To listen to the audio teaching of these notes click on the link:
Introduction: This mini-series of Reconciliation & Transformation is part of ‘fishing the world’ to turn the church outward to engage in social transformation. I’m teaching on this because of the growing racism and polarization in our nation. Plus, the Church ought to be the reconciler and healer in society. I shared my story of crossing the divides in SA under Apartheid to seek reconciliation with brothers and sisters in Soweto. Then we had two weeks of story telling from people representing the major race groups in SA. Our stories of racial consciousness and hurt only find redemption and meaning to the extent they become part of and are interpreted by God’s Greater Story of Reconciliation and Transformation – else we may become imprisoned by anger and hatred.
Reconciliation is to ‘make peace’ (restore Shalom) by removing the cause of alienation and division, thus making the two one again (Matt 5:9). And transformation is a change of heart, attitude and behaviour, by God’s Spirit and our responses to his work in us.
So, here is the sweeping storyline of God’s work acted out in human His-Story:
God’s Seven Act Drama of Reconciliation & Transformation.
Act One: CREATION – God’s Garden of Delight
In the beginning God created all things ‘good’. He then created humanity (Adam & Eve) in his image and likeness (‘very good’) to rule under God over creation through Shalom. Shalom is more than peace: it’s God’s order, wellbeing, harmony & abundance, through right relationship with God, ourselves, each other and creation. The Garden of Eden (‘Delight’) was a replica of heaven on earth: Adam & Eve were ONE with God, each other and creation, in an exquisite eternal dance of delight, love and community. Continue reading Reconciliation & Transformation: God’s 7 Act Drama of His-Story
For the audio of this talk, click on http://followingjesus.org.za/sermons/following-jesus-vision-and-plan/
Hello fellow travellers on the journey of Following Jesus! I invite you to take time to prayerfully read this very important letter summarising our decisions regarding the 2020 Vision & Planning process.
The journey: Alexander was inducted as team leader/Senior Pastor of Following Jesus on 20 January 2013. His vision was to ‘replant’ the church by a) re-gathering and healing people, and b) re-laying a foundation of what it means to truly follow Jesus – how we do life, church, leadership, ministry and mission – represented in the circled triangle of our core values: Following God, Forming (in) Community, Fishing the World.
Alexander came with a clear conviction of his life MISSION and that of the church he would lead – this church! The OT (Oversight Team/eldership) accepted and adopted it as our church mission. A Mission Statement is one’s reason for existence, of being; answers ‘who are you?’; giving a sense of identity and calling under God. What is your personal life mission? Our church is committed to this stated mission: Following Jesus and making followers of him, learning to live a life of love just as Jesus loved us. Continue reading Following Jesus Pastoral Letter: 2020 Vision & Plan
To listen to the audio teaching click http://followingjesus.org.za/sermons/being-the-beloved-forming-community-by-practicing-family-part-23/
Recap: Being the Beloved – The Basic Framework
Jesus of Nazareth came proclaiming and inaugurating God’s Kingdom. To enter and experience God’s Kingdom we must “repent and believe” (Mark 1:15). How do you do that? By obeying Jesus’ call: “Come, follow me, and I will make (form) you, into people who fish others for the Kingdom” (Mark 1:16-18). Hence Jesus’ three core Kingdom values: Following Jesus, Forming (in) Community, Fishing World. We’re following Jesus… in community… for the world. These values are centered in God’s personalized love for us in Jesus, “The Beloved” (Mark 1:11). In him we’re accepted and given a new identity, “God’s Beloved”, to live a life of love just as Jesus loved us (Eph 1:6, 5:1-2). We live these core values, centered in Freeing Love, as Fits our particular Context.
To live these Kingdom values and become The Beloved, we must prioritize four key practices for each value. For four months I taught on what it means to be The Beloved, then another four months on the four priorities and practices that enable us to live our highest value: Following Jesus in relational intimacy and co-working by the daily discipline of The Word, Worship, Prayer and Holy Spirit Administration.
Remember, I also taught on support and accountability in our daily disciplines: Using the circled triangle to ask the five basic questions of spiritual formation. Are YOU in an accountability group of 2 or 3 or 4 spiritual companions? How is it going? I now begin to teach on the second core value, Forming Community – Being Formed in Community, and the four priorities and practices that make it a reality: Family-Relationships, Healing, Servant Gifts and Equipping. Next year I will teach on Fishing the World. Continue reading Forming (in) Community by Practicing Family (Relationship)
Recap: For All God’s Worth
To follow Jesus – to grow intimate relationship with the Father in his Son by his Spirit – we prioritize and practice devotion to God’s Word, and to Worship. God’s Word is his self-revelation to us. Our response to his self-giving disclosure is worship: the gift of our self in responding disclosure and full surrender of ALL who we are and possess, to ALL who he is and has done for us, that God may possess us in utter mutual delight. When you encounter Someone so significant, so beautiful, so majestic and all loving, you cannot but respond with awe and adoration. Think of the moments when beauty breaks through – seen in creation, in people, in the arts, in God’s goodness to you, and above all in Jesus of Nazareth – tears of appreciation and joy well up in you… that is worship… because God is Ultimate Beauty!
‘Worship’ comes from ‘worth-ship’, meaning ‘giving God all he’s worth’. Worship is: For All God’s Worth! Who or what is more worthy of our worship, of our love and our lives? Thus worship is both an act of loving God (proskyneo, in church and in personal times with God) and a lifestyle of serving God (latreuo, all we do every day is for God)… or is it? God is not our butler, at our beck and call, “You rang?” – there to serve us whenever we need him.
A Kingdom View: Worship is Heaven on Earth
A ‘Kingdom view’ of worship is this: the promised end of the world, God’s future Rule and Reign, the Kingdom of HEAVEN, has already come to earth. It broke into human history in the man Jesus of Nazareth. What is the picture of worship in heaven… now come to earth? Continue reading Following Jesus by Practicing Worship – Part Two