May 6, 2021.
We have a difficult time recognizing season changes in our lives, spiritual lives, and leadership chapters. At least I do. The momentum of the status quo causes us to wake up each morning with the expectations and assumptions of yesterday. But there comes a time when Summer absolutely gives way to Fall, and Fall is distinctly overcome by Winter. The liturgical calendar assumes a certainly seasonality in our spiritual formation. Similarly, a respected pastor in my life spoke of his church going through seasonal changes on a regular basis, similar to the four-seasons of earth. He taught about how he had to adjust his leadership according to the spiritual season his people were in. However, there is one BIG seasonal shift that has affected absolutely everything about our lives. And no I am not talking about Covid.
#JesusStories: The Beloved Apostle offered a small but potent insight in John 1:17, “The Law was given by Moses, BUT Jesus Christ brought us undeserved kindness and truth.” This verse is worthy of meditation, especially regarding the season change it suggests. Previous to Jesus’ coming, the world was in the season of the Law, which focused on the ‘right and wrong’ of all things. And then there is a “BUT”, do you see it? It is here that something different happens – Jesus comes and shifts the spiritual season right before our eyes. We go from a spiritual world governed by the ‘right and wrong’ of all things to a spiritual world governed by ‘grace and truth’. This is interesting on so many levels. The problem with the season of ‘right and wrong’ was that it left people focusing on their past failures and present struggles. This then gave an opportunity to the accuser and condemner of our souls to constantly undercut our spiritual confidence. Conversely, the birth of the season of ‘grace and truth’ placed our eyes on Jesus – the author and finisher of our faith. So spiritual confidence can now abound. If we had been present two millennia ago when that season shifted, the radical difference would have marked us. However, some 2000 year later I wonder if we adequately appreciate that difference. Beyond that, during this Reformation Era when the written scriptures was made available to everyone, we have found ourselves broad-brushing all things scripture across all of our lives in such a way that Old Testament verses have commingled with New Testament verses indiscriminately and blurred that critical moment when the world shifted from a ‘right and wrong’ covenant to a ‘grace and truth’ covenant. Have you meditated upon that distinct seasonal shift lately? This is the day of grace and truth and underserved kindness. This is the day when truth is a person (Jesus) rather than a list of dictates. This is a day when chapters of grace gives way to even more chapters of grace (most translations use the phrase, “grace to grace”). This is a spiritual season Paul called “The day of Salvation.” Are we living and leading in the right season? Because this season is distinctly different than anything the world has ever seen before.
#DinnerChurchQuotes: “Romans 14 reveals a dispute in the congregation about the meat ‘being served at their Agape dinners’ (my clarification). It had been bought at a local butcher shop where ceremonial offerings were prepared for pagan idols. Some Corinthian followers of Jesus were offended by this; still others had become enamored with Paul’s message of salvation and the conviction that this grace was so abundantly and freely given that it was not dependent on their personal behavior.” -John Shelby Spong
#PracticalStuff: The Jesus Stories bibles are NOW HERE! This is a stories-centric bible containing the Four Gospels and Acts, and is designed for secular readers. It is our goal for each of our Dinner Church leaders get a copy of this Jesus Stories bible into the hands of every person in their faith communities. These are nice bibles with water-proof covers that will make for an impressive gift to your people. We have received some grants so we can offer them for only $3.99/each to make them affordable for larger groups. Order them from the www.DinnerChurch.Com store.
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.