On Mission

On Mission, two words that are used frequently by Christ followers but sometimes that is as far as it goes.  Two words coming out of our mouths with no plans to be on mission with God.  I heard a pastor ask one time that if we were truly planning to be on mission where is our passport?  We have been given one life to live out God’s mission on earth.  Daily we are to pick up our cross and follow him, denying ourselves.   (Luke 9:23)

The dictionary defines mission as: 1) an important assignment carried out for political, religious, or commercial purposes, typically involving travel.  But for out purposes let’s look at the second definition: 2) the vocation or calling of a religious organization, especially a Christian one, to go out into the world and spread its faith.   It is our vocation, calling, goal, aim, quest, purpose, function, our life’s work.

Our life’s work is to be on mission with God.  He gives us our assignments, he molds us and makes us into the vessel that will be used on our mission.  To some he gave the assignment of being on mission with people who are hurting, living in poverty, or maybe it is to work with people who are recovering from addictions.  Some he has called to work with their local communities, schools or the justice system.  Others he has called to go to other nations on humanitarian missions, or evangelistic.  No matter what we do, no matter we are we are on mission with God.

We as Christ followers are to be dedicated to the work of the Lord.  If we ae at our secular job, shopping, or watching TV we are still on mission with God.   There are times when God interrupts our plans because he has a different place or job for us to do.  God doesn’t give us the details of where we are going and what it will look like when we arrive to do His will.   Sometimes we are doing his will when it is beginning to rain and we are only half finished with mowing the yard, but some one comes along and they need to talk.   What is our attitude at that moment?  Are we interruptible?

Personally, I want to be on mission with God.  I find fulfillment and joy when I know I am following God’s plan for my life.   I have been a Christian for fifty-six years and my first calling was to Jesus to be my Savior.  My second calling was to be on mission for him.  God spent many years, molding me and making me into a usable vessel, and that molding continues today.  God isn’t through with me, and I really have no idea where tomorrow will take me, but I want to live my life fully for Christ, and as the cowboys say, “die with my boots on”.   I may have to slow down as I get older, the type of mission may change but the calling to be on mission continues until he calls us home.

Are you willing to be on mission for Christ?   Church Renewal Journey needs people willing to go to other churches to share what God is doing in their lives.  We need children and youth workers.  We need musicians and adult workers to facilitate small groups and that know how to listen.  If you want to know more give us a call us and get involved.

Church Renewal – Church Revitalization

Over the last few years we have heard a lot about revitalization.  The question was posed to me this weekend about how we get the church to understand the urgency of revitalization, and I have been pondering the question ever since.  Revitalize means to refresh, revive, or renew and many of us are content to stay right where we are, doing exactly what we have been doing. We don’t want our church to change, we want it the same way it was when we were children.  Too many people, like a loaf of bread that has set on a shelf too long, have grown stale, and unfortunately, we don’t even realize our own spiritual condition.  Christians slowly dying and totally oblivious to the fact that they are no longer making a difference in a world that needs God

In Psalms 51: 10 it says, “Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit.”  This is the foundation of the Church Renewal Journey.  Often, we the laity are content to sit on the pews of our churches, when it is convenient, and let others do the work.  In Ephesians 2: 10 the scripture tells us that “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, for a work he has prepared for us in advance”.   This comes right after we have been told how to be saved, how to become a Jesus follower.   God has called, gifted and equipped every child of his, every Jesus follower, to be a tool in the Master’s hand.  We are commanded to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV).

Until we repent, and turn from our sins, we cannot be revitalized.  Trying to revitalize a church by painting the exterior, cleaning the carpet stains and giving it a complete structural face lift will not change the hearts of the people.  Christ, and Christ alone, must come into our lives like a fresh wind, pouring out His spirit upon us and replacing our selfish stubborn spirit with his love.   When we fall in love with Jesus we will again have a sense of urgency to see unbelievers come to Jesus.

Church Renewal Journey is a discipleship tool that points to Jesus and the calling upon our lives as the children of God.  It points us to the cross, helps us identify how God has equipped us to serve him, and shows us the seriousness of being his follower.  Through learning about kingdom focused prayer, we can start praying for the spiritual needs of people, seeing people as Jesus sees them and releasing our life to Christ.  In Acts 1:8, it says, “when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you WILL be my witnesses…”    Let’s face it, when we have a fresh encounter with our Lord and Savior we cannot remain where we are, content to let people die in their sins, without trying to do what God has called us to do.

Church Renewal is the foundation of Church Revitalization.  Sounds simple, but it is one of the hardest things we will ever do as we allow God to make us into his likeness.  It may be painful when God begins to mold and shape us to be like him, but the reward is to see lives changed and people thirsting for the Word of God.  People falling in love with Jesus, seeking the truth of God and no longer content to sit in the bleachers, but wanting to be on the field, doing what God has called us to be will bring renewal and church revitalization.

 

What is our role?

I read a statement today that has caused me to ponder the meaning of the church.  Personally, I feel that any church where God’s people are putting him first will find themselves in ministry inside and outside the church. In renewal we often say, when you make yourself available to God you will find yourself in strange and unusual places.   In John 10:10 the scripture tells us,” The thief comes only to steal and to kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  I personally want the abundant life.  I want my life to count for Christ.  I want to know that when I leave this earth that people will know that I loved and served a Risen Savior.  To live a mediocre life, knowing I was getting up, going to work, coming home, and eventually going to bed to do the same thing over again would be a wasted life.  Yes, we are going to do all those things I mentioned but to serve God, to be on mission, teaching, encouraging, and showing mercy while living my life is what I want.

When we as the laity begin to understand our role in the kingdom of God we will begin to experience the joy that comes in serving a living God.  We will no longer be content to sit on the sidelines, in the bleachers, and watch as other people serve.  Christians will be willing to get their hands dirty and their feet dusty as we serve out of our giftedness.   1 Corinthians 12:4- 6 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”

Life may not always be easy, but when we take our eyes off of ourselves and serve God, out of the love he has placed in our hearts, we will find meaning in life.   We began to understand that when we are on a journey we hadn’t anticipated, and we may even ask “where is God?” we can be assured of his presence, love, comfort and peace.  We can know that the God of all ages is strengthening us, growing us and preparing us for even greater things.

People need Christ and God has placed within Christ followers the gifts needed to tell this world about him.  The church building is where we go to be fed so we can go out into the world and be His disciples.  Living a life that pushes back the darkness of this world by being the light of Christ is what we are called to do.

In Romans 10:14 we find these words, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of who they have not heard?   And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!”

So today my prayer is, Isaiah 6:8 “Here am I, send me”.

 

 

How Big is Our God?

Do we even begin to understand the scope of what God does in the lives of individuals? In one minute a person can dedicate their life to Christ, changed forever as a follower of Christ. On any given Sunday lives are changed as people hear the gospel message being preached in churches across our world. In one weekend through Church Renewal Christ followers volunteer to go into churches to share how God changed their life resulting in more lives being changed. How great is our God?

What is the problem in our churches?

MENU

Blog  Findley Edge in his book The Greening of the Church said, “The problem in our churches is not empty pews, but empty people sitting in the pews.”. Sunday after Sunday we often sit with people who have no relationship with Jesus. They go to church because that’s what their family always did/does or to see friends or… Many have religion but Jesus is not in the relationship. Too bad people do not have meters that told us they were empty, lonely or desperate for an authentic relationship with Christ. The world needs for Christians to stop doing un-Christlike things and start living with a sense of urgency and boldness in telling others about Jesus.. We need Christians that are more interested in glorifying Christ than pursuing the pleasures of life. Nothing wrong with a good job, great sports, education, etc unless it takes us away from God and His bride – the church. Peace and comfort can be found in Jesus.