God's Demonstration of the Kingdom
The church is a witness to the world of the richness of God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. What does that have to do with my life, with our life together? During the summer of 2022, we explored what it means to be a real community that lives deeply as practitioners in the way of Jesus, and why that matters to us, and to our neighbors. You'll find links to these online reflections here
June 19: The church as the mystery of God made known to the powers and principalities (Ephesians 3:9-11): What God has been about, and how God’s gathered people (aka “the church”) is an essential part of God’s plan.
June 26: The church as a sign of God’s glory (1 Peter 2:9)
We, however, have been peopled [made into a collective identity]— we are offspring with Christ, a priestly kingdom, purposeful citizens— we are membered to God!— in order that we might celebrate and respond to the excellent life-enriching ways of the one who invited us out of shadowed blindness into God’s light that moves us in our deepest being.
July 3: The church as discerning community (1 Cor 12-14)
We discern the voice of God as a church by embracing our giftedness (ch 12), employing love (ch 13), and engaging everyone (ch 14)
July 10: Foundational Convictions: Seeds of Wonder
Seeds of Wonder:
I wonder if Englewood, in general, affirms this conviction.
I wonder what the implications/effects are of this conviction.
I wonder what stories or metaphors of our place might fit with this conviction.
I wonder if there are other scriptures that come to mind with this conviction.
I wonder where we see this conviction in our covenants.
I wonder how this conviction differs from the convictions of the world; and I wonder how this conviction differs from common religious institutional assumptions.
Conviction #1: God is transforming everything! God’s salvation is comprehensive, for all creation. (Col 1:19-20)
Conviction #2: Local churches are real communities* which God has strategically embedded in real communities* as a permeable presence. They are local expressions of the one Church. *Real communities care about everything that is essential and necessary for life. They share a common life with common hopes, the valuing of common virtues, and engaged with common work. (James 1:19-27)
Conviction #3: Each congregation is uniquely equipped to be God’s witness in their community. (Romans 12)
Conviction #4: The nature of God’s creation and God’s kingdom is “superabundance.” We live in the present in light of God’s kingdom coming. (John 2:1-11; 2 Cor 9:8)
Conviction #5: Every person, in the fullness of their being, is a gift of God for the work of God. We see both the beauty and the brokenness in each person. When you know your congregation, you know many of the resources and directions God has provided. (Acts 9:36-42)
Conviction #6: Because people are a great gift, radical discipleship in church fellowship must be the primary focus. (Luke 9:23-27)
Conviction #7: Jesus’s words and works are always relevant. (Col. 2:1-3)
Conviction #8: The church is a witness to the world (our neighbors) of the richness of God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. The church is not in service to the individual. The church is not an end in itself. (Eph 3)
July 17: Aspects of who we are as gifts from God (Rom 12:3-13; Eph. 4:11-16)
Google doc of ongoing list: We are gifts [Message us to contribute to this list]
July 24: Mapping (Acts 2:41-48; Acts 14:21-28)
God is present and acting… everywhere. When we know our places, we can pay attention to what God is doing there and practice loving those there deeply; we can learn together to give/receive God’s goodness with those beyond our tiny places.
Aug 7: Belonging in Love (1 Cor 12-13)
When we say that God is Love (i.e., that God is agape, belonging love), we mean that God belongs to Godself (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) in love, but God also desires to draw humanity into this agape. God also desires that we experience this agape with one another, that we might belong to one another… because we belong to God. Just as conversation is essential for the coordination and maturing of our bodies, so conversation is also essential for how we mature into the agape love of God.
Aug 14: Resource Assets
We believe God has equipped each expression of the church for maturing toward Christ’s fullness (Ephesians 4:11-13) and equipped for the work/witness to which God has called us. Our current superabundance of resources is a tangible expression of the generosity of God nurtured in us as a real community (2 Corinthians 9:6-15).
Aug 21: Relationship Assets (Philippians 1:3-11)
When we love our partners and friends, and seek their best interests, we are maturing into Christlikeness. When we work together in meaningful ways that demonstrate God’s good kingdom, we are maturing into Christlikeness. We are grateful for our partnerships in common work, which demonstrates God’s goodness, as we live sacrificially for one another, maturing us to be more like Jesus.
Aug 28: Opportunities
Our opportunities as an expression of the church are assets. Opportunities challenge us to mature in seeking the common good, and they encourage us to remember our participation with God in the reconciliation of all things. Each opportunity is an occasion to be a “fragrance” of Christ with our neighbors (2 Corinthians 2:12-17) and to seek the city which God is bringing (Hebrews 13:12-16).