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GEOFFSHATTOCKweekly

In Between Times 8.5: Bridges

Jul
26
2010

Issue 353

Anyone who knows basic psychology will be aware that humans have a tendency to fear the new and the strange. That fear can turn to antagonism and, depending on the power-plays, can become an attempt to destroy.

If you want to introduce change to your company, team or co-worker, you may encounter resistance, indeed you, if you are on the receiving end, may be the resistance.

Now move your gaze from a change campaign to a military campaign. In order to achieve results, you send in special forces to prepare the way for further action; when their work is done, the doors may be much wider open.

Again, put the word ‘marketing’ in front of campaign, and you might consider the concept of ‘teasers’ or ‘promos’, which attract early adopters and first tasters for whatever is coming. Now turn your eyes to the Intertestamental Period (ITP) and have a look at what was going on with a phenomenal journey of faith called Judaism. Growing and developing for thousands of years under the guiding hand of God, this faith had defined a nation and shaped a state.

In the ITP, our current ‘in between’ time, it is Judaism which is the next ingredient in the nurturing environment.

Although concentrated in Judea for years, the intriguing truth is that in the ITP, it had scattered across the globe. A quick glance at the beginning of the Book of Acts tells you how varied and widespread were the home locations of the followers of Judaism who had gathered in Jerusalem.

Everywhere they went, they took their faith. They took their monotheism, so the atheists were challenged with this radical idea; they took their high moral and ethical standards, so personal morality was not a strange concept to the Greeks and Romans; they took their regular worship, their holy book and their converting spirit, and formed colonies of commitment all over the world.

So when the king of the Jews arrives, his people, without realising the strategy, had scattered a faith that ploughed the ground, broke up the earth and softened the soil for the Christian message.

By the time Christians (many of whom were converted Jews) arrived on the scene, the Roman and Greek eyes were growing accustomed to the light – even though it had never been this bright.

In your ‘in between’‘time, you may feel scattered, fragmented, thinly spread and out of position. The God of the ITP specialises in using such experiences for greater goals. He calls you to hang on – against the odds – to the purest form of your faith that you can practise. He even wants you to keep seeking conversions, however unfashionable that looks to the authorities.

By scattering a dedicated people, God established bridges, over which new and heavier meanings could travel; he sent special forces; he orchestrated ‘teaser’ campaigns and created the conditions for change.

Before you dismiss this as wishful thinking, you might like to remember that just over 300 years after the ITP, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. In this brief survey of the ITP, I have invited you to consider five key factors of the ‘in between’ time. These are: silence and preparation; important priorities; learning languages; peacemaking and productivity; and bridges and scattering.

The pages were not blank in the middle of your bible, but full of explosive activity. What you get from the ITP, will be related to what you are going through right now, but whatever you are going through, slowly, definitely, lovingly, God is bringing you to a birth, that will always change your world.

BIBLE SECTION

Romans 5:6

6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

Galatians 4:4-5

4But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

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Series: In Between Times
Module: 7
Season: -
Daily Guide: No

Tags: bridge, change, dipersal, in-between, influence, preparation

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Geoff Shattock

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