Lawrence Neisent

Prepare the way for the King

This is a rough compilation of some of the notes I was praying through while traveling here in the UK ready for the Turn Nations conference. I wasn’t intending on publishing them or I would have been more careful in writing them out!
Also my books are on the  website if you’d like to take a look at those. 

True treasures are relationships.
If we are to prepare the way for the King to transform our world then we must understand his method wasn’t to show up in spectacular form. He came in weakness, vulnerability and the absence of influence in the world’s definition. Jesus is still gaining entrance into our world through unsuspected avenues like you and like me.

1 Cor 1:18-27 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. NIV

What’s biggest problem in society today? Perhaps it is cultural Christianity - an easy Christianity that is just habit and fits into the culture - because Biblical Christianity has power to transform society!

Our society isn’t going to be changed because of polished church services that have mastered excellence in our experiences. Society will change when we express God’s relational care for humanity, leaving His mark on people’s lives.

1 Corinthians 1:26-30 Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? MSG

The reason it is so important for us to understand this is because it changes everything about the way we think and function.

When we come to church our lives are enriched but when we become the church our world is enriched.

When Jesus came, suddenly common people were invited into places where only the religious elite had been allowed before.  

Nupedia was an online encyclopedia idea launched in 2000 – the best and brightest doctors, historians and professors were recruited to write scholarly articles that were filtered through an extensive & inefficient editing process. The result? - 24 articles were published in 3 years.

Another idea emerged almost simultaneously. Average, ordinary people were encouraged to submit articles to an online editorial staff.  The result? - in just 1 year 20,000 “wiki” articles submitted for review.  W.I.K.I. = What I know Is
Wikipedia was mobilizing ordinary people to effectively express themselves in areas of interest and passion and that changed everything.

The book of Acts describes “Wikipedia Christianity.”

It is ineffective to embrace the message of Jesus yet abandon his method of delivering it. Actions speak louder than words.

The hospitality of Jesus and the table of the Lord are things we are going to explore and understand in this next season of the church. The Table! How does Jesus’ view the Table?

The Holy Spirit is going to help us. I really believe in this season our cultural ideology is going to be disrupted and replaced by true Biblical theology that has the power to transform our world!

It is ineffective to embrace the message of Jesus yet abandon his method of delivering it. 

Bigger is not better - more personal is better, especially when it comes to the emerging generation’s spiritual growth. Cultivation, not mass production is what people truly need

John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” NIV
When we come to church our lives are enriched but when we become the church our world is enriched.

Bible says the world will know us by …. our strong beliefs about all the terrible things we’re against? … the boycotts we embrace? …  social media rants we produce?

The final conversation Jesus has with the disciples before his death was at a table. When Jesus wanted to explain to his disciples what his death was all about, he didn’t give them an informative lecture. He gave them a relational meal.

The table speaks of community, connection, communication and ultimately communion.
Jesus is the Master at converting that which is mundane into something meaningful, but it does require sacrifice. When we invite Jesus to a table it becomes an altar and our lives become the offering. Biblical hospitality is more than entertaining – it’s ministry.

In a society that has grown so relationally disconnected, an invitation to Biblical hospitality might be one of the most compelling and irresistible aspects of Christianity.

The Father’s divine plan was for Jesus to be born among the Jewish people, who carry a strong table tradition. His parents taught him proper table manners. They gave him eye contact and focused attention.  Without a doubt he learned an intentional mealtime rhythm with his parents and faith community. 

At the table, Jesus heard Joseph pray, read scripture and tell stories.  Eating meals with family and friends, with a faith-oriented focus, was his life experience. Years before Jesus blessed bread to feed the 5,000 on the hillside, he broke bread at home as a boy in his parents’ house.

His experience of “the table” existed even before his childhood. Jesus lying in a manger speaks of so much. A  manger is a feeding trough. Jesus is the Bread of Life! This trough would hold grain the animals would eat. Jesus Himself would later say, “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  Everyone is created for abundant life and Jesus came to lead us into this life as revealed in his Word.

Jesus is the bread that came from heaven to be born in Bethlehem (which means “house of bread”). It’s no surprise that so many significant stories of Jesus are centered around a table.

A shared meal is the most basic expression of hospitality and this could be the activity most closely tied to the reality of God’s kingdom.

We are not here trying to build a better church. We are here as the church trying to build a better world.

What if the solution to biggest issues in society have been right under our noses for the past 2,000 years? When Jesus was asked to reduce everything in the Bible to one command he said: Love God with everything you have and love your neighbor as yourself. What if he meant we should love actual neighbors? 

Jesus is a genius! He is asked to pick the one commandment that is more important than all the others. He gives a practical plan that has the potential to change the world!

Could it be this simple?

We’ve put it on bumper stickers, worn it on t-shirts but do we actually put it into practice.

By becoming good neighbors, we become who we’re supposed to be. As result, our communities become the places that God intended them to be.

In our fast-paced society that has grown so relationally distracted, an invitation to Biblical hospitality is one of the most compelling and irresistible aspects of Christianity.

Christians – we have a call from God to connect the public places of work and worship with the private space of home. 

The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Rome:
Rom 12:13 Get into the practice of inviting guests home for dinner. NLT