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A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table (Re:Lit) Paperback – April 7, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“We all know fasting can be a spiritual exercise, but eating is really more like Jesus. In this book, Chester points out that Christianity was meant to be conducted at a table with the intimacy of a shared meal. Church was never meant to be holy services held in sacred buildings conducted by saintly men in long robes passing thin wafers and a thimble of juice—removed from real life. Chester rightly puts us back where we belong...at the table in front of a meal—a feast actually. This is an outstanding treatise on an important subject that was long ago lost in the mire of sacred rituals. It is time we come back to the table and enjoy the life given to us.”
Neil Cole, founder and director, Church Multiplication Associates; author, Organic Church

"I'm not sure I could name all the titles of the books Tim has now written. I've even written one or two with him. But this is the best so far, by far! It fed my soul and through it I enjoyed grace in a new way. In fact, the book is a sumptuous meal in its own right. Buy it, not just to read it, but to feast on it."
Steve Timmis, Executive Director, Acts 29 Church Planting Network

“I have always told the congregations I've served that if you take the mountains and meals out of the Bible, it's a very short book. In a world of competing church models and strategies, Tim shows us that Jesus employed one practice over all others: Sharing a meal with people. This book serves as a poignant reminder that grace, mission, and community are never enacted best through programs and propaganda, but rather through the equality and acceptance experienced at the common table. May our lives never be too busy to live this out.”
Mike Breen, Global Leader, 3DM; author, Building a Discipleship Culture

“Tim Chester has a keen ability to reflect on gospel, community, and mission, making them accessible to the common person through the mess and movement of everyday life. Tim certainly accomplished this again in A Meal with Jesus. With each meal, my convictions about how the gospel informs all of life and relationships went deeper, and my affections for Jesus grew stronger. I want everyone in my church to read this book.”
Jeff Vanderstelt, Visionary Leader, Soma; Pastor, Doxa Church, Bellevue, Washington; author, Saturate

About the Author

Tim Chester (PhD, University of Wales) is a pastor with the Crowded House in Sheffield, UK, and director of the Porterbrook Seminary, which provides integrated theological and missional training for church leaders. He is the coauthor (with Steve Timmis) of Total Church and is the author of over twenty books, including You Can ChangeA Meal with Jesus, and Good News to the Poor.

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Product Details

  • Series: Re:Lit
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (April 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433521369
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433521362
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr Tim Chester is a pastor of Grace Church in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, UK (www.thecrowdedhoude.org/borougbridge) and a tutor with the Acts 29 Oak Hill Academy (www.porterbrookseminary.org). He blogs at www.timchester.co.uk. He has previously been Research and Policy Director for Tearfund UK and a adjunct lecturer in both Reformed spirituality and missiology. He is married with two daughters.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Todd on May 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
I will admit I did not know what to expect when I started to read this book. Was not really sure what it would be all about, but since I like to eat, a lot, and I love serving Jesus with my life I was intrigued by the title. After just reading the introduction I was greatly challenged to reconsider some things about how I do ministry. I saw that I had fallen into the trap of the Pharisees at times and was just looking to serve the righteous, not the sinner. Chester shows how significant it was for Christ to come and dine with the worst of sinners very early on in the book. Although I preach and teach about grace on a weekly basis, I was appalled to realize how little like Jesus I am in this area. You see I love to eat, and have dinners with friends, but most of the time it is just with those most like me. The good guys if you will. I rarely, if ever, go outside of my comfort zone in this area. I was hit with all of these thoughts in just the first few pages of the book as I read the introduction.

In chapter 1Chester continues the theme of meals being a form of grace. Chapter two finds him point out the communal aspect of meals, and in chapter 3 he shows the hope that Jesus' meals with others brought. In chapter 4 Chester shows how we can eat missionaly, and let me just say I like this idea a lot! Chapter 5 brings us to a look at the Lord's supper and at how a meal can represent our salvation. Chester closes the book with chapter 6 looking meals as a form of promise.

I do not want to give away all that the author says in the book, because this is definitely one you need to read and re-read for yourself. The author is very faithful to scripture and challenges you to think more intentionally about eating and using it not just as a means to the end of nourishment , but as a way to spread the gospel of Christ.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brian Sun on November 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
3 meals a day, 7 days is a week, is 21 meals a week, 84 meals a month, and 1092 meals a year.

The point is not the actual number. The point is we spend a lot of time eating. That's why this book matters.

A Meal with Jesus affirms something we do so often that is essential to our existence on planet Earth, shows how it's integral to God's design, and gives us unconventional paradigms that change the way we live life and do ministry.

Honestly, the sections about hospitality as mission make the book worth buying, reading, and keeping on your shelf to refer back to. Because Chester covers things like how meals help us move from theoretical community to real community, how meals bring mission into the ordinary, and how if you routinely share meals with people and you have a passion for Jesus you'll be doing mission.

You probably haven't heard this stuff anywhere else -- on a topic that matters so much to our daily lives.

A Meal with Jesus is definitely worth reading.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Sido on July 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At first glance Tim Chester's new book A Meal With Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table doesn't look like much. The cover is clever, with the plaid pattern reminiscent of the old Betty Crocker cookbook but the book itself is a pretty light 144 pages. The content though? Outstanding.

There are quite a few books I enjoyed reading, many more that I did not. Only a few are really impactful and this is one of them. I reviewed one of Tim Chester's earlier works, Total Church, back in 2010 (see my review here) and really liked it. I liked A Meal With Jesus a lot more.

The basic premise of A Meal With Jesus is that sharing a meal is far more than just getting a bite to eat. By looking throughout the New Testament, Tim shows us example after example of meals that Jesus was involved in and how often the meal was the setting for something profound. That is true even today. Meals shared with others represent times of fellowship, gatherings of the church, community witness and of course opportunity for mission. As Chester walks us through Luke's Gospel account, we see meals as enacted grace, enacted hope, enacted promise, etc. I am not sure if Tim would go this far but I see shared meals as even more crucial to the life and mission of the church than Sunday morning meetings.

I liked that Tim uses real examples of how this works because that helps us to see the practical and not just the theoretical but I really liked that he didn't let anecdotes take over the story. This is not a book about "How we do it and why you should to" but instead "This is how Jesus did it and why He did it and we should all do likewise". Too many books recently are nothing but a string of anecdotes with an occasional Scripture verse tossed in.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Griffiths on May 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
A Meal With Jesus by Tim Chester is the latest release by the co-author of Total Church, another release on the Re:Lit imprint of Crossway Books. Whilst Total Church provided an in depth look at the practice of missional living through gospel communities, A Meal With Jesus focusses in on one central aspect of life, and the life of Christ.

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, as the Gospel account of Luke attests. It's a mark of Jesus' humanity, and a central point of operation for his ministry. Likewise, food is something we cannot avoid. From the Golden Arches of highstreet fast-food to the boutique deli's and coffee bars, through to the family dinner table, the church pot luck and the microwave dinners for one, food is a daily occurrence for most people.

But how should we view this most consuming of consumptions? Should it be viewed as a necessary evil, something we do to keep our bodies moving? Or should it be savored in ever grandiose ways? Should we go for quantity? Or quality? Or have we missed the point entirely?

Chester lays out, chapter by chapter, gospel manifestations around meal settings. Though I know Chester is well studied and holds a PhD, I just was not expecting such a rich and rewarding theological treatise around the dinner table! It hadn't really occurred to me how important food is to Kingdom life. Drawing heavily from Luke, and also running from Genesis through Revelation, we see the meal as enacted grace, community, hope, mission, salvation and promise.

Each chapter is solid in its exegesis, profound in its implications and challenging to put this into practice and transform the reader's view of mealtimes.
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