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If “sentness” is built into your new identity as a Child of God, then if you don’t “go” as an agent of Shalom of God to the world, you are not living out your identity and are missing out on the best God has for you.
Author Allen Hirsch said: “Every Christian is a sent one. There is no such thing as an unsent Christian.” One of the greatest joys of being a Christian is that Christ has chosen to include us in His mission of reconciliation and renewal in this broken world. He saved us so He could send us, and in our sent-ness, we realize even more the extent of our saved-ness. We are a part of the family of God and also part of the “Family Business” – the renewal of all things for the sake of God’s glory and humanity’s flourishing. God is in the business of Shaloming the hell out of the world and He invites His kids to be a part of this mission. We have been sent out as harvesters in this great field of souls, participating with the Holy Spirit in sowing seeds of salvation into the ready soil of lives longing for Shalom and hungry for the redemption, reconciliation, and renewal promised in the gospel (Matthew 13:1-9; Luke 10:1-12).
Have you ever felt like someone was just loving you in order to get something from you? Have you ever used love to try and get something from someone else? How does God love us and how does He ask us to love Him and others?
Real love… That is the only thing that can produce real Shalom in your life and in your community. There’s “fake shalom” everywhere because there’s fake love everywhere. How do you know if it’s fake love or real? You know it’s real love if it’s free love. That means it’s love that costs you nothing… love that doesn’t have strings attached to it. Love that isn’t codependent on you doing something, or paying something…
A sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it is a sacrifice. How does the sacrifice of Jesus for us lead toward radical generosity toward others in the body?
Because He Loves us, God radically shares with us until all our needs are met. The more we believe and rest in this reality the more we love and sacrificially share with others in need. This is the simple gospel that is turning the world upside down as it is believed and lived out with a heart of love. In the early church, we see God’s people joyfully contributing and experiencing such a community. People who were blessed with the world’s goods shared with those in need through their local house church where they shared life, worshipped, fellowshipped, ate, prayed and heard the gospel proclaimed and applied to their hearts (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37). It says “there was not a needy person among them.” How is that possible? How could a person be so compelled to give up their own individual “flourishing” for the sake of the whole not having a need?
Why does it seem that the rich of the world are favored over the poor? How does God feel about that? What did Jesus and His followers teach about being poor?
Jesus said that the blessing of the Kingdom of God is for the poor (Matthew 5:3; Luke 6:20). What does that even mean? Does it mean that God can only accept poor people into His Kingdom? That’s exactly what it means! Is that offensive to you? Does the idea of God choosing those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith and inherit the kingdom rub you the wrong way? It actually should, because it is counterintuitive to our thinking that the systems of this world have brainwashed us to believe. The systems of the world tell us the “rich, fixed and socialized” are the “chosen ones” and the elite and exceptional ones we all should aspire to. They have the education, the power, and the resources so they must be favored of “the gods.” They must be “blessed” as they flaunt their successes, power and wealth. Since society worships them as the height of human achievement, surely God favors them as well!
“No justice, no peace.” Is this a biblical statement? Is it more than just a cry from the streets by the oppressed?
If there is no justice, there cannot be Shalom. In the context of this text, the Hebrew word translated “righteousness” means “executed justice.” To the extent justice is rightly executed, the effect is always Shalom: nothing-broken-nothing-missing peace. Human thinking, motives, and behavior must be transformed in order for Shalom to manifest itself on earth as it is heaven. But how does that happen? When we look at the state of humanity, we can easily lose heart.
Why does God Bless us? Why is He so gracious to us? What is God’s endgame?
We ask God to bless us all the time, and when we have really messed up we beg Him for grace… And He gives it. Oh how freely He gives it! But why? Why does God choose to bless us and show us grace? Is it merely for our sake? Yes, He loves us, for we are His Beloved children and precious in His sight (1 John 3:1). Yes, His grace is sufficient and covers all of our sin (2 Corinthians 12:9, Ephesians 4:7). Yes, He is a good Father who wants to bless His kids with the best gifts (James 1:17). But God has an even bigger plan than merely blessing us individually and showing us grace in our personal failings. He blesses us so that we might be a blessing to the nations. He is gracious to us so that we might show His grace to all peoples of the earth. Our greatest blessing actually comes in joining Jesus as He renews all things.
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How does God feel about segregation? Is there division in the kingdom of God? What is God doing to bring people together from every color, culture and class?
God’s design from all of time has been for humanity to flourish across the planet, united in Him and living in dignified interdependence with each other and creation. This Shalom community comprised of all nations has always been God’s heart for us, and in the deepest places of longing, humans desire that reality as well. But as the chaos of sin entered creation and embedded itself in the human heart, the quest for power over others began manifesting in wars between people groups and things like racism and classism became something to expect in every society. There always seems to be a people group acting as the oppressor and there always seems to be a people group suffering as the oppressed.