Our Code for Kinship

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3that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:3-4

“Koinonia.”

That’s Greek.

Koinonia is to share something in common: Common person. Common mission. Common work. Common interest. Common cause. In the New Testament the word “koinonia” came to represent the common life shared by followers of Jesus. This common life emerged from the Gospel and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

For John sharing the Gospel of Jesus expands fellowship. Our most common vision of fellowship is The Fellowship of the Ring. Could a more disparate “band of brothers” have been created by their common cause?

Yes. The Church.

The church is the Fellowship of Jesus. We are united by our common union with God through Jesus. We have been gracefully brought into the communion of God. And the product is joy. We have become family in Him. People united by Jesus the King and turned into kin. Brothers and sisters not by our choosing but by His. Our usual lens for such non-familial relationships would be friendship, but here’s the thing: we choose our friends. When I see the church I see a family I was born into by the will of God.

Getting over our cults of personality.

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1But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? 5What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.  1 Corinthians 3:1-9

 

We’ve all got “personality.” Great leaders have personality too. Their confidence makes them seem larger than life. Servants of Jesus who are also great leaders point people to Jesus and not to themselves. The Apostle Paul is battling the cult of personality built into the fabric of Corinthian society. He lays out a new perspective for them.

 

  1. These leaders are servants of Jesus.
  2. Each leader has an assignment from Jesus.
  3. Each leader has relationships with the church given by Jesus.
  4. As each leader does their part, God gives the growth.
  5. Each leader answers to God.
  6. The servants of Jesus are fellow workers in God’s Field, In God’s Building working with God. So the church is not “their’s;” its God’s.

 

 

change on the horizon

Today has been a roller coaster of emotions, as I announced publicly at Cityview that I am responding to God’s call to plant a church in the UBC Campus Community.  God has blessed my family over the past 16 years with your friendship and partnership in Vancouver.  Starting early this morning I replayed the stories of many people who have seen Jesus lifted up and their lives transformed by the Gospel at Cityview.  Thank you for praying for us and for being a part of our lives.  If you would like to hear more of what I shared, listen to the talk that will be uploaded later in the week at www.cityviewchurch.ca In the meantime, please pray for Cityview and for my family as we go through this transition.  Our last Sunday will be July 18 and in September we will give our full attention to the UBC Campus Community.

the compassion of Jesus

I enjoy Open Table.  When we share the meal and time together as brothers and sisters inThe Compassion of Jesus Christ  on Thursdays at Cityview for our community meal I get really excited about what Jesus is doing in our lives.  Plus we have really good food!  This week we prepared ourselves for the Lord’s Supper by reflecting on the compassion of Jesus.  Its really a bit surprising.  Our cultural disposition is quite accusatory towards those who preach.  But when it came to compassion that’s exactly what Jesus did.

You see compassion is to be moved toward another person by the reality of their condition.  In this case Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake with his tired and hungry disciples seeking a quiet place.  But instead of quiet they found a crowd.  Jesus “saw the large crowd and had compassion on them because they were sheep without a shepherd.  So he began teaching them many things.”

Obviously Jesus was an entertaining teacher; he taught through the day and past dinner.  But more than that was going on.  He recognized that the most desperate hunger of the crowd’s souls could only be met by truth, by Him, by the good news of His Kingdom.  So he taught them.  The truth could set them free.  Now before you shut Jesus and the church off, see what happens next in the account from Mark.

The disciples, probably being really hungry themselves, recognized that the crowds of people where in a desperate situation for food.  They were away from the towns and villages and the families that had spent the day with Jesus were now very hungry.  The Disciples wanted Jesus to send them away.  This is not compassion.  The disciples were not moved toward the people.  Rather, once they recognized the condition of the crowd, the disciples wanted to be done with them.  I love what happened next.

Jesus told the disciples to feed the crowd.  When they protested that it would cost eight months of wages, Jesus told them to see “what they had.”  In other words Jesus told them go find out what this community had.  When they came back with five loaves and two fish, Jesus took this community offering and fed them all.  They collected twelve baskets of leftovers.  Now that’s hard to believe.  And in case you are wondering the disciples had a hard time accepting Jesus’ authority of nature as well.  Just notice that even within the next twelve hours they were astonished that Jesus had this kind of authority.

My observations here are about the compassion of Jesus.  1.  He was moved towards people because of their condition:  their interior world was lacking  truth, specifically the truth about Him and the Kingdom; so, he taught them.  2.  He was moved towards people because of their condition the physical reality of hunger; so, he had his disciples gather what was already present in the community and share it beyond what one would have thought possible.

I believe Jesus was nurturing the spiritual motives necessary for His disciples to be a movement:  Complete trust and dependence in Him and compassion for the lost.  If we are to join Jesus in His work we must ask the Holy Spirit to nurture these motives in us.  Otherwise, we will keep our mouths shut in a culture that is suspect of truth proclamations and we will run away from people whose needs exceed what we have in our pockets.  Two aspects of our ministry of the gospel of the Kingdom that must be held together tightly:  proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus’ grace and the sharing of our community’s resources in the name, power, and character of Jesus.  Clearly Glenn Beck is not the first to struggle with Jesus’ ability to hold these two realities together, nor will he be the last.