New Hope Notes
Pastor Jon Burgess and Dr. Kent Keith
[Video from Dr. Kent Keith’s Home]
PASTOR JON BURGESS: Welcome to the hale (home) of Dr. Kent Keith, president of Pacific Rim Christian University in Honolulu. We are so excited to have you here as we continue our Table series. We were created for community and I can’t think of a better way to show that than sitting around the table with some friends.
PASTOR JON TO DR. KEITH: Thanks so much for inviting the New Hope ohana into your home. What do you see God doing through your table and your home, in terms of building relationships?
DR. KEITH: Elizabeth, my wife, and I believe that we’re all God’s children. For me personally, I love the passage in Galatians 3:28 NIV, that says, 28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We love to invite and welcome and people into our home.
Jesus, obviously, demonstrated a sense of inclusiveness in many ways; it was such a wonderful inspiration to us. Actually, it was easy for us to demonstrate inclusiveness because of our backgrounds.
I was raised in a Marine Corps family and my dad transferred to California, Virginia, Nebraska, Rhode Island; I stopped complaining when he was transferred to Hawaii! As we traveled (in between assignments at a very early age), I came to understand that America is one country with different subcultures—Hawaii is not the same as San Diego or New Orleans or Omaha. We have a lot in common but we do have some differences—that was really helpful to me!
When I was in high school, my parents invited students into our home for Thanksgiving or Christmas from the East-West Center (University of Hawaii). The students were from Pakistan, Korea, or elsewhere. After high school, I went to college and spent a couple years in England and a couple years in Japan—Japan was really important because that’s where I met my wife!
PASTOR JON: I love this series, The Table, so much because it shows how Jesus connected and did discipleship training around food and the table, which almost became a metaphor for the kingdom of God. It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t just eat a little bit—he ate a lot, as seen in…
Luke 7:34-35 NIV says, 34 “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
PASTOR JON: The meals of Jesus revealed His mission, so much so, that the Pharisees and the religious leaders were greatly offended that He drank so much they considered him a drunkard; He ate so much they considered him a glutton; and they noticed that He was a friend of what they considered “sinners.” What really jumps out to me is that He is a friend!
Jesus is not just talking about feasting in the kingdom once we die and go to Heaven; He’s literally sitting with them around the table in the kingdom on earth. In order to be missional, we must be intentional about building relationships across cultures…
1. Mission Intentional DR. KEITH: I believe the message of inclusiveness is more important as time goes by, and part of our intention in this home is to pass that message on to our children.
PASTOR JON: It’s easy for us to hang out with family, friends, or people we’ve known a long time, but I believe The Table becomes a bridge to reach others…
Luke 5:27-29 NIV: 27 “After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. 29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.”
PASTOR JON: Historically, we know that tax collectors were Jews working for the Roman government! So when Jesus is invited to Levi’s home for a great banquet, He’s not just having a meal with a Jew, He’s having a meal with their enemy! They expected the Messiah to overthrow Roman rule; instead, He’s eating a meal with a betrayer and enemy of the Jews!
DR. KEITH: We find that when we invite people into our home and they feel comfortable, we create a welcoming environment with a sense of hospitality where there’s no agenda or program!
PASTOR JON: Jesus was able to see past the labels that were put on people. The Table (especially in Mediterranean times) was a boundary marker, meaning that whoever was not allowed around your table was someone you had rejected. Jesus blew all of that away in a way that made no sense to those who expected the Messiah to act in a different way—He’s sitting at a table with people whom they would have never spent time with. This leads us to our second point.
2. Mission Paradoxical.
PASTOR JON: Paradoxical is a statement that doesn’t make any sense. It almost seems contradictory on the surface but when you examine it, you find it’s actually true. Jesus was like a living paradox. Here, Jesus a Rabbi and Messiah is eating with tax collectors and sinners!
Luke 5:30-32 NIV: 30 “But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ 31 Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’”
DR. KEITH: The part of the life of Jesus that really connected me with the Paradoxical Commandments (the idea of doing the right thing anyway) was actually Good Friday. This was the worst day in the history of the universe. The pain, cruelty, and hatred inflicted upon Jesus—who called this good? I didn’t want to think about it. Let’s just jump over that and get to Easter Sunday!
Then it finally occurred to me (as I'm sure it's occurred to millions) that the story is not just about what the world did to Jesus; it's also about how He responded! In the face of pain, cruelty, and hatred, Jesus responded by loving people anyway, saving people anyway, forgiving people anyway! That's breathtaking! It's astonishing!
The world could not change who Jesus was and what He came to do! Today, I look at Good Friday and see it as a triumph over the way the world treats us; a triumph that we can strive to become who God calls us to be—no matter how the world treats us!
In the end, you can be happy and fulfilled, knowing that you’re following Christ and doing what you’re meant to do even when the world is going crazy and difficulty is all around you. That’s the paradox!
Our attitude toward life should be to do what you know is right, good, and true. Live your faith. Live your values. You will always be okay. The following is called Jesus Did It Anyway:
3. Mission Impossible
PASTOR JON: Here are some of the challenges we face, making our Mission Impossible:
Matthew 28:18-20 NIV: “Jesus spoke to us saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. Remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’”
Matthew 28:16 NIV: “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them and when they saw Him, they worshipped him but some doubted.”
I love the fact that our Mission Impossible becomes a bit more possible if instead of looking at the entirety of the world, we just look at the ones that God has put in front of us and start there. Every mission starts with one person, one point of obedience and one meal at a time.
Luke 5:33-39 NIV: 33 “They said to him, ‘John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.’ 34 Jesus answered, ‘Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.’ 36 He told them this parable: ‘No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, “The old is better.”’”
The Pharisees liked the old because it was familiar; they rejected Jesus wholeheartedly because He kept building new relationships and choosing unity over uniformity. None of those sitting around that table with Him looked like Him. He wasn't trying to take something old and patch it into something new.
Our relationships are right in front of you—where you work, worship, live! Easter becomes a great springboard for an invitation that God will use to lead many of your friends and family to the Lord.