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A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table Paperback – April 7, 2011
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“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 Change, A Meal with Jesus, and Good News to the Poor.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Didn't really enjoy this like I hope. It started strong but I felt he went off on many tangents, didn't deliver his points well, and it didn't flow logically. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Abigail I. St Esprit
Awesome read! Was looking for a book that dealt with the meaning of meals and food in the bible, and although this wasn't super technical, it gave a real life perspective which I... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Marly Walters
I enjoyed this book. It's not that it was earth shattering, but it was a good reminder and call back to hospitality as one of the church community's most important activities. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Luke Stehr
This book was a fantastic read. A must for anyone wanting to live a Jesus focused life. Share a meal. Share Jesus. Makes perfect sense.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
A wonderful book. Full of great information a must read for any Christian.Published 4 months ago by adam
It is a very good book. Very interesting and has very helpful insights. Would recommend it to family and friends.Published 5 months ago by Connie easy shopper
This is an excellent book about building community. Tim reveals how Jesus used meals as the centerpiece of His ministry and how we can do the same. Read it in community. Read morePublished 7 months ago by D Johnson
This was a great perspective on the value of community and fellowship around food. It opens the eyes to see how much food is talked about in relation to Christian community and... Read morePublished 8 months ago by cwstaff