Don’t be cowards: Christ rose so we could get on mission

Matt Chandler, who pastors at The Village Church in Texas, gave this admonition to his congregation on Easter Sunday as part of his message entitled “The Call to Mission.” He wanted them to think about what the resurrection of Jesus means in how they live their lives. In other words, since Jesus didn’t just die for our sins but rose, what does it mean? It is a sharp but helpful point he drives home:

Ladies, how many Bible studies are we going to do, I am just saying, can we maybe run some of the plays instead of just studying them? Men, how many Bible studies we gonna do, how much you going to study before you start to play? I mean that’s what makes the thing so stupid down here. Everybody can talk it, nobody wants to engage anybody with it. Or at least very few of us do. 

Why? ‘Well, cause I have a lust issue.’ Well OK, submit to Christ, get in recovery, and live on mission, it will reveal all that stuff, it will be horrible, God will just rip it out of you and replace it with His grace and mercy, it will be awesome in the end. I mean if you’re waiting till you’re perfect to live life on mission you’re going to die without much mission. 

It’s coming! Do you get this? Do you get that 2000 years ago, in fact farther back than than He told Abram, “This is how it’s going down.” and it has stayed true to the line right up till now where a massive portion of Africa has become believers, a massive portion of China has become believers, South America blowing up with the gospel. 

The gospel is penetrating the world, do you know how this ends? With you and me in front of Him with the Kingdom of God, new heaven, new earth coming down, no more injustice, no more pain, no more sorrow, God’s redeemed, God’s elect, God’s Kingdom, Kingdom of God, established! Now do you think anybody is going to give a trash how much money you have right now? How much comfort you have right now? Who’s cool and who’s not? Who drove what and who didn’t? Who was well liked in the neighborhood and who wasn’t? You think ANY of that is going to matter? No one will care! But a lot of people will be embarrassed.

Chandler points to the book “Total Church”  where Steve Timmis and Tim Chester encourage people to imagine that they are a part of a church planting team in a cross-cultural situation in some other part of the world and answer the following questions:

  • What criteria would you use to decide where to live?
  • How would you approach secular employment?
  • What standard of living would you expect as a pioneer missionary?
  • What would you spend your time doing?
  • What opportunities to share the gospel would you be looking for?
  • What would your prayers be like?
  • What would you be trying to do with your new friends?
  • What kind of team would you want around you?
  • How would you conduct your meetings together?

Chandler says their point is that we tend to think of missional living as something that just missionaries in foreign countries do instead of what we should all be doing. That is the challenge for all of us.

There are no ordinary people

This is a piggyback post, based on something I read earlier today. The question is: Do people bore you? And is so, why? It is hard to show Christ’s glory when the only person we find interesting is ourselves. Here is what C.S. Lewis says:

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would strongly be tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. (The Weight of Glory, 14-15)

Our evangelism suffers when we can’t put away worship of ourselves long enough to engage someone else. Perhaps their view of Christ in us is being clouded by our own love for ourselves.

HT: Desiring God

Come to Jesus

Today was a great day at church, and it was something different. First of all, I had the opportunity to lead the first- and second-graders in Sunday school. Our lesson was based around the passage in Mark 2:1-11 where Jesus heals the man who is paralyzed, but not before he forgives the man’s sins.

The way the lesson went, we talked about what the man’s biggest problem was. He was paralyzed, but Jesus did something else first. He forgave him. Now, there are many ways you can look at that passage, and it’s a great one. What we talked about was that we have to realize that we have a need greater than anything we can see about our lives: our sinful hearts. And there is only one person who can heal us: Jesus Christ. So we all need to come to him. Whether he solves all the things we see as wrong with our lives is not as important as our heart problem.

Another thing we talked about, which fit in nicely with the main service, was the friends who lowered the paralyzed man through the roof so he could get to Jesus. These men didn’t heal him, but they did something great for the man. As part of our battleship series, we prayed for the list of people we call POWs — prisoners in the spiritual battle for our souls. Even though these images aren’t the same, the idea is in that we need to bring people to Jesus so he can save them. It’s not us, but God uses our efforts to save sinners.

I asked the boys and girls if there was something that was special to them that they could tell me about. I heard about special birthday presents, their pets, their family. We then talked about how Jesus is more special than any of those things. If that’s the case we should want to share him with those we meet. Otherwise, we are not loving. That is the goal before us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8