November 7, 2016 | JOHN RAY
I’m heading out this week to teach in the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Ozarks Discipleship Training School (DTS). I look forward to this annual fall retreat down near Fern, Arkansas, in the Ozark National Forest. We’ll set up tents and make a big fire. The teaching and discussion times will be shared with equal hours of rock climbing and hiking this little piece of vibrant leaf-covered and rock-strewn heaven.
I think Jesus would dig it. I think this is closer to the way He taught His own “DTS”: around a fire, sharing meals, getting dirty, living life. I don’t think He did this just because He couldn’t rent out a synagogue or find a corner in the temple to set up a classroom. I think He did it because it reflected something essential about the Kingdom He came proclaiming, something elemental about the Kingdom’s nature, something fundamental in its substance.
Two Sundays ago we took a serious look at what it doesn’t mean to be right with God, ourselves and each other. It isn’t just a forensic “get out of hell” formula. So what is the bigger picture? What is the main emphasis? That’s where the Kingdom of God comes in. It is imperative to understand that Jesus came not just to offer us salvation from something, but salvation to something. That “something” is the Kingdom of God, and if we don’t get a grip on what it is, where it is and how we live into it, we miss the majority of Jesus’ message; we miss much of what it means to be right with God.
This week, watch the following video (click to start), and read the following:
After you watch the clip and read the chapter, consider the assertions that McLaren makes about the Lord’s Prayer. Does this change the way you think about it when you pray? What do you think of the profession that Jesus came primarily to
announce the presence of the Kingdom of God here, not to tell us how to get to heaven when we die? What about Smith’s
claim that the Kingdom of God was the core element of Jesus’ message? And don’t just think about these questions. If you journal, record your thoughts. Talk about them with your spouse and others you trust. Finally, name one specific, intentional thing you will do in response to this understanding.
> Family Time: The videos created by The Bible Project are very creative. Watch the following video first by yourself.
While it's not explicit, it does refer to violent elements and events. Use your discretion. If appropriate, watch it with your family. Have stuff for your kids to color or paint, things to create with while they watch and listen. Maybe play it a couple of times, and talk about how your children respond with their art.
> Prayer for the week: "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done." We've prayed this a million times, right? But what if this became a reflexive response to challenging situations? What if when confronted with evil or hatred, indifference or suffering, we instinctively, habitually repeated this prayer? What if this impetus was the root of our reaction to whatever we encountered?
> Rhythm: Continue this week with the basic prayer we outlined in week one: five deep breaths, slowly pray the Lord’s Prayer out loud, end with five deep breaths. Add the above prayer as a response to things you encounter during the day. Example: Something that angers you shows up on social media? Pray the prayer. Someone cuts you off in traffic? Pray the prayer. One of your kids is hurt by something someone else says? Pray the prayer. You get the idea. I am a big fan of praying out loud, even if I have to whisper it.
> Resources: The Attentive Life by Leighton Ford. As we talked about Sunday night, get your hands on a copy and read the intro by the next time we meet.