Sunday, November 6, 2016

For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles | Episode 2: Love and Episode 3: Creative Service Review of Notes and Quotes

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Church Network of Missional Communities

All is Gift | For the Life of the World Episode 2: Love and Episode 3: Creative Service

For Emmaus City, we want to see our city flourish in the areas or "economies" of art, education, charity, business, community development, etc. If God is the Creator the One through whom and for whom all things beautiful and innovative and flourishing come from – then we need to continue to become more like Him in showcasing His Story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration authentically and with understanding, wisdom and compassion in the city of Worcester where He has placed us. We want to be a city renewing church. For help with this, the "For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles" video series is a great resource. Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling and Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power, calls this series of episodes "The best treatment of faith and culture ever put on screen." Here's a link to the previous post:

Introduction and Episode 1: Exile Review of Notes and Quotes

"For the Life of the World" explores the bigger picture of how following Jesus impacts a person's relationship with God and others, and inspires a deepening responsibility for what God has created in light of everything Jesus has done, is doing, and will do for the life of the world through those who follow His lead

For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles Episode 2: Love Official Teaser, Quotes, and Clips

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Church Network of Missional Communities

"We'll start with the first family in all of civilization. Adam, Eve, Cain, and ... oh dear. Moving right along. How about we go to the another family. Father Abraham, he had many sons. But the first one wasn't with his wife. It was with a servant girl. And didn't he leave them in the desert to die? And then he had the promised son and he took him to a mountain to ... OK, David. Then you have that whole Bathsheba thing. Messing around with another man's wife. And then one of David's sons raped his daughter and they all went to war. Then you have Gomer running around on Hosea. Samson and Delilah. Judah sleeping with the daughter-in-law because she was impersonating a prostitute. Deception, lies, incest, murder ... the deepest truths about marriage and family? They are in the Bible. But we have to dig deeper. We need to start with the Trinity. God is one, but He's three continually pouring Himself out and in. His whole life is grace, abundance, gift. And we know that God makes man in His image. Like God, he is creative. Like God, he has the power of intelligence and reason. In his very being, he is abundant, he overflows. And like God, his nature is to pour himself out in love, to give himself away to another. So God made mankind male and female. He made them in their very nature made for another. But here's where things get really interesting. As an individual, man is pointed outside himself. This partnership of marriage? It, too, is to pour itself out. It is pointed outside itself. It is made for others. Where do we find a family like that in the Bible? There is one. Think about the holy family. The angel Gabriel comes to Mary and explains God's plan for the life of the world. It's a mystery. And she lets it be. She says, 'Yes.' And Joseph, too. An angel comes to him and he says, 'Yes.' He could have divorced Mary; he was in his contractual rites. But he says, 'Yes,' even though it's a mystery. By saying, 'Yes,' they agree to participate in God's plan that He so loved the world that He gave." Evan Koons and Dr. Amy Sherman

"When we say, 'Yes,' to marriage, we are saying, 'Yes,' to the life of the world because we're saying, 'Yes,' to children and, 'Yes,' to family, and 'Yes,' to the person we're marrying. It's all linked. Like Mary and Joseph, we say, 'Yes,' to the mystery ahead because in that mystery is an abundance. New life. This is why we can say that family is the first and foundational, 'Yes,' of society. Ultimately, saying 'Yes' to marriage is about living a life of offering. Marriage is a 'Yes' to your beloved, and you and your beloved saying, 'Yes,' to your family, and your family saying, 'Yes,' to the world. That's amazing and everything, but I'm having a hard time imagining raising up a family just to then give them away? But I think that some families at their best can live with that life and purpose that God can actually empower families to live for the life of the world." – Evan Koons and Dr. Amy Sherman

"How? One step at a time. This 'one-step-at-a-time' philosophy goes a long way. Be intentional. Anybody can do this. It's a slight shift of focus. So many times you can get busy doing so many things, you lose track of focus. Focus on the everyday things. Every little action you take is reflecting the Heavenly Father. It's about cultivating virtues as a family, and every day, asking the question, 'Are you intentionally living out 'loving,' 'encouraging,' and 'blessing'?' That 'loving,' 'encouraging,' and 'blessing' is something we can look to in every situation as individuals and as a family (1 Peter 3:8-10). And it's something we can pass on to the next generation. The small picture is all part of the big picture. How we love each other as husband and wife, and as a family, is a small picture. But at the same time, it's the big picture as you make sure your small steps are playing a role in that bigger picture." Dwight Gibson

"Dear everybody. Listen to the words of the Gospel. 'My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. My spirit rejoices in God, my Savior, for He has looked with favor on His lowly servant.' What do we mean when we talk about family? Why do we treat marriage and family like it's a matter of rules and contractual relationships? Clearly that is not the fullness of the gift. Family is the economy of love. It is the school of love. It is where we learn our true nature to be pointed outward as individuals pointed outward toward others, and sometimes towards the other of a spouse, and as spouses pointed outward toward children and family, and as families pointed out toward our communities. And as glorious a gift it is to be created, to need, and to spring to love, the grand mystery is that family is often so unromantic. So everyday. So humble. We learn our nature of love, not in grand gestures to save the world, but in normal everyday struggle to love, to encourage, to bless those beside us. In family, our character is formed and given to the world. And in doing this, we tend to the soil that is the foundation of all society. And this is generational work. And like soil, it's messy. Remember that Jesus' family tree was wrought with liars and cheats, adulterers and idolators. So wherever we find ourselves, whatever the mess our families are in, let us remember Christ who entered in to that mess, into that exile, not to condemn it, but to bring life. So family is the first and foundational 'Yes' to society because it is the first and foundational 'Yes' to our nature, to pour ourselves out like Christ. To be gifts. To love. So let us love in all the little ways that will bear fruit in the next generation. Let us be generous with life. Let us be generous with our families. Let us be generous with our 'Yes,' with our great 'Let it be' to God's plan for the life of the world. So let us start by saying, 'Let it be.' Yours, Evan."               

Review of "For the Life of the World: Love" Terms    

God's Design for the Family: Family design reflects the nature of the Trinity, pouring out abundance for the life of the world.

Saying Yes: In saying yes to your beloved, to marriage, to family, we say yes to walking by faith and living a life of offering, our priestly calling to be gift-givers in the world.

Foundations of Family and the Foundations of Society: Healthy, flourishing families create healthy, flourishing societies by providing loving and supportive environments for growth. 

Healthy Soil: All of life starts with healthy soil. Healthy soil nourishes plants. Loving families that seek to bless their communities create abundance for those living around them.

Review of "For the Life of the World: Love" Verses

Genesis 2:18: "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

Psalm 68:6: "God sets the lonely in families ... "

Matthew 1:1: "This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah ... "

Mark 10:6: "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.'"

Luke 1:50: "His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation ... "

Review of "For the Life of the World: Love" Prayers

1. Thank you, Father, that you work all things for good in the lives of your children and powerfully use your families to bless the world with your gifts.

2. Lord, I want to live pointed out as a blessing to others. Family life can be a mundane and messy business. I ask for eyes and ears that are sensitive to the needs of those you have placed in my life.

For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles Episode 3: Creative Service Official Teaser, Quotes, and Clips

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Church Network of Missional Communities

"How does work work in exile? 'It puts a roof over our heads, it pays our bills.' In that regard, work is a pretty systematic, formulaic pathway to success in the American dream. Work is mostly seen as a way we provide for ourselves. And what about how work contributes to our society as a whole? If anything, we probably see economics as a big and fragmented machine that's abstract and impersonal and we're all cogs caught up in it. In that sense, work is only about utility and efficiency and progress. What happens if that's all work is? What if that's the only way we think about it, as a way to meet our needs through this cold and fragmented machine? So the question is, 'What's the role of work in God's economy of all things?'" Evan Koons

"We're going to read a book today. It's called 'The Ungiving Tree.' Once there was a tree that had so much to give. It had branches to climb. It had leaves to jump in and fruit to eat. But this tree wanted to keep these gifts to itself. Every autumn, children would try to come and gather these leaves and make piles to climb and play in. And the tree would call the police. Every spring, children would try to climb up the trunk and swing from the branches. And the tree would release its pet python, Larry. The tree decided it had had enough. 'Never again is anyone to climb in my branches or rest in my shade. My fruit and my leaves – they are mine. And the tree took all that he had and held it all in for months and years. And soon, hardly anyone remembered the story of the tree that had so much to give. The end. This is what work isn't. When we perform economic activity, or work, it's not about ourselves. We have to think about the wants and needs of others." Dwight Gibson

"God created us to work. We're meant to make something of the world. It's part of what it means to be in God's image. We're makers. The problem is, after our fall, work has come to be a lot like toil. It's bothersome and burdensome. And we don't have a sense of the whole anymore. Work is actually a gift from God. Work helps us to discover our callings. And it's through callings that we create the goods and services that benefit people, that meet their needs and their desires as well. Let's consider a craftsman. Have you ever wondered how many hands have gone into the materials of his work? His basic material begins as a grove of trees on the land of the farmer. That farmer can profit from those trees, but what does that mean? The farmer calls a forester who will clear the trees, and then sell them off. The farmer gets paid for the trees and the forester gets a product in exchange for his labor. What's remarkable here is that both are profiting because it's in the exchange that the value is created. It is in the relationship that we find such a thing as value. And now this forester takes his profit and enters into other relationships. He sells the wood to a lumberyard. He exchanges the money he makes for the labor of his employees. Or he buys equipment from someone else who sells it. Or he sends his kids to school and his employees take his profit and enter into exchange relationships with tons of other people. It goes all over the country and soon we see that our work is not toil or something that concerns just us. It's something that creates a huge organic mass of relationships between human persons. And that brings us back to the craftsman. His individual work, his creativity, is actually one part of a larger whole even if it looks like he works alone. And it's the same with you whether you are a janitor, a CEO, or a programmer. When you do the daily tasks of your job, you are exercising your own creativity, and you're also collaborating. So when we talk about the fruit of the oak tree, and all our creativity, it's not only products, but relationships. The fruit of our labor is fellowship. It's community. It's relationship. Whether we even know it or not, we are tied into a relationship with all of the people that went into the making of a table. From the farmer, to the forester, to the mill worker, to the craftsman, and owner, we see this creative collaboration that created more than a consumable product, but a relationship with countless others. The is the oikonomia of economics. All our work, every product, is a result of a great and mysterious collaboration. It's a picture of abundance and harmony. We need to allow people to offer their gifts in free and open exchange for the flourishing of others. We need to pay attention to the partnerships we're in and seek justice where there is exploitation. When we bring wisdom and virtue into these relationships, others will benefit from that same wisdom and virtue." Dr. Stephen Grabill

"Dear everybody. Consider the lilies, how they grow. They labor not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these. Jesus commands us not to be anxious about our needs. So then why do we toil? Merely to tend our bodies? Or also to shape our souls? In giving us work, God invites us to blend the creativity of our minds with the labor of our bodies, and then to share the products of our work with one another in free exchange. To make real our communal nature, our gift nature through our personal callings. We must never see our work as simply a way to gain. We must never see our labor as an impersonal force of efficiency. We must never see our work merely as a mechanism we might control with levers and switches with power. And all our work together, what we call the economy, that's not a machine either. Work is always personal because work is always relational. Whether you're a janitor, a CEO, or a programmer, work is creative service. So let us cherish our work as the glorious gift it is: the opportunity to join with others, literally millions of others, in a divine project of vast creativity, vast abundance for the meeting of needs for the flourishing of cities, for the life of the world. Let us see every product, every purchase for what it is: a touch point, a nexus of millions of relationships. At every moment, you are surrounded by the fruit of a great and gracious collaboration. At every moment, you are being reminded that you are not alone and you are never meant to be. Yours, Evan."

Review of "For the Life of the World: Creative Service" Terms

We Are Makers: A part of what it means to be made in God's image is to be a maker like him.

Work as Calling: Each of us has been created for a purpose, to fulfill a key role in serving others with the gifts and talents God has given us.

Value in the Exchange: Value is created when we freely exchange our gifts with one another as an act of blessing.

Creative Collaboration: We create more than consumable products and services. We play a part in the divine project of creativity. In creating relationships with countless others in a vast collaboration, we meet each other's needs and desires.

Review of "For the Life of the World: Creative Service" Verses

Psalm 104:24: "How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all ... "

Jeremiah 29:5: "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce."

Luke 12:23: " ... life is more than food, and the body more than clothes ... "

Philippians 2:3: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves ... "

Colossians 3:23: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart ... "

Review of "For the Life of the World: Creative Service" Prayers

1. Thank you, Father, that I am not alone, and that my needs and desires are supplied by the gifts you have given through the work and service of others.

2. Lord, help me to remember that my work is personal and relational. Your plan for creative service – a vast collaboration designed for flourishing and the welfare of those around me – reaches far beyond my imagination.

 – Sully

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