July 13, 2021.
We are always in the kettle. In other words, there are negative elements going on in our lives that affects us like the frog that won’t jump out of the kettle so long as it is being heated one degree at a time. This highlights the need for the spiritual discipline of ‘readiness’.
#JesusStories: Matthew 24 captures Jesus talking about the end times with his disciples. It is a bit confusing because some of Jesus’ warnings seem to refer to the destruction 0f the temple that would occur in forty years, and other parts seem to refer to days during or beyond our lifetime. But the central theme of the chapter is unavoidable: “Always be ready! You do not know when the Son of Man will come” (Vs. 44). But this is a difficult task for humankind who are prone to the ‘frog in the kettle’ factor. We feel a need to normalize things to create stasis for the sake of inward peace. And yet, contrary to that instinct Jesus warns us to STAY READY!
Today, there is another factor to consider. Many in the body of Christ have taken a simplistic view of the Kingdom of Heaven – as though it is only about believers being ready to going there when our number is called. Interestingly, the gospels talk less about going to Heaven and more about the Kingdom of Heaven inbreaking here on the earth. I was raised in a denomination that was strong on ‘stay ready’ message – for you don’t know when Jesus will come back and take us to Heaven. We seldom talked about Jesus showing up with inbreaking plans to be delivered here on earth and us being ready to help him do that. I would propose that the readiness most supported by the fulness of Jesus’ stories would be a readiness for whenever Jesus shows up – whether it is Kingdom plans coming this way or Kingdom moments gathering us upward. A worthy soldier is ready to follow their Commander whether ‘wait’ or ‘go’ or ‘here’ or ‘there’. As solders under the Commander of the Armies of Heaven, what is our state of readiness? And are we re-readying ourselves day-after-day?
#DinnerChurchQuotes: Great leaders enjoy remarkable resiliency. They bounce back quickly after rest, ready to get at it again. -Reggie McNeal
#PracticalStuff: This Summer we have started encouraging Dinner Churches around the nation to add a prayer-walk team to their weekly gatherings. This is based on the conviction that Jesus hasn’t just given us rooms full of secular friends, He has also given to us the ability to breathe life into entire neighborhoods. This is especially true once we understand the historic prayer-walk. The verses directed to Abraham, Joshua, and Moses were practiced by Jesus, the disciples and the First Church. They all understood the heritage of the people of God – that the Lord would give them the ability to influence ‘every place they put their foot’. And that historic heritage is what informs our prayer-walks. So I invite you to begin walking the inbreaking plans of Jesus into your neighborhood step-by-step and week-by-week. Holding this theology accurately means that when we step in, the spirit of darkness steps back (James 4:7). In this way we can literally change the atmosphere of entire neighborhoods. A weekly commitment to this historic prayer-walk should cause a decrease in crime and an increase in the quality of life for everyone who lives there. I have a book on this topic coming out in September entitled: A Trowel and a Sword. It is being produced with a companion video so you can use it as a training tool for your team and your prayer-walkers. What do you think about expanding the influence of your Jesus Table beyond your room?
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.