Shea: So far we’ve done some pretty heavy lifting at Gather’s Thursday night studies.
Tim: First, the Bible, then God, and last week Jesus—so, yeah, we’ve not been timid about our topic choices. And that’s by design, because the last thing the world needs is another Christianity Lite church.
Shea: Or one that manufactures WIIFM Christians by framing the gospel as a What’s-In-It-For-Me proposition.
Tim: How did Jesus put it? When you make the quest for God’s kingdom and justice your priority, the WIIFM takes care of itself.
Shea: Can following God’s way be that simple?
Tim: Actually, what God wants from us is pretty straightforward. But it comes with necessary freedoms to live out those requirements. That’s where things get tricky, balancing freedom and responsibility. We’ll be talking about that this week.
Shea: What do you mean, balancing freedom and responsibility?
Tim: From Moses onward, the prophets were always able to summarize what God wants from us.
Shea: You mean, like Micah 6:8’s to-do list: do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
Tim: Exactly. Or Jesus’s distillation of the Law and Prophets into two requirements: love God entirely and love your neighbor as you love yourself. The prophets were geniuses at breaking things down to their basics. And it always comes down to the same core principles: commitment to God and compassion for the other.
Shea: Then how does it get so complicated—to the point it starts to feel impossible?
Tim: Doing what God asks has no meaning if we don’t do it freely, without any threats or promises—no WIIFM—hanging over our heads. That means breaking free from a bunch of extraneous rules and regs that often get put to us as “must do’s” yet have no relevance to the kingdom of God or any benefit to us. But you know how we are. When we’d rather not do what’s best for us, we complicate everything.
Shea: We lose our way to God and one another by making it harder than it should be.
Tim: And we’re free to do that. That’s the irony of it. That’s why we need God’s guidance and the wisdom of the Word to keep us on track. If we could kick our habit of making what’s right and just so difficult, we’d fix many of our problems. Unfortunately, we suffer from two serious issues: reluctance to own responsibility and a crippling fear of freedom. We’ll dig into this some more at this week’s study.

Join us this Thursday at L!VE Café, 163 S. Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park. Doors open at 7:00p, the study begins at 7:30p. If you can’t be with us in person, join us via Facebook Live.

We need your help!

As we think about the future of Gather, please let us know what gifts you bring and would like to share with the community. There are many roles that have to come together to make Gather happen every week. This includes setup, technical support, worship, managing handouts and information, coordinating drinks, and teardown. We need your help. Please let us know what type of service you’d be interested in!

Watch God Work,
Tim & Shea

A few save-the-date opportunities to invite folks to be part of the Gather faith community experience:
  • Next Thursday, May 17: Our Origins series continues with a closer look at the Holy Spirit and community. Using the magic of the Interwebs, Shea and Tim will co-teach in real time. (Pray for tech mercies!)
  • Thursday, May 24: Our series turns its sights on worship–a perfect opportunity to try out our worship skills! We’ll pilot what a Gather worship service could look like and rejoice in the joy of our salvation!
  • Sunday, June 24: Gather will join the Lighthouse Church (4713 N. Broadway, Chicago) in a special worship service prior to joining thousands from other Chicagoland churches as we witness God’s love and radical welcome in the annual Gay Pride parade. Tee shirts and more info soon to come!

As we prepare to become a vibrant worshipping community, we invite you to enjoy a Spotify playlist that captures the kind of worship we hope to embrace. Give it a spin while you’re driving. Make it your workout jam. Add it to your devotional time. Most of all, feel yourself becoming part of a sacred village of believers who love their God and one another!
Check out the Gather Worship Playlist here.