Are you relevant? Does that matter? Apparently, everything must be relevant. There are many ideas and activities churches and ministries try. But what does God say about relevancy?
What is your motivation for ministry? Is it to be relevant? To do something for God? A compulsion for duty? Trends?
What God wants us to do has to come from our relationship with Him.
Compulsion can be a powerful motivator. But the important thing is obedience to God’s direction.
Does God have to be relevant?
Relevancy = culture dictates God and the Gospel.
For us, relevancy means simply being aware of your times and surroundings. We need to be aware of different things than people in wholly alien cultures and times. How did we get to here? What are the current influencing factors in society? What are the modern obstacles people face? What creative solutions are available to you?
Theme from scripture – There is more than one way to minister. The inner court and the outer court. Ministering in the spirit or the flesh
Sometimes ministering in the way God wants you to means your ministry is rejected by the people.
Those verses address our engagement with God. The following is what happens after that transformation.
The Leadership Center recruits and trains missionaries to minister in urban settings. This usually involves being undone and redone, and coming face to face with ignorances. Most of our days start off with “I don’t know what I’m doing”
Urban Missions Training participants work in our neighborhood, in our businesses, next to missionaries and Narrow Gate participants.
We are come next to serious problems, like family members of our employees being murdered. This is overwhelming.
Living in Shared Resources – Sun Ministries missionaries are unpaid. This is not a commune. The environment is shared, items are shared, we supply needs from the same pot of money. We get this vision from Acts 2, and from the teachings of Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom. This actually inspires a greater sense of concern for your responsibilities, space, shared items, etc.
These devestations are in existance partly because of American public policy to concenrate poverty, largely poor black people.
If God built a new humanity which overcame divisions, should we not be continuing in that work?
Mark Sanford and Jason watched Selma. [https://youtu.be/x6t7vVTxaic] Large scale brutality. There were people fighting and dying for freedom they’re already supposed to have. We have all inherited this history of oppression and have a responsibility to undo it.
Today, the Gospel is largely self-centered. But the Gospel of the Kingdom is one of togetherness, which overcomes differences and knits a new humanity.
The state of most inner cities was primarily caused by racism.
Policing, politics, empowerment cannot wholly solve these problems and heal these wounds. The Gospel of the Kingdom goes beyond salvation, and creates a new humanity living a new life with a new set of values.
Are you walking in the privilege you’ve inherited?
Song: Derek Webb – I Repent
Whose Gospel did you believe?
John’s gospel addressed elemental things to prepare for what was coming. More personal, and this “personal savior”, sin-focused gospel became the driving force in modern American Christianity. John’s Gospel is not false, simply not full.
Jesus Gospel – The Gospel of the Kingdom. This is outwardly focused because what God is doing is so much bigger than you.
The Gospel does not mean all YOUR problems go away. Simply look at the people in the Bible. Our emphasis must be on the BRIDE of Christ. This is a much bigger picture, and cannot be self-focused.
We cannot force freedom of the Holy Spirit upon someone.
Jesus Gospel brings healing and reconciliation.
Jesus’ Gospel requires us to steward this world with humble service.
Not just a big big house with lots and lots of rooms.
The aspect of the ministry which relocates and trains missionaries. Facilitating a missionary movement to the inner cities of America, building faith communities from a position of reformations, utilizing the other tools in the ministry, the Opportunity Center and the Narrow Gate.
Isaiah 58 – The Gospel has been lost, and if you live the lifestyle of fasting, you will repair the path to the true Gospel.
Jason went to the African Arts Festival. Racism is dumb
song: TobyMac – Diverse City
Continuing the story of Sun Ministries
God called us through Isaiah 61 to initiate reformation of the church and rebuild the ancient ruins. God has a design for Church, and we should be doing that.
Every Christian should be seeking to do things the way God wants them done. What if every Christian lived they way Jesus taught us to live?
Doing things God’s way is incredibly inconvenient.
Many people don’t question church structure.
If you’ve been transformed by Jesus, you will live more like Him
Are you disconnected from your theology? Do your beliefs about who God is, does it change your behavior and values?
Jesus came to the oppressed, and undid the oppression – He made the way for freedom.
Are we afraid that we’re going to give something to someone who doesn’t deserve it?
Isaiah 58 – What does it mean to be afflicted? “afflicted” means oppressed or beaten down. Same word used when we’re told to humble ourselves, or when God humbles His people in the desert to reveal their hearts. It actually has 5 contexts in scripture
God humbling His people
People humbling themselves
People who are afflicted
and false humility (Isaiah 58:3). The hypocrites are “afflicting” themselves. They are doing things that are essentially meaningless and ineffective, and trying to convince God they are afflicting themselves, humbling themselves. Ceasing from eating for a day is not the same as being raped.
Satisfy the desires of the afflicted – sometimes, those might not be the “holiest” of desires.
To humble ourselves is to afflict ourselves, as the people are afflicted. We do what Christ did. We lay aside our rights and become like those to whom we are sent. They are afflicted, so must we be. This is humbling ourselves. And it is how you set captives free.
The hypocrites of Isaiah 58 are setting up an if/then situation with God. This is a transactional relationship, and not honoring.
God sets up His own if/then’s for the people, revealing to them who really has power in the situation.
Isaiah 58 continues talking about the sabbath, which is NOT one day a week, because we are no longer under the law. But it is our new life in Christ, which is rest.
Rest is not inactivity, nor lack of diligence. It frees us from devising our own strength and wisdom and holding ourselves responsible for the results.
Our whole life should be an act of turning our feet from our pleasure.
Part 2 of our discussion of the Sacred Assembly. Stay tuned for part 3.
Digging into 1 Corinthians 14
What does this instruction mean about gifting?
Do we need unbelievers in our worship gatherings?
Is this passage nonsense?
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 – Marriage? Business? Neither?
The Church – a set apart people
Peter was not seeker-sensitive
How is the assembly corrupted, and what are the effects? Ezra 10, Ezekiel 44
We continue the discussion of the effects of the edict of Milan and the development of church systems
We ask, “Who makes a pastor?”
Mark has a cold.
We discuss Sun Ministries and the work we’re doing in St. Louis, focusing on our restaurant, Sun Cafe, and our woodshop that makes furniture out of recycled pallet wood.