It’s a cool picture, isn’t it? I put the Smiling Icon guy (which I hope represents all of us as an “image” of God (actually an “icon” of God) in the Greek, swirling in a pattern of fluid entanglement.
It’s found in an article entitled “Orientation entanglement” on Wikipedia (Orientation entanglement – Wikipedia) and I thought it might be a good lead-in to a subject near and dear to my heart—the difference between just “exhibiting” our faith in the Marketplace, and actually sharing it.
How can we grow from simply “showing” it, and helping others to actually “knowing” it— and coming to know the God we’ve all come to know and love?
It’s a good question to ponder, as we consider how to take our work in the Marketplace to the next level.
It’s so easy for us to attend a wonderful conference like the 2023 XL Summit, and bask in the afterglow of the vision it cast for a brief period of time. But it’s been aptly said that “vision” often leaks badly. So allow me to bang the drum a bit, and do my part to help us take things to the next level.
Notes to Ponder
I found myself capturing phrases that spoke to me that morning, and here are a few from my “stream of consciousness” notes that I emailed to myself that morning as I was attempting to consider what my next growth step would be as part of the AWOP family. I’ll share them as if they are “section” headings for the chapter of a book.
“Citywide Ministry.” “Practical and Inspirational.” “Faith at Work.” “City Transformation.” “Bring Sunday Faith to Monday.” “Bring Faith to Work and Change a City.” “Networks Embracing Transformation.” “Church Mobilization through Connection Platform.” “Leading to City Flourishing.” “Churches Connecting with Community.”
Even as I read these, a smile of joy comes to my face as I see, no “feel” the vision.
But then there’s this one note that brings this joy to a curious pause as I read it, if not halt.
was this phrase: “We have a connection problem.”
Why? And further, what not just “can” we do about it, but what are we as the AWOP family of believers going to do about it?
Once again, the very Hitchcockian (see my last blog) book of Acts, where the Holy Spirit is both the director and the star of the Christian show, shows us the way to proceed.
Part One: There Is A Place for “Showing” Our Faith in the Marketplace
Acts 2 gives a picture of a dynamic Christian community that simply did not disappear into the weekly woodwork. They were very visible believers in their city. Notice how it’s described in Acts 2, after the first Pentecost which brought at least 3000 believers to
Christ. Notice how they openly “exhibited” their faith.
Acts 2:42-47 (New International Version)
They visibly with their belief. Not obnoxiously in your face, but visible. They studied together—visibly. They weren’t ashamed to pray before a meal, even at a public gathering. They made palpable differences for those in need. And their visibility in praising God was not damning or off-putting.
They actually enjoyed the “favor” of “all” the people.
And verse 47 says what God was able to do with a people whose “spiritual” lifestyle furnace produced such “warmth.”
And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Part 2: Sharing Their Faith
These Christians, however, did more than just “exhibit” their faith. They knew how to share it. Notice this scene from the story of the First Church.
Acts 8:1,4 (New International Version)
The chapter later records that Samaria, not merely a city, but a region “accepted the word of God.”
How did they do it? They knew how to leverage not just the power of words but of the Spirit of communion (2 Corinthians 13:13). They knew how to live and give the Spirit of Entanglement, that’s been given to us all freely by a very cosmic–and quite quantum—God.
We’ll be sharing more about that in the upcoming blogs.