Last Night's Conversation

posted by Jeffrey on Monday, September 19, 2005 at 1:02 PM


*I've moved, and my posts have come with me! Check out my new blog at www.jeffrey-davis.net/blog/*

What a conversation we had last night! As we dove in to Acts chapter 10 together, some VERRRY interesting things came to the surface...and not necessarily things that ANY of us have ever had before. Up until this point in Acts, those who have come into the fold of "the Church" have been natural Jews, proselytes (converts) to Judaism, or Samaritans (a kind of "half-breeds" of Jews and Gentiles). The story in Acts 10 is that of a Roman soldier, a centurion to be exact, named Cornelius...you can't get any further from "Jewish" than that.

Anyway, Cornelius has somehow come to a faith in the God of the Jews, but does not yet know of the work that this God's son, Jesus, has done. An angel appears to him in a dream who instructs him to send for a man named Peter who is staying in a nearby town. While two of Cornelius's servants are on their way, Peter is on a roof praying. It is important to note that Peter (one of the twelve disciples of Jesus) is ALLLL about being a "good Jew" even as it pertains to following Jesus. As Peter sits out on the roof praying, he "falls into a trance"--yeah, a trance!? While in this trance, he too has a vision. His vision is of a sheet being let down from Heaven that has all kinds of creatures inside it, the voice of Jesus then says "Get up Peter, kill and eat". Peter replies with the statement, "Surely not, Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean." He says his because the old Jewish law given to Moses restricted the eating of certain animals that were deemed "unclean" (to see a list of these animals, see Leviticus 11). Jesus then instructs him to not call anything unclean that the Lord has made clean.

So what's the reason for this vision? To let him know that it is totally ok to go back with the approaching servants to Cornelius's house (for it was also against Jewish law to associate with Gentiles). The place, however, that we found ourselves dwelling for the majority of the conversation was that of Peter's trance. Do people and can people today still fall into this type of "trance" in which God interacts with them??? In Acts chapter 2 verse 17, Peter quotes the prophet Joel in saying this:
"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams."
So the answer? We all happened to agree on, "yes, people can still fall into these trances". Then it REALLY got interesting. What could these trances be? Could they be somewhere in between awake and sleep? Whoa, whoa, whoa...could it be the dream world? Hmm. And so I leave you with this question that we were left with last night: If God created the dream world, wouldn't that mean that He has a purpose for it???

12 Comments:

Blogger Sean said...

I guess so, if God can use a donkey he can use a dream.
God has a dream: Me loving my neighbor. That should be my dream too.
How often do you guys have visitors at group?
Sean

September 19, 2005 1:38 PM

 
Blogger Jeffrey said...

Sean,
Glad to have ya man--and great thoughts! How often do we have visitors? Hmm, as often as God inspires people to come. Was that ambiguous enough for you? lol.

I posted a thought titled "The struggle of motive" a couple of posts ago, and a main area we feel we've stuggled with motive is with inviting people to do life with us in this community of faith called the Gathering.

When we invite someone to come hang out, we hopefully do so b/c we feel like the dreams and vision God has given us resonate with them as well, so why not journey together. That's not to say by ANY stretch of the imagination that we're "exclusive" or anything, we just don't place maximum importance on who or how many people find belonging and connectedness in this community of faith, but more about God's Kingdom being lived out and furthered in the hearts of all people--whether or not they ever journey with us.

So that was SOOO the long answer, but there ya have it. If you're asking how often we have visitors cuz ya'd like to come hang out, then boss you are more than welcome.

September 19, 2005 5:40 PM

 
Blogger Sean said...

Thanks Jeffrey. I appreciate your honesty and it sounds like you guys have a great thing going on there. I'm sure that God will use your good and bad motivations as you journey with others.

I'm sorry to hear about your Starbucks episode. My church owns a coffee shop (Yaks), which we all volunteer at. It is an outreach into the community and we offer free wi-fi since it does bring in more people.

I noticed in your (church description?) that you meet the needs of those around you. How do you guys meet the needs of those who do not journey with you? (ie Mt. Juliet)

I don't think I will be attending your group anytime soon (I love my church in Vineyard City Church Redding CA), but that's cool that you call people who might be interested in your fellowship "boss." I'm only curious to see how other people live out their faith in community. And since you're a church starter, leader, launcher... (I read that you abdhor the word p-----r) I want to see how you do what you do and how you measure that.
Blessings.

September 20, 2005 12:11 PM

 
Blogger Jeffrey said...

ha ha! oh come on! Cali isn't that far, just hop a plane and come hang out! ;-).

It's funny you should ask the question that you did about how we meet the needs of those in the geographic community but not connected with our community of faith. My wife and I and another couple (I guess you could call us the "administrative team") are actually taking a little day long planning retreat type thing this weekend where we'll talk about some administrative things, do some assesment and critical thinking, brainstorming, etc, etc, etc...and that's one of the issues that we have planned to discuss.

We haven't done tons of that kind of stuff yet, but we have done a fo-yard sale. It's "fo" yard sale because it wasn't really a sale, if people needed something, they were free to take it--no cost. That was VERY cool. Later on this fall we'll be doing some upkeep and maintenance on one of our crew's neighbor's house who's son is quite ill and he+work consume her time and leave none for yard work and work around the house.

Other than those couple of things, we haven't done a whole lot of that yet. We do have a very relational "missiology" (*church word alert*), so we do involve ourselves in things happening in the community where the opportunity to build real relationships with people may arise. So alot of that "meeting needs" is done in the normal way that any friend would help another friend right now...but hopefully we'll be more intentional as a community of faith in the meeting of needs in the near future. There is a senior center, a youth ranch (for troubled teens), and things of that nature that may be cool places to invest some time...

Thanks for making me think!

Same question back to you...

September 20, 2005 1:43 PM

 
Blogger Sean said...

So your using the Jedi "dito" question. Well I would have to say dito. A lot of the things that we do are similiar to what you are doing...relational church word alert things. Our situation is different though. The church that I'm a part of does many "outreaches" into the community ie. bring pies to gov't agencies, free gas giveaways, bring food to hotels in town, free christmas trees, 50% off all items in our coffee shop for college students each mon. night etc. I think that your church is a small grp? So a lot of what your doing is what "i" do with my small grp. That's awesome. Just gave away 4 loaves of sourdough to my neighbor yesterday.
Some Q's:
Are you a church sent from another church?
Are you affiliated with anyone?
Who oversees what you do?
How long have you been a pastor?
I am only curious about what you're doing nothing more (at this point)
I hope that you guys had a rockin' time at your grp the other night. Blessings.
Sean

September 22, 2005 12:47 PM

 
Blogger Jeffrey said...

**WARNING! VERY LONG COMMENT AHEAD**

Sean,
Rock on man. Yes, our community of faith is a small group at this point in time. Whether God chooses to add more people or not is His decision--we're not on a numbers quest. Very cool to hear some of the things that yall's community does in the community. How do you feel about those various "outreaches"?

Answers to your questions:
Q: Are you a church sent from another church?
A: No. Many of our crew came out of the same mega-church here in the Nashville area, with which we pursued a "mother-daughter church" type relationship. However, there seemed to be a conflict of values between us, so it unfortunately didn't work out.

Q: Are you affiliated w/ anyone?
A: Not quite sure what you mean, but I'll just say that we are affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Most of our backgrounds are Southern Baptist, for whatever that's worth. Though when most "good ole' baptists" hear some of our values and thought processes, they often mutter "heretics" under their breath, lol. I personally am rather anti-denominational (NOT to be confused with non-denominational, which has kind of become a denonimation, lol). I long for the breaking down of denominational walls (for they are, in my opinion, unnecessary barriers) as we as followers of Christ come to the place where we acknowledge, like Paul, that we don't know much, but what we do know (and can agree on) is Christ and Christ crucified. I'd like to explain more of this to you via email...

Q: Who oversees what you do?
A: Technically, the Tennessee Bapist Convention. One of the pluses about being affiliated with the Baptists is that they (and I) believe that each church is autonomous in governing and conducting itself according to its unique vision, dreams, and values.

Q: How long have you been a pastor?
A: Uh??? God gave us the vision for an authentic and missional community of faith where the people live in the realization that we ARE part of the Church, we don't just "go to it" over 2 years ago. Our first "gathering" as it were, was this past January. So I'll measure from our first meeting together and say almost 10 months. Been in student ministry (layperson) for the past 4 years though.

Sorry for the length of this comment. You asked some kind of sticky questions that took a little wordiness to gracefully dance around...ha ha ha.

September 23, 2005 8:41 AM

 
Blogger Sean said...

Warning***longer blog. So...
Your answer to the affiliation ? was on. I wanted to know if you were part of a group or who your theological process or understanding might come from, I have a better idea. Before I just pictured you as a flying squirrel, so it helped.

Now the questions continue...
So, I gather that there is no one person pastoring, coaching, discipling you. Is that correct? And your church p---- is a result of you folks being disgruntled at the mega-man?
So, (if no one is above you) your submitted to no one other than those you lead? The Tenn. Baptist Convention is a group of pastors who answer to no one but their own flock? Wouldn't you be a bunch of protestant popes?
If so, where do you find that type of accountability structure in NT?
If you are submitted to no authority what will be the fruit of those who are under your authority as the "team leader?" What will be the result of your example?
I am in no way dogging you, but am seriously interested in your *church nerd word alert* ecclesiology as the senior pastor of this church.

I love our outreaches. Our coffee shop has been a huge success. The vision of Yaks is to be a connecting point for those outside of our "church" community. We intentioned that it not be a Christian coffee shop/hangout. We even asked some folks to stop witnessing and playing worship in the shop, which really confused them. "What man we're bringing the presence of the Lord here" "No your annoying the crap out of our customers that we're tying to make relationships with!" ;-) Fun stuff.
We have seen several people join our community on different levels. Several people come in every day and share their stories with us. We'll tell 'em about Jesus, but we wait 'till their ready. We've been open for a year and the relationships that we're building are legit. Most people know that Yaks is owned and operated by a church, many people even know that some of us are pastors, but we don't (verbally) preach to them, just ask them "what's up" and listen.
All of us who work at Yaks volunteer, so it it quite the sacrifice. Some folks have left full-time jobs to do this, which is really challenging to the American Dream people since they are sacrificing a lot for the lost. Most Christians in our culture call giving 11% sacrifice, but we bring legitimacy to our faith when we give up what most people are bored achieving. People notice. Check out the link on my blog.
Blessings.
Sean

September 23, 2005 5:34 PM

 
Blogger Jeffrey said...

Sean,
Sorry for the delayed response this time, I don't blog much (if at all) on the weekends.

To answer your questions:
1)No, I am not without mentors. In fact, I have two guys mentoring me. My supervisor and coach at the Tennessee Baptist Convention, Wayne Terry, is a seasoned "church planter" and an incredible man of God. And my "mentor" is a guy named Gary Morgan, lead pastor and "planter" of Mosaic Nashville.

2)No, the forming of this community of faith is in NO way a result of us being disgruntled at the mega-man. It is a direct result of a vision and dream that God revealed more than 2 years ago and a compelling motivation that could not be denied to act on that vision.

3)I kind of got lost in your question that ended in the thing about "protestant popes" could you elaborate?

4)When you refer to the accountability structure in the NT, are you alluding to the apostles sending "a brother" (Barnabas, Peter, etc) to encourage new communities of faith once they learn of God's work there? Or something different?

5)I apologize, but i again was lost in the last question you asked. Not sure what you mean by the "result of my example". I'll take a stab at what I think you may have meant, if this isn't it, just clarify in your next comment. We feel that it is everyone's opportunity to serve in this local community of faith in the areas that God has gifted them. For example, I am NOT gifted in the areas of administration. Praise be to Yaweh for bringing a wonderful friend and brother in Christ into this journey with us who is INCREDIBLY gifted in that area. We get together as a team and discuss the things in our own areas then encourage each other in that. I feel it is my job as the team leader to "give the ministry away"--to encourage people to exercise their own uniqe creativity in the areas in which they're gifted...and also to keep the team moving towards the bigger picture. I think the way the Extreme Home Makeover team functions is a good picture (but not saying "THE" perfect--is there such a thing?) of how a church leadership team might function. Every team member has their area of expertise (and giftedness) and are free to adminsistrate those areas as they see fit (as it coincides with the big picture planning of the team as a whole). If there is a conflict that cannot be resolved, they go to the team leader (Ty Pennington), which is the ONLY time he makes an "executive decision". So, that was quite long, but I hope it helps.

I think it's awesome you've actually stopped "worship music" from being played in ur coffee shop!! ha ha...wish i could be there to see their faces when you tell 'em that. How do they normally respond?

September 26, 2005 8:32 AM

 
Blogger Sean said...

When we ask them to stop worshiping they are confused. We actually had one guy come in and tell us that he wouldn't go to Starbucks because he was sick of people trying to get him "saved!" Unknown to him was the fact that he was speaking to a pastor who was trying to get him "saved" too. We had to tell some guy last week to stop prophesying to our customers. Once again he was confused. Not that we're against prophesying, worshiping, or witnessing to folks, but without relationship people don't want to hear another Christian Blah-blah session. Although God has used crazier things to reveal Himself than I'm willing to admit. I hate to admit it, but God does you tracts, but He most often uses...us.

Confusing Questions:
That's great stuff. I was interested to see whether or not you had a "pastor" who was helping you in you venture. If you didn't have a "coach" "leader" then where do you find that in the NT? Likewise, if you didn't have a "pastor" why should other people submit to your authority when you won't submit to someone else? The pope answers to God. A protestant pope is our nickname for pastors who under the submission "of the Lord" and no one else. You do have a "mentor" so those ?'s don't apply. Good stuff. I hope it makes sense now.

My wife believes that people who have not confessed Christ will go to Hell. I believe that God in His grace has set up a plan B that we don't know about. Great ?.
The answer...church plants all around the world.
Sean

September 26, 2005 1:56 PM

 
Blogger Jeffrey said...

you said, "without relationship people don't want to hear another Christian Blah-blah session". i love it! "christian blah blah session"--that's my new favorite phrase!

Thanks for clearing up the confusion about those questions.

It's so cool that you and ur wife can disagree theologically on that issue and not let it affect your relationship (assuming that it doesn't :-X)

What has God used to lead you to believe that there is that "plan B". That sounds like a loaded question. It's not. No matter which one is the case, you answer applies for both! (Speculation warning ahead...)Sometimes I wonder if I've leaned toward a "plan B" scenario to somehow escape my responsibility to go and share the good news of Christ Jesus with those people in outer pango pango. Other times I think I've leaned that way because that seems more like the graceful God I know. Maybe I should lean another direction entirely...wonder what that would be?

September 26, 2005 3:44 PM

 
Blogger Sean said...

Yeah, this is one of those things that we'll never really know about I guess. And yes, my wife and I agree to disagree about this and other things. I think the reason that we can disagree about this agreeably is becuase we both recognize that regardless of which camp your in the responsibility for us here and now is the same: To have God's heart and mission for the world. To have Paul's zeal for church planting, loving, encouraging and persuading people (2Cor 1-15) about God's love and judgement. People need to know, and that's what we're here for, that's a primary purpose of the church. Paul's life was a normal reaction to God's presence in a person's life, not abnormal. So, no matter what he believed his life is a reaction to those beliefs: Loving, raising leaders, evangelism, persuasion, preaching, church-planting, rebuking, homeless, persecuted, single, and etc. He left a great example of what we can be. Same with Calvinism and Arminism. No matter what Paul believed his actions were to: love, raise leaders, etc...
Plan B, yeah...Um, I don't know, but I know my neigbhors name, I have leaders I'm raising up(one doesn't know it, but he's gonna' plant a church!), I live a simple life, I get rebuked!...
Sean

September 28, 2005 2:03 PM

 
Blogger Sean said...

Yeah, this is one of those things that we'll never really know about I guess. And yes, my wife and I agree to disagree about this and other things.

I think the reason that we can disagree about this agreeably is because we both recognize that regardless of which camp your in the responsibility for us here and now is the same: To have God's heart and mission for the world. To have Paul's zeal for church planting, loving, encouraging and persuading people (2Cor 1-15) about God's love and judgement. People need to know, and that's what we're here for, that's a primary purpose of the church.

I'm always challenged by the fact that Paul's life was a normal reaction to God's presence in a person's life, not abnormal (Roland Allen's Book Missionary Methods). So, no matter what he believed his life is a reaction to those beliefs: Loving, raising leaders, evangelism, persuasion, preaching, church-planting, rebuking, homeless, persecuted, single, and etc. He left a great example of what we can be. Same with Calvinism and Arminism. No matter what Paul believed his actions were to: love, raise leaders, etc...
Plan B, yeah...Um, I don't know, but I know my neigbhors name, I have leaders I'm raising up(one doesn't know it, but he's gonna' plant a church!), I live a simple life, I get rebuked more often than I rebuke!...

I asked some folks from our local Christian University about this at our coffee shop and they all said that God then would reveal Himself some other way. Which was followed by my wife saying "then why send missionaries if their already gonna' know." I love her much.
Sean

September 28, 2005 2:08 PM

 

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