Thursday, May 1, 2014

Interrupted: Week 3 {pgs. 75-103}

Following Christ into difficult places can be painful to choose, but figuring out how to retrain your heart to love Him and His people more than yourself in word and in deed is sometimes very confusing. As my women's group discussed this section last night, it was clear that we we are grappling with how exactly to live at the "the bottom" as the book talks about.

It is tempting thing to look at our lives and point out what we are already doing to love the forsaken, to give to those who need more than we can fathom. But it is thrillingly dangerous to open our ears and ask God what more we can do for those who need love the most, or to pray for Him to lead us to people who need what only we can give out through His grace.

And so, the gauntlet is down for some of us. Will we scramble down the ladder and live broken and poured out? I hope so. I really, really hope so. Because it's how we can know the great sacrifice Jesus gave for us, and how we are able to truly love Him.

general summary:
In this section of the book, the Hatmakers’ journey begins to take a clearer form. They have internally shifted regarding what God is them to do, but they are sorting out how they are supposed to do it.. Hatmaker looks scary church statistics squarely in the eye, she examines Matthew 25, she (literally) gives away the shoes on her feet, and she finds that being at the bottom is beautiful and painful, all at the same time.

Excerpts to discuss/ Discussion questions:

“Here Pretending to be There”
{from p. 76} “The frustrating trait about God is how He expects us to act on conviction fairly quickly. Pretty much the second He convinces us to move, to change, to shift, we’re supposed to. Despite how much we ponder it or talk about it, until we are obedient in word and deed, we’re just here pretending to be there.”

What are some beliefs/ commands you have jumped on when God presented them to you? What kinds of things are easy for you to change? What is hard?

“Don’t Know if We’re Coming or Going”
{from p. 80} “Our only hope is to follow the example of Jesus and get back out there, winning people over with ridiculous love and a lifestyle that causes them to finally sit up and take notice. Listen, no church can ever do this for me. This is my high calling to live on mission as an adopted daughter of Jesus. If people around me aren’t moved by my Christ or my church, then I must be doing a miserable job of representing them both.”

Is there someone in your life whose love led you to God or back to the church? What are you doing to make Christ and His church more appealing to the world? What are some hindrances in your own life that keep people from being impacted positively by the gospel?

“Justice for Jesus”
{p. 54} “No one loves me more than Jesus. No one is more on my side. No one is more obsessed with his sons and daughters. No one else laid down His life to defend me. It’s walking into court and finding out your best friend is hearing your case. If Jesus as judge used to scare me, now it comforts me because ‘there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (ROmans 8:1) The Judge also goes by the name Friend. His justice is constructed on mercy, and I’ll never stand before a judge more hell-bent on my liberation...”

“A Word About Farm Animals”
{pg 85-86} “Jesus was in the midst of teaching the disciples kingdom priorities. THis was His final week; He knew it, they didn’t. Much like a terminally ill patient speaks the most important words when death is near, Jesus now taught with urgency and priority…. And as Jesus built his case and the disciples began to gauge what counted and what wouldn’t, He hit them with the grand finale: It will matter only if you’re a sheep or a goat. The blessed and the lost will be separated based on one principle: the care of the forsaken. The end.”.

“Last But Not Least”
{pg. 89} God is supremely concerned about our motives, and our works count only when they match our intentions. There is no back door into salvation, rerouted around the sacrifice of Christ. Otherwise, the whole earth could gain heaven by good works and His day on the cross would be pointless….. We clearly don’t comprehend how personally Jesus tales it when we love justice. He is so utterly identified with the afflicted that there is nothing more obedient, more pleasing, more central than serving Him in the marginalized.”

When you consider the day we will all individually stand before God’s judgment seat, what kinds of feelings bubble up? If caring for the forsaken is the standard, how do you think your own heart will fare? What can we do to elevate the needs of others above our own, how will you be true to this call of Christ to the least?

{p. 101} “We are loved because we are living images of GOd, made in His likeness and created for the heights of His glory and the depths of communion. Our very God took on our form for the love of humanity, privilege or poverty aside. In contrast to God’s perfection, we are the least, each and every one, identified entirely with a Savior who loves us recklessly..”

{p. 102} The Gospel says very clearly that God loves imperfect things. But it’s only the imperfect and the broken who can believe that. Those who don’t have anything to prove or protect can believe that they are loved as they are. But we who have spent our lives ascending the spiritual ladder have a harder time hearing the truth. For the truth isn’t found at the top, but down at the bottom. And by trying to climb the ladder we miss Christ, who comes in through the incarnation.”

What does this concept that the book keeps bringing up of “the bottom” mean to you? Do you consider that a place you take regularly? If not, what would a place at “the bottom” require of you?

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