Providing gospel-centered resources to mobilize the church for global orphan care.


Meet Tim Chester

by Dan Cruver Published Aug 26, 2011

Tim Chester is a church planter with The Crowded House in Sheffield, UK, and co-director of The Porterbrook Network, which seeks to train people for church planting. He’s the author of more than a dozen books, including Good News to the Poor, The Message of Prayer, and Total Church, co-written with Steve Timmis. One of Tim’s most recent books is A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table (excerpts below). It’s an excellent and very thought-provoking book.

In addition to being a general session speaker at our October 21-22 conference in Phoenix, he’s also doing a breakout session entitled “The Gospel-Centered Family” and leading a full-day pre-conference event on Thursday, October 20th entitled “Missional Church, Missional God, Missional Story. ”

Tim’s blog focuses on missional church and Reformed spirituality. He is married with two daughters.

From A Meal with Jesus:

“There are three ways the New Testament completes the sentence, ‘The Son of Man came . . .’ ‘The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45); ‘The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost’ (Luke 19:10); ‘The Son of Man has come eating and drinking . . .’ (Luke 7:34). The first two are statements of purpose. Why did Jesus come? He came to serve, to give his life as a ransom, to seek and save the lost. The third is a statement of method. How did Jesus come? He came eating and drinking.”

“Jesus is called ‘a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ This is why eating and drinking were so important in the mission of Jesus: they were a sign of his friendship with tax collectors and sinners. His ‘excess’ of food and ‘excess’ of grace are linked. In the ministry of Jesus, meals were enacted grace, community, and mission. So the meals of Jesus represent something bigger. They represent a new world, a new kingdom, a new outlook. But they give that new reality substance. Jesus’ meals are not just symbols; they’re also application. They’re not just pictures; they’re the real thing in miniature. Food is stuff. It’s not ideas. It’s not theories. It’s, well, it’s food, and you put it in your mouth, taste it, and eat it. And meals are more than food. They’re social occasions. They represent friendship, community, and welcome.”

“The good news is that Jesus has not come ‘to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.’ He offers true salvation: being welcomed to God’s feast. And when we don’t measure up, we’re not condemned. Instead of condemning us, our God is condemned in our place.”

“When Jesus eats with Levi, the message is clear: Jesus has come for losers, people on the margins, people who’ve made a mess of their lives, people who are ordinary. Jesus has come for you . . . He’s come for those who are lost, and when the lost are found, there’s always a party.”

“Jesus is happy to link his identity to [the prostitute's]—just as he is happy to link his identity to yours and mine. Just before this story [in Luke 7:36-50] Luke recounts the accusation that Jesus is ‘a friend of sinners.’ How is Luke going to defend Jesus against this accusation? He doesn’t. In fact he tells a story that shows that it’s true. Jesus is the friend of sinners. He links his identity to ours to reveal himself as the gracious Savior. He comes ‘eating and drinking’ to show that sinners can be part of his kingdom.”

“Our world is a world of hunger, pain, suffering, and want. Even in neighborhoods where most people have enough to eat, we still live in want. We’re still unsatisfied. We may not long for bread, but we long for meaning, intimacy, fulfillment, community, purpose, and joy. We long for the world to be sorted out . . . When your church family gathers together as a group of needy people and shares food with Jesus at the center and with Jesus as the provider, you glimpse God’s coming world right here, right now. The Christian community is the beginning and sign of God’s coming world—and no more so than when we eat together. Our meals are a foretaste of the future messianic banquet. Our meals reveal the identity of Jesus. Our meals are a proclamation and demonstration of God’s good news.”

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