On Mission Pt. 3

This is my usual Monday Blog that contains my notes from the weekend gatherings at GCC: “On Mission, Pt. 3- The Course!”

Am I on mission?  This is the conclusion of this series.  Part 1- the cause to be his “witnesses.”  Part 2- the challenge to be his witnesses in the “soil conditions” of our mission field.  And Part 3 is really all about answering the call!

Big Idea: To be on mission means God has a strategy for your life personally and for GCC!

Acts 20:18-24 18 When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now 19 I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. 20 I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. 21 I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.  22 “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, 23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

Paul knew the course for his life was to do the “Lord’s work”, he was committed to it, and he intended to complete it!  Four things you notice in this text:

  1. I show up every day to “do the Lord’s work!”
  2. I don’t shrink from telling people what they need to hear!
  3. I have one message for everyone- turn to God!
  4. I am bound by the Spirit to go!
  5. My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus!

Based on this example from Paul’s life, what is the course God wants you and GCC to take to be on mission?

WE ARE ALL CALLED TO BE MISSIONARIES!

If you proclaim to be a follower of Jesus Christ, than essentially, you have sign on to be on mission with him!  To “follow” Jesus is to commit to his cause and to the course he has already planned for you.  Again, his “cause” is that we are his witnesses.  The “course” you take is the mission field, the life, the job, the people, etc. he has placed you in.  In this respect, we are all missionaries!  Yes, there are those who are very specifically called to foreign lands or other unique ministries to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And there may be some of you here right now, that feel that kind of dedicated call for your life.  But, it doesn’t take away from the fact that every follower of Jesus is a missionary!

Paul puts this into perspective in 2 Cor. 5:17-20, 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!  18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

Paul basically says that God saved us through Christ, gave us this great gift of salvation, so we could now be “on task”- on mission to “reconcile people to him.”  Sometimes we say, “I don’t know what God wants me to do with my life, what is his will?”  God wants you to use your life to bring people back to God!

Missions cannot be limited to specialists!  It takes all of us!  In Matt. 9:35-38 it says, Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

Many theologians believe that this passage is linked to Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan women in John 4:1-42.  While Jesus ministers to her, the disciples are worried about lunch and go to get food.  After Jesus’ ministers to her, she goes back to her village, tells others, and the entire village “came to” Jesus!  Against this backdrop Jesus states (and after the disciples have now showed up), “The harvest is great, but the workers are few… ask the Lord to send more workers into his fields!”  Perhaps his point is that yes, he alone can and does purchase our salvation, but he desires all of us to be his missionaries in our mission fields, bringing those who are “directionless” back to God!

GCC’s mission’s strategy simply starts with not merely having a “mission’s program” but every person being recognized as a “missionary!”  Wherever you or I go, we bring “Good News” and we “bring people back to God!”

EVERY LIFE GROUP MUST BE MISSIONAL!

I like to believe that Acts 2:42-47 describes what it looks like when a church or a life group is missional!  Here’s what it says, 42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper, and to prayer.  43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity, 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

Notice it says “THEY”- as in a group, were “DEVOTED” to all the very critical elements that speak of discipleship and missional service: teaching, relationship, prayer, giving/sharing/serving, meeting together, worship…  All of these things happening in such a way that “each day people were being saved!”  It’s one thing for each of us to consider ourselves as missionaries as we encounter and experience our personal, very unique “mission field” each day.  But, there is also an amazing “witness” when a group of people are DEVOTED to God, to each other, and more importantly to SERVING- it’s obvious from Acts 2 and from what many of us have experienced, that other people want to be a part of something special, genuine, and significant like that!

That’s why Life Groups cannot be merely focused inwardly, or closed off from others- the very dynamic of a devoted group of people, serving God, by serving each other, and by serving others outside the group is a powerful witness to the world around us!  People want to be a part of something like that, because everyone wants to belong to something that is real and right!  I’ve learned and also know that the Bible teaches us that church isn’t about me; it’s about devotion to God and devotion to others!  And when our church and our Life Groups look a lot like what is described in Acts 2, and we are serving missionally, beyond ourselves, the world is watching and they want to be a part of that! 

GCC’s mission’s strategy can be powerfully effective because our Life Groups are serving missionally.  God “adding daily to our fellowship, those who are being saved” because we are modeling what it looks like to contribute and not merely consume- it gives us the credibility to INVITE!

 GCC SUPPORTS MISSIONS!

So, imagine the possibilities, the exponential impact, the “witness” as each of us serve as missionaries and all our Life Groups serve missionally??  I promise you that’s the last thing Hell wants to see happen!  Why?  Because that’s a strategy that’s a game changer!  I cannot overstate how biblical and critical this is!  But obviously, there’s a powerful synergy and impact too, when all of us together as a church, partner with others and support missions!  As a church we can locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally support those missionaries and projects that we sense a call to and connection with.

In Luke 14:28-34 Jesus admonishes us to first “count the cost” before we try to build something or fight a battle.  He implores us to seek wisdom and fully understand what such a strategy will take.  He also is telling us this so we can “finish what we start!”  I believe it is both God’s will and his wisdom for us to be financially fitter so we can more effectively and exponentially partner with missionaries and mission’s projects here at home and around the world.  I’m not proposing we not support the current missionaries and projects that we’re are already committed to supporting!  I AM PROPOSING WE LOOK FOR EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE LOCALLY AND PROVIDE AT LEAST ONE OPPORTUNITY OVERSEAS FOR GCC TO PARTNER WITH…

But I truly believe the wisdom of the Lord is leading us to commit to the cause of Christ with a mission’s strategy that promotes each one of us as a missionary, each Life Group serving missionally, and GCC supporting our current missionaries, and possibly partnering or networking with others for a mission’s project overseas- TBD.

Today, I’m asking us to prayerfully consider being on mission for Christ, to stay the course at GCC, and to make that commitment!  Pray the prayer…

I will do the Lord’s work humbly…  I will endure the trials that come to me…  I will never shrink back from telling others what they need to hear…  I have one message… turn to God, and have faith in our Lord Jesus.   I am bound by the Spirit to go…  My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus…  I will do the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God…

 

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