2018 03 01 Weekly News

In his book, Surprise the World, Michael Frost wants to encourage followers of Jesus to adopt 5 habits that he believes will not only help us cultivate a deeper connection with God and a stronger sense of community with one another, but will also help us share our faith with others in ways that are surprising and deeply meaningful.

The first of these habits, which we explored last Sunday, was to Bless 3 people every week – 1 fellow church member, 1 non-church member, and 1 more person from either category.

The second habit, which we will be exploring this Sunday, is to Eat with 3 people every week – at least one of whom is not a member of your church. 

Lots of surprising things can happen around a meal. One of the most surprising things about Jesus was who he ate with. His detractors regularly accused him of being a drunkard and a glutton. Jesus was neither of those things, but obviously his preparedness to eat and drink with sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes gave his enemies plenty of ammunition.

He began his public ministry by miraculously providing huge amounts of high quality wine at a wedding feast in Cana where the wine had run out (John chapter 2). The water jars Jesus used to turn water into wine had been set aside for the ceremonial washing associated with Jewish purification rites. According to these rites, if someone felt they had been ‘contaminated’, for example by contact with someone outside of their religious community (i.e. Gentiles), they would wash in water and recite certain prayers to restore themselves to their ceremonially purified state before God.

Jesus takes these symbols of the religious separation between people, between Jews and Gentiles, between the holy and the unholy, and fills them with wine, the universal symbol of hospitality, inclusion and fellowship, and then continues to do this through the rest of his earthly ministry.

This Sunday we’ll be exploring how we can practice a similar kind of radical and surprising hospitality through the simple act of sharing a meal, and you are invited!

Please see Shonaugh Moore for tickets and details.


2018 02 22 Weekly News

In his book, Discover Your Mission Now, Dave Ferguson recounts reading a doctoral thesis entitled “Blessers versus Converters.” The researcher had looked at two teams of short-term missionaries that visited Thailand with distinctly different strategies for helping people engage the message of Jesus and the Christian faith.

The team referred to as the “blessers” went with the intention of simply blessing people. They saw their mission as being to bless whoever came their way in whatever practical ways they could. On the other hand, the “converters” went with the sole intention of converting people and evangelizing everyone they encountered.

The researchers found that the “blessers,” not only had a way better reputation among the people whom they were trying to reach, they also had almost 50 times as many conversions than the “converters!”

In his book, Surprise the World, which we are exploring during Lent, Michael Frost suggests five ways we can all live more questionable lives, that is lives that get people asking questions, including questions about what we believe and why. The first of these questionable habits is the habit of Blessing Others.

When we take the time to bless others we surprise them. In a world full of busy and often difficult lives even the simplest gesture of encouragement, affirmation, kindness or support is intriguing to people. In Surprise the World, Michael Frost urges us to undertake the challenge of blessing three people every week – at least one of whom is not a member of your church; at least one whom is a member of your church; and the third can be from either category.

I hope you can join us on Sunday as we learn more about our power to bless.


15 Feb 2018 Weekly News

“What’s that black stuff on your forehead?”

The ancient and often misunderstood season of Lent started on Wednesday. Millions of Christians around the world, my self included, kicked it off by lining up to get ashes smeared on our foreheads and to hear the person doing the smearing say to us “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Not all Christians observe Ash Wednesday or Lent, but one of the reasons I treasure these traditions is that they point to a calling that I believe all followers of Jesus share, the call to make a habit out of doing things differently, what writer Michael Frost calls “Living ‘Questionable’ Lives.”

Michael Frost is a missiologist. He studies and writes about what Christians have done, and are doing, as well as should and should not do to share the life and message of Jesus Christ with the world. When Michael Frost talks about Christians living “questionable” lives he means living life in a way that will evoke questions. Questions kind of like “what’s that black stuff on your forehead?” Questions that will create opportunities for those who follow Jesus to share with other it is what they have come to know and treasure about him.

As meaningful as it may be to observe Ash Wednesday and/or choose to fast while everyone else is already digging into the Easter candy, the impact of these “questionable” behaviours are relatively superficial. But there are, as Frost sees it, 5 other habits which are deeply rooted in the Christian faith and which, if more followers of Jesus were to adopt, would not only get people asking questions but would make a substantial difference in people’s lives. They are habits which he claims would not only get people asking questions but would help followers of Jesus experience a deeper connection with God, a stronger sense of community, and have a more significant and positive impact in the lives of their neighbours. These 5 habits are: Bless people, Eat with people, Listen to the Spirit of God, Learn Jesus, and practice being Sent.

These habits are what Michael Frost’s book “Surprise the World” is all about, and starting this Sunday they are going to be the focus of a six-part preaching series taking place in each of the Anglican Parishes of the Upper Kennebecasis. If you are looking for a deeper connection with God, a stronger sense of community and the chance to help your neighbours experience these things too, then this series is for you.

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