Guide for "Roots Season"
February 17 - March 27, 2021
See menu for Bible readings and additional seasonal material
During Life Season (Jan. 1 - Feb. 16) we remembered how good the world was in the beginning, and we praised the God of Life who created it all. But humans let the forces of death get loose in the world. God's commands, warnings, punishments, and second chances were not enough to get humans out of our mess.
In Roots Season we see God launching a campaign to heal, bless, and connect the world, bringing it back to safety and life. At the heart of that strategy is the creation of a "demo and delivery team" with a special assignment--to bless all other groups with God's healing and life.
The SYNC icon for Roots Season is brown to remind us of the earth that the Roots are growing in. That earth represents God's strategy as he described it to the key person in the Roots story, Abraham.
The "5G Quick Overview" below will establish your high-speed connection to Roots Season. Scroll down to it or start with any of the links in these two lists:
Whole Bible - the Roots Rhythm as the main thread of the whole biblical story
Non-negotiables - the same for everyone, everywhere, all the time
So what will happen to you?
As you catch and move with the Roots Rhythm, you will discover who you are, and you will like what you are becoming under the influence of Jesus--part of God's ancient demo and delivery team, part of the campaign that fulfills God's ancient promise to bless the world through Abraham's descendants, both physical and spiritual.
You will "See Yourself iN Christ," who connects you to the Roots that give you security and significance. People will like to be around you. Your rootedness makes you easy to trust, and your assignment is to work for everybody's good. You are a healer, a blesser, and a connector. What is not to like about that?
The "5G" flow during Roots Season
1G - Game-changer. God creates his own campaign team to bless the world
With one promise to Abraham, God switched from a parental relationship with humans ("rules and punishments") to a "campaign" relationship. He announced that through Abraham he would create a sub-group of the human race, connect it tightly to himself, and bless the whole world through it. MORE . . .
2G - Gift. The promise of a team was a gift to Abraham, and it gives us security and significance
God's game-changing promise went beyond Abraham's wildest dreams. Abraham did not see it coming and had done nothing to earn it. God just said, in effect, "You are the man. You will have millions of descendants and they will bless every family on the planet." This whole campaign started as a gift and it comes to us today as a gift. We have the privilege of belonging to something so huge, so ancient, and so good--God's campaign team! What could be more secure and significant? MORE . . .
3G - Get it. A gift this huge and undeserved obligates the recipient to the giver
If we win the lottery, we can do whatever we want with the money. But when we receive a personal gift, we have to consider who gave it to us and why. Abraham got that. He realized that because of the gift, he owed God a debt of gratitude and trust. And if we are privileged to be adopted into the team, we owe the same debt. MORE . . .
4G - Go with it. Once we "get it," we participate as members of the campaign team
Jesus, the campaign leader, puts his Spirit into each team member and among us as a group to give us our individual campaign work assignments plus the power to do them. We also have the Bible to give us the big picture of the heal-bless-connect campaign (that's basically what the whole Bible is) and the instructions that apply to all team members at all times. With the Spirit and the Bible as our guides and with other team members as our partners, we "go with" the campaign purpose. MORE . . .
5G - Genuineness. As we "go with it," we become fulfillments of God's promise to bless the world through Abraham's descendants, fruitful branches on the Abraham family tree
We find our authentic identity in the campaign team led by Jesus the Messiah. We are 100% genuine people, sold out to Jesus who died for the campaign and who lives to keep leading it. We are not pretending that we are the saviors of the world, but we are genuinely participating in saving the world as the power of Jesus flows through us. MORE . . .
More on 1G - Game-changer
Why are so many people 4000 years behind the times?
Many people, including many Christians, have the idea that God is like a cosmic parent, trying to help his human children toward maturity by making the rules, blessing the kids when they do well, and punishing them when they don't. That actually was God's strategy at the dawn of human history, but he only used it long enough for us all to see that it was not going to work.
That approach does not get anywhere. It spins its wheels in an ugly cycle that goes like this: God's command, human failure, God's judgment, God granting another chance, and humans failing again, as if we learned nothing from the last cycle. This cycle is repeated over and over in Genesis 2-11, the first 1% of the Bible.
Lots of people think God is still using that parental strategy. They don't get it that a game-changer happened almost 4000 years ago. God moved that parental strategy into the background and launched a different, more effective one as his main method of restoring life to his world.
So what is this other strategy?
It's more pro-active. Instead of just laying down the law and then reacting to humans as they do well or badly, God takes the initiative. He launches his campaign. And the way he does it is to start his own group of people (his "campaign team") and assign them to bless all human beings and groups, whether they are part of the team or not. God, the campaign team, and other humans/groups are the three "main characters" of the biblical story. The rest of the Bible (99%, from Genesis 12 onward) is the story of the ways that God's campaign progressed and is still playing out.
The strategy is two-pronged. God gives some of his blessing and healing to all humans directly, but he gives the lion's share to his campaign team. Their assignment as team members is to pass it on to everyone and every group.
More on 2G - Gift
In other words, we have roots! We get to be fruitful branches on an ancient family tree, the "Abraham tree." Even if some other group excludes us, we can fall back on the fact that we are included in the one group that really matters, the campaign team. We never have to worry about feeling lost or aimless because we share in the special assignment to bless the world. We never have to worry about boredom because there is so much "blessing work" left to do, not to mention healing and connecting.
More on 3G - Get it
If we "get it," we realize how amazing of a gift this game-changer was and is. Humans were failing time after time to learn the lessons God was teaching them through commands and punishment (Genesis 3-11). So in Genesis 12, God starts his campaign team, and he starts it from nothing! He goes to a childless old couple and tells them they are his choice as the "parents" of the team.
All they have to do is trust him, and they do not have to do this up front in order to be selected for this special mission. God selects them first; they trust him later. They respond by trusting the promises he gives them and obeying the things he tells them, even when those things do not make sense from a human point of view.
That is in the DNA of the campaign team, the true physical or spiritual descendants of Abraham. It is exactly what the first humans did not have. People who have not joined the team still do not have it. But the team does.
When that hits us, it is the "ah-hah moment," and something inside us changes. It is like we have been born for a second time, and had some of our DNA altered. We were not on the team before. Perhaps we did not even realize there was any such team. But now we are included in the team because God gave us that DNA, that faith of Abraham. The world we live in will never look the same to us again.
More on 4G - Go with it
After that, the natural response is to "Go with it," living like a part of the campaign team that Jesus is leading. Our roots give us tremendous security. This campaign can't fail because it is not a human idea. It was all God's idea, set in motion in the ancient time of Abraham and Sarah. The rest of the Bible tells the campaign story step by step, and that is why reading the Bible is so important to "Going with" the campaign.
The Bible keeps us in touch with the campaign goals (heal, bless, connect), and that keeps us from doing things we foolishly think are for the campaign when actually they go against it. The medieval Crusades against Muslims are one spectacular example of that, since they were about attacking not healing, seizing not blessing, and dominating not connecting.
The Bible gives campaign guidance that is the same for all team members in all places and all times. That is half of the story of "Going with" the campaign. The other half is the work of the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit he puts into each team member to turn us into a different kind of human being and to give us our personal niche assignments in the campaign one day or one minute at a time.
If you have not experience that kind of guidance, think of it as being similar to your conscience. The conscience tells you what not to do. The Spirit tells you what to do. For example, "Give this gift. Talk to that person. Ponder this idea. Watch for such-and-such today." This specific guidance is for you at the moment, not for anyone else at any other time. When you are on the team, you get this guidance and you "Go with" it.
Working to heal, bless, and connect, guided by the Bible and the Spirit, gives us a deep sense of significance, though it is also an awesome responsibility. If we are on a demo and delivery team, we had better demo and deliver. We can't just show up for the team photo!
Our gratitude never ends because we are living the dream, thrilled to have a share in knocking death out of the world and pouring life in. We get to be in on healing old wounds and preventing new ones. We get the privilege of bringing blessings of all kinds to those around us. We get to put out the word that others can join the team just like we did.
More on 5G - Genuineness
When we live as part of the campaign team, we are fulfillments of God's ancient promise to bless the world, and everything is as it should be. We are authentic human beings, grateful to the good God for making us spiritual descendants of Abraham and assigning us to carry his goodness to the whole human race, not just our fellow team members. We are fully alive, in SYNC with God's intentions when he made that original promise to bless the world through Abraham. We have roots.
More about the team and what Jesus has to do with it
God's campaign team is not a SWAT team of angels that instantly kills all the agents of death and magically fills the world with God's life. God's "team" is a team of human beings that keeps developing and working over the centuries and the millennia. In fact, the whole Bible is basically the story of this team and its part in God's campaign to heal, bless, and connect the world.
Almost everything Jesus did while on earth was done with and for this team. He was leading the team to a new identity, a new level of understanding its special assignment, and a new power to carry out the heal-bless-connect campaign. The rest of the material on Roots Season will spell out the details of how God established the team and what he put into its DNA, but let us not get lost in the details. We need to keep sight of the basic idea that the team exists and is central to God's strategy to bring life back into the world.
Shouldn't all groups/races/nations have the same chance? Why doesn't God bless them all directly?
That's probably how we would have drawn it up. Give each group a piece of the truth and eventually they will fit all the pieces together and get the big picture.
The trouble is that groups don't actually want the one big unifying picture. They want the partial picture that will work in their own favor and allow them to dominate other groups, or at least protect them from the attacks of other groups. The more power a group holds, the more tightly it clings to its own partial picture.
There is a long tradition of assuming God gave one nation or group a license to dominate others, but that is not the Abraham Strategy. Jesus gives no such license to his team, Abraham's descendants. He and they are definitely on a campaign but absolutely not on a crusade.
Won't the campaign team members get arrogant and condescending if they think God has chosen them to bless all the other groups?
Yes they will. That is such an obvious and serious danger that God has set up a three-pronged defense to prevent it.
1. The campaign's origin
Team members have to remember why God launched the campaign in the first place. He loved the whole human race and the whole created world, not just the team members.
2. No bragging rights
God's Spirit changes team members inside at a deeper level than they can change themselves. The Spirit puts some of God's love into them. They become different people, not by working harder to be good but by opening up to the Spirit's influence. No bragging rights are involved. Their abilities to do campaign work are a gift to them, not an achievement, and the gift was not given to them because they deserved it. It was given so they would play a role on the team.
3. Required campaign methods
Team members have to realize that if they do campaign work in arrogant or condescending ways, they are working against the campaign goals, not for them. Their attitude gives the whole campaign a bad name. The campaign is not just about aiming at the right goals (heal, bless, connect) but using the right methods. That is why team members have to keep reading the Bible and listening to the Spirit's guidance within them.