Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ancient-Future: Scot McKnight, "Recovering Community"

Great kickoff with Scot McKnight! My notes are here but the formatting is a bit muddled.

Five Themes in the Teachings and Practices of Jesus – Group Life for our world today

How do we move from strangers to friends? How do we move people into our “group.” Jesus was missional. He saw others. To be missional means to be other-oriented rather than self-shaped. Concerned more about how others are doing than how we are doing.

1. Shape group life by the principles of the Jesus Creed. Recited the shema. Mark 12:28-32—this is the shema. But then he pulls a text from Leviticus—it’s not from any other ancient religious writings. He amends the Jewish Creed by adding love your neighbor as yourself. Torah is about loving God and loving others. They are not to love the Torah but understand that the Torah is love. Book- The Jesus Creed. Begin living by this. Recite it. C.S. Lewis- “Forgiveness is a great idea until you have someone to forgive.” If you want to become missional, you have to shape your group life on the principles of loving God and loving others. Say the Jesus Creed.

2. Table fellowship is not about a technique but entering the presence of Jesus. A missional group life is not about a table that is a technique but about life with Jesus. Table fellowship. Map of Peter’s home- table fellowship in the first century. Our goal is not imitation of a technique but being where Jesus was. Jesus taught from boats, mountains, etc. Table fellowship with Jesus was not sitting at a table with him but being wherever he was. Luke 10:38-42- Presence is what it’s about. Don’t think in terms of techniques. Think in terms of entering the presence of Jesus. As the followers of Christ—the Church-- we are the presence of Jesus in this world. Matthew 10:40

a. We need to regularly invoke the presence of God’s Spirit in all that we do.

b. We recognize that every person we run into is an icon of God—we are made in his image.

c. As the presence of Jesus, we must follow Jesus everywhere we are.

d. We need to talk about Jesus everywhere we go. Jesus is the only thing the church has going for it—so why are we embarrassed to talk about him?

3. In the Jewish world, outsiders were not welcomed to the table. Pharisees said, “Be clean and I’ll eat with you.” Jesus said, “Eat with me, and I’ll make you clean.” Are there people in our groups who are different than us? Or are we all alike?

a. We must see people

b. We must hear people. We must hear the voices of those different from us.

c. We must learn how to meet the needs that we see and hear.

d. We must begin locally in our neighborhoods—not at our church or overseas. We must begin with our next-door neighbors. “Tell me something I can do for you.”

e. We must link locally—we must jump in and get completely involved. This is messy work. Sometimes people need things that we are not skilled at or comfortable doing. Matthew 11:16-19. Jesus was a missional person—looking for those who were different—the morally questionable—and inviting them into community. Luke 7, Luke 14. Invite people that no one else invites and the people that won’t/can’t invite you back. A missional life finds the need.

4. Group life has to be a safe place. Jesus hung out with the wrong people and everyone knew it. He attracted the “emerging” and “marginalized” Galileans of his day. Your group may be the last frontier of safety in the world. We need to be a safe place for three different things:

a. Genuine criticism

b. Appropriate confession.

c. Tough questions. We need places where we can ask questions. Serious questions lead to serious study which leads to robust faith. We must allow people to ask questions so they will become more confident in their place.

i. How did we get the Bible? And why are there so many offensive stories in it?

ii. If evolution is not true, why did God create a world that looked like it?

iii. Why are so many Christians mean and so many non-Christians loving?

iv. How can a good God send people to hell when they’ve never heard the Gospel and never had a chance?

v. Why does my pastor get so uptight about my lesbian friend who loves Jesus?

5. Group life must be a sanctifying place. There is nothing in the NT that shows the power of transformational group life like the apostle John.

a. He complains about people doing ministry who aren’t with it

b. Mark 10- I want to sit at your side in your kingdom.

c. Luke 9- John preaches to Samaritans and asks Jesus to destroy them because they didn’t respond to the Gospel.

d. By the time he writes 1 John, however, he has turned into an apostle who is consumed by love.

John 13:23- John was reclining next to Jesus.

John 1:18- “closest relationship” comes from the same Greek word that he used in John 13:23 to describe his relationship to Jesus at the table.

If we want to be missional we must be loving.


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