Demonstrating the Kingdom in Our Everyday Spaces – The NEW Culture

Whilst reading through a chapter of Mark’s gospel and prayerfully reflecting on its context and meaning for us, some of our church family members have begun discovering that at the very least representing and in an ever increasing way actually demonstrating the kingdom of heaven on the patches of earth we call our homes, work places or community involvement spaces IS starting to become the new default position.

I have heard a half a dozen stories this week of conversations or scenarios (in family situation and a couple of work places) where God has turned up because the story tellers’ have simply BUT intentionally thought about how Jesus would respond and have had a go at responding that way. This is how Jesus mode of equipping works. He came to earth to do it whilst we observe. He kept demonstrating His Father’s kingdom and invited the observers to dabble. He encouraged faith in the observer to more and more trust in the Father’s promise of resource and power and then Jesus sent the observers into the field to have a go and report back; all the while growing in their relationship with Jesus and each other. This is the body of Christ in community.

The original 12 disciples, like us, were all shaped uniquely with specific gifts, skills and a particular scope of responsibility within which to utilize those unique things. E.g. Peter to the Jews and Paul the whole Gentile world etc.

ALL 12 needed to journey with Jesus and as they became more intimate with Him, more was revealed and more of what was done in the name of Jesus came out of the fruit and character forged in the heat of close accountability with the equipper – in this case Jesus.

This is what we will discover too if we stay true to this. Some of us will serve with hospitality gifts specifically to the immediate neighbourhood whilst some of us will serve the whole community. Some will be team workers; some will be coordinators of teams of workers and so on. Let’s keep testifying to God’s love in action as Jesus BUILDS HIS CHURCH.

HOPE College Goes Public

I’ve been in constant communication with Jason this week as we edge ever closer to launching HOPE College. We have been talking with friends from across churches in our area and from our wider network towards developing a strong pillar of support as we refine the study opportunity. We have completed the full student guide book and an introductory leaflet and will commence distributing this information during this coming week.

To help the process I have constructed a 3rd link to the HOPE College page which will be where we can find information and I’ve added the link to the end of this week’s journal so you can all have a look and learn as much as you’d like to about what we are trying to do.

Even though the main study opportunity will commence in 2018, we are praying about hosting a Summer Intensive as a taste and see. Please pray with us as this all starts to become tangible and as we consider logistics like times and dates etc.

OPEN Day is a GO!

As we work hard to wrap up the first major stage of the refurbishment of our facilities which is focused around making it easier for people who aren’t familiar with church life and the like to access safe spaces where they can engage with Jesus, you will soon receive invitations so you can invite people to our OPEN Day event Sunday 26th November 10am to 1.30pm. There will be music presentations, a tasty BBQ, facility tours, new info brochures & more. Please pray & join the hosting team so we can share our excitement about this new season with people who we’d love to experience God’s favour and His transforming love.

Mark Chapter TEN (What did Jesus actually DO?)

  1. By this time Jesus had forged a habit of teaching the crowds that gathered. (vs 1)
  2. When challenged again by the religious leaders who were trying to find a way to test Him, Jesus asked them a question based on THEIR laws. Jesus most often shared the truth of the kingdom by starting from the enquirer’s own safe space. (vs 2-4)
  3. Jesus on THIS occasion used the truth He had taught them BEFORE (cf. Mark 7:6-13) to remind them that the reason they favoured their traditions over the commands of God was because they had HARD HEARTS. (vs 5-9)
  4. Jesus once again was taking those He was teaching beyond the human condition into the kingdom of heaven which was ONLY possible IN Christ and certainly not possible via human regulation. (vs 5-13) E.g. ’you have heard that it was said, do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with their brother will be subject to judgement’ etc. (Matt. 5: 21-22)
  5. Jesus rebuked the disciples for trying to protect Him from the ever present line of small children with their parents seeking a touch and a blessing. Once again He used the actual circumstance to represent and demonstrate the kingdom of heaven by taking children in His arms and blessing them. (vs 13-16)
  6. Jesus challenged the young ruler’s premise by helping him understand who he was addressing. If no one is good but God then ….. (Good without Go(o)d is nothing) again leaving the responsibility with the enquirer. (vs 17-18)
  7. Jesus then answered the young ruler’s question with wisdom and discernment, intentionally leaving out what would be a stumbling block. Jesus loved him enough to tell him the TRUTH and leave it with the young ruler to work out. Jesus didn’t chase him down the road to offer an easier option. (vs 19-23)
  8. Jesus then further equipped His disciples by reminding them that logic and reason can’t answer the questions of the heart and soul. Not possible for humans without a deepening intimacy with Jesus. Jesus encouraged them for their sacrifice but reminded them that obedience is better and that sacrifice can lead to pride – be careful, a gift can become a demand that takes a position of power over not power under very easily (24-31)
  9. I don’t think it is any coincidence that while the disciples were in this frame of engagement that He again sowed the seed of the Cross into the discourse; directly related to the idea that ‘to obey is better than sacrifice’ (vs 32-34)
  10. Jesus reminds the disciples that the way to represent and demonstrate the kingdom of heaven on the earth is to serve God and others and be obedient even unto death – not positional power but lifting others up power. (vs 35- 45)
  11. Jesus singles out a particular example / level of faith or desperation in order to teach onlookers that he will heal based upon a genuinely faith FULL request (vs 46-52)

Here’s the Link to What’s Happening at the HUB this week

Here’s the Link to this week’s Prayer Diary for The HOPE Project

Here’s the Link to HOPE College advertising, Student info & Application Process