Jan. 26, 2022.
How open are you to new ideas? Similarly, how open are you to the unexplainable ways of Jesus when they happen? I find I’m quite open to new ideas, but struggle to hold the mysterious decisions of heaven at times.
#JesusStories: Mark 6 records Jesus walking on the water. The back story is that John the Baptist had just been beheaded; Jesus saw the need for the disciples to take a retreat; the people saw where they were going and ran around the lake to meet them; then Jesus had compassion on the hungry crowd and told the disciples to feed all 5000. After that it was now evening when Jesus sent the disciples back across the lake to find some solitude while he went up the hill to pray. But then a storm came and the disciples were struggling to row against the wind, so Jesus cut his prayer time short and walked to them on the water. When they saw him they were afraid, and then when Jesus climbed into the boat and silenced the storm, they were ‘completely confused‘ (vs. 51). In my minds eye I see them sitting in the boat in a state of exhausted silence. John’s beheading, feeding 5000 with only a little bread and two small fish, Jesus walking on water, watching the storm instantly stop, this was all just too much. This is the backdrop that sets up vs. 52: “Their minds were closed, and they could not understand the true meaning of the loaves of bread.”
We all have a breaking point don’t we? Nonetheless, our effectiveness in ministry requires us to do business with the mysteries of heaven and the unexplainable ‘show-ups’ of Jesus. That is our jobs. So yes, our faith is going to get tested against our logic from time to time. Heaven will mysteriously intervene at times, and then go unexplainably quiet at other times. And we will be left to explain the ‘surprises’ and the ‘silences’ to the church family. Equal measures of divine ‘show-ups’ and apparent ‘set-backs’ are on the agenda until the end of time. Will our minds be closed during these stormy times? Probably. Will we struggle to remember the last time an unexplainable miracle happened like a $5,000 bill getting paid with only five loaves & two fish in our bank account? Likely. But then, after a bit of rest, our minds will start to renew; we will remember the unexplainable miracles from our past; we will welcome another storm and another mysterious ‘Jesus show up’. So if your minds feels a bit closed right now, don’t sweat it. It won’t stay that way for long. Before you know it you’ll be on the other side of the storm doing the impossible along side an invisible Savior. That is what we do!
#DinnerChurchQuotes: Interestingly, almost every practitioner has reported there has always been enough food, no matter how many people showed up – a mysterious connection with the miracles of bread and fish. (Christine Pohl)
#PracticalStuff: Is your team expecting miraculous stuff to occur in your Dinner Church? Further, are they expecting miraculous math to occur in their own bank accounts as they help fund your tables? This is our Christian heritage, and are great discussion questions for your next team huddle. Yes?
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.