Sunday, February 27, 2005

lost and found

originally posted february 24, 2005

concerning how we serve God as individuals rather than as part of a larger organization...

here’s what makes sense to me: we serve God in many different contexts and many different ways. we serve him by reaching out to the varying degrees of lost and we serve him by building up spiritual muscle in his body in order to equip the church to reach out to those varying degrees of lost. I don’t think either is a stand-alone righteousness… they both qualify the other.

the first part of our missional orders is often the part that gains most of our attention. we know Jesus said to go out, and we drink a lot of coffee as we strategize how this going out is to take place. the ‘going out’ part is the creative, outside-the-box stuff- trying to remain connected with the people Jesus died to save in order to be used of him with them. however, if our focus rests entirely on chasing after people’s hearts then the great commission is only partially realized because Jesus’ last words were bi-directional: go out… make disciples. hmm- there’s the ‘make disciples’ part.

discipleship isn’t instantaneous… it wasn’t even that way for Jesus. after all the time and relational investment, his closest disciples still buckled under pressure- we all do. Jesus’ final words on earth include within them a reminder of the process that he had modeled with his own friends in the three years of ministry that had ultimately led to the cross and beyond it into new life for us all. making disciples takes lifetimes as we learn new things from Jesus’ word and his people that challenge what we embrace so far as obedience.

so I guess what I’m saying, in short (?) is that we probably need to sort out how, in our own life, we are going to attend to both of the calls to ministry as spoken so succinctly by our Lord: how do we reach out to the lost? how do we equip the found?

ephesians 4.11-13 speaks of how we are invited to serve the body, culminating in the vision for all of us:

“till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

I like the thinking that is taking place here, because of the inherent challenges that arise from the acknowledgement that it is easy to continue doing the same things exclusively for they are most comfortable (perhaps that is what matt redman meant when he wrote sadly about having crafted a more comfortable cross for himself).

“let each one of you speak truth with his neighbour, for we are members of one another.” (ephesians 4.25)

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