Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Kainos Movement 2015 Conference | Main Session 1: A Kainos Moment – God Gets His Family Back with Pastor Bryan Loritts

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Multi-Ethnic Network of Missional Communities Kainos Movement

Kainos Movement 2015 Conference Main Sessions: Session 1 with Pastor Bryan Loritts


Previous Kainos Movement 2015 Conference posts:



The following posts will feature my notes from the strong collection of Kainos 2015 pastors, nonprofit leaders, and sociologists who prophetically spoke into our segregated American cultureOur prayer, hope, and striving is that Emmaus City will be a transcultural and multi-ethnic church in Worcester, of Worcester, and for Worcester. As we move forward, we have much to gain from these men and women who have gone before us and lead the way in Jesus' name.

Kainos 2015 Main Session 1: A Kainos Moment – God Gets His Family Back


Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Multi-Ethnic Network of Missional Communities Kainos Movement 

Pastor Bryan Loritts 

Preaching and Mission at Trinity Grace, NYC 
Adjunct Professor at Crichton College 
Author of God on Paper; A Cross Shaped Gospel; Right Color, Wrong Culture 

We do not want to just learn about God's multi-ethnic family, we want to put shoe leather on this truth we are learning and discovering in the Scriptures. Because it's not just about "me" and "my" personal relationship with Jesus. It's more. Philip Yancey describes the story in the Scriptures as "God gets His family back." As we see in His promise to Abram in Genesis 12:1-3 that all nations would be blessed through his family, the people of God were never supposed to experience His love and grace in homogeneity. Through blessing all nations and bringing them together, God intends to give us a taste of heaven.

And when you get a taste of heaven - through a Jesus-reigning, Gospel-centered, Disciple-making, Multi-ethnic church - you want more. And it begins with the ministry of the gospel, which is reconciliation. We see this in Ephesians 2:

Ephesians 2:1-10: Vertical reconciliation
Ephesians 2:11-22: Horizontal reconciliation

The three most desired phrases for people to hear are:

(1) I love you
(2) I forgive you
(3) What's for dinner?

These questions are key for joining God in His ministry of reconciliation. 
Who are we loving? Who are we forgiving? And who are we eating with?

We not only see this dynamic power of the gospel of God to reconcile His people through Jesus in Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus, we see it powerfully in the gospel of Luke 19:1-10. Luke writes about Jesus' story with a strong focus on God getting His family back. And we see the hearts of those who believe this and do this in Zacchaeus.

Zacchaeus lived in Jericho and Jericho was one of only three cities in the Roman Empire where the customs tax could be taken. Zacchaeus (ironically, his name means "pure") was the chief collector, the "head of the cartel" in Jericho of those who robbed others to fill their own pockets. And Jesus comes calling with God's Word of "I love you," "I forgive you," and "What's for dinner?"

And look at this: Zaccheus is a wealthy, powerful man seeking a poor, homeless man for what he desperately needs. God is crossing cultures. And where does God find Zaccheus? In a Sycamore tree. Sycamore trees have big leaves. Zaccheus didn't want to be seen by the crowd or by Jesus. Zaccheus wanted to seek Jesus on his own terms. But Jesus exposes us, and then invites us in. He doesn't let us hide in our Sycamore trees. He doesn't let us stay in our comfortable spaces if we want to follow Him and what He's doing in the world.

But that is not the expectation of those around us. The crowd doesn't accept a Rabbi going to dinner with a tax collector. But how does Jesus show what's going to change people? How does He put shoe leather to the fact that God gets His family back? He asks Zaccheus, "What's for dinner?"

When God comes to our house, He doesn't come to simply rearrange the furniture. Jesus came to change everything in Zaccheus' home. He came to bring salvation. And in return, Zaccheus provided gospel restitution to all those he had harmed. From the overflow of God's grace, Zaccheus was moved. How did he do this?

1) He acknowledged the injustice he had participated in
2) He provided tangible, material giving back to those he had wronged
3) He let Jesus' ethic of love reign

The American church has a history with the marginalized, particularly in relation to ethnicity, that needs gospel restitution.

We need to learn how to give up power and make equals among people from every tribe, tongue, and race in our local churches

The journey with God is not a cruise ship. It's a battle ship. It's not about comfort. It's about mission. People will cry "unfair." Let them. For all of us, Jesus is the scholarship that pays our debt so we can flourish. There is no merit-based scholarship in the kingdom.

Are we extending tangible, understandable, and incarnational gospel restitution to those we have separated from and historically taken from?  

Who are we loving? Who do we need to be forgiven by? And who are we inviting to come over for dinner?

  
– Sully


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