Temptation A

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He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” -Genesis 3:1

Temptation A: Distrust God

It’s, quite literally, the oldest trick in the book. And humans have been falling for it ever since. 

There is something in us that wonders… We’re having this human experience… We feel like there’s more in us… Is God holding out on us? Does it get better? Can He be trusted? Do I deserve more?

These questions can turn into doubt and distrust, paving the way to a variety of “falls.” 

If you hear a voice or sense a spirit questioning God, don’t bite. God can handle your doubts, but, in some cases, you can’t. The journey from doubt to despair is a quick trip. Because if God isn’t good, then what hope is there? 

God’s not holding out on you. He’s simply inviting you to trust—like a child relies on their parent. It’s better this way. It always has been. (“How about just don’t eat from this… You’ll thank me later.”)


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Communion, part 10

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Find a rhythm 
Remember the sacrifice 
Embrace dependence (on God, each other)
Eat food (and have fun!)

Now, of course anything can become a lifeless tradition with beautiful beginnings and rote, religious ruts. Don’t let this. 

Take breaks when you need to. Bring in new people once in a awhile. Just keep doing the key things and cultivate a heart that stays true to simple essence. 

We are free. 
Jesus made the way. 
His invisible Spirit is still here—fueling our lives. 
Let’s get together, throw parties, and remind each other. 

It’s that simple. 

First Dinner. 

I want to make this a thing… So I’m going to host a few to set the example. 

I’m hosting three First Dinners throughout the OC area. They will each be slightly different, but mostly the following the framework I’ve laid out. I hope you can come to at least one. And I hope that you’ll bring people with you. 

It’s inexpensive, but still has a cost, as food will be included. 

Sign up HEREto reserve your place at the table for the first ever FIRST DINNER events. 

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communion, part 9

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1. Find a rhythm 

  • weekly, or
  • first week of the month 

2. Remember the sacrifice 

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

3. Embrace dependence 

a) on God
b) on each other

4. Eat food (and have fun!)

Don’t eat crappy food. Put some effort in it. 

Jesus was known for serving good wine at parties. You think He served the disciple Two-Buck Chuck at the First Dinner? Nope. 

Make it special. Honor your people. Set an example that they can follow the next time. (Maybe the dinners rotate homes.)

Food tastes good for reason—it’s meant to be enjoyed. So enjoy it! And enjoy each other. 

Remember, we’re celebrating. 
We’re forgiven!
We have the gift of life!
We still receive and are filled up!

God uses others as a conduit of His presence and peace… so let’s let the love flow… and overflow into the lives of others!

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Communion, part 8

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1. Find a rhythm 

  • weekly, or
  • first week of the month 

2. Remember the sacrifice 

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

3. Embrace dependence 

a) on God

It’s no surprise that Jesus used food. He could have used a different illustration, but… food. 

Food, because we need it EVERYDAY.

It’s as if Jesus is whispering to you,

“Remember… you need ME more than food.”

Jesus said something like that about His own connection and dependence on His heavenly Father, and now He’s saying it to His disciples—and to you and me. 

Every time you eat, remember, you need God more than food. When we’re together, let’s remind each other: we need God even more than this food.

If food is fuel for living, faithful, daily connection to God fuel for thriving.

b) on each other

God designed us to need each other. We humans forget that, resist that. We get self-focused and self-reliant… but we can’t deny it. We were made for connection. 

The best parties and meetings happen around food because eating is humbling. When we eat together it’s intimate, even vulnerable. We’re allowing others to see our frail humanity, admitting that without this substance, we die. 

Vulnerability is part of connection. Jesus instructed us to keep meeting and eating to remind us,

Of His sacrifice…
But also, 
Our ongoing dependence on Him and on them—our people. 

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Communion, part 7

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1. Find a rhythm 

  • weekly, or
  • first week of the month 

2. Remember the sacrifice 

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

The food doesn’t need to be unleavened bread. It doesn’t even need to be bread. That’s not the point. 

Jesus EMBODIED the potential of humans. Adam—the first man—was weak and chose self-interest—like we all do. Jesus is the only One who chose to align completely with God. And Jesus chose to sacrifice for all of us.

When he broke the bread it was symbol that his body would be broken for us. We think of his body being broken on a cross, but the scriptures suggest that bones weren’t actually broken. Skin was shredded, pierced, and he was brutalized, but the breaking is as much spiritual as physical. 

Have you ever heard someone one say, “I’m just a broken person”? They mean they are messed up, imperfect, and prone to fail. 

So, Jesus gave His perfection as a sacrifice for our brokenness. It doesn’t make us perfect—we’re still broken—but we’re forgiven. And Jesus says, REMEMBER that!

In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:20)

The Old Covenant involved lots of sacrificing and rules and rituals… and it wasn’t about not being broken. It was about admitting that we ARE broken. It was about admitting that we can’t completely get rid of all the yeast. We need help. We can’t save ourselves. We need a Savior. 

On our own,
Our cups get empty… lacking… we thirst and struggle to find satisfaction. 

When the famous song-writer in the bible says, “My cup overflows,” it’s not because of him or something he did. It’s because he was receiving from God.

When Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father, “Take this cup from … is there another way…” He knew how painful it would be. But He poured himself out.

That’s the idea. We can overflow into the lives of others because Jesus poured—and pours—himself out. Still. Today. 

If you’re feeling thirsty, empty, lacking… you’re not receiving. He’s still pouring… we position ourselves to receive. Maybe First Dinners can help remind us to do that. 

Remember His sacrifice. 

And keep receiving from the Source of life. 

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Communion, part 6

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First Dinner.

Instead of the Last Supper, I’m encouraging you to host “First Dinners.” Because Jesus said to keep doing this, so it wasn’t the last, it was the first of many. 

And it wasn’t meant to be a religious ritual. It was meant to be a relational celebration of Jesus death that led to new life—for you, for me, for we. 

So here’s a new way to think about it:

FREE

F: Find a rhythm

Monthly or weekly. 

If weekly is realistic, do it weekly. 

Hilary’s grandparents have hosted a family breakfast or dinner on Sundays for decades. Every Sunday. All the family. It’s a tradition, but it’s a party. It’s fun… Grandpa Jake’s food is amazing… and the people love each other. 

We need more life-giving traditions in our lives. Good ones that ground us, center us and remind us that we’re loved. 

Maybe you’re to play the role of Peter and John and start a new tradition of food, family/friends, and fun. 

Find a rhythm that works. If weekly feel aggressive, start with the first week of the month and go monthly. Choose a day that works for the majority and start. 

I’ll give you there next step tomorrow…

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Communion, part 5

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‘Communion’

It can feel more formal than free, can’t it? Like a forced religious ritual. But I don’t think that’s what Jesus meant.

How do you think Jesus would want you and I to celebrate the thousands-year-old reality that we’ve been set free? Not just passover, but now, also, death and resurrection… leading to new life and relationship with God restored. We’re supposed to identify with Jesus’ death, not personify it! We’re supposed to recognize our need for grace and forgiveness, not ignore that grace and forgiveness are already ours!

Friends, Passover was celebrated with a party. How much more joyful and grateful should we be today?

So,
I want to give you a simple framework for reconsidering Communion. 

Listen, 
I know that for some this a challenge. Communion is attached to theology or duty or tradition or nostalgia. But ask yourself:

  • Is it helping me experience the fullness of God?
  • Might it be a human tradition and a religious structure that needs shifting? 

Tomorrow I’m going to give you a framework to host a dinner and enjoy being FREE. 

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Communion, part 4

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Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” (Luke 22:7-8)

Passover was the dinner that kicked off the Festival of Unleavened Bread. Passover was the event that God used to get the Jews out of Egypt once and for all. 

After numerous displays of power, Pharaoh—King of Egypt—continued to be stubborn, refusing to allow the Jews to leave their captors in Egypt. Until that Passover night. 

The Jews were instructed to kill lambs and paint the blood over their front door frames. This was to be a signal to an Angel of Death. Doors that didn’t have the blood would suffer great loss that night—the loss of a first born child. 

Ok, it sounds cruel and grotesque, and it is. But understand two things:

  1. Through Moses, God tried everything else to get Pharaoh’s attention. Dramatic displays. Second, third, ninth chances. Still, nothing. 
  2. This is as much about symbolism as it is Jews and Egyptians. 

Later, Jesus would be called The Lamb of God, taking away the sins of the world. In other words, sparing our lives… our eternal souls. As if the blood of Jesus was over the door of eternity, on your behalf. 

So, Passover was already a party celebrating new life and freedom. Now, Jesus was subtly communicating that the party was about to get even better… and last forever. Jesus was on a mission to pay for the sins of the world.

But why do so many religious people still live lives that look the opposite of free? Why do our symbols of this celebration dinner feel so depressing? 

Maybe they shouldn’t…

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Communion, Part 3

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Then came the day of Unleavened Breadon which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” Luke 22:7-8

The Festival of Unleavened Bread was a week-long party to commemorate the time God freed the Jews from slavery in Egypt. God told the people to get up and get out… And not to even wait for the bread to rise in the oven. Because of the urgency of the instruction, the people were to celebrate their deliverance by eating bread with no yeast—unleavened bread. 

In fact, many Jewish families had the tradition of going through the home the night prior to the Festival and eradicating yeast from them. The children would be part of the process, learning the from a young age the difficulty of cleansing a home of yeast. 

Yeast is so fine and dust-like that when you try and sweep it up or toss it out, the particles remain in creases, or cling to surfaces, or float in the air. It can be frustrating, but that’s the point.

In scripture, yeast is sometimes a parallel for sin, suggesting that once it’s in the house, it’s impossible to get completely out. And yeast is in the house. 

Perhaps you can related to the famous Apostle Paul,

“Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” -Romans 7:24-25


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Communion, Part 2

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Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” (Luke 22:7-8)

At the end of this week I’m going to ask you to consider doing something. I’m going to ask you to host a dinner. Perhaps for your family. Maybe your small/life group. Or neighbors. Regardless, you’re going to be Peter and John in the verses above. As if Jesus were asking you to make the preparations. Make the meal. Take on the expense. Initiate something new. Put yourself out there. Get the band back together. Offer an olive branch. “Go make preparations” for the meal.

Are you open to being the initiator? It’s not going to be weird or super religious-like. It’s going to be consistent with who you are and the people you assemble. Jesus always met people where they were… and took them forward from there. 

Religion sets an impossible standard. Hypocrites pretend they reach the standard. People walking with Jesus understand they fail miserably and fall regularly and are continually getting back up and taking the next step.

I think Jesus might be inviting you to take a small step here. It’s going to involve some friends and some food. I’ll give you the rest of the plan as we go. 

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