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Jesus and the Good News of the Kingdom

Notes: Sunday 18/02/2024


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17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”  Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and the region across the Jordan followed him Matthew 4:17,23-25 (NIV)


Repent:

Teshuvah {Hb} return, as if turning back to something you've strayed or looked away from.

Metanoia {Gk} the change of mind which is brought about in repentance.


The good news of the Kingdom is that Jesus invites you and me into a new way of living, renewed thinking, and a different direction – in relationship with God and others, where there is light, hope, transformation healing, and incredible love.


News about him (Jesus) spread – the good news of the Kingdom. What news (narrative) are you spreading?  Is it the counter-cultural good news of the Kingdom or something else…?!


When bad things happen, it’s easy to lose sight of the Kingdom reality. All the experiences we go through in life have an impact on the people we become (Spiritual formation)


Spiritual Formation in the way of Jesus (Discipleship/ Apprenticeship) is different, in that it is an intentional move toward being formed by the Holy Spirit, rather than by life alone.

 “Spiritual Formation [in the way of Christ] the process of being conformed to Christ for the sake of others.”  M. Robert Mullholland JR.

It happens by the Holy Spirt, when hearts are opened in deeper and deeper ways to God, and is aided by habits that position you in environments of change (e.g. showing up to worship each week, being part of a community / Life Group, reading the Bible, prayer, simplicity, generosity, silence & solitude, teaching & reflection etc).


If requires your participation, presence, and patience. It is not something you can do, but something God does in you – however, you can put yourself in the right environment.


In the Critical Journey, the authors identify 6 stages in the life of faith and estimate that 85% of followers of Jesus never progress beyond Stage 3. (We will dig deeper into this in the weeks ahead, and you can find the link to the book below. Here is short summary from Pete Scazzero)



Adaptation: The Critical Journey: Stages in the Life of Faith, Janet Hagberg and Robert Guelich


Some reasons for this lack of progression

  • Discipleship can often tend to be hyper-intellectualized, with a Bible Study /program /course for everything. This is not unhelpful, but this alone will not bring about transformation! Deeper work is needed (i.e. more than just intellectual learning)

  • In The Connected Life, the author identifies 3 key areas where formation happens.

  1. Life of community / deep relationships 

  2. Life of (contemplative) prayer

  3. Suffering in life

There are barriers that can keep us from moving deeper into these areas

  • Fear of rejection/hurt can prevent deep relationships.

  • Distraction/busyness in life can prevent us from hearing God’s voice

  • Tendency to avoid pain/escape, as highlighted well in Tim Keller’s Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, keeps us from finding the presence and invitations of God amid pain.

 

We have to see the apprenticeship is not a linear path or a journey to walk alone. It’s way more like a path that winds and turns, with ups and downs, sometimes wrong turns and dead ends. Even so,  you keep moving forward, in the presence of God and in the community following the invitations of Jesus amid pain, and being formed more into his likeness, for the sake of others, and proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom as we go!

 

Extra reading






 

 

 

              

 

 

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