Gospel Co-identity (Radical Minimum Life Rhythms) lived out
As a gospel family we will covenant to maintain these Radical Minimum Life Rhythms that spring from our new gospel co-identity.
We understand, experience and intersect with God’s Story and others’
God has been unfolding his Story since before time began. We believe we are pro-active participants in the Story of God and need to understand it and see how our lives intersect with it. Therefore, we regularly reacquaint ourselves with the Story of God by interacting with God’s Word. We look for ways and times to tell the Story of God often. We also take time to listen to others life stories and help them find their lives within the redemptive God’s Story.
Every person on the planet is living their life inside of and in light of a larger story shaped by the country they live in, the cultures surrounding them, the family they were raised in, the worldview they believe… Until they understand all of this in light of the Redemptive Story of God, they will give themselves to lesser stories that do not work. (Genesis 1:1-2; John 1:1; Psalm 1; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
My Story- I need to continue to grow in the gospel of grace and truth. I need to be self-aware and let the Spirit and the Word show me where my life past and present is not in line with the truth that in all things my hope rests in Jesus. Eg: When I face a financial crunch, do I practically think that it is money that can bail me out of my problems? Then money becomes my messiah, which is false. Jesus is the only messiah. He is my redeemer in whom my hope rests and He bails me out. Only He can be my sufficient provider. Money does not and cannot replace Jesus.
Our Stories- We need to listen to each other’s life stories through conversation with ‘gospel ears’ and help re-align them too. Eg: When someone complains of having a bad boss at work, if he thinks getting a new boss would ‘solve all my problems’, then a new boss is his practical re-deemer. You should not ‘pray for a new boss’ but instead you should help him see that he is pin-ning his hopes on the new boss as a savior from his current crisis. Only Jesus can be the Good Master. None can fill his shoes.
Community’s Stories- In order to be an effective missionary, we need to know the story of our culture and community – what has shaped it, what is the dominant story line, what are the idols, etc. We should then declare and demonstrate the gospel to them through the blatant gaps and point them to Christ who truly is the redeemer and not other man made idols or way of escape.
We set aside regular times to listen and learn from God
Jesus listened to God in prayer to know his Father’s will. We are also called to listen to God and learn from Him as His disciples. We listen by regularly and prayerfully interacting with God’s Word—the Story of God (meta-narrative) as well as the text of scripture in its context through a grammatical historical system of interpretation. This cannot be done apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit indwells in a very active way to guide us everyday. Additionally we also recognize the role of God’s Spirit to reveal His will to us personally and as a community. He exists to lead us in living lives in the context of God’s mission. As we strive to this end and look helplessly to Him, he groans and intercedes for us in ‘speechless’ ways and bring God’s will to us. Though we won’t ‘hear’ His voice, we yet hear him clearly as we seek His will in the context of fighting sin and upholding Jesus in the mission He has given us. (Mark 1:35-37; John 16:7-15; Hebrews 1:1-3; Romans 1:20, Romans 8:27)
Without being legalistic, spend 30 min to an hour daily in listening to God. This would ideally consist of the following steps, a) going through portions of scripture reminding us of the gospel and reflecting on Jesus as Lord, b) Then select a portion of scripture with a complete story/argument/psalm/proverb (ideally a continuation from the previous day, c) prayerfully ready and re-read the text, d) try to understand how it was flowing from the previous verses, e) find the sin issue that is being addressed in the passage, anything about God/Jesus/Holy Spirit’s character, f) repent of that sin and respond appropriately to the revealed nature of God and g) note how that change can be lived out and live that out to the glory of God.
We gather together to celebrate God’s extravagant blessings.
God calls people to regularly remember and celebrate his goodness and grace. Every person in every part of the world celebrates. The question is: To whom or what is the celebration directed? Because of sin and idolatry we are prone to celebrate creation instead of the Creator. If we truly understand and believe the gospel, we should be the most celebratory people on the planet. God regularly called his people to celebrate through feasts and parties because he did not want them to forget His grace and abundant provision. The very celebration wasn’t just a response – it was also a demonstration of what God is like and has done. We must enter into a regular rhythm of celebrating God’s extravagant blessings. We gather through the week as missional families and on Sundays as a larger family- to learn, serve and share stories and celebrate all that God is doing in and amongst us. We invite everyone to these celebrations as a way of displaying God’s glory, exhorting each other in the Gospel and encouraging each other in Mission. (Leviticus 23; Acts 2:42-47; Hebrews 10:24-25)
Self- How is gospel celebration part of your life? Are you known more as a person who celebrates life? Reflect more deeply on the gospel, on what you really deserve and yet what Christ gifted you through the cross. This should make you rejoice and celebrate. Find 3 ways you can express that celebration personally through the week so that others look and say that your God is a good God. Eg: Smile and laugh often…meditating on God’s grace will guide you to rejoice even when the going is tough. Paul rejoiced even when chained in prison!
Family- As the local presence ofGod’s family are we known for being a celebratory people? Does our worship of God in songs and praise reflect a sad people or celebratory people? As we gather in our respective area small groups do we celebrate our time together as people who have ex-perience phenomenal grace? Find 3 ways to celebrate weekly together. Eg: Sharing your testi-mony of God’s favor in the week and passing a box of simple cake around!
Community- Let the people around witness God’s goodness to you. Plan a couple of ways you can celebrate with a particular unbelieving people group God is calling you to engage with. Eg: Join the local celebrations that they celebrate like B’day parties, Kitty parties, games evenings etc. Alternately you can do a games night at your home calling unbelievers.
We intentionally bless others through words, gifts or actions.
God desires that all nations—all people—would be blessed through Jesus. And now, as his Body with a local presence in Pune, we believe we live out this mission as we bless others. We inten-tionally seek God’s direction for who he would have us tangibly bless each week. We all have tal-ents, resources and time. Some of us believe we have earned these things and therefore we are entitled to them. This leads to greed and selfishness stemming from pride and causes fights, quarrels, divisions and anxiety. When we believe that all we have is from God’s gracious hand – gifts given not due to our own work – then we selflessly share what we have for the sake of oth-ers leading us to acts of service, sacrifice and love. (Genesis 12:1-3; Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:8-10; 1 Peter 2:12; Matt 5:16)
Self- Take time to pen down at least 5 ways God has blessed you. And then write 5 ways you could creatively use those in blessing others. We are not blessed for our own good but to be a steward of the same for others to benefit. Eg: “I am always blessed with some money”. How can I be a faithful steward by giving some away for the benefit of poor believers (ministry in Nilanga)?
Family- Ask God how you can take care of each other in our “MARG” family? Eg: Find who is busy this week near you and go and buy their weekly grocery supply; Two of you can take turns and teach someone how to ride a bike while the recipient can use the saved money for monetarily blessing others! ; grow in our financial giving from 10% to 13%.
Community- God’s intent in blessing His people has always been so that those who don’t know Him and his grace might see Him at work in and through us and come to Him through our lives. The unbelievers in our community should experience grace at work. Eg: Work together and do a website for an upstart unbelieving businessman; Generously help a family in financial crisis by often inviting them home for supper.
We regularly eat meals with others and invite them into our gospel missional families.
Meals are a daily reminder of our common need for God and his faithfulness to provide both physically and spiritually. Jesus called us to remember him and his sacrifice for us through a meal. When we eat together, we commune around this truth. We should regularly eat meals with those not in our immediate family or circle of close friends, discipling them toward a life of de-pendence on God. In every part of the world hunger is a daily reality – whether they have plenty or lack – we all get hungry more than once a day. God gave Adam and Eve the opportunity to demonstrate their faith through the eating of food. They chose to eat unto themselves out of un-belief and rebellion. God has likewise given every person in every part of the world a regular re-minder of their need and an opportunity to eat unto themselves in unbelief and rebellion or unto God in faith and with thanksgiving. (Leviticus 23; Matthew 6:11; 26:17-30; Acts 2:46-47; Romans 12:13)
Self- Whatever we do, whether we eat or drink, we do it unto God. Every meal really is a demon-stration of the gospel. We come hungry (a real need) and our need is graciously met (Whatever we have is from God). Since we eat three times a day, we get a gospel reminder over and over again IF we eat unto God. Eg: Express a deep and real gratitude to God for every meal. Take these as op-portunities to remind you of the gospel!
Family- When we eat together we commune over our common need and God’s provision. In do-ing this we proclaim the gospel to each other over and over again. That is why it is so important to eat together regularly – a loving community of believers communing around the work of Christ is the best apologetic of the gospel AND eating together is one of the ways we are commanded to do this. Eg: Have the Lord’s table as frequently as we can (even in small groups) to remember Jesus’ death in behalf of us and learn to ‘preach the gospel’ effectively to another over a meal. We need to have gospel discussion over a meal where one shares how he was sinful in the week and another speaks of God’s grace in Jesus through the cross; Committo eating with one mem-ber every week.
Community- Who we eat demonstrates whom we love. This is why Jesus was called a friend of sinners – he ate with people who were dirty, unreligious, and visibly or sociably unacceptable. The table is one of the most powerful displays of God’s love and acceptance of sinners. Eg: Make friends and eat often with the Osho people/ Iranians. Invite them to your parties or be in a posi-tion to be invited to their parties; Commit to eat with 2 unbelievers every week.
6. ReCreate (Rest and Create)
We take time to rest, play and restore beauty in order to reflect God to others. After powerfully and joyfully creating the universe, God rested. We were created in his image and therefore were made to joyfully create and rest as well. We regularly take time to rest, play and restore beauty in ways that reflect what God is like to our community. In every culture and with every person we witness the desire to rest and create – although the means by which people work it out might be different, we find a universal and historical practice of ReCre-ating. However, apart from the gospel people remain restless in their work and labored in their rest. The Gospel enables people to rest while working because the work that justifies them was accomplished in Jesus – they don’t need their work to give them significance any longer. The Gospel also enables people to truly rest when not working, because they know that God is always working–they don’t have to worry their lack of work will stop the world from spinning (Genesis 1-2:3; Deuteronomy 5:12; Mark 2:23-28; Hebrews 4)
Self- We now approach work not needing validation or security – we can truly work unto the Lord and be free to do it as worship (not worshipping the job, the boss, the paycheck or the credibility we obtain). We can also truly rest – vacation or not, sleeping or not, etc… because the world is held together and run by Him and it will be restored by His work in and through us, not our work apart from Him. Eg: Take vacations to see and explore God’s goodness and in the beauty of nature; Sleep at least 7 hours a day; utilize all your company leaves
Family- Plan and attend a “MARG” Family camp once a year as a priority; Plan once a year where just 2-3 families can go on vacation together
Community- Plan a vacation with some members from your community. It could also be on a Sunday as that is when unbelievers are free. Plan even one day trips if possible and let those be opportunities for them to witness the true rest you experience (because of Jesus’ sufficient work on the cross).