June 3, 2021.
Anything that doesn’t match Jesus’ words isn’t genuine Christianity, no matter how spiritual it sounds. There are numerous examples of this: false humility, using scripture to control others, offering pious prayers in public for personal validation, just to name a few. That said, there is another popular Christian sentiment today that doesn’t square with Jesus’ words either.
#JesusStories: Matt 19 records a story where a rich young ruler came to Jesus asking about eternal life. Jesus told him to sell his possessions, give the money to the poor and come join his disciples. When that proved too large of an ‘ask’ the young man went away sad. But somehow, that interchange prompted Peter to ask, “Remember, we have left everything to be your followers! What will we get?” (vs. 27). Now you would think this would be the perfect time for Jesus to rebuke Peter like he had done before, but no. Jesus simply told the disciples that for all of their sacrifices, they would be given a hundred times as much in this life, and in the eternal life to come. We need to stop and think about this for moment. There is a false spirituality today that promotes the idea that real servants of the cross should not expect anything in return. And while that sounds like a perfect ‘humble servant’ attitude, it is different than what Jesus actually offered to his disciples. Jay Richards points out that in Jesus’ parables servants were rewarded for investing the resources entrusted to them. Similarly, Proverbs 19:17 says that if you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord – and he will repay you! Today however, such blunt expectation of repayment is uncomfortable for most people. Why are Christians less comfortable with the idea of being rewarded for their kingdom sacrifices than Jesus is? That is something to think about.
#DinnerChurchQuotes: What gets measured gets done; what gets measured and fed-back gets done well; what gets rewarded gets repeated. (John Jones) This is a truth about human nature that Jesus fully understands.
#PracticalStuff: If we are going to ask people to come to there frontlines of the gospel and work at our Jesus tables, we must boldly tell them they will be rewarded and fulfilled in ways that are beyond what they have experienced; they should expect more fulfillment, more healing, more empowerment for ministry, and more boldness flowing into them as they work at a Jesus Table. Would you consider calling a meeting with your DC ministry team and have a honest conversation about the rewards they should expect from Jesus? You might even do some scripture searches together on Jesus’ actual attitude about rewarding the sacrifices of those who work on the frontlines to advance the kingdom of God.
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.