This is our new series on becoming like family. There are five main characteristics of the kind of community we’re forming. The first one:
Discipleship – what we’re learning together as a community. Here’s our guidance from the Bible on this characteristic. Comes from Paul, one of the first to start new church communities in the cities around the Mediteranean., reflecting here on what it means to be a church made up of different kinds of leaders and people, all learning the same thing.
The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ (Ephesians 4:11-15
Yesterday, I told you about having attended homecoming at the university where I studied engineering. Naturally enough, first year engineering students tend to think they will all end up in engineering careers. My experience, however, was that after graduating we end up in all sorts of professions. My own class includes actual engineers, but also those in business, consulting, full-time parenting, doctors, lawyers, rock climbing gym owners, urban planners, even running mobile apps for commuters.
But some common threads emerge – we have learned to think analytically to solve complex and diverse problems that might not have been anticipated.
We have a similar aim in discipleship. The point is not that all followers of Jesus will become automatons with no discernible differences. They are simply to have the same aim, purpose in mind, to learn to follower Jesus Christ and apply that to the many challenges of life. The idea is not to memorize rules, but learn maturity in Christ.
We can see this diversity in the five types of work in the church listed here. There are other lists, as well, but we’ll just use this example.
Teacher – Helps others study the Bible and learn to follow Jesus.
Shepherd – Helps others live as a follower of Jesus, through close relationships.
Evangelist – Tells the story of the good news of Jesus Christ in compelling ways.
Apostle – Develops and leads new church communities that reach new people and places.
Prophet – Tells it like it is, speaks for God’s interests when there is injustice and sin.
Question: Which of these five do you understand the least? Why might it be necessary?
Coffee Hours this Week:
Have questions about the challenges, do you want to meet others exploring the same content, or connect with Ryan?
Join us for our coffee shop drop-in tomorrow night, Wednesay, October 30th from 7:30pm-9:00pm at the Starbucks in the Ajax Chapters. Look for Ryan Sim in the drink line, or a Redeem the Commute postcard on a table.
Yesterday, I introduced the idea of grace with a diagram. We will build on that now, so if you missed it, go back and watch Tuesday’s content.
Grace is the most powerful force in the world, it is what makes Christian faith stand out like a jewel---the world craves it---people are so hungry for grace, often desperate for grace---and grace is there for all people.
Imagine grace in Syria, imagine grace in Iraq, imagine grace in a time of marriage breakdown, in your workplace. Just imagine grace everywhere…grace says there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, there is nothing I can do to make God love me less…how would that change the way people act in our world?
Imagine grace in your life…a fresh start, forgiveness, a relationship with God, and hope for the future. A certain way of life, of obedience to God’s way of living is an important part of this, but as outcome, the thanksgiving for God’s love, rather than a way of earning it in the first place.
We’re invited to practice living in God’s kingdom now. This affects many areas of our lives. It reorders our priorities, views of success, sex and marriage, money and possessions, and the poor. That is a big, loaded list.
From the outside, although it looks strange and different, those who practice living God’s kingdom here and now in these ways find that it’s exactly what they were created for – that they’re living according to the script written for their lives and their world, and it’s a natural fit like none other, even though it’s new and different.
We all want to be free, and so sometimes when we hear about laws, living a certain way, we think someone is trying to control or take away our freedom. But imagine a train, that gets bored running up and down its tracks, and looks at countryside, longing to be “free” of the rails. If it does hop the rails, it will meet with disaster and destruction, not happiness and freedom. A train is not designed for fields, but designed for tracks. A train is never more free than doing what it was designed to do...run on tracks.
It’s the same with humans, we’re designed by creator with a specific way of life. For best results, follow maker’s instructions.”
Question: Have you ever gone off the rails in life, thinking you were enjoying your freedom? What helped you get back on track?
Reminder: Last week we talked about worship, and asked you to complete our online survey about worship here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8TS7K93
Reminder: Earlier in this series, we saw the importance of reading the Bible together in sync, so our new daily bible readings start today in our mobile app and web site.
This series looks at becoming “like family” with others learning to follow Jesus. We're exploring how the church is not a building, institution or event, but a community of people. It's important that explore what church means as we prepare to launch a new church in Ajax in 2014.