May 13, 2021.
We live in a physical world, but there are spiritual influences affecting this world. In the last couple years I have witnessed a spirit of hate and division roll into our nation that has separated people in heightened ways on the basis of political party, class, and ethnicity. Further, during this pandemic I have seen the spirit of fear roll into our world that has paralyzed and isolated vast multitudes of our populations. Where is our faith in all of this? A part of spiritual maturity is to be on our guard against spiritual influences that rise up within us, and separate them out from the voice of wisdom. There are a couple other voices that have risen and re-risen throughout human history that we need to address…
#JesusStories: Matt. 16:6 says, “Jesus then warned them, ‘Watch out! Guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” He was talking to his disciples, his young leaders in training, when he said this. The Pharisees had a religious spirit about them; they were judgmental of everyone who were not as devoted to keeping the 613 laws of righteousness like the Pharisees were. In view of this, Jesus warned his disciples to not allow an arrogant and judgmental spirit to come upon them. Then there were the Sadducees: they did not believe in the resurrection, or healing, or anything that could not be explained in logical human terms. They might have been good moralists, but they were not people of faith. In view of them, Jesus warned his disciples against reducing down the mystery and miracles of God to only what was explainable. Much would be lost if the expectation of a powerful God longing to intervene upon the earth were to be dismissed. Both of these errant voices have plagued the faith of mankind since the beginning of time, and they are here in full force in the Church today. Judgmental Christians abound and have offended and frustrated people trying to take first steps toward Jesus. Also, gnostic Christians abound too, and have explained away the mysteries, and miracles, and healings, and interventions of our Lord until prayer is powerless and Christianity is just a belief system. Both of these attitudes are caustic to our faith. Even in small yeast-like doses these influences will rise and rise until they dominate our soul and destroy the Christian adventure Jesus has planned for us. Guard against them, Christian Leader!
#DinnerChurchQuotes: “Moses spent his first 40 yrs thinking he was a somebody, his next 40 yrs learning he was a nobody, and his last 40 yrs seeing what God can do with a nobody.” -Dwight Moody
#PracticalStuff: During a leaders prayer gathering this past week, I felt inspired to ask everyone to lift up their hands and look at them. We then asked Jesus to pour his healing into our hands – the very ones we were looking at. We reminded ourselves that Jesus wants to pour out grace, favor, healing, and blessings upon people – He just needs us to be his hands extended. Might you lead such a prayer exercise with your Dinner Church team?
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.