Week 6 – Things to Think About Packet - Reservoir Church
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Week 6 – Things to Think About Packet

May 24, 2016


On Sunday, May 22nd, we welcomed long-time friend and guest speaker, Carl Medearis to share his thoughts on Jesus and his experience of primarily speaking from this perspective. Carl is an expert in the field of Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations, he lived in Lebanon for twelve years. Today he works with international leaders to promote cultural, political and religious dialogue in the Middle East. Here are some of his thoughts from his book, “Speaking of Jesus”:

“As somebody once told me, “You have to realize every person is an I”.  Each individual has his/her own makeup.  There is no way to download your beliefs into somebody else hoping they will take.

This reality is not exclusive to Muslims in Beirut.  It is universal.  No person, anywhere in the world, has a brain-port open to receive a personality change.  There are only people like you and me.  People with full brains and empty hearts.  People who need Jesus, not a massive array of doctrine, polemics, and theology lessons.  People who need a relationship.  People who need to belong before they can believe.

We can only do one of two things:  Give them Jesus or give them wasted sewage.  We can either point the way to the Way or confuse them with a load of things that will never feed their need for God.  There is a place for doctrines and dogma and science and history and apologetics, but these things aren’t Jesus – they are humanly manufactured attempts to make people think that having the right ideas is the same thing as loving and following Jesus.”
Questions & Invitations:  
1)  “People need to belong before they can believe”.  How does this sentiment help your efforts of conversation with people around you?  Whether in a community group? Church on a Sunday morning?  With your neighbors?

Invite Jesus to take the forefront of your movement and words this week.

Paul once wrote, “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling”  (I Corinthians 2: 1-3).

Questions & Invitations:  

  1. In what ways can you relate to Paul?  What would it look like to come to Jesus fresh with vulnerability and weakness?

  2. In what ways does it take some un-layering to get to Jesus in your own life?  What has been layered in – throughout your experiences of life?  Other people’s opinions?  Expectations?  Realities of life – pain, hurt, disappointment?

Ask Jesus to show you how He himself can walk alongside you,  as you engage in everyday activities – and as you enter into situations where you are asked to perform.

Re-visit the Neighboring Map, to visualize going to your neighbors with simply Jesus as your partner.  

Map your neighborhood




Carl Medearis in his book, Simply Jesus – talks about a missionary E. Stanley Jones who traveled to India to bring the gospel to the Hindus, the Muslims and the Buddhists who lived there.   

“Stanley Jones continues this thought in his book The Christ of the Indian Road:  “The sheer storm and stress of things had driven me to a place that I could hold.  Then I saw that there is where I should have been all the time.  I saw that the gospel lies in the person of Jesus, that he himself is the Good News, that my one task was to live and to present him.  My task was simplified”.

What if we were to take Jesus at His word – “I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32 NKJV)?  What if our complicated explanations are wrong, not because they are incorrect, but because they do not constitute the person of Jesus?”
Questions & Invitations:

  1. Where do you feel like conversations you’ve had with family/friends/neighbors/co-workers have hit a dead-end?

Ask Jesus to spark a way forward in these conversations – as you invite Jesus to present himself as the Good News.  

2.  Take time this week to evaluate where it is that you might feel like you are in the midst of a storm or stress.

Ask Jesus to show you that He is the gospel –  he is the truth – he is the point.  He himself embodies all the salvation/redemption/forgiveness/freedom in Himself.  Pray for this reality to transform your days this week, your conversations, your meetings and usher in Jesus himself.

HOPES IN NEIGHBORING (from the Reservoir Community)
New friendships!

More awareness for ordinary run-ins

Town of Brookline and Boston University-would be receptive to a 9th elementary school.

To have sights for more intentional conversations with neighbors.

Feeling of community on our street

Playmates for my kids

A rejuvenated sense of hospitality.

To have conversations beyond “how’s it going?

To hear more of people’s stories & lives

To carve more time & space to hang out with my actual neighbors

To learn all my neighbors names

To grow relational roots in our neighborhood

Vision and ideas of how to neighbor well

Meaningful conversations with people I don’t yet know

Meet Muslim neighbors

Get to know my next door neighbor

Looking forward to neighboring in a natural way

Cooking more meals for neighbors

Hanging out more on the porch – porch neighboring!

Host something small of my own

To know more people who live in my neighborhood from RC

To host some summer neighborhood gatherings

To expand my circle

Learning 5 new names of people who are close to me

More connections with people at school

Love my neighborhood more

More comfort with engaging with North Cambridge community

Throwing fun parties

Fresh start in a new home

Grow to hosting a Community Group

Have a good relationship with my landlord

More of a spirit of Community

Low-bar opportunities to meet and engage with neighbors

Openness of heart

More capacity and intention

Feeling of being at home and safe in the larger sense of neighborhood

Barriers and bridges that have built up over the years to melt away

Team up with nearby churches to do neighboring

Lots of BBQ’s!

Kind conversations with neighbors

Mend divides of those that who don’t feel like each other

That people would ask for assistance from one another.

Regular potluck dinners

Call neighbors and talk about neighborhood safety

Get to know Porter Square books people

That the “introvert” side of me won’t win out!

Throw a block party!

Engage well across divisive lines

Bring back the “cup of sugar”!


  1. Take some time this week to look through the Hopes that many of you named at the beginning of our Neighboring season.  

Pray that God would continue to keep your neighboring hopes alive – as well as give you new hopes for neighboring as you enter into the summer months!
    2)  Pray that God would continue to expand into our neighborhoods – where we live,  here Reservoir Church resides and beyond!