It is human nature to desire a comfortable path for our lives and ministries. And sometimes we find seasons when the challenges are few and the budget always balances. But there is a reoccurring theme in the life of Christ that calls to us – that bids us to advance the kingdom of God at all costs and against all odds.
#JesusStories: Matt. 19 records a young man coming to Jesus and asking what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus directed him to consider his adherence to the core commandments, to which the man replied he lived up to them all. Then Jesus said, “go sell your possessions, give the money to the poor, and come follow me.” To that offer, the man walked away sad because he was very rich. Jesus then turned to his disciples and told them how difficult it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. The disciples were astonished and asked who in the world could be saved? Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
This first thing I notice in this story is that the young man was seeking eternal life, when Jesus was inviting him to help usher forth the inbreaking kingdom of God. The disciples weren’t much better – they were wondering who could be saved when Jesus was looking to an advancing mission. This is undoubtedly why Jesus “looked at them intently” – to corral their attention to his deeper call. This is still a problem today; many are seeking for salvation when Jesus is seeking to give them a vital role in ushering the kingdom of light into darkened hearts. But to take on such a role requires us to lay down our shallow spiritual desires and open up our lives to be spent on something big. However, taking on a vital role to advance the inbreaking kingdom of light against the uprising kingdom of darkness is not something mere humans can do. Jesus called these engagements impossible. This work can only done by divine strength. In other words, we must learn to become dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord that has already taken up residency inside of us. This is the reason Jesus asked the young man to let go of his dependency upon a bank account; that young man needed to learn dependency upon the Lord if he were to arise and do the impossible alongside Jesus. In wealthy America, we need to embrace a deeper version of dependency too. By the Spirit flowing out from within us we replicate the works of Christ (Eph. 2:10). And by that same Spirit we destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn 3:8). In these ways we advance the inbreaking Kingdom of God against the uprising kingdom of darkness. If we are going to follow Jesus – get ready to do the impossible. Oh by-the-way, a great place to watch this happen and help this happen is at a Dinner Church. Look no further than a Jesus table to start extending the borders of the Kingdom.
#DinnerChurchQuotes: The enemies purpose is to distract us to a lower level of living until we die. -Michael Slaughter
Blessings and Boldness,
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 97-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.