Dec. 3, 2020.
Our Lord is actively birthing new things upon the earth every single day. Given that, we must learn to see them, sense them, and help usher them in. However, it is a difficult thing for us to move at the speed of God and flow with His Ways. We are limited beings living in a fallen world, so how can we get in sync with the Divine? Let’s look at the incarnation story through different eyes.
#JesusStories: In Matthew 1, Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit and Joseph understandably assumed she had been unfaithful to him. But he was a good man and did not want to shame her publicly, so he decided to quietly end the engagement and walk away. But that night, an angel showed up and explained to Joseph that Mary had not been unfaithful, but was actually pregnant by the Holy Spirit. So Joseph woke up, took Mary to be his wife, and entered into a surreal story of divine proportions. And of course, you know the rest. But what if the incarnation was more than Jesus’ coming-to-earth story? What if it was intended to be repeated in some way millions of times in the lives of Christ followers through the ages?
This story, like so many others in scripture, reveals a pattern of how God intervenes upon the earth: He starts small, uses unexplainable elements, and enlists people to boldly help birth his intervention plans. While God certainly works differently from time to time, he clearly loves this particular pattern. At the very least, we shouldn’t be surprised if this pattern shows up in our lives and leadership. But how can we become bold partners for God during divine interventions? The answer is this: we must see a divine hand to assist in a divine birth. For Mary and Joseph, they both received a visit from an angel. That encounter gave them a glimpse into the God-world, and that glimpse emboldened them to engage in an impossible plan. Though it was illogical, they did it. Though it brought stress and turmoil into their lives, they did it. Though it took a long time to develop, they stayed with it. But it was that angels’ visit that emboldened them.
Somehow, we need something similar to inspire our courage and enable us to help usher divine interventions into our families, our ministries, and our cities. But, angel visitations are rare, so how might we be invited to see beyond the veil into the God-world? Honestly, I do not know – that is a Jesus thing. But I do know that divine births are real. And divine glimpses that emboldens us into action are real too. Perhaps the real question is: Are we willing to become involved in an unexplainable ‘Divine Birth’ story in our time?
#DinnerChurchQuotes: “It is all too possible to emphasize spiritual truth, yet miss Christ – who is Himself the embodiment and incarnation of all these things.” -Frank Viola
#PracticalStuff: There is great value in ‘showing up’, far more than we realize. Dinner Churches are very good at embracing isolated people, and these people in particular are deeply impacted when Jesus’ people come to eat with them – especially during the bad weather, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years. Numerous times our team has heard, “I cannot believe you guys are here today. You are the real deal.” So here is my coaching tip: Would you take a look at your upcoming holiday calendar, and if you were planning on cancelling holiday Dinners, would you reconsider? After all, this is the time of year when we remember Immanence (God here), and Emmanuel (God with us). And there is no one more positioned than Dinner Churches to model the “show-up” Jesus.
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.