The Story: An Introduction
Hey! My name is Greg Finke (pronounced Finkee) and I am a follower of Jesus. He’s been leading my life from the beginning. But lately He’s really been messing with my status quo.
And I like it.
About 15 years ago I began to realize that although I knew a lot about Jesus, I didn't really know Jesus very well. I knew more about the theology of Paul in the Epistles than I did about the person of Jesus in the Gospels. So I opened the Gospel of Matthew and joined the crowds following Jesus around... listening to what He actually said and watching what He actually did. That changed everything.
I realized there was a big difference between believing in Jesus and actually believing Jesus. I realized there was a big difference between believing in Jesus and actually following Jesus. I also began to see that those who actually followed Jesus seemed to have a much more authentic and adventurous relationship with Jesus. He wasn’t a story, He wasn’t a rule, He was a person. He wasn’t someone you talked about, He was someone you listened to. And joined.
I began to take note of how Jesus formed a human heart, starting with mine and then also listening to the stories and watching the lives of others who had been changed by Jesus, too. Did I mention I had been a pastor since 1989? So I could do this a lot. I observed when I was being changed and how. I observed some people who seemed to stay the same year after year and others who seemed to be on an amazing adventure day after day.
Then about 10 years ago Jesus started really messing with me regarding His teachings on the Kingdom of God. It is a phrase used by Jesus throughout the Gospels, but somehow I had avoided coming to clarity about what He actually meant by it. So He started to wrestle with me and teach me and show me. I am His slow child, so He had to be blunt and persistent. Clarity came.
Clarity had consequences.
I am a citizen of God’s Kingdom by grace, but I was often living as if He had not come, was not present, nor was up to anything of note lately. Turns out, the Kingdom of God was already very near to me (and you) and He was inviting me to repent and start living in the good news, not just theologically but actually… hmmm…
Finally, Jesus began to merge for me two things I had previously considered separate: the mission of God and the discipling of the people of God. Mission and discipling are not two separate things but the same thing. Jesus disciples His followers by inviting them to join Him on His mission.
Like I said, I am God's slow child. But I can now save you about 15 years of a learning curve so that you too can understand how to join Jesus’ mission each day and show others how to do the same. That's what Dwelling 1:14 is about.
Jesus is starting a missional movement in the United States. I have seen it. He’s been messing with you about it, too, hasn’t He?
Dwelling 1:14 is about helping Jesus-followers like you connect with other Jesus-followers in your neighborhoods, workplaces and schools for the sake of discipling and living out the mission of Jesus day by day. These small communities of Jesus-followers living in their neighborhoods, seeking the Kingdom, and connecting with people redemptively are what we call “missional communities.”
And I think Jesus is calling you to help start another one.