The big idea of Roots Season
Here is the big idea, the Roots Rhythm we focus on during Roots Season:
God is proactively working a strategy to bless everyone on earth. He isn't just making rules and measuring how people do so he can split the good ones from the bad ones.
When people assume God is basically a scorekeeper and judge, they read the Bible as the book that tells us how he will keep score. How much will that good deed raise my score? How badly will that bad deed hurt it?
People may read the Bible that way for a whole lifetime without realizing that something different and bigger is going on. The Bible as a whole is not a glorified list of God's rules and standards. It's a story, the story of God proactively working his strategy to bless the world.
Here is the other half of the big idea of Roots Season:
God's strategy is to create his own group, a sub-group of the human race, in order to get his blessing to the whole race.
God does send some of his blessing directly to the whole race, which we will call Group 1. But most of the really important blessing he gives to his sub-group, which we will call Group 1A, to give to the whole Group 1.
We call this the "Abraham Strategy," not because Abraham invented it, which he didn't, but because he was the person through whom God launched it. By using the Abraham Strategy, God is telling us that the group aspect of human life really matters to him, and so do the tensions between groups.
The Abraham Strategy involves God in human life at the group level. He puts his own group in among all the other groups. This kills the idea that God only deals with individuals. He cares about groups too, and he cares about them all. And the Abraham Strategy will unite all the groups in the end.
Bottom line of the big idea of Roots Season:
We see ourselves in Christ as fulfillments of God's ancient promise to bless the world through Abraham's descendants. We live in SYNC with God's intentions when he made that promise.
In SYNC with Jesus, we are rooted in Abraham. "And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you." (Galatians 3.29)
When you SYNC, when you See Yourself iN Christ as a fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham, you realize you are participating in the work of Abraham's descendants, which is to bless everybody. That is your cause. You are caught up in it, energized by it, and delighted every time you have even a small success.
You want a better world? So does God. Got a plan for a better world? So does God. What are the odds that SYNCing with his plan will do more to improve the world than continuing with any other plan?
Our role as fulfillments of God's ancient promise, fruitful branches on the Abraham family tree
God's ancient promise is, "Through you [Abraham] all families of the earth will be blessed." (Genesis 12.3) Jesus was a descendant of Abraham and did far more than any other descendant to bless the world. However, all the descendants have a share in the blessing process.
Jesus also redefined the "descendants of Abraham" on spiritual lines, not a physical bloodline. People who accept Jesus as the messianic King, the key person God sent to fulfill his promise to bless the world, are the true "descendants of Abraham."
People who don't accept Jesus that way are going against God's strategy to bless the world. They are not following the person God sent to lead the implementation of his strategy. They are not going with the flow of the story of the world in the way God is writing it. They are out of SYNC.
The true descendants of Abraham have his spiritual DNA, which is to trust God to do things in his way. That is how Abraham was trusting God when he had no clue why God was telling him to sacrifice his son Isaac. His security was not in what he understood but in God's ability to make things turn out right even when that looked impossible.
So how do we get that DNA, that level of trust? God gives it to us through Christ as part of his plan to keep his promise to bless the world. Like branches being grafted into a tree, we get grafted into the group that descended from Abraham (Romans 11.17-21). Once a graft takes, the grafted branch is able to draw life from the tree root and produce fruit as part of the tree. We become the "true Jews," the inward or spiritual Jews, whether we were born Jewish or were grafted in (Romans 2.28-29).
Another way of talking about that graft is to talk about the "Spirit of Jesus." Jesus, the center of God's strategy to fulfill his promise to Abraham, puts his Spirit into us. The Spirit gradually changes us to resemble him and share in his work of fulfilling the promise. It's as if we are turning into great writers because the "spirit of Shakespeare" has somehow come on us, or great conquerors because the "spirit of Genghis Khan" has entered us.
Shakespeare and Genghis Khan cannot send their spirits to empower anyone today because they are dead. Jesus can send his Spirit because he is still alive, resurrected from the grave. So he is the permanent promise fulfiller, not just a person who taught others that they should try as hard as they can to bless the world. And his strategy for fulfilling the promise today is to put his Spirit, the Holy one-of-a-kind Spirit, into his group ("Group 1A") to hold the group together and to empower it to bless the world ("Group 1").
That's why we don't congratulate ourselves when we bless the world. It isn't really us who are doing it. Jesus' Spirit working in us does it, so he gets the credit for it. We are just thankful that we got to be there and be in on part of the process of God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit keeping his promise.
When you SYNC (see yourself in Christ), you see that you are included in "Group 1A," the group Christ is directing to bless the world in his name. You don't have to chase security or significance any more. You've got them. So relax, enjoy them, thank God for them, and bless the world by helping it find the security and significance it is craving.
The big idea vs the Big Lie
If we get the big idea of Roots Season, it protects us from the Big Lie, which is,
"I get my security and significance through the group I was born into, the cause I identify with, and/or the things I personally achieve or own."
This lie has some truth to it. These things do help us feel like we have some value. The lie sounds good but in real life it keeps generating all kinds of conflicts and insecurities instead of taking them away.
It feeds racism, which is a quest for security and power by giving my race the right to look down on others.
It makes me feel right to harshly judge and criticize anyone who does not support my cause as vigorously as I think all good people should.
It feeds anxiety when I try to protect my property or investments.
We are all designed to want security and significance, and we suffer psychological damage when we don't have them. Life gets miserable when we do not belong. So we look for security and significance in a thousand ways and places, never guessing that God has created a group we could join that would give us more security and significance than we can imagine is possible. That is "Group 1A," the spiritual descendants of Abraham, and any of us in Group 1, the human race, is invited to join it.
The big idea of Roots Season is some of the best news ever. We don't have to come up with the best plan we can to build and protect our own security and significance. All we have to do is sign on to the plan that God already put there for us. We join Group 1A, his "demo and delivery team." We live under the direction of Jesus Christ, the mastermind of the strategy for Group 1A to bless Group 1.
Holidays and the big idea
Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020
As with Epiphany (January 6th), the SYNC interpretation of Ash Wednesday is totally different than the traditional Christian one. Instead of it being a day of penitence introducing Lent (40 days of austerity and self-denial), Ash Wednesday is a celebration of God's promises to Abraham and Abraham's trust in God.
In the SYNC interpretation, the ash of Ash Wednesday is the ash of the sacrifice by Abraham on Mount Moriah. It is a day of joy because we see how much Abraham trusted God--to the point of willingness to sacrifice his son and heir--and how God provided a ram as a substitute.
That ram is a key to all the rest of the biblical story. The point of the SYNC celebration of Ash Wednesday is that there was no bone of Isaac in that ash. It was all ram's bone.
In other words, against all odds, God can still be trusted to come through and make his plan work in his way. Isaac lived, and through him God later kept his promise to create a nation that would bless all families of the earth.
Ash Wednesday sets the tone for the whole Roots Season, but it is not the somber tone of Lent in the traditional church year. The somber time in the annual cycle of SYNC is during Honor Season (Oct-Nov). Roots Season (Feb-Apr) is a time of joy because of the story of Isaac and the ram. We who are "in Christ" today get to be included in the God-group as spiritual descendants of Abraham and Isaac.
What a heritage! What a group! We are part of an ancient plan, God's plan, for a better world. We are part of a 4000-year-old group to work the plan, each with the challenges of our own era. And the plan is to bring good to everybody, not just to those who are like us, who agree with us, or who feel forced to comply with us.
FAQs about the "big idea"