Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Interrupted: Week 5 {pgs. 139-168}

Well, this is the final week of our discussion of Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.

I truly believe that the health and success of God's Church is in our hands as we steward our own lives. As I read this section of the book, I kept thinking about that little rhyme we said as children. Remember how we would hold our hands and make a little church saying, "Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the doors, and here are the people."? Then we opened our hands and our fingers wiggled around? Or if we put our fingers on the outside, we would have an empty church and say, "where are the people?" when we opened up the doors. 

This book had been a "what can I do about the question, 'Where are the people?'" catalyst in my Tuesday night group. It's thrilling to keep exploring that together.

A lot of churches are looking around asking where the people are, and their best hope for their congregations lies in the position of their members' hearts to live on mission. There is a high call for every believer, to let Jesus work through our lives to seek and save the lost. People are seeking peace, hope, and purpose, and the gospel offers them all of that and more.

May we be a people who go in love. May we be a people God uses to heal a hurting world. May we be worthy of the label Christ follower, and may our churches become places of great influence in our cities.

Jesus is the hope of the world, and the church is the love of His life. Open the doors, go into the world, and make disciples, because there are all the people.

Interrupted: Week 5 {pgs. 139-168}

general summary:
This is where the rubber meets the road in Hatmaker’s story, and they begin a real church plant with real people and a real plan. They begin the grand adventure with a small group driven missional body of believers, and present a grand challenge to us as believers. Will we make the Bride of Christ more radiant? Will we sit back and let professional ministers bear the full weight of building God’s kingdom? Or will we strategically reach the people around us with God’s love?

Excerpts to discuss/ Discussion questions:

“Out of Kindergarten”
{from p. 142} “It’s not magic; it’s hard work by vested people who share a vision for God’s kingdom in their city. An influential church is nothing more than a bunch of believers who get in the game and live on mission. This principle holds at fifteen and fifteen thousand people alike.”

{from p. 144} “Missional at its core means “sent”. It is the opposite of “come to us.” So many believers have selected their pet concept of the Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations” but neglect the prerequisite instruction: “Go.” Going is the noble history of the Trinity. God sent Jesus to dwell among fallen humanity- not to visit, not to remain separated, not to detach, but to immerse. He was the Supreme Missionary to mankind, submerged in culture, among the people He wanted to rescue. Upon Jesus’ resurrection, God sent the Spirit from the heights of heaven to the heart of every believer, an indwelling.”

{from p. 145} “The church is one of the few organizations in the world that does not exist for the benefit of its members. The church exists because God, in his infinite wisdom and infinite mercy, chose the church as His instrument to make known His manifold wisdom in the world.”

How central is this idea of living on mission in your own life? Do you view the church in this way, or in a different way? What do you feel is the purpose of your church in your life, in the city?

“Offering a Tangible Kingdom”
{p. 149} “No one better than you can love your wayward brother. One decent sermon cannot influence a disoriented person in the same way your consistent presence in her life can. While organized religion provokes mostly skepticism for the average post-modern, a genuine relationship with a Christ follower on mission can reframe the kingdom, making a fresh perception possible. Then the person discovers the church is not a place you go- it’s a people you belong with. The building is simply the place you celebrate God together..”

Are there people you are loving like this? Who has God placed in your life to reach with genuine relationship?

“Right to Remain Silent”
{p. 152} “Paul presented the most superior posture we can assume. “I am your slave.” What if your neighbor came to understand that you wanted to be his servant? How would my colleague soften to the gospel if I set my agenda aside and became her constant slave? How would our communities be transformed if our churches became servants to our cities? If at every turn believers labored for others as if they were their masters, we could not be ignored for long.”

{from p. 157} “If we’re going to win people, then let’s win people. We do whatever it takes- within the boundaries of law and neutral practices without moral significance- to attract people to the glorious mercy of Jesus. When love regulates our liberty, we create a context to share the gospel and have it actually received. If people are offended by God Himself, by His authority, His word, His Son, His history, there is less we can do about that. They will ultimately have to wrestle with Him.But if they are offended by our representation of God, then we’ll answer for our arrogance. We can help that, and we better had.”

How can we become like servants and slaves in our communities? How do our beliefs about God and His kingdom factor in to those scenarios? How can we authentically represent Him without offending people with our own arrogance?

“In the City, For the City”
{from page 163} “If an endless array of bible studies, programs, church events, and sermons have left you dry, please hear this: Living on mission where you’ve been sent will transform your faith journey. At the risk of oversimplifying it, I’ve seen missional living cure apathy better than any sermon, promote healing quicker than counseling, deepen discipleship more than Bible studies, and create converts more effectively than events..”

What do you need most from God? Do you think that living on mission, taking the lower place and serving those around you can become the doorway to healing, favor, breakthrough, or deliverance for you? If so, what is your plan, how will you proceed from here?

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