Bless Week 3: Eat
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FACEBOOK COPY: Join us as we jump into the next week of the BLESS Practices.  This week we look at our favorite one, “Eat Together.”  Learn how taking this practice seriously can have an eternal impact. Help us advance the Kingdom, support our online ministry (  Got kids?  Check out Harmony Kids online (updated weekly)! 
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OPENING ILLUSTRATION: How’s it going with your BLESS Journals and starting to think about the BLESS practices?  
We’ve talked about Begin with prayer LESSthe challenge is for us to each have a circle of 8 that we are praying about and bringing before GodLast week we talked about. Begin with Prayer Listen E S S
how Jesus was completely unhurried with people and gave Himself away to people. To give yourself away by thinking of yourself less – to be fully present when you are with people.
This week, we get to one of my favorites!
You know how you go to church and they tell you to read your bible more, treat people better, pray more…
Listen, you are gonna like this week’s BLESS practice! You ready for this? Begin with Prayer Listen Eat Together S S
Some of you are like, “I can get behind that!”  Eating is one of my top two spiritual gifts.  If you’d have thrown in sleeping in there, it would have been the perfect sermon!
Think about it, eating together is a significant part of the human experience. When we celebrate – we eat together. When we mourn – we eat together – funeral dinners. When we are in love – we eat togetherWhen we want to reconnect – we eat together
Think about when you were wanting to woo your spouse – you ate together…  
We learn things about people while we’re eating together. There is an intimacy found when eating
Jesus knew this…b There are at least 14 instances where the scripture talks about meals that Jesus was involved in with others
as matter of fact, one of the things that were evidently a rumor about Jesus was that He was a glutton and drunkard because he ate so often with those outside of the normal circle of religious people:
Mt. 11:1919 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
Jesus was so committed to eating with people who were far from God that He was willing to suffer ridicule.
How about you?  Do you spend enough time with people who are far from God that people could make fun of you for it?
This hits me hard, personally
Because we live in a world that is all about privacy and hiding ourselves from one another-how many of us drive home by ourselves-pull up to our house, into our garage, shut the garage door behind us-mow our yards with headphones on behind our privacy fences
American’s have become masters at keeping to ourselves but this wasn’t the way of Jesus
Listen to this story from just one of the dinners he ate. Mark 2:13-1713 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
ILLUSTRATION: When my brother was in High School, he asked my dad if he could have a few friends over.  My dad said, “sure”.  A few days later my brother came back and said, “dad, any chance I could have a few more friends over?”  My dad was like, “yeah, that’s fine”.  My brother came back a few days later and was like, “dad, the word got out at school and there may be a few more people coming.  we’ll just hang out outside…”  my dad, was like, “Ok.”  So, that night, my dad is inside watching tv and one of the neighbors calls and says, “Wagner, you need to get these kids off my lawn or I’m calling the police.”  My dad goes and looks out the window and the entire high school is in our back yard and on our block.  They had all come for the party…
Jesus is eating dinner at Levi – also known as Matthew and the party has grown.  Jesus is partying
-He’s got sinners and tax collectors with Him.  
The Pharisees ask His disciples about this and Jesus responds17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus tells us why He eats with those who are outside the religious circle.
He tells us why He’s willing to put his reputation on the line
It’s because they are sick – and He’s a doctor.  
We say all the time that Jesus “came for the lost” or similar things but it’s not just that He came for them in the sense that He stepped out of Heaven to come to earth.  
It’s that He came to be with them…Jesus is God with us…He came to be with us – this is why He is seen eating with lost people as often as He is preaching to them…
Eating together is a powerful way to open the door to people that says, I care enough to let you into my world.
How are you going to implement the “Eat Together” practice?-what if you started inviting some of your circle over for a weekly neighborhood dinner?-what if you started doing fire-pit nights at your house – had s’mores for everyone?-what if you invited one of your circle over for dinner each week?
Here’s what I know about Eating Together – it won’t happen unless you happen to put it on your to-do list. what I mean is this, if you don’t make it a priority, it’d not going to happen.
So, what if as you were praying through your circle of 8 you started praying about when you could invite them to come to eat?
What if you started being intentional about practicing what Jesus practiced, eating with people who are far from God?

CLOSING: Turns out, one of the most spiritual things you could do is to just eat with people.  Jesus practiced it.  We should too – it’s part of living a life that blesses others.
Right now, we are going to turn to a meal that Jesus invites each of us to.  The meal of communion.  Of eating the body of Jesus and drinking His blood, of engaging with Him and letting His life be our life.  ————–