesus’ command is more than looking backward; it’s a present and continuous replication of His sacrifice. We don’t simply remember the meal, we become the meal..”

“Becoming a Low Life”
{pg 60} When Jesus told us to ‘take the lowest place’ (luke 14:10). it was more than a strategy for social justice. It was even more than wooing us to the bottom for communion, since that is where He is always found. The path of descent becomes our own liberation. We are freed from the exhausting stance of defense. We are no longer compelled to be right and are thus relieved from the idols of greed, control, and status. The pressure to protect the house of cards is alleviated when we take the lowest place.”

In what ways are you making your life a living offering for Christ? How have you seen God use you to build His Kingdom by sacrificial service and love? What’s hard about this kind of life? Are there particular challenges that you fave/ have faced when you live like this? How has God used the low place to set you free?

“Get Off Your High Horse”
{p. 67-68} “If the Kingdom of God belongs to the poor, the bottom-dwellers, then rich American Christians are going to have the hardest time finding it. The whole filthy engine is designed to benefit the top, and that is our zip code…. The needy world isn’t interested in GOd because He might secure their promotion or deliver an offer on their house in a wilting market. By the millions, they are running to the cross because the love of a redeeming Savior is too intoxicating to resist….. The rest of the world struggles with hunger and sickness, but we have to conquer the diseases of greed and ego, which are notoriously harder to cure.”

Have you sought cures for the problems that naturally seem to follow those of us living comfortable, wealthy lives? How do we battle greed and ego? How do you handle the things in your life that could send you running to the cross, because you need the love of a Savior so desperately? Do you resent your struggles, or distract yourself from them, or do you embrace them as a gift that makes you worthy of receiving the gospel of grace?

{p. 71} “Jesus redefined the nature of greatness, which has always rung hollow for the least and last. He took the connotation away from power and possessions and bestowed it on the humility of a servant. The more you defer? the more you are to be broken and poured out? The more you choose servant over benefactor? The greater you are. So be it in my life, and so be it in the church. May intentional servanthood be the basis of all mission, all benevolence, all evangelism, all sacrifice.”

Where is God calling you to intentional servanthood? What would God’s church look like if all His people sought to live this way? Where are you called to do ‘small things with great love’ as Mother Teresa said?

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