In Jesus’ first recorded sermon he said that, “the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”  When his disciples asked him how to pray, he instructed them to pray, “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come…”  And right before he leaves, the disciples ask, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 
In Acts 1, Jesus leaves the disciples waiting. It was just a few days, but I’m sure that for a few of them it seemed like it would never happen. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come on them, so now they waited. No Jesus, no Holy Spirit, just waiting.
It can be hard to wait, but here we find out that waiting on God is essential to the mission of Jesus.
I found myself waiting in seminary. I knew that my time in school was wrapping up, so I started looking for ministry. After perusing online job listings for hours upon hours, and sending my resumé to various churches, I found myself at graduation with no prospects for ministry. So Lindsay and I waited. Over the next year I had a few promising interviews, but nothing turned up until the summer of 2013. That’s when I started interviewing at Westbrook, where I am now serving in ministry. The few years that I waited felt like a long time. On top of that, those years came with their fair share of disappointment.
While the disciples did not wait for the Spirit with disappointment, I’m sure it wasn’t easy for some of them. Jesus didn’t say how long, he just said to wait. And then when Holy Spirit comes, they would be his witnesses, but not before. Continue reading →
I think most of us would say that we want to make an impact in our community. Whenever we hear the stories of those who have, we are inspired and wish that we could do the same. The story of McFarland, USA is one of those stories. The struggling coach moves with his family to what seems to be the last place he can get a job and makes a discovery. He discovers that some of the students are amazing runners. So he decides to start a cross country program and the rest is history.
When I watched this movie, I left feeling inspired and after reflecting on it realized that Coach White lives a missional life in the community of McFarland. He makes certain decisions, whether he realizes it or not, that increase his ability to impact his community. As a followers of Christ we can do some of the same things that he did and make an impact. Here are 4 lessons that we can take away from McFarland, USA. This isn’t a magical formula by any means, but there are definitely valuable lessons to be learned. Continue reading →
Last week, I talked about asking the right question about discipleship. This week I want to talk about mission. There are a lot of things that we ask about getting involved at church and getting involved in our communities and I’m not sure we’re always asking the best questions. If we’re trying to get involved we are usually asking good questions, but I want all of us to ask the best questions possible so that we can get involved in the best way possible.
One of the phrases that I hear a lot is “plugged in,” as in “How can I get plugged in at church?” Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad thing to say, but is it the best question to ask? It’s good to get connected to the church and it’s ministries, but getting plugged in only half the question. If we are concerned with finding the mission that God has for us. Continue reading →
Last year I heard Dr. Phil Kenneson speak at the slow church conference. His talk (which you can listen to here) was deeply impactful to me. He talked about presence and one of the most impactful things he said was, “We don’t have anything more precious to give each other than our own presence.” He didn’t say our gifts, abilities, or wise words, but simply our presence. This doesn’t just mean that we are physically in a room or shared space with someone, but instead he means present with that person being attentive and devoting time to that person. The final challenge of being present is being present is being present in the world. Continue reading →
The last section of Life on Mission is really the place where you begin. To live a life on mission, you need to begin with prayer. The problem is, most of us don’t start there. We end in prayer.
I’ll admit that I have the problem. I love a good problem and when something is presented to me, I’ll try to figure it out. You may have not even asked me to solve your problem but odds are if you told me about something you’re working through I’m thinking through solutions in my head. The trouble with this mentality is when it comes to mission, God doesn’t ask us to solve the problem. He wants us to go and do His work, not go and figure out our work. Yes he wants us to use our skills, abilities and resources, but we need to do it his way and not ours. That’s why we start with prayer. Starting with prayer allows us to submit ourselves to God’s way and it says that we are relying on God’s power and not our own.
There are a lot of things I could say about prayer, but I don’t need to say all those things. All I need to say is that we need to pray.
In Luke 10:2, Jesus challenges his disciples to ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers into the fields. So my challenge this week at the end of this reflection of Life on Mission is to pray. Pray for God to send workers and pray for God to send you.
The next step in living a Life on Mission is sharing. This step may be the most intimidating step of a life on mission. This step requires us to evangelize, to tell people the good news about Jesus. On one level, I’m not sure why this step is so hard. Telling people about Jesus should be the most wonderful thing ever. When you find something amazing, you tell people about it. Whether it really is amazing or just a funny cat video on YouTube, you tell people about it, so why not Jesus.
On the other hand, I get it. It’s scary and intimidating. Whether we’re afraid of what people might think or we don’t know what to say, many people find it hard to share the Gospel. We have so many ideas of what sharing the gospel looks like that it’s hard to know whether we should stand on a street corner or start up a debate club. Continue reading →
Recently I heard Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon, the authors of The Art of Neighboring, being interviewed on the radio. The Art of Neighboring is a great book about how to get to know and how to love your neighbors. One of the things that really struck me in this interview (which you can listen to here) was their discussion of loving without an agenda. They argue that Christians need to learn to love their neighbors without the agenda of evangelizing them. I know this sounds crazy considering this is a post about living life on mission and our mission is to share the gospel, but this is an important discussion to have if we are going to take the next step and serve our neighbors. Continue reading →
A life on mission begins with connecting. It starts by developing relationships with the people in our everyday lives. It starts by loving our neighbor. Tim Harlow writes in Life on Mission, “Your mission is to your Jerusalem. The people right around you. THE PEOPLE WHO YOU KNOW! So our mission starts with relationship. It has to start with relationship.”1
So let’s ask the question that was asked of Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Continue reading →
As the uncle of two adopted children and friend of many who have and have been adopted, I can say that adoption has changed my life for the better. I’ve seen the way that adoption has changed lives, and I’m grateful that families have the ability to adopt children who otherwise have no family. Because of what I have seen, it wasn’t hard for me to believe that adoption is one of the best ways to keep children from growing up in orphanages. It wasn’t until I read Orphan Justice that I realized that adoption wasn’t the only way to enact social justice on the behalf of Orphans. Continue reading →