Anchors & Propellers

How Have I Been Loved? (A Guiding Question for Practice)

A&P_webbannerAt Sunday's Gathering, we finished our Anchors & Propellers Series with a teaching on John 13:34-35. In John 13, Jesus invites his disciples to follow a new command to love each other. What's new about this is that nowhere does Jesus connect this command to the obligatory fulfillment of Jewish legal tradition or the sense that faithfulness to God is about checking off items on a divine to-do list. Jesus' command is rooted not as an obligation but as a response.

As I have loved you, love one another.

Jesus tells his disciples that he'll be leaving them soon - predicting again his quickly-approaching arrest and crucifixion. No longer will they be identified as followers of Jesus simply by walking around and sharing a table with him. Instead, they'll be identified as living life in the Way of Jesus because of the similar love that's shared within the family that's been crafted through following Jesus together.

If we are to live life in the Way of Jesus, this new command is for us as much as it was for the disciples Jesus spoke these words to.

As I have loved you, love one another.

Our first step, then, is to be clear on this question:

How Have I Been Loved?

How have you experienced the love of Jesus? What has it felt like? How has it reached your heart and your hands? How has it entered into your story and shaped your life trajectory?

This is a question worth asking, and a question that's worth asking through a variety of practices. This week, consider asking How Have I Been Loved? in a few active and intentional ways.

Contemplate the words of Scripture:

Read John 13. Read 1 John 4. Read 1 Corinthians 13.

How is the Spirit getting your attention through these passages? What will you do about it?

Practice Listening Prayer:

In a space of stillness and silence, ask God to bring to mind different ways you've experienced the love of God, the closeness of the Spirit, the intrigue of Jesus.

And then wait. And listen. Trust that God will speak.


Meditate on the ways you see the extravagant love of God when you look back on your story and look out to the world.

And then write. Draw. Paint. Photograph. Design. Carve. Script. Weave. Plant.

Consider how your creative act is a response to the creativity of our loving God.

Jesus invites us into the beautiful rhythm of a rooted, woven, extending and cultivating life. His invitation is rooted in a response to the love we've experienced, which is the source of the love we're called to extend into the world.

Thoughts? Stories? Questions? Ideas?

Introducing Anchors & Propellers

This Sunday, we launch a new teaching series!

Anchors & Propellers Texts that Ground us, Move us, and Leave us Undone

This series will focus on passages from the Bible that have been particularly formative for our community and explore how we understand God's story as we read the Bible.

Written in multiple languages by more than forty people, compiled over at least a millennium or two, read by people around the world in thousands of languages, the Bible has inspired incredible acts of charity and been used to justify horrific acts of destruction.

The Bible is messy. The Bible is confusing. The Bible is beautiful. The Bible is a gift.

Open Door is a Jesus-following, Bible-informed community. We see the Bible as authoritative and worthy of our attention; The Bible is helpful, trustworthy and true as we navigate life in the way of Jesus (II Tim 3).

God’s unfolding story is best understood by looking at the life and work of Jesus and considering how Jesus interacted with the Bible. Again and again, we see Jesus framing and interpreting and interacting and playing with the Scriptures (anytime Jesus says “you’ve heard it said...” or “it’s been written…”) in order to understand and teach beautiful truth about the world and work of God and to invite us into life to the full (John 10).

As we read the Bible from the vantage point of a 21st century Jesus community in the East Bay, we see certain texts rise up. These texts have played a significant role in the unfolding story of Open Door and continue to shape our life together moving forward. These texts are our anchors and propellers.

A&P_webbanner Like anchors, these texts ground us. They stabilize us in God’s story for us and for our place. They root us in God’s extravagant love made real in Jesus.

Like propellers, these texts move us. They lift us up and push us forward towards life in the way of Jesus as we dream about heaven and earth being woven together.

Functioning as both anchors and propellers, these texts leave us undone. They are both gathering and scattering, planting and pushing, rooting and extending, stabilizing and sending. They call us into question, setting our hearts on fire (Luke 24), while amplifying Jesus’ invitation ever-deeper into ‘life to the full.’

This first iteration of Anchors & Propellers will last five weeks, but we'll revisit this series again and again in the future as we continue to be shaped by the Scriptures as we follow Jesus together.

Let's talk about this!

  • What texts come to mind as you think back on the trajectory of Open Door?
  • How does this language (Anchors/Propellers) help us understand how the Bible functions in the life of our community?
  • How has the Bible served as an anchor and propeller in your story of following Jesus?