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

4.6 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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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 of Grace Church, Boroughbridge, and curriculum director of the Acts 29-Oak Hill Academy, which provides integrated theological and missional training for church leaders. He is the coauthor of Total Church and is the author of over thirty books, including You Can ChangeA Meal with Jesus, and Good News to the Poor.

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Product Details

  • 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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Point: The significance of daily meals has been forgotten. A meal is much more than refueling, rather it is means by which we may worship and share Christ.

Path: Chester works through six passages in the book of Luke explaining how Christ used meals to enact grace, community, hope, mission, salvation, and promise. These passages are wrapped together with seasoned personal stories, tasty facts, and bold encouragement to use meals for God's glory.

Sources: Chester quotes from religious sources such as Tim Keller, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Robert Karris. He also references current statistics from a variety of works.

Agreement: Chester challenges the reader to take a second look at Christ's ministry. A majority of his teaching, discipleship and evangelization took place around food. If only we would take one of our 21 meals a week and dedicate it to God's glory through His grace!

Disagreement: Chester's contemporary parallels of the events in Luke were off at times. I also had a difficult time following his train of thought through the Lord's table as he seems to combine the Table with the Love Feast (although they were generally done at the same time, they each had a different focus).

Personal App: Because we like food and love people, my wife and I have sought to bring them together. Chester gave me new ideas and a deeper conviction to do so in a more purposeful and regular fashion.

Update: we have put several of his ideas into practice and have benefited greatly from them. You might also want to look into "Art of Neighboring".
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