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What's happenin' at Create Church
- We believe that each follower of Jesus is a minister. Our gatherings are a place to an encouragement to others who, like us, are answering the call to live as a missionary. We believe your family is already positioned to be on mission with Jesus where you live, work, and play. We're here to say "go for it!" and to share our stories.
Kids dismissed for Create Kids
- Next week - picnic at Andrews Park
- June-August: at Andrews park
- Online service testers needed. Contact Mark.
Discussion on Made for Adventure
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2 Cor 8-9
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Join our 1 chapter a day reading plan
(Starting again in May)
more on our reading plan: My Daily Muse
SPLIT UP INTO GROUPS OF 3-5 PEOPLE
SAY HI TO EACH OTHER! SOMEONE JUMP IN AND READ THE FOLLOWING:
- Starting with me, let's each say our names and a favorite childhood toy.
- As a group, we are going to pick a Discussion Mover (DM) for today. This person's job is to (1) be vulnerable (2) keep discussion moving (3) make the "do it" section as impactful as possible. We can nominate a DM, spin something to choose someone, or ask the group if you can volunteer.
After you have identified today's Discussion Mover, DM read the following:
- What are a couple of expectations for our discussion today?
- Is this a safe place where we can be honest with each other?
- As Jesus leads us today, are we willing to follow Him?
DM please pray and simply ask God to speak with you and be with your group.
As a group, Read and answer the following:
TURNING HIS WAY: Living a Kingdom of God Agenda
Last week we were challenged to consider 4 questions during this course of this week:
- Where do I see God at work?
- Where and how is God working in the lives of those around me?
- Where and how is God working in my neighborhood?
- What about my place of vocation/school/other community?
Does anyone have something to share that they saw?
General Theme: A different way of living
Jesus invites us to live our lives very differently from the non-Christ-following world around us. Some people have called this the upside-down nature of the kingdom of God. It is within this kind of counterintuitive nature that Jesus so often spoke. He told us that if we want to be first we must be last. If we want to be greatest we must choose to be least. These concepts look great on Bible pages but can be difficult to actualize in the realities that make up our own day-to-day living.
Share your initial thoughts about the upside-down nature of the kingdom of God. Practically speaking, how might "first being last" play out in our day-to-day lives?
How would you best describe or define entering the kingdom of God?
- Read Mathew 6:25-33. How does your level of anxiety coincide with what Jesus says in this passage? In what areas of life are you currently anxious?
How might your life change if you were to seek first the kingdom of God?
Read Matthew 4:17. Both John the Baptist and Jesus proclaimed, "'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.'" What does this mean for you at this point in your life?
Recalculating: Entering the Kingdom
From time to time, we find ourselves driving along a highway only to realize we have either missed a turn or have been going in the wrong direction for quite some distance. Maybe we were talking on the phone, lost in a song from the radio, or caught up in pointless mind wandering. Whatever the reason, we discover we are going the wrong way. Perhaps we notice a road sign that alerts us to our misdirection, or the voice from our GPS instructs us to "Turn around when possible," followed by the phrase, "Recalculating." You may be surprised to know that the voice would be accurate if it began by shouting, "Repent!" which means, "turn around."
Repent. It comes across as a rather stern, austere word—one that is not commonly used in today's vernacular. One of the only times we hear or see it is on a bumper sticker warning us to turn from sin or face the fires of hell, or from a street preacher warning of impending doom upon all of mankind. But as we look at the Gospels, we see that of all the words they could have used, both John the Baptist and Jesus chose the word repent as the first commandment regarding the arrival of the kingdom of God. Both men issued a stark warning to the entire region of Galilee that its citizens were going in the wrong direction and that they needed to turn around immediately.
The kingdom of God is not something we build or establish. It is a realm—God's realm of rule that we enter into. It is simply the place where God is the king! It is where we become, under His loving rule, who were are made to be.
In order to enter the kingdom of God, it requires us to repent, to turn around. What is it that we are turning from? And what are we turning toward? Primarily, we are turning around from our own ways and means of command and control. We are turning around from our own demands to have our own way and to accumulate all that we can for our own selfish stockpile. We are turning to God and saying, You are in control of my life. Your supply is sufficient for me. Lord, if you want me promoted, or noticed, you can make it happen. If we want to experience the realm of God's peace, we must become peacemakers. If we want to inherit the earth, we don't fight for it. We learn meekness (Matthew 5:5). If we want to live in the realm of God's mercy, we become merciful ourselves.
To say that His Kingdom is an upgrade from our kingdom would be an understatement. In pointed contrast to the kingdoms of men, which are established and sustained through accumulating more and more via coercion and power, Jesus' kingdom is authenticated and perpetuated by the authority of love. The Jesus kind of love lays down its rights and privileges every day. This is what it means to pick up our cross daily.
Love is not merely a stepping back or a pacifistic stance. It docs not stop at, "Don't return evil for evil." Rather, it moves forward, proactively. It says, "Return good for evil." The silver rule is "Do not do unto others what you do not want them to do to you." The golden rule—Jesus' rule—is "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you." So Jesus tells his Jewish listeners that when a Roman soldier acts upon his legal (but oppressively and morally gross) right to have them carry his gear for one mile, to smile and "carry it two miles."
The ongoing effect of the kingdom of God is that it constantly brings a holy disruption to our lives. It messes with our plans and definitions of both what is needed in life as well as who is worthy of our attention and devotion. This is the essence of servanthood in the kingdom of God.
In our case, we have signed our lives over to Jesus as Lord and Master. The glorious irony of it all is that rather than going into bondage, we move into the deepest essence of freedom we could have ever imagined. We arc free from the never-ending loop of always trying to get ahead.
Scholar Johannes Metz says,
It is not a liberation from our powerlessness, but from our own form of predominance. It frees us, not from the state of being dominated but from that of dominating; not from our sufferings but from our apathy; not from our guilt but from our innocence, or rather from that delusion of innocence which the life of domination has long since spread out through our souls.
We do not have to read far into the Gospels to see that Jesus clearly expects his followers to remain fully active within all aspects of culture but to do so from a different set of values and motivations.
Henri Nouwen says,
It is important for us to realize that Jesus in no way wants us to leave our many-faceted world. Rather, he wants us to live in it, but firmly rooted in the center of all things. Jesus does not speak about a change of activities, a change in contacts, or even a change of pace. He speaks about a change of heart. This change of heart makes everything different, even while everything appears to remain the same. This is the meaning of "Set your hearts on his kingdom first... and all these other things will be given you as well." What counts is where our hearts are.
It is the redemptive nature of the kingdom of God that shapes our values and motives. God wants us to possess and exercise power, but power from him, not fleshly power. The account of Satan's temptations of Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) paints a vibrant picture of the motives and means of Jesus and the kingdom of Cod in contrast to the motives and means of the kingdom of darkness.
Satan tempts Jesus in three ways:
FOOD: that which sustains life itself
The deceiver attempts to bring the focus upon us as the only trusted provider for our livelihood. Jesus models the posture of the follower of God. It is the word of God that is the overarching sustainer of life. By feeding on and obeying the Word, we will be fulfilled and sustained in all aspects of life.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: who and what controls our life
Fear and anxiety are at the top of the list of tactics the minions from the kingdom of darkness use to control us. Jesus was firm in his faith, radically trusting the Heavenly Father. He looked to God as the one who was in charge of his life and destiny.
GLORY: our source of meaning
Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world if he would only fall down and worship him. That offer is still on the table for us all. The truth about worship is that what or who we worship shapes our identity. Some people worship fashion, or cars, or living in a certain style or size of home. They want to be identified with a certain brand or status. The obsession becomes idolatrous. True worship of God means that we derive our identity from him.
The wilderness temptations that Jesus overcame provide us with an idea of what to expect on a consistent basis during the power encounters between the two opposing kingdoms.
Craig Van Gelder explains,
The children of the kingdom also live by a different set of values. They are guided by a different set of expectations. And they live out of a different source of power. This event confirms the character of the kingdom of God. Those who would follow Jesus must realize they are entering into a cosmic conflict with the enemy, a conflict they can win only by the power of the Spirit.
Undoubtedly, most of us fail to maintain a conscious awareness of the spiritual battle we are in as children of the Light. The kingdom of darkness is as real as the chair you are sitting in right now. It is unrelenting. Drawing our strength from the Lord is not only our only hope for victory; it is a sure hope for victory. Happily, the only fight we have is the fight of faith. The rest of the battle is up to God. Living a lifestyle whereby we seek God's agenda first and foremost is the initial and ongoing step toward the missional journey. If we are serious about entering the kingdom of God here and now, we agree to God's terms and God's turns.
As Nouwen said, "What counts is where our hearts are."
Biblical reflection: His will be done
Before reading this week's lesson what was your concept of what it means to repent? What did it involve and what did it lead to?
What is your reaction to the Johannes Metz quote regarding being freed from our own dominating? Look back over the quote and share your reaction.
In what ways have the three areas of temptation—food, safety and security, and glory—as discussed in the reading, held power in your life?
How mindful have you been of the "fight of faith" that is constantly being waged as Satan seeks to tempt you with same temptations he tried on Jesus?
What might it look like for your group or church to move proactively into the kingdom of heaven in your particular community or locale?
Missional Action: Seeing and Responding to God's Missional Work
Throughoul the week, do your best to keep the following questions in mind:
- What areas do I need to concentrate my repentance upon in order to lay hold of the kingdom of God?
- How can I assume the posture of a servant today? How can I serve in the situation at hand?
At the end of each day this week, reflect over your day and ask:
- In what ways do I believe Satan has tempted me with sustenance, safety and security, and finding my source of meaning through status?
- Today did I do unto others the way I would have them do unto me? How so?
DM: Conclude with the "DO It" section
WE ARE MADE TO BE LIKE JESUS:
Have you tried the "eat" challenge?
EAT TOGETHER: KEY QUESTION – WHO CAN YOU SIMPLY EAT WITH THIS WEEK?
Eat meals with people Jesus would eat with. Practice generous hospitality and invite people into your life. When eating with other Christ-followers you may want to encourage one another, share about your lives, talk about what God has been saying to you and what you've been doing about it.
New tactics for 2015
Starting church communities around common passions.
We are a
Create Church as a startup
- Startup's definition: an organization designed to create new (products and) services under conditions of extreme uncertainty.
- Startup's most vital function: learning. Which elements of our strategy are working to realize our vision and which are just crazy.
- Startup's job: (1) rigorously measure where it is right now, confronting the hard truths that assessment reveals, and then (2) devise experiments to learn how to move the real numbers closer to the ideal reflected in the vision.
- Validated learning (scientific testing and measuring of what is valuable). Assumption testing. Waste elimination.
- 2015 tactics: Smoke testing, AB testing, new minimum viable products (MVP). Many experiments coming in 2015.
More about the Forge Minneapolis Preview
Discover what you are made to do.
Believe that you are a minister, and that God has already sent you on a mission to represent Jesus with the people where you live, work, and play.
Step into the adventure of asking Jesus to give you His heart for the people in your neighborhood you already live in or group that you already identify with.
Are you equipped to make a Jesus-like impact in your world? Go on a 3-month mission trip without quitting your job, leaving your neighborhood, or hanging up your hobbies. This is a chance to invest time in the lab of learning and start to launch out in love with the community He puts on your heart.
A full 9-month mission trip starts October 2015.