Guide for "Roots Season"
February 26 - April 4, 2020
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During Life Season (Jan. 1 - Feb. 25) we remembered how good the world was in the beginning, and we praised the God of Life who created it all. But the world as we know it has way too much death mixed in with its Life.
In Roots Season we see the beginning of God's strategy to bring the world back to life. At the heart of that strategy is the creation of a "demo and delivery team" with a special assignment--to bless all the other groups with God's healing and life.
This team is not a SWAT team of angels who instantly zap the world full of God's life. It 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. Almost everything Jesus did while on earth was done with this team. He was leading the team to a new identity, a new level of understanding its special assignment, and a new power to get the job done.
But before we look at how Jesus changed the team, we need to get the basic idea that the team exists and is central to God's strategy to bring life back into the world. So let's look at the roots of God's demo and delivery team. How did God establish it? What did he put into its DNA?
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. You may start there or 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
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 fulfillment of his ancient promise to bless the world that had become cursed.
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.
The "5G" flow during Roots Season
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. And the way he takes it is to start his own group of people ("Group 1A") and assign them to bless all the other groups/nations (collectively "Group 1," since they were there first, and Group 1A is a sub-set). God, Group 1, and Group 1A 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 strategy 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 "Group 1A". Their job is to pass it on to "Group 1," that is, all humans regardless of their other groupings.
2G - Gift
Every game-changer comes with a new gift for us. The gift we get from God's creation of "Group 1A" is a secure and significant identity. Because Group 1A exists, we get to belong to something huge, ancient, and good. And as we belong, we participate in blessing the world.
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, "Group 1A." 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.
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. So God starts Group 1A, and he starts it from nothing! He goes to a childless old couple and tells them they are his choice as the "parents" of Group 1A.
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 Group 1A. It is exactly what the first humans did not have. The rest of Group 1 still doesn't have it. But Group 1A, the sub-set descended from Abraham, 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. The world we live in will never look the same to us again.
4G - Go with it
After that, the natural response is to "Go with it," living like we belong to Group 1A. Our roots give us tremendous security, and our mission as Group 1A 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. And the plan can't fail because God is behind it. It was all his idea, set in motion in the ancient time of Abraham and Sarah. It has stayed on time step by step ever since. SYNC's "seasons" are the story of that process.
5G - Genuineness
When we live as part of Group 1A, 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 Group 1, not just our fellow members in Group 1A but not at all limited to it. We are fully alive, in SYNC with God's intentions when he made that original promise to bless the world through Abraham.
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. He gave no such license to Group 1A, Abraham's descendants.
Won't any group get arrogant and condescending if it thinks God has chosen it to bless all the other groups?
That happens only when the group gets its God-given role exactly backwards. It starts thinking of itself as "Group A-1," the best possible group, instead of Group 1A, a sub-set of Group 1. Group A-1 will emphasize its difference from other groups and its superiority to them. Group 1A will emphasize its commonality with other groups and its assignment to serve them.
In fact, Group 1A will realize that if it becomes condescending, it will annoy the rest of Group 1 so much that the others won't accept God's blessing from it. The others would rather die than accept blessing from people who disrespect them.
Picture Group 1A later when God asks them why so few in the rest of Group 1 accepted their blessing. How could they dare to say, "Those people are so picky. They didn't accept our pity because they were so offended that we saw them as pitiful." If Group 1A ever gets cocky, it is ripe for judgment by the God who sent it. The group cannot simply do its assignment; it has to do the assignment in the humble way God assigned them to do it.