MAY 07, 2023
10:30 AM (family sunday + potluck + book exchange)
FIVE SHIFTS OF TRUE REVIVAL + REFORMATION
A reformation is a period of recalibration and course-correction. Any community around for as long as the church will experience inevitable drift over time. Yet the Spirit has worked again and again throughout history to draw the church back toward its center. Key moments come when particular ideas and practices are rethought and core truths are rediscovered.
Rapid cultural and technological change, clergy scandals, church divisions, and political turmoil have resulted in a period where “deconstruction” is the buzzword. Many Christians find themselves rethinking their faith, and many outside the church dismiss Christianity as having nothing true or relevant left to say to the world.
THIS SUNDAY: Shift 3.75: A New Relationship With Power
Not so with you! - Jesus (Matthew 20:20-28)
“The way you think and feel and act about money, sex, and power, puts your heart’s treasure on display. Either God, or something he made. (MSP, J. Piper, 20).” We ask: With everyone clamoring to get their way at the expense of others, what would it look like for the church to model a radically different and altogether beautiful kind of power, and in the process, pointing people to a radically different and altogether beautiful God?
“The ancient monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience were a direct response to the issues of money, sex and power. Or think of the Puritans, who answered the question with their emphasis upon industry, faithfulness, and order (5).” -Richard Foster
“The way you think and feel and act about money, sex, and power, puts your heart’s treasure on display. Either God, or something he made. (MSP, J. Piper, 20).”
C.S. Lewis — ‘Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’: aim at Earth and you will get neither.’
· Jesus here revokes the Old Testament permission to retaliate in proportion to an offense. Indeed, Kingdom people are to have the opposite mindset. We are not to “resist an evil person.” The Greek word here (anthisteimi) does not imply doing nothing. It rather forbids responding in kind to an offense. When an “evil person” uses violence against us or our loved ones, we may certainly do all we can to stop them, except use violence. Refusing to use violence when it’s deemed necessary is of course contrary to common sense. Yet this is what makes following Jesus radical, distinctive, beautiful — and profoundly difficult!
The Main Thing: Make Up Your Mind Ahead of Time!
Sources: God in My Everything, Ken Shigematsu; Kingdom Ethics, Glen Stassen, David Gushee; Called to be Saints, Gordon T. Smith; Boundaries, Henry Cloud, John Townsend; Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller; Money, Sex, Power, John Piper; Redeeming Sex, Debra Hirsch, http://www.northwestbible.org/am-site/media/counterfeit-gods.pdf; Benefit of the Doubt, Greg Boyd; Jesus Collective: 5 Shifts of a New Reformation; Others.
For Discussion and Reflection
1. Ice breaker question
2. Reread Acts 7:55-60, Matthew 20:20-28.
a. Initial thoughts: What pops out? What is difficult to hear?
b. Imagine you are the villain in the passages What drew you to that side?
3. We are investing a bit more Sunday “air time” on the need to embrace self-sacrificial love (yes, being aware of boundaries but not being “bounded” in our mindset). This changes our relationship with self and others particularly around the big three topics of money, sex, and power. Power interweaves with everything.
a. How is power good? How is it corrupted and distorting?
4. What are the problems of concentrated power? Think about blind spots and human limitations...discuss.
5. Money is tempting to love. Why are we tempted to love money?
6. A few years ago according to the Google Foundation, a typical person needs a base of at least $20 Million [USD] dollars before they feel they can comfortably give away the equivalent of just a half-tithe (5%) out of a place of security (155). What do you think about this?
7. As regards all good things that can become idols, does this concept of moving from slave to master to steward challenge you? In what ways?
8. Reread the Tim Keller quote defining an idol. Discuss what you think and apply relevant bible passages that come to mind.
9. What are your next steps? Discuss and pray in smaller huddles of men/women.