I love the book of Ephesians. One thing I like about it is that Paul prays some amazing prayers for the people he was fathering in the faith. One such prayer happens at the end of chapter 3:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
In this majestic prayer, Paul prays that the Holy Spirit my dwell in us and cause us to treasure Christ in our hearts, that we might have faith and a relationship with the Son of God (16-17) And, being rooted in that love, that our eyes might be opened even more to the fact that God’s love is greater than just what we experience, but that it fills all things, not even the dimensions of creation (width, length, hight, and depth) can hold His love. Paul wants us to be astounded by and filled with awe and warmth by the awesome power and love of God.
Then he ends with this rousing doxology,
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Paul wants our wonders to overflow into praise of the great and awesome God who has loved us so deeply.
recently, verse 2o has been speaking into my heart, That God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” As I try to live for him and as we continue to move forward in church planting, I remember that God is able to do far more than we can possibly dream. His love is greater than the dimensions of this world. He has a greater passion and desire to reach the lost than any of us do. He has greater love for anyone I’m trying to reach than we do as well.
As we’re trying to forge relationships, show love, and share the Gospel, I’ve been keeping this in mind. While I pray for specific things, I remember that his love, his plans, his desire to save are greater than mine. So every conversation and at every transition in my day, I pray,
“You can do so much more than I can possibly ask or imagine. So surprise me, Lord! Astound me with your love. Amaze me with your power at work in me. Show up in a way that I do not expect and work awesome things to your glory and to the salvation of many.”
This week our glorious and great God has done some amazing things. He’s done way more than I’ve been praying for. He’s done way more than I had expected. Trust him in all that you do, and look for his power at work.
- What did you like about the way this story is told?
- What about the Story resonated with your story, heart, and disposition?
- Who could you share this story with?
How much does Community matter to our neighborhoods? Watch this short video from Incommon:
None of our current Missional Communities are in “At risk” neighborhoods. While MC West is maybe interacting with people in poverty as they meet in Jackson Park, neither of our initial MCs are really in neighborhoods of poverty. Yet I think that the message in this video can teach us something about community that is pertinent to our mission to bless and the greater community in which we meet and live.
Think through following questions:
- The video said, “People are the foundation on which a strong neighborhood is build.” Do you know the people in your neighborhood? If not, how can you take a step to get to know more of your neighbors?
- How are you investing in the people of your neighborhoods?
- Is there anyone else in your neighborhood already engaged in helping their neighbors and fostering community? If so, how can you partner with them?
Check out Incommon on their work of building Community to lift areas out of poverty.
I found the video on Communities First Association’s blog.
The church that we are working with Jesus to plant is pretty void of programs. We want it to be as incarnational as possible where we are in the lives of others. We want to demonstrate the person of Christ through our presence and participation for the good in the lives of those around us. The incarnation is when Jesus took on human flesh, became one of us, and moved into the neighborhood. We too want to enter the stories of those around us and change them for the good by pointing to the one who changed and redeemed our story.
Listen to this five-minute Verge Network video from Michael Frost entitled, “How to Listen to your neighborhood”:
As we start planting Missional Communities, listening is a very important activity in determining how to reach and bless those we seek to disciple. As you think of your prospects, Have you listened to them?
- What is their story?
- What do they take joy in?
- What do they struggle with?
- Where do they need help?
- What will it take for them to succeed, be happy, keep their family together, feel worthwhile, etc?
- What do they think they need to have in life and what, if lost, do they feel would free them?
How do you feel you can incarnate their world? In what ways can we as an MC enter into their story and bless them and show them Jesus? In what ways can we, as an entire church, do the same?
On the night in which Jesus was betrayed, he exorted his followers to live in a community of live. He said,
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
We’re called to be a community that is exemplified by love, and that witnesses through that that community to the love of Christ.
Watch this short video about this man’s attempts to reach others:
- What was his big mistake in planning his large event?
- What eventually built relationships that led to sharing the Gospel?
- Where are people already meeting in your community? How can you engage people in those venues for the sake of buidling relationships?
- What is keeping you from going there? How can other Christian help you
- How does working together with other Christians make evangelism and community building easier?
- What are your Christmas plans? Can you help hold a Christmas party for your neighborhood or social group? Are their already Christmas parties going on that you can “bring the better wine” to?
For my Core group, Read the Gospel-Centred Life Chapter 8, Look Forward to Eternity.
Check out this site as a great resource for reaching out to your neighbors