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A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table - eBook
Crossway Books / 2011 / ePub
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The meals of Jesus represent something bigger. They represent a new world, a new kingdom, a new outlook.
Tim Chester brings to light Gods purposes in the seemingly ordinary act of sharing a mealhow this everyday experience is really an opportunity for grace, community, and mission. Chester challenges contemporary understandings of hospitality as he urges us to evaluate why and who we invite to our table. Learn how you can foster grace and bless others through the rich fare being served in A Meal with Jesus.
TIM CHESTER (PhD, University of Wales) is codirector of the Porterbrook Network, which equips individuals and churches to rediscover mission, and director of the Northern Training Institute, which provides integrated theological and missional training for church leaders. He is co-author of Total Church and author of You Can Change.
We all know fasting can be a spiritual exercise, but eating is really more like Jesus. In this book, Chester points out that Christianity was meant to be conducted at a table with the intimacy of a shared meal. Church was never meant to be holy services held in sacred buildings conducted by saintly men in long robes passing thin wafers and a thimble of juiceremoved from real life. Chester rightly puts us back where we belong...at the table in front of a meala feast actually. This is an outstanding treatise on an important subject that was long ago lost in the mire of sacred rituals. It is time we come back to the table and enjoy the life given to us.
founder and director, Church Multiplication Associates; author, Organic Church
I'm not sure I could name all the titles of the books Tim has now written. I've even written one or two with him. But this is the best so far, by far! It fed my soul and through it I enjoyed grace in a new way. In fact, the book is a sumptuous meal in its own right. Buy it, not just to read it, but to feast on it.
Director, Acts 29 Western Europe; co-author Total Church
I have always told the congregations I've served that if you take the mountains and meals out of the Bible, it's a very short book. In a world of competing church models and strategies, Tim shows us that Jesus employed one practice over all others: Sharing a meal with people. This book serves as a poignant reminder that grace, mission, and community are never enacted best through programs and propaganda, but rather through the equality and acceptance experienced at the common table. May our lives never be too busy to live this out.
Global Leader, 3DM; author, Building a Discipleship Culture
Tim Chester has a keen ability to reflect on gospel, community, and mission, making them accessible to the common person through the mess and movement of everyday life. Tim certainly accomplished this again in A Meal with Jesus. With each meal, my convictions about how the gospel informs all of life and relationships went deeper, and my affections for Jesus grew stronger. I want everyone in my church to read this book.
Lead Pastor, Soma Communities, Tacoma, Washington; Vice President, Acts 29
I have been on a diet lately. In discussions about food and diet, two opinions predominate. One is that the world would be healthier and a better place to eat in if people gave less thought to food, and simply saw food as fuel to keep our body going. The other side of the discussion says that what we need in this world are people who make their eating choices more intentionally, thoughtfully, and wisely. According to this second group, one achieves weight loss by thinking more about food and what and how they eat.
Related to this discussion are the social implications of how, when, where, and what we eat. For example, in his book Eating Animals, progressive activist Jonathan Foer argues for veganism as an act of social justice. In Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, Ronald Sider argues that American beef production and consumption may be greedy in light of global poverty. In his new book A Meal with Jesus, Tim Chester argues that there are spiritual implications related to how we eat.
Chester focuses in on the gospel of Luke and six specific passages where Jesus either was at a meal or discussing something relating to a meal. He argues that how Jesus ate his meals, with whom he at his meals, and the lessons that he taught at those meals demonstrates key theological concerns of his ministry. Furthermore, A Meal with Jesus argues that as we put some of Jesus' lessons around the table into practice with our table habits, we will be better disciples and better witnesses to the gospel of Jesus.
The introduction to this book is better than most introductions. Any reader would be wise not to skip over it. In it the author considers the statement by Jesus that "the Son of Man came eating and drinking," and discusses the centrality of the meal to the gospel message.
The individual chapters will be wonderful not only for personal edification, but for a Bible study group or even as the basis for a sermon series. Each chapter examines a passage in depth, looking at how it ties into the expressed mission of Christ on earth. I plan on using this book at one point for sermons related to the Lord's Supper.
I encourage anyone who struggles with eating, loves to eat, or is curious about how food consumption relates to the gospel, to read this book. What the reader will discover is that the meal is about far more than putting food in one's mouth. Clint Walker, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
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