Simplicity And The American Way
What a summer and a crazy couple of weeks.
A joy to be together for the Syndicate Family Reunion (and our Micro Church Summit)
-27 micro churches across 7 networks/collectives like RH
-Vision, to see 800 missionary units reaching out to every neighborhood in our valley.
-committed- to the mission
-MC’s emerge-Prayer and fasting, live BLESS rhythms
-Specific Calling-burden for people, place
-Underground Network (looking at Nationwide partnership gathering in November)
-Micro is about simplicity.
Great to celebrate our 5 years of RH
And it is a moment of transition and real questions about what the future holds.
Doubled in size the last year.
What is happening? Boise Friends has given us 90 days notice to vacate our usage as a church. (we have an agreement in place for the Wonder School through the end of the year)
Why is this happening? We don’t know their motives. A new team took over the management of the building from Boise Friends and they seem pretty committed to us leaving unless we pay an amount that is nearly double the market price.
This is disappointing. We had hoped for a long term home where we could stay in this dingy gym and reach the west bench from here....
This is not just about losing our space, it is a question of what are we about and where are we going.
Prayer next Sunday, give generously in this season,
-Doubled in size, only increased giving by 50%
Prayer Weekly, Fast one day per week. Listen to the Father and see where he leads.
No Fear, just a realization that this is where God wants us, liminal spaces
2 things we aren’t going to hit in depth and why:
CULTURE AND ETHNICITY
Similarly, we affirm that every culture and ethnicity, while imperfect, reflects the mosaic of God’s own image and together we better glorify and serve the God of a diverse Creation. We value every people, language, and culture in our Valley and in the world. We believe that the church of Jesus Christ was meant to demonstrate the power of the gospel through reconciliation, unity, and the beauty of a multi-ethnic community. For that reason we do not just admire multi-ethnic communities, but purpose to become one. We do not believe in being color blind. Rather, we hope to accept and include the beauty and wisdom of every culture in our city and in our communities.
(Gen 1:27, Ps 67:2-3, Is 56:7, Dan 7:13-14, Jl 2:28, Hag 2:7, Mal 1:11, Jn 17:20-22, Acts 10:34-35, Acts 17:26-27, Rom 14:11, Rom 15:5,6, 1 Cor 12:12-14, Eph 2:14-22, Phil 2:10-11, Rev 5:9-10, Rev 7:9, Rev 14:6).
This is a non-story. The people of God are diverse and beautiful…and our first loyalty is to the Kingdom and God’s people around the world (especially foreigners living among us) rather than our national identity.
and we did a pretty significant series on this:
We are Sent People living Sent.
We will live out Christ’s mission because we are sent people just as he was sent. We believe that the church is not the church until it is engaged in the mission for which God has called it to. We crave healing, discipleship and intimacy with God. But we believe that all of these things come in large part through obedience to the mission. We believe that healing comes through offering healing to others and that discipleship does not primarily take place in a lecture but rather in doing. We believe that intimacy with God comes from being in his presence and through submission to his will, by doing what he is doing. Since we believe that the life of Jesus and the early church demonstrated that God himself is with the lost and the poor of the earth proclaiming the Good News of His Kingdom, we also believe that when we co-labor with him as workers in his harvest field, we not only bring the kingdom into that place, but that we also experience the deepest and truest intimacy with God.
(Ps 51:10-13, Is 58:6-8, Matt 9:35-38, Matt 25:40, Matt 28:18-20, Mk 1:14-15, 38, Lk 4:18-21, Jn 4:34, 35, Jn 6:27, Jn 9:4, Jn 12:26, Jn 15:9-10, Jn 17:18, Acts 1:8, Rom 15:20, 1 Cor 15:58, 2 Cor 5:18-19, Eph 2:10, Phil 2:3, Col 3:17, 23, 1 Jn 3:18, 1 Pet 2:9).
Now a value that will challenge us at every turn:
We commit to live a life free from clutter and the allure of materialism. We affirm that every believer and every community of believers has a responsibility to renounce the sins of its own people. As North Americans we renounce the slavery and idolatry of materialism by embracing a simple lifestyle. We do not believe that money or things are in themselves evil or to be avoided, but that the love of money and things is one of the greatest perils western believers face in our time. We willingly use material things and wealth for the service of the Kingdom, but not for personal fulfillment or inappropriate luxury. In doing so we pursue wholeness and completeness socially while pursuing a single minded devotion to God.
(Ecc 5:10, Matt 6:19, 24, 26, Matt 10:10, Mk 4:19, Mk 12:43, Lk 9:3, Lk 12:15, 33, 1 Tim 6:7, Heb 13:5).
now lets unpack that.
Material stuff is not itself sin....lets start there.
This world and all of the things it provides is meant as provision for us.
-minerals for building and nutrients
-sun, rain dirt and seasons and seeds for growing food and clothing
-animals for proteins and clothing
It is all just sitting here for us to use. Lets stop and appreciate that.
Now it is by our work that we extract the value and create something that brings human flourishing, and that was always God’s plan.
It is not just here to admire, but to use. and no matter how we rearrange the molecules on earth....none of them are lost or diminished by our use. There has not been an ounce of energy or an atom lost in all of the history of our 14 Billion year old universe.
So we love the earth and care for it because it is a gift for us from God.
But of course, we are humans and we can take any good thing and turn it into:
-an excess of appetite
-a tool for domination
But it is not just good or evil, it is the fabric of reality. We are not spirit, we are spirit and flesh…and our body inhabits this material world and has real needs for food, shelter, relationship, and safety. Just like alot of things in our world…possessions are an appetite to manage rather than a good or evil that must be embraced or eschewed in ascetic simplicity.
And so we must look at Jesus and HIs disciples to learn their relationship to the material world and how we should see and relate to it.
We can trust that Jesus’ way is good, right? We can follow him, even in his radical relationship to stuff? I think so.
Lets start with Jesus and his disciples:
-left their vocations
-at the mercy of hospitality of others
-had to trust God for provision
-Had a shared purse for expenses (presumably from donations)
-First instinct was to pay for food at feeding of 5000
-value of hospitality
-For a season
Now lets look at Jesus’ teaching on material wealth:
“Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it.
-this was the ethos of the early church
-security in ancient world was much more difficult to obtain than today.
-direct command of Jesus: Give to those in need so you don’t waste your resources in hoarding them
-All of your stuff is disintegrating…harddrive died this week from lack of use....
but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.
-material wealth and worry from provision will choke out the teachings of Jesus
-Wealth is deeply tied to our relationship with God and scarcity
-must adopt a mentality of abundance....that God will provide tomorrow for what we need. and tomorrow may never come.
Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.
-short term trip
-still an exchange of value: kingdom work for provision from God’s people
-Even though our community likes the bi-vocational model of kingdom service, we believe deeply that those who commit themselves as full time missionaries deserve the support of God’s people, and it brings us shame when we do not provide generously.
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.
So straight forward.....but we forget
-generational blessing has become a buzz-word
-wealth destroys families and people
-Michael Jordan’s house in Chicago $14M
-Go to an estate sale and be reminded that your neighbors will pick through your stuff and your kids will throw most of it away because it is worthless in 10, 20 or 30 years
-Even our real estate....needs completely revamped every 27.5 years
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.
This is the crux....and I want to correct this text:
-the two masters are not God and some spirit called Mammon
-the second master is your flesh, your appetites, ambition and approval (money is a proxy for all temptation)
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
-We must remember, that all things, all things....every thing in the universe will move towards chaos....but that God is making anew what we need each day month and year
And we come to Paul to see what it looks like to embrace the kingdom way of simplicity just like Christ in the 1st century…and whoa is it good.
Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
Let’s unpack this pastoral word from Paul to Timothy.
-contentment is reasonable....and brings us joy.
-Reasonable: Greed will not lengthen your days or bring you joy
Discontentment will steal your joy
Start with nothing, end with nothing
Food + Clothing = contentment
-Contentment is not just about money:
-remember money is a proxy for all the temptations
-Are you unhappy in your job: Desire for significance
-Are you unhappy with your home: Desire for comfort
-Are you unhappy with your place in the world: Desire for power
-Money is about the coercive power to compel others to serve you.
-The more money I have, the more power I have to compel people to serve my appetites, ambition and need for approval
-we have moved from wealth is good to freedom from need is good
-they are wrong. Freedom from need isolates us from each other and God
God has given some of us stuff that God meant for other people. That’s why we need to live with open hands, pursuing simplicity.
Hebrews 13:5 “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.””
Luke 12:15 “Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.””
Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!
-Our Mission as a Micro Church movement is about Simplicity (Up-in-out), radical minimums,
-more money and time for mission
-more money and time for justice
-more money and time for community/fun
-This will guide our future and our choices of where to meet and how to form who we are going forward.
-How do we live with contentment and simplicity in our own lives?
-We repent of the lies that we believe:
-we should be gods who have more power and wealth like kings
-we should be free of work
-god won’t provide so I have to.
—which lie do you believe and need to repent of?
-And how should simplicity become a part of every day choices.
Marie Kondo Joke::
-what do I bring in my house
-how will I dispose of it?
-Where will it go when it is done
-how long will I store/manage this stuff
-How long will it be useful?
-Will it connect me with others or isolate me from them?
-Will this connect me with God or isolate me from Him?
-Buy Nothing Group
-Serving our kids as Dad’s