Feb 18, 2021.
If Covid has done anything, it has increased the digital noise flooding upon each of us. Zoom invites, email advertisements, text advertisements, and message waiting & notice beeps sounding from all of our devices. Something is dinging every couple minutes and calling us to respond. This is our life now. And it is not as though we didn’t have enough distractions before 2020. All of this is probably disturbing us more than we realize. I actually had a dream a couple nights ago that I was could not find my office. And later I was a bird that couldn’t find a branch to land on. (No wonder I woke up tired). Where might your pandemic displacement be symptomizing?
#JesusStories: I am deeply thankful for Mt. 6, where Jesus addressed our human tendency to get all spun up in worries: not enough food, not enough clothes, not enough time, not enough money, etc. The concerns that are avalanching upon us right now are actually rooted in this age-old list of worries. Speaking to this human condition Jesus instructed us to stop trying to solve tomorrow and come back to the provisions of today. “Tomorrow”, he said, “will take care of itself.” Once we put away the concerns of tomorrow, the restoration of our souls begins. So simple but so true; So basic but so transformative. However, it is vs. 33 that speaks loudest, “More than anything else, put God’s work FIRST and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.” (Contemporary English Version). This is big. When we get swallowed up in distractions and a multitude of voices, we really need to know what is FIRST. When we begin to drown in our schedules, it means we lost our FIRST. I know that sounds odd, but the human mind must always know what is FIRST. When we have our FIRST in focus, order is restored. In this verse Jesus reminded us what our FIRST is. And this is it – to engage in God’s inbreaking kingdom plans! When we put tomorrow away and engage in the work Jesus has for us today, divine order and unexplainable provision starts flowing into our lives. Those needs we would normally worry over resolve naturally. Here is the truth of it – when we focus on Jesus’ work, he focuses on our concerns. Lord, help us direct our time and money FIRST toward your inbreaking kingdom, because we know you are focusing upon us.
#DinnerChurchQuotes: It is clear from the NT that the Early Church saw itself as living in ‘the time between the times’ – the time between Jesus’ disarming the powers of darkness and taking his seat at the right hand of God, and the time when his reign shall be unveiled among the nations. -Lesslie Newbigin
#PracticalStuff: We all need to meet and talk and ask questions and share stories. To that end, I have began weekly Prayer/Convo for Dinner Church leaders on Thursdays @ 4:30pm (pacific time). These are half hour segments for us to strengthen each other in the Jesus Table vision that has been entrusted to us. I’d love to have you join in each week. The zoom link is:
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.