While most people look for a new “church” structure to emerge that will guarantee a better community, it will not work. Management systems are from the old creation and not one has ever been devised that cannot be exploited by selfish people for their own gain. If we’re going to experience the life of the new community we have to think different people who live in his love, not different structures that will protect us. And rather than looking for that in others, the challenged is to let Jesus create that in us first.
You can join the discussion of Chapter 7: A New Kind of Person here. The first question we’re wrestling with is this one: “This is one of my favorite chapters because it begins to move the discussion from our congregational systems and how we change them, to what kind of person do I need to be to find my way into the church Jesus is building. It never has been a place to go, his church is the reality of relationships people share in the new creation. Instead of looking for a way to manage competing interests for control, personal gain, or approval from others, the new creation invites us into a lifestyle of sharing and caring about others. Only by a growing trust in Father’s love for us will we find ourselves able to engage others in a way that is more focused on them and what they need, rather than on us and what we need. I would love to hear how you see a growing trust in God’s love setting you free to treat others differently? How is that being shaped in you?”
You can find the discussion board here and see the list of topics we’ve covered. You can start at Chapter 1 and work your way through, or just join us in Chapter 7.
Can you imagine the kind of community that would be unleashed on the world if the people in it were more preoccupied with the realities of Jesus’ kingdom—faith, hope, and love—than they were with their own provision, significance, and power? It would be amazing but it is not something human effort can produce. Our response to the appetites of the flesh and our passion for his kingdom are more visceral. Healing does not come by knowing better and trying harder.
Those growing in a relationship with Jesus, however, don’t share the same angst. They realize the structures of this world cannot accomplish the work of the kingdom and that Jesus’ reality supersedes the things that are valued in this age. Trusting God for their resource, they don’t have to manipulate people for money. Resting in God’s acceptance of their lives, they don’t look for their validation by what others think or say. And, knowing that Jesus gets the last word on everything, they see no need to claim power over others.