Rooted

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.

Create:

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?

Our Next Season: Migration & Expansion

We are a family of sojourners, learning to walk in the Way of Jesus for the good of the world.  That means that we're a community of wanderers united under the authority of Jesus and empowered by His Spirit to be agents of restoration and reconciliation in the spaces we find ourselves in. Our work is to cultivate followers of Jesus who are Rooted in Christ, Woven together as Family, Extenders of Sacrificial Love, and Cultivators of others to be & do the same.

We affirm the value of intellectual instruction in the Way of Jesus while recognizing that to truly become men and women who are Rooted, Woven, Extending, & Cultivating, we must migrate beyond intellectual instruction to experiential training in community with others.

Our model for this is Jesus who invited a community of people to apprentice Him.  He instructed and then demonstrated what he just got done teaching. He released His 'in-process' community to go and imitate what they'd seen and heard, and then brought them back together for evaluation and coaching.  Eventually, after the resurrection, He commissioned and released them to go live and narrate the Gospel in the spaces they lived, worked, played, and beyond.

It was slow, earthy, and organic.  It was inefficient by our standards, but wildly effective.  Over time, God began flipping the world right-side-up, one life at a time and thru those changed lives, heaven & earth began to be woven together again.

Our dream is to participate with God in the weaving of heaven & earth together again in the East Bay and beyond.  Fueled by this dream & His Spirit, our next season of ministry will include a MIGRATION and an EXPANSION.

Our MIGRATION is beyond cultivation primarily through our worship gathering to include cultivation through experiential training in community with others.  We want to see every man, woman, & family connected to Open Door engaging in life on mission in the Way of Jesus with others.

For some, this might look like inviting 2-3 core friends (gender-specific, mixed-gender, multi-generational, or life-stage) to co-create & commit to a set of Rooted, Woven, Extending, & Cultivating practices.

For some, this might look like discovering & turning toward those whom we live in neighborhood & proximity with and co-creating & committing to a set of Rooted, Woven, Extending, Cultivating practices.

For some, this might look like discovering & turning toward those whom we share vocational space with (i.e. downtown SF, downtown Oakland, etc.) and co-creating & committing to a set of Rooted, Woven, Extending, Cultivating practices.

For some, this might look like discovering & turning toward those whom we share play space with (i.e. parks, gyms, arts, running/cycling/swimming, etc.) and co-creating & committing to a set of Rooted, Woven, Extending, Cultivating practices.

For some, this might look like discovering & turning toward those whom we share a similar passion with (i.e. local injustice, global injustice, fair-trade, sustainable living, urban farming, etc.) and co-creating & committing to a set of Rooted, Woven, Extending, Cultivating practices.

For some, this might look like participating in a mentor-guided core group who, together, co-create & commit to a set of Rooted, Woven, Extending, Cultivating practices.

For young families, this might look like turning toward other young families and co-creating & committing to a set of Rooted, Woven, Extending, Cultivating practices.

Our MIGRATION from cultivation primarily through our gathering to include cultivation through experiential training in community with others is the richest, most transformational environment there is to be found by The Father, to be formed into the image of Jesus, and to practically join His Spirit in what He's already doing in the East Bay & beyond.

Our EXPANSION is in regards to our paid staff.  We are seeking to build a lean, diverse, focused staff of coaches & equippers who resource and guide the holistic cultivation of our community.  Currently our staff is made up of Jer (Full-Time Directional Leader) & Elizabeth (Half-Time Worship Leader).  Our hope is that by January, 2014, we would be able to expand our team to include an additional staff person who will bring perspective, experience, & diverse gifting into our migration.

Don't let this MIGRATION & EXPANSION happen to you.  Join in the process through prayerful presence & courageous generosity.  Please join us at our gatherings over the next couple of weeks (7/21 & 7/28) to pray with & over The Open Door Community and the East Bay & Beyond.

The work before us...

Over the past five weeks, we've gotten exceedingly clear on the work of the Jesus Community and, therefore, the work of The Open Door Community. In Matthew 28, Jesus says this:

Because I've beat sin and death, I am The Authority!   With authority I send you to make disciples...I send you to reproduce My life in the lives of others...I send you to cultivate followers of Me here, near, and far.  Here's what that discipleship/reproduction/cultivation will look like: full immersion into the God-Life in community with others; teaching, instruction, & demonstration; and accountability.  And don't worry, while my physical presence will be no more, I'll be with you in Spirit as I dwell within and among.

In Matthew 28, Jesus, the One Whose idea is the Church (Acts 1:8), who gave Himself up for Her (Ephesians 5:25), and who promises to build Her (Matthew 16:18), identifies our work this way:

"Participate with My Spirit in Cultivating Followers of Jesus."

Put another way, Jesus tells us to join with Him in the holistic development of men and women who are immersed in the God-Life through becoming Rooted in Christ, Woven Together as Family, Extenders of Sacrificial Love, and Cultivators of Others who be and do the same.

Read on to discover the language around each of these four elements:

Rooted in Christ :: Jesus is our source of life.  Abiding in Him, we flourish; Apart from Him, we fail to thrive.  Rooting in Christ is OUR START POINT. (Genesis 1-2; John 15)

When & How have you consistently experienced the Power and Presence of God in the everyday?

Woven Together as Family :: We were created in Community, by Community, for community.  We flourish when we exist in a submitted relationship with God and in mutually submissive relationships with each other.  Being Woven Together as Family is OUR CONTEXT. (Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 12:1-3; Matthew 6:9; John 1:11-12; John 17:20-23; Ephesians 4:1-6)

How is Jesus inviting you to eagerly pursue unity?

 Extending Sacrificial Love ::  Jesus lives His life in and through us.  His life, and, therefore, our lives are defined by the posture of the cross and has the flourishing of others as its end.  Extending Sacrificial Love is OUR WAY of LIFE. (Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 John 3:16-18)

In whose power & in what posture are you living?

Cultivating Others To Be & Do the Same :: Our work is to participate with the Holy Spirit in reproducing the life of Jesus in the lives of others.  Cultivating others is OUR MISSION. (Matthew 4-10; Luke 10; Matthew 28:16-20; 1 Corinthians 11:1)

Who is Jesus inviting you to be cultivated by, to cultivate with, to cultivate?