WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO BE PART OF THIS NEW WORK OF GOD’S GRACE?

Jana and Chris

 (This is put together from notes from the lecture taken by myself and Jana de Lange, a DRC clergyperson.This is also from my reading of Leonard’s book, Viral: How Social Networking is Poised to Ignite Revival, 2012)

 

Leonard Sweet, a Methodist Theologian and influential author, reminded us at a seminar in Centurion in March, 2015, that any ‘revival’ and ‘reformation’ is a move of the Spirit in the Christian faith that worked because of 3 things:

  • The return to the Scriptures
  • Linking the Bible to the language of the culture
  • Rediscovery and recommitment to the supremacy of Jesus

We then heard Leonard unpacked this by saying the following things:

  1. The return to the Spriptures: 

We are to lift-up the Jesus stories, the Biblical stories, for they have power to save and are stories we can trust. The only story you can trust with your life is the Jesus Story. The Bible is the inspired STORY of God! History needs to be seen as HIS-story.

We have to help people come alive to the Living Story (Scriptures), not to make the Scriptures come alive.

 

  1. Linking the Bible the language of the culture:

Are we learning the language of the day? The first thing a missionary does is to learn the language of the culture. The language of our cultures today is a STORY build on an IMAGE that comes with a SOUNDTRACK. Our mentor, Jesus, the greatest teacher who ever lived, was a great story teller! Jesus does not allow us to reduce Scripture to a set of words. Can we be accused of reducing Jesus’ work on the on the cross to the “7 last WORDS” of Jesus. Salvation is so much more than just WORDS!

The style of today’s communication today is not only about the information, but about the experience, the relationship and stories to tell thereafter. In neuro-linguistic science, WORDS are the last thing the brain comes up with. Behind every word is an image/story/metaphor. Words don’t have the power to change, but images have.

The new standard of success for this culture is not your numbers, but your narrative. Success is the resonance of an authentic story and voice. Every one of us has an irreplaceable and unrepeatable personal song. Faith formation is learning our song and singing it to the glory of God.

 

  1. The discovery and recommitment to the supremacy of Jesus:

The Incarnational One, Jesus, it “with” us. The ultimate witness is a “with”ness. Are you and I living amongst, “with” the people we are serving? This is Incarnational! This is modelled on the One Immanuel – God with us!

 

Jesus challenges the religion of the day with the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The comparison is made between the religious and wealthy, on the one side, who enjoyed their money for themselves and used it to preserve their life style, and the poor, on the other side, who are equally present and are to be loved and served, not to be chased away. We are challenged not to see poverty as a sign of a ‘disconnect’ from God, but to see God ‘outside’ also and to see Jesus being most real outside the margins. Jesus is WITH us as Lord of both the rich and the poor. It is the way we relate to Jesus that determines the condition of our hearts and of the motive for our actions.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS:

Charles Dickens didn’t like the Gospel story’s ending, so he changed the ending when he wrote the Christmas Carol. We can change the end of the story as well! But we don’t wash anyone’s feet without getting your own hands dirty. Don’t try and protect people from the WHOLE story! We need all people for the Kingdom to be a reflection of God’s glory.