Posts Tagged ‘gentiles’

future exitDisclaimer/Attribution: I’m stealing this story from my pastor (www.northpointonline.tv) who shared it at a #thx meeting last week. The imagery is great and I hope he won’t mind. Trinity hardliners, give me a break, it’s just a story.

Jesus is risen and in heaven with the Father. He has ministered, died, arisen and commissioned his disciples.

Father (thoughtfully): Son, I’m not sure about the guys you picked as disciples. Of the twelve, one was a traitor and the rest are hiding in Jerusalem thinking and praying about a Master Plan to get to the “ends of the earth.”

Jesus: They’ll get to it. They’re good guys. They’re thinking about it right now.

Father: I know, but look at the Gentiles. You need someone who is a doer, not a thinker.

Jesus: Who did you have in mind?

Father (pointing): Look at this pharisee, Saul. No half-measures with him!

Jesus: Yeah, but he HATES the Good News.

Father: Yeah, but look how WELL he does it!

Jesus: Hmm. Let me talk to him. Think I should put on the skin or just do light?

Father: Light’ll work. The skin thing is rough, plus, Saul is looking for us, he’s just blind–kind of a pharisee thing, right?

Jesus descends again to earth on a road on the outskirts of Damascus. He’s all lit up.

Saul (to his servants): Is the sun getting brighter or is it getting hotter? I should have brought my shades.

Men traveling with Saul (looking at him): Say, what?

Saul (shielding his eyes): Holy smoke! What’s going on here!

Men (hearing a voice, looking around): Do you hear murmuring?!

Jesus (beaming): Saul, why are you persecuting me?

Saul (blinded by the light): Who are you?!

Jesus: I’m Jesus, the one you are persecuting. You are like an ox kicking at a farmer’s prod–it’s stubborn and pointless.

Saul (trembling and astonished): Lord, what do You want me to do?

Jesus: Time for you to join my team. Go to Damascus and you’ll be told what to do.

Jesus goes back to heaven.

The men with Saul are speechless–they heard Jesus but saw no one. Saul stood up, but he was still blind. His friends took him to Damascus and for three days he was without sight. He neither ate nor drank. Later, through Ananias, the Spirit opened his eyes and started instructed him. Eventually, Saul ended up in Jerusalem. With Barnabas’ help he met with the Disciples to talk.

Paul: Guys, the Spirit is doing some amazing things among Gentiles.

Peter: Yes, of course. Jesus said we needed to make disciples and preach to the “ends of the earth.” We’re in Phase I of our Master Plan–praying and a pledge drive.

John (sliding a pledge card across the table to Saul): Yes, Phase I is well on its way, but I suppose we could meet. Check your calendars–how about next Wednesday after prayer meeting?

Saul (looking at Barnabas; scratching his chest): No need for a meet–no big deal. How does this sound: You guys concentrate on the Master Plan in Jerusalem and I–maybe with Barnabas–we’ll take the rest of the Empire. How ’bout that?

Matthew (looking thoughtfully): Hmmm. We do Jerusalem and you take the rest of the Roman Empire?

Peter (looking at Matthew): Seriously? That doesn’t sound right. Anybody have a map?

Matthew (brightening): I get it. We do Jews and you do Gentiles!

Peter (brows furrowed): Hang on. This reminds me of that dream I had…Spirit’s been talking about Gentiles to me. It’s part of Phase III. Right, John?

John: Yes.

Peter: The dream involved a big hat–or sheet–full of…

Saul: Seriously. Barney and I are headed for Antioch tomorrow. We have tent-making workshops scheduled from here to Greece and back that’ll keep us busy for a few years. We’ll preach as we go.

Everyone begins talking.

Peter (hold up his hands): Yo! Hey! (The group quiets) Everyone who’s okay with Paul and Barnabas preaching to Gentiles while they make tents, raise your hand.

Everyone raises their hands.

Peter: Good luck, guys. If you ever make it to Rome, let me know and I’ll come, too! (To the others,) You know, we could learn something here–I think maybe Phase IV needs to be spreading the Good News beyond the city limits.

In heaven:

Jesus (to the Father): Paul’s the real deal. I’m going to let him write half the New Testament.

Tr8: Be a doer. Make the Good News the front page of your life.

 

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Peter catching up with Jesus on the outskirts of Jerusalem after the resurrection:

“Jesus! Wait up. How do you like my new hat? My wife knitted it. Red’s not my color, but it makes her happy if I wear it.”

“Nicely done, Peter. Red hats work for you.”

Walking.

“Peter, remember the thing I said about the keys?”

“Yeah. You said you were going to give me some keys. We’d build a church.”

“It’s another analogy. Not real keys.”

“So, there’s not going to be a real church building where I’ll lock the door…insiders, in, outsiders, out?”

“In our church I want insiders, in and outsiders, in. When I’m gone, you’ll be one of the leaders of the church. Later you’ll go to Rome and die as I have. Your spiritual legacy for some folks will be a really big hat.”

“Hmm. I’m willing to die for you and Lord, I’ve promised to feed your sheep, but a hat?”

“Let’s skip the hat for now. Let me explain the keys. The day will come when Gentiles will want to join up with you guys and believe in me as you do.”

“Gentiles? I wouldn’t dream of that.”

“Okay, I’ll send you a dream so you’ll remember…Cornelius and a sheet full of scary food. Here’s the important thing: don’t make it hard for the Gentiles to come to me. You know the Pharisees love to make rules that only serve their vanity and keep people apart from our Father. You are to be the opposite. You, Peter, are in charge of not making up rules. As I have accepted you, you should accept others. Think of Matthew, remember, he was a tax collector.”

“Yeah, you surprised us with Matthew. Couldn’t figure a tax collector, but he’s a real saint.”

“Peter, your keys open or lock doors to people coming to me. Don’t lock the doors. Don’t set a lot of hurdles the Gentiles will have to jump to get to me. Not only do you need to use them wisely, you need to teach your disciples to keep the doors open and avoid crazy doctrines and orthodoxy that will push people away.”

“Got it. Feed sheep. Keep doors open.”

“Peter, you are a rock. You’ll do great. You’ll be so impressively wise with the keys that generations will think of you as King of the Keys. And the hat? It’ll be huge. Red and gold, and the leaders in the church in Rome will wear it. It’s pretty goofy. In fact, they’ll call the leaders “Papa” and treat them like kings. Be thankful for the hat your wife knitted.”

Tr8: Be gracious with your keys. Keep the doors to Christ open and unobstructed. In grace, bring them in. The Holy Spirit will take care of the rest. Just open the doors to everyone.