Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sully Notes 10 | Family on Mission: Integrating Discipleship into the Fabric of Our Everyday Lives Part 2 of 3

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 Christian Reformed Missional Community Network Sully Notes 10 Part 2

Sully Notes 10: Books in 25 minutes or less

Sully Notes are meant to provide you with direct quotes from some books I've read in the last year, so you can get a taste of the overall theme of the book and then begin to chew on what your life might look like if you applied what you read. 

Here are links to the previous Sully Notes books:

And here is the previous Notes for Mike and Sally Breen's
 Family on Mission: Integrating Discipleship into the Fabric of Our Everyday Lives:

Family on Mission | Sully Notes 10: Part 2 of 3

Chapter 4 Jesus Looks for a Family // Mike Writes:

“ ... if everything we've said so far is true, that God is family on mission and has always operated through families on mission, and Jesus is the full revelation of what God is really like, we'd expect to see family on mission in his life and ministry
.” – pg. 29

" ...  as disciples of Jesus, we must pay attention to the way he did things. Too often, we disregard the way he did things as incidental and unimportant for our lives. We listen to his word, we practice his works, but if we don't also imitate his ways we usually end up moving in the wrong direction. Since we are his disciples, our default posture should be to seek to emulate his way of doing things ... It's not just about hearing the words of Jesus and doing the works of Jesus – it's operating in the way of Jesus. Since Jesus reveals to us what God is really like, his word is authoritative for us, his works are definitive, and his way is normative. What is the way of Jesus?” – pgs. 29-30

“(In Mark's Gospel) Jesus' mother and brothers arrive outside the house, but they can't get in because of all the people. They send a message in, and someone tells Jesus, 'Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.' Jesus' response is utterly shocking: 'Who are my mother and my brothers?' He looks at those seated around him in a circle and says, 'Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother. This would have been so astonishing to first-century Jews that they would have never forgotten it. They would be telling this story for years. It sounds shocking today, but back then it would have been utterly mind-boggling to think that anyone would say such a thing. He tells his mother and brothers that he has a new family now. Can you imagine telling your mother such a thing? So much for focusing on family! In one fell swoop, Jesus overturns everything they thought they knew about family. His disciples weren't just his roadies or work associates  they are his family. For Jesus, making disciples is about building a family. In one sentence, he completely redefines what family is, how it works, and what it's for.” – pgs. 30-31

"(In John's Gospel) Jesus is walking on the road toward Nazareth with two potential disciples hot on his heels ... Jesus looks behind him and sees these two men following him and asks, 'What do you want?' Andrew and John seem almost sheepish in their answer, unsure of what to say. 'Rabbi,' they say, 'where are you staying?' ... Jesus recognizes they want to follow him and see if he really is the one John the Baptist claims he is, and offers a tender invitation, 'Come and see.' Jesus doesn't schedule a special meeting for these two; he simply invites them into what he's already doing. He knows where he is going, but he makes room for these two tagalongs to see what might unfold. They accept the invitation and spend the day with Jesus. Eventually they pick up a fisherman named Simon, and two others named Philip and Nathanael. Jesus and five tagalongs are journeying toward Nazareth." – pgs. 32-33

"(In Luke's Gospel) So it's the Sabbath (in Nazareth, Jesus' hometown), and Jesus would have been sitting with the builders in the synagogue, surrounded by his extended family and friends who've known him almost his entire life. ... He takes a scroll, unrolls it to a section from the prophet Isaiah, and begins to read. ... The synagogue waits with bated breath to hear what this local boy might have to say about this passage that they haven't already heard from their rabbis. 'Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing,' Jesus says. He goes on to talk about his mission that scandalously includes the Gentiles, of all people! Jesus is there among his family and friends, but he is stating the missional purpose toward which his life is oriented. ... 'Surely you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself!' And you will tell me, 'Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.' Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon' ... In other words, 'You assume that because we're related by blood that you'll get privileged status, an inside track on what God is up to, but that's not how God works.' ... They are now seething with anger at him, and they drive him out of the synagogue, out of Nazareth, and take him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built in order to throw him off the cliff. ... Let's be clear. There are no reports of Jesus' mother clinging to him in an attempt to get the crowd to stop. The text does not say that his brothers were bravely defending him. Sometimes what hurts more than your enemies hating you is your friends and family remaining silent in a time of need. You can imagine the level of rejection that Jesus felt in this moment. ... These were the people he'd grown up with, people he loved. People he intended to recruit into his family on mission. This is rejection of the deepest kind." – pgs. 34-35  

Chapter 5 Jesus Builds a New Family // Mike Writes:

Starting over with friends: ... Andrew and Simon live in Capernaum, and it seems Jesus chooses to go there next for that reason. They seem like people of peace to him. 'Person of peace' is a term Jesus talks with his disciples about later in Luke's Gospel when he sends out seventy-two people on a mission. ... Jesus was also using the person of peace strategy to find his family on mission. He looks at this ragtag group of people he can't seem to get rid of. He knows they like him – otherwise, they wouldn't have spent the day with him. He knows they listen to him  they call him ' rabbi' and are receptive to his teaching. Now it's time to see whether they'll welcome him and serve him. It's utterly fascinating to watch Jesus do this in the Gospels. We will follow Luke's ordering of the events. He goes to Capernaum because his potential people of peace live there. He starts in the synagogue again, but thankfully gets a different response from the one he got in Nazareth. Nobody tries to kill him this time. Instead 'they were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.' Word begins to spread quickly throughout the region that something remarkable is happening. Then Jesus leaves the synagogue and goes to the home of Simon and Andrew. They have welcomed him into their home. Another sign that they might be true people of peace. ... He notices Simon and his family and partners there as well, and decides to calibrate a little invitation and challenge with them to see how they'll respond. He needs to see if they'll serve him, showing themselves to be true people of peace. (It's important to note that Jesus doesn't try to force them to serve him. He doesn't cajole or manipulate or twist their arms. He simply asks and then looks for the response. As we seek to identify people of peace, it's important we keep this in mind. Jesus is never about coercion; he's simply observing, looking for people who serve him, because he knows this means his Father is at work in their lives.) The crowd is pressing around him and suddenly it's a tricky situation to navigate. He gets Simon's attention and says, 'Lend me your boat.' ... It's a big request! Simon agrees, and Jesus has him put the boat out a ways form the shore so he can use it as a natural amplification system to speak to the crowd. They are serving Jesus, putting their possessions at the disposal of his mission.” – pgs. 38-39 

"From friends to followers: ... Friends serve when they can, but followers submit their skills and resources to someone else's mission. At the end of his talk in the boat, Jesus takes it one step further by casually suggesting to Simon, 'Put out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch.' Think about that. Jesus' work experience in his father's oikos was in building, not fishing. And now he has become an itinerant teacher and healer. Why would a seasoned fisherman listen to advice from someone who clearly doesn't have any experience fishing? ... Simon answers, 'Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets for a catch.' They are following him now, listening to his instructions even when they're pretty sure they know better. The result is that they catch so many fish that their nets begin to break. ... Jesus has seen what he needs to see – these fishermen have gone from being friends to followers and are on the road to becoming his family on mission. 'Don't be afraid,' Jesus says, 'from now on you will fish for people.' In other words, follow me and I will take everything you are and know how to do, embrace it, and transform it for the purposes of my kingdom. They all pull their boats up on shore, leave everything, and follow Jesus. Within weeks, the boat that was overflowing with fish becomes a household overflowing with people. Jesus has entered Simon's oikos and transformed it from a fishing-for-fish enterprise into a fishing-for-people enterprise, and it quickly becomes the epicenter of Jesus' ministry. ... The oikos of common fishermen in Capernaum has become the place where God was visiting his people." – pgs. 40-41

"From followers to family: Friends are those who serve the cause when they can. Followers are those who submit their skills and resources to have Jesus transform them. But family are those who surrender completely, laying down their agenda fully for the agenda of Jesus. This is what the disciples eventually do. Jesus seems to stay in Capernaum for a while, using Simon's oikos as his base of operations, but eventually he begins to move out into the other towns, and his disciples come with him, leaving their transformed oikos to join Jesus in his mission, wherever it might take them. They 'leave their nets' and join Jesus. It's difficult to underestimate the gravity of this decision for the disciples. Leaving their nets means leaving a livelihood that has probably been passed down for many generations. Leaving their oikos means not only abandoning security and provision, but also abandoning their family identity and joining Jesus in his oikos that he is building. ... Jesus asks them, 'Who do you say I am?' What is Jesus looking for here? Remember he is functioning as the head of the Father's household here on earth. As the eldest son, he serves as the 'surrogate parent' of God's family on earth. He has the Holy Spirit with him, helping him to see all that the Father is doing, because it's the Father's will that he is here to fulfill. He is building a family, gathering children into the Father's household. ... Jesus calls Simon blessed (for his answer 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God'), first because his answer indicates that the Father has revealed the true identity of Jesus to Simon, meaning that they are called to be part of the same family, to share a name, to be in covenant.– pgs. 42-43

"Jesus isn't building houses with the stones of Galilee anymore; he is building the church out of rough-cut jagged stones like Peter. ... Peter consistently describes himself in builder language from that point on (when Jesus said, ' ... on this rock (Peter) I will build my church ... '), except one time, after the resurrection, when he is depressed because of his denial of Jesus. He goes fishing just once more because he isn't sure if he can really be reinstated into Jesus' oikos of builders. Jesus graciously reinstates Peter anyway, of course, and he becomes the rock among the apostles that he is called to be. From that point on, he is a builder because Jesus made him into one. It seems all Peter wants to talk about is bricks and stones and mortar and buildings (see Acts 4:8-12 and I Peter 2:4-10). ... You become part of the family by surrendering your agenda and joining God's oikos. Peter tells his readers that they are all included in this (in 1 Peter 2:4-10)! The amazing news is that it wasn't just a limited time offer for Peter and a few others. This reality is that Jesus' intention was to fill his Father's house with children, and that's why he trained his disciples to make disciples, and why he made Peter into a builder who built others into the spiritual house he was building.– pgs. 43-45

"Jesus is sent from the household of heaven to represent the mission of a God who is Family on Mission. He is the Son of a Father, sent from a family to represent a family. After being brutally rejected by his biological family and the relatives he has known his whole life, he gathers a ragtag group of fishermen and others and re-establishes a family on mission to represent his Father. You could say Jesus is expanding the heavenly family! He is the eldest son, but he is now calling his disciples his brothers, all of whom have the same Father as him. It's remarkable: Jesus is creating a family, and the mission of the family is to invite more people into the family.– pgs. 46-47

"Family on mission is what God has always been, and what he has always been about. He is our Father, Jesus is our brother, and we are now part of his big family. This is essentially the strategy that the early church uses in their early missionary journeys. We see Paul eventually moving to a strategy of planting the gospel directly in the Greco-Roman oikos, bypassing entirely the traditional religious structure of the synagogue. He simply trained households to live as families on mission, and sociologist Rodney Stark tells us that this is most likely why the Christian faith spread like wildfire in the first few hundred years of the church's history. This is the adventure we are invited to go on! We get the thrill and challenge of establishing a family on mission so that God's family can continue to grow. As we make disciples and mobilize God's people for mission, the methodology we use must be congruent with the way of Jesus. We need to learn how to do family on mission.  The good news is that Jesus will teach us how to do it, through the pictures of his life we have in the Gospels as well as his day-by-day leading that comes through the Holy Spirit.– pg. 47   

Chapter 6 Beginning to Build a Family on Mission // Mike Writes:   

"God is Family on Mission in his very nature (unity and community in the Trinity), and he has always called families and given them his mission. Jesus' entire ministry was about him being sent from a family to re-restablish the family of God around himself. We saw how he built a family on mission with his disciples, how the early church continued to emulate what they learned from Jesus, and how the gospel spread through the family-on-mission structure of the oikos so every kind of person could be caught up in the story God was writing." – pg. 49

"When we look at the life of Jesus, we notice that he lived a three-dimensional life, focusing on three great loves, three relational orientations

  • UP: Jesus focused on his relationship with his Father. He was known for spending lots of time in prayer, and it was his regular habit to go to synagogue meetings and festivals in Jerusalem that were designed to help people connect with God.
  • IN: Among the vast crowds that followed him, Jesus chose twelve to be very close to him so he could train them and send them out. Jesus spent a lot of time with his disciples, so much so that they eventually became his family! He took them on retreat with him to invest time in them. By the end of his earthly ministry, their community was as tight-knit as they come.
  • OUT: Mission defined Jesus' entire life and ministry. Just a few of the ways Jesus expressed this were 'seeking and saving the lost,' 'destroying the works of the evil one,' and 'doing the will of him who sent me.' Jesus' life was defined by missional purpose."  pg. 50

" ... we see three essential ingredients in building and multiplying a healthy family on mission:

  • Spiritual Parents (UP): Someone (or ones) must take responsibility for the spiritual welfare and development of the family. This is what it means to be a spiritual parent. Jesus functioned as the eldest brother and therefore 'surrogate parent' of his disciples, revealing to them what the Father was like. He even called them his little children several times. The early church reflected this reality as well. Paul tells the Corinthians they have plenty of tutors but not enough fathers, and he urges them to imitate him, which is something a parent would encourage his or her child to do. The Apostle John writes to his disciples, calling them his dear children. Families on mission need spiritual parents. ... Are you able to offer your life as a living example of what it looks like to follow Jesus?
  • Predictable Patterns (IN): Healthy families need predictable patterns in order to thrive, and spiritual families are no different. ... Regular meals together, itinerant teaching, times of retreat and rest, routines of synagogue attendance and temple worship, and regular rhythms of personal prayer were just a few of the predictable patterns Jesus led his disciples in. The early church picked up on this theme and the book of Acts reports that after the huge influx of believers on the day of Pentecost, they devoted themselves to the predictable patterns of the apostles' teaching, the breaking of bread, fellowship, and prayer. ... Do you respond in predictable ways to those you are leading, or does your behavior change depending on your mood or circumstances?
  • Missional Purpose (OUT): Jesus obviously instilled a compelling sense of missional purpose in his family on mission. They didn't get together to hang out and have a good time  they were together to change the world, to see the kingdom of God advance, to see God's will done on earth as it is in heaven. Their missional purpose was the driving force of their lives, the thing that compelled them to sacrifice and surrender their agendas for a greater good. Families on mission need missional purpose for their family to have a sense of movement forward. ... Is your missional purpose clear? Does it look like Jesus? Do the members of your family know what your purpose is? Is it reflected in the way you talk with one another and the way you spend your time?"  pgs. 51-54 
"Jesus' parables start as a picture a vision of reality, a truth to see and receive. But then it becomes a mirror we see ourselves in it, and we're able to evaluate our own lives through it. ... then it becomes a window we now see the world through the truth to which it points. ... We don't just know something new; we are able to live in a new way because we now see life through this window, which gives us access to more wisdom than we had before."  pg. 53 
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