Nov 19, 2020.
We live in a transitory period in human history. Since the birth of the Industrial Revolution, nuclear families and individuals have branched out to ‘make their own way’. That was a significant departure from the agrarian ideal where multi-generational families worked their farms together throughout the span of their lives. That was a day of roots; this is a day of isolation. In point of fact, these past one-hundred years in Western Culture is the first time in human history where family disconnectedness is considered normal. Hmmm.
#JesusStories: I love how the Gospel of Matthew begins. Never-mind the fact that Matthew was trained to establish a person’s family-line for tax-collection purposes, these opening verses provide a rich understanding that Jesus came from someone – many someone’s. Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob…. Boaz…. Solomon… Josiah… Zerubbabel… and so on for twenty-eight generations. Jesus not only had a heavenly heritage, he also had deep roots upon this earth; he had a thick and rich human heritage. God made numerous promises to Jesus’ ancestors: they experienced miracles, they made difficult choices of faith during difficult seasons of temptations, and they both failed and persevered. Altogether, these family stories created a certain seedbed for Jesus to be planted into. Jesus might have been sent for the World, but he was born into a particular family line. And that means something.
What it means for us, is that when we are born again, we are born into the same family Jesus had, and in an instant we have a rich earthly legacy. To be honest, we are too quick to assume that we have been born into the family of God, when in fact we were also born into a particular earthly family-line. The Jews are not the only ones with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in their pedigree – we have been adopted into that same blessed family too. The promises God made to Abraham, the blessings God poured upon Isaac, and the dreams God showered upon Jacob are all flowing down the family heritage right into our lives too. And that is only highlighting three of our earthly fathers; there are many more on whom God cascaded His favor. Jesus worked hard at introducing himself as the ‘son of man’ for a reason; he wanted us to be connected to the long God-story right here on earth, not just the God-story occurring in Heaven. Something wonderful happens in our faith and leadership when we not only embrace him as ‘son of God’ but also embrace him as ‘son of man’. We start receiving the life-flow from his earthly roots, and we start expecting those big OT stories to start showing up in our lives. After all, parting seas, divine dreams in deserts, and being surrounded by chariots of fire are just the kinds of things that happen to our family. Those are our roots! Those are your roots!
- Augustine initially believed that charismatic gifts had died out in the church. But he changed his mind after keeping records in Hippo for two years: “I realized how many miracles were occurring in our own day; already we have nearly 70 attested miracles.” -Augustine (Full quote via Michael Green).
- “In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles. Anyone who does not believe in miracles is not a realist.” -David Ben-Gurion (Israel’s Prime Minister 1955-1963)
#PracticalStuff: Huddles matter! If you have been sent to open a Jesus Table, then the Lord will surely call forth a core team to help you shepherd that new congregation. We have found nothing that keeps a core team of shepherds pulling together any better than weekly huddles. There, you can keep hearts inspired by praying together, keep leadership developing by doing book read-throughs, and keep table-side skills growing by discussing weekly experiences. Jesus will give you the team, but you have a role in developing that team. Huddles Matter!
Blessings & 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.