Daily Riches: Jesus’ Shocking Welcome (Christopher L. Heuertz and Christine D. Pohl)

“Evangelism, and even the notion of mission itself, has sometimes been reduced to the words we share with another person, telling him or her about Jesus, salvation, or eternal life. Words are important, but they can also be cheap. If we use words and get words in response, sometimes we think we’ve done mission or evangelism. Ministry among poor and vulnerable people reminds us that words are rarely enough—what each of us needs is to know that we are loved by Jesus, beloved of God. Everything else flows from that. In situations of injustice or despair, words alone are particularly insufficient. People need to be loved and valued by others. They need to see what love looks like.When Jesus is called a friend of tax collectors and sinners, the description is not intended as a compliment (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34). But it does acknowledge the shocking welcome he embodied in reaching out to those considered unclean and unworthy. He seems to have enjoyed being with them. Causing considerable offense to the religious authorities, Jesus gladly shared meals with these friends and brought them love, hope, and healing. . . . Learning to see the so-called other as a friend increases our sensitivity to the reductionism, commodification, and manipulation that plague some versions of mission and ministry. Human beings who are not Christians are far more than potential converts. In our concern for reaching out with the gospel, we can unwittingly reduce the person to less than the whole being that God formed. . . . We are better able to resist tendencies to reductionism when we are in relationships that affirm each person’s dignity and identity and when we come into those relationships confident that God is already at work in the other person.” Christopher Heuertz and Christine Pohl

“If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, ‘You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor’—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?” James 2:3,4 NLT

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you know that you are “beloved by God?” Is this your starting point for ministry to others?
  • Jesus “seemed to enjoy being with them” (the “unclean and unworthy”). Do you think of Jesus that way?
  • Are some people so “other” to you that there is no chance of you ever knowing or loving them? How can you become more like Jesus?

Abba, let me love in deeds–and without discrimination.

For More: Friendship At the Margins by Christopher Heuertz and Christine Pohl

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. Thanks for your interest! – Bill

Heuertz, Christopher L. and Pohl, Christine D., Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission. Downers Grove: IVP, 2010.

 

 

Daily Riches: Jesus’ Reverse Mission (Richard Rohr)

“One reason we Christians have misunderstood many of Jesus’ teachings is that we have not seen Jesus’ way of education as that of a spiritual master. He wants to situate us in a larger life, which he calls the ‘Reign of God.’ But instead we make him into a Scholastic philosopher if we are Roman Catholic, into a moralist if we are mainline Protestant, or into a successful and imperialistic American if we are Evangelical. Yet the initiatory thrust of Jesus’ words is hidden in plain sight. Study, for example, his instructions to the twelve disciples, when he sent them into society in a very vulnerable way (no shoes or wallet, like sheep among wolves). How did we miss this? Note that it was not an intellectual message as much as it was an ‘urban plunge,’ a high-risk experience where something new and good could happen. It was designed to change the disciples much more than it was meant for them to change others! (See Matthew 10:1-33 or Luke 10:1-24.) Today we call it a reverse mission, where we ourselves are changed and helped by those whom we think we are serving. When read in light of classic initiation patterns, Jesus’ intentions are very clear. He wanted his disciples–then and now–to experience the value of vulnerability. Jesus invites us to a life without baggage so we can learn how to accept others and their culture. Instead, we carry along our own country’s assumptions masquerading as ‘the good news.’ He did not teach us to hang up a shingle to get people to attend our services. He taught us exactly the opposite: We should stay in their homes and eat their food! This is a very strong anti-institutional model. One can only imagine how different history would have been had we provided this initiatory training for our missionaries. We might have borne a message of cosmic sympathy instead of imperialism, providing humble reconciliation instead of religious wars and the murdering of ‘heretics,’ Jews, ‘pagans,’ and native peoples in the name of Jesus.” Richard Rohr

“Do not take a purse or bag or sandals”
Jesus, in Luke 10:4

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Can you imagine how different history would be if the church had followed the instructions (and personal example) of Jesus when it comes to doing ministry?
  • Are you willing to “plunge” into a risky experience “where something new and good could happen” to you?
  • Have you been helped in the process of helping others? Is God calling you to your own “reverse mission?”

Abba, lead me out of my comfort zone, and heal me as I heal others.

For More: Adam’s Return by Richard Rohr

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Thanks for reading/sharing my blog! – Bill

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Encounter with Jesus (Madeleine L’Engle, Pope Francis, Henri Nouwen, Heidi Baker, and Teresa of Avila)

“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.” Madeleine L’Engle

“Giving them the beauty of the Gospel, the amazement of the encounter with Jesus … and leaving it to the Holy Spirit to do the rest. It is the Lord, says the Gospel, who makes the seed spring and bear fruit.” Pope Francis (on evangelism) “The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission.” Pope John Paul II

“If we want to be witnesses like Jesus, our only concern should be to be as alive with the love of God as Jesus was.” Henri Nouwen

“Ministry is simply about loving the person in front of you. It’s about stopping for the one and being the very fragrance of Jesus to a lost and dying world.” Heidi Baker

       “Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.”
Teresa of Avila

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.” Acts 2:32

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Proofs and arguments are no substitute for an “encounter with Jesus”, and such an encounter, will often be through you. What are the implications of this as you think about sharing your faith?
  • There are many ways to unintentionally skew the divine intention for another person to encounter Jesus. How do you get in the way? What can you do instead to facilitate such an encounter?
  • Our need to be “the very fragrance of Jesus” to the one before us, means that the most critical part of evangelism occurs before any meeting or conversation takes place – in our preparation to give “the witness of a Christian life” and be “alive with the love of God.” What can you do to be more “alive with the love of God?”

Abba, by your grace, when others encounter me, may they also encounter Jesus and his love – and be changed.

For More: Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Encounter with Jesus (Madeleine L’Engle, Pope Francis, Henri Nouwen, Heidi Baker, and Teresa of Avila)

“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.” Madeleine L’Engle

“Giving them the beauty of the Gospel, the amazement of the encounter with Jesus … and leaving it to the Holy Spirit to do the rest. It is the Lord, says the Gospel, who makes the seed spring and bear fruit.” Pope Francis (on evangelism) “The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission.” Pope John Paul II

“If we want to be witnesses like Jesus, our only concern should be to be as alive with the love of God as Jesus was.” Henri Nouwen

“Ministry is simply about loving the person in front of you. It’s about stopping for the one and being the very fragrance of Jesus to a lost and dying world.” Heidi Baker

“Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.”
Teresa of Avila

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.” Acts 2:32

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Proofs and arguments are no substitute for an “encounter with Jesus”, and such an encounter, will often be through you. What are the implications of this as you think about sharing your faith?
  • There are many ways to unintentionally skew the divine intention for another person to encounter Jesus. How do you get in the way? What can you do to facilitate such an encounter?
  • Our need to be “the very fragrance of Jesus” to the one before us, means that the most critical part of evangelism occurs before any meeting or conversation takes place – in our preparation to give “the witness of a Christian life” and be “alive with the love of God.” What can you do to be “alive with the love of God?”

Abba, by your grace, when others encounter me, may they also encounter Jesus and his love – and be changed.

For More: Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Unfriendliness That’s Killing Your Church (James Emery White)

“The Technical Assistance Research Program study for the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that 96 percent of unhappy customers never complain about rude or unfriendly treatment, but 90 percent of those unhappy customers will not return to the place where that unfriendliness was manifest. Further, each one of those unhappy customers will tell nine other people about the lack of friendliness and courteousness, and 13 percent will tell more than twenty other people.  …Now, we all know that every church thinks it’s friendly. I’ve never met a church yet where the people said, “Yeah, we’re mean and proud of it!” No! Every church thinks it’s friendly. But what that means is …they are friendly to each other …to people they know …to people they like …to people who are like them. That’s not friendliness; that’s a clique or, at best, a club. To prove the point, another recent LifeWay Research survey found that while three out of every four churchgoers say they have significant relationships with people at their church, they admit they don’t make an effort with new people. In fact, only one in every six even try. That’s not very friendly. …If you are going to reach the nones [the religiously unaffiliated], they are going to come to you as a none. That means they will come as couples living together, as gay couples, pregnant outside of marriage, addicted, skeptical. Is that going to raise an eyebrow? Or is it taken in stride in a way that makes the person feel instantly at ease? At Meck [the author’s church], it’s just another day of normal.”

“I was a stranger,
and you invited Me in.”
Jesus in Matthew 25:35

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Stand back and watch people interacting before and after the worship service. Are people being ignored by others? …gathering in familiar cliques? …”stranded” – standing alone in silence, during the time of greeting?
  • Do you make a point of regularly speaking to people you haven’t met?
  • When you attend church are you looking for opportunities to show the love of Jesus to others – or just for your friends?
  • Have you been included – or even worse, in the “inner circle” – too long to remember what it’s like to “break into” a new church?

Abba, use me, and all your people, to embrace others with your love.

For More: The Rise of the Nones by James Emery White

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”