You wouldn’t want to miss these post-resurrection dinners with Jesus.

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They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:39-43

I wish I could have sat in on the dinners Jesus had with the disciples after His resurrection from the dead. We get glimpses of these dinners in John 20 and 21, Luke 24, Acts 1:3-8, and the passage above. Peter says, our resurrected Lord Jesus spent time over meals with a chosen few that they would be His witnesses, prepared for His mission. Peter sounds so matter-of-fact. But I can imagine the joy and awe they shared in those forty days as the ate and drank with him. I suppose they hung on his every word.

Drawn to the table, they shared food and drink, and heard Jesus’ heart as He spoke over their meal. Jesus wants people to know the what God is up to through His life, His death, and His resurrection. He has been making it know through all the prophets and now through His disciples and His church.
All people will be judged by Jesus.
All who believe in Jesus will receive forgiveness of sins through His name.

Jesus also spoke of another dinner. It’s post-resurrection and post-judgement. You won’t want to miss it!

26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28for this is my blood of thecovenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  Matthew 26:26-29

Generosity Ripples

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11You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!  2 Corinthians 9:11-15 

Throw a pebble on a pond and watch the ripples spread. Grasped between the fingers and flung to the middle, that single stone reached its target and sank, but the affect went to the edges. Like a pebble on a pond, money given may meet a temporary need but the generosity makes lasting  waves. Generosity ripples.

Paul inspires the church in Corinth by showing them the multifaceted impact of their financial gifts. When we take the stuff of earth and leverage it for the work of the Gospel and the life of the church we make waves.

  • God makes our generosity possible… over and over.
  • Our generosity produces worship and thanksgiving toward God from the immediate beneficiaries and from the people who benefit from the life of the church and her servants in Great Commission labour.
  • Our generosity is a ministry serving God and the church.
  • Our generosity flows from and drives us deeper into the Gospel of Jesus.
  • Our generosity produces affection, prayer, and appreciation of God’s grace.
  • Financial giving is only a small ripple of the awe produced by God’s most awesome gift for us — Jesus Christ.

What a privilege! Generosity ripples into eternity! Let’s make waves.

missional pastors

Tod Bolsinger responds to Gali on chaplains today:

But increasingly, this is not the mission of the church today. In a post-Christendom context, the metaphor of pastor as healer, chaplain, or curer of souls is inadequate to the task and literally killing the church.  Churches that continue to cling to a Christendom context and expectation for pastors (as seen mostly in mainline churches like my own) are dramatically in decline and becoming increasingly irrelevant to the changing cultural contexts that are far more like a mission field in the first century than the cultural contexts of the most recent past centuries for which Galli (and most of us, frankly—even me) pine nostalgically.

But that day is gone.

The Missional Movement, as originally inspired by the insights of Lesslie Newbigin expressed theologically by Darrell Guder and others, has given rise to an entirely different understanding of a pastor as the leader of a people in mission.

In this post-Christendom context, the congregation, not the pastor, is the embodiment of Jesus (literally “the body of Christ”).  The congregation, not the pastor, is the true ‘healer of souls’ going into the world to demonstrate and proclaim the reign of God.

Read more here.

Love & Rejection

“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”  William Congreve, “The Mourning Bride” 1697

Any serious consideration of love must confront the experience of rejection.  Those unprepared for rejection will be surprised by it and unsure of how to get back up and into loving others.  Most of us live measured lives dominated by our efforts to avoid being rejected.  Rejection comes in small doses and large.  Even while Jesus equipped the disciples to pursue His mission with sincere love, he prepared them for rejection.

Rejection hurts.

Really.  It really hurts.  When you’ve been ignored, passed over, snubbed or outright dissed, the experience creates physical symptoms.  In fact, according to Matt Lieberman and Naomi Eisenberger of the University of California, Los Angeles, the same part of the brain “lights up” when we experience emotional pain as when we experience physical pain.

Turn to Jesus when you feel rejected.

Strange thing: when you follow Jesus into His mission of love and Gospel life, rejection lurks.  Even though Jesus had instructed the disciples on how to respond to rejection (Luke 9:5) at this stage of His ministry, they quickly forgot it under the initial pain of rejection.  “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”

Before we condemn the disciples, do you remember the vengeful desire that rose up in you when you were rejected?  When you tried to move toward another person with love and kindness and they rejected you?  When you spoke of your life with Jesus and the good news of the Gospel and they rejected you?  It hurts. And that hurt is actually compounded by our memories of previous hurt laid upon us in rejection of the past.  Fortunately, the disciples’ relationship with Jesus as Lord prevailed.  Before striking out, they asked Him.

Not speaking with Jesus about our pain in rejection ushers us into some damaging scenarios: patterns of denial and the inability to connect with others, idolatry and patterns of destructive and selfish management of our pain.  The Disciples were right to speak with Jesus first.

Rejection and growth.

“But he turned and rebuked them.  And they went on to another village.”

Jesus can refine your character, your love, and your faith when you have been rejected.  Jesus rebuked the disciples for their vengefulness (Luke 9:55) Genuine growth as a person of faith on mission with Jesus requires the grace of God.  When rejected we realign our heart with Jesus–the one who experienced profound rejection at the cross (Isaiah 53) and then by His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit we continue with Him in His mission (Romans 5:1-5).

If you have experienced persistent and profound rejection from those from whom you had expected great care and love, I pray that you would progressively know that healing work of Jesus Christ in your live.  If you have committed yourself to the mission of Jesus I pray that when you are rejected you will look to Jesus for cues on how to respond so that you leave room for the grace of God to work in your life and in the one(s) who rejected you.

LIFE is our Cityview vision

I recently had a conversation about vision and organizations.  My friend made the statement that people give their lives to vision.  I think that is true.  Unfortunately I think many of us can live a subsistence life when it comes to vision.  One of the great opportunities that I get week in and week out is to call people to connect their lives to what matters most.  I get to help them shape a God-formed vision of their life.  As well I get to remind them of the God-formed vision we have of our life together at Cityview.

LIFE is our vision.  We envision LIFE-transformed followers of Jesus Christ.  We see people who:

Love God with their all; they joyfully live the Great Commandment and elevate Jesus as Lord in a community of worship and prayer.

Include people in the grace of Jesus; they build healthy and loving relationships for koinonia and evangelism.

Find freedom in the Truth; they apply God’s Word in their actions and attitudes for a new and freeing perspective on life and relationships.

Engage the world as a servant; they infiltrate their circles of influence in the fullness of the Holy Spirit for gift-oriented, sacrificial service.

Now we have had a longstanding statement of our mission that says we seek to create communities of devoted followers of Jesus Christ in Vancouver and around the world.  Out of that we know that we have three wins at Cityview.  We are winning when people who are far from God receive Jesus and begin the process of becoming LIFE-transformed followers of Jesus Christ.  We are winning when community groups are reproducing through the development of new leaders and dynamic caring relationships.  And we are winning when new churches are being started in Vancouver and around the world.

Our strategy has three parts under-girded by leadership, prayer, and faithfulness. 

Spaces:  Worship Gatherings, Small Groups, and 3rd Space settings

Stances:  Spiritual Disciplines and Servanthood

Domains:  Oikos, Neighbourhoods, the “building blocks” of a city