After writing yesterday’s post I feel a little guilty, a little worn, a little like I’m just too hard on this city we now currently reside in, a little like I am being misunderstood when I just want to explore who I am. This morning I decided to write all the things I’m thankful for about living in West Plains, and being specific regarding some of the wonderful people here who have shaped our lives. Then I went to church this morning, and my whole focus has changed.
The sermon was a review of what the church has focused on all year, and what we can look forward to next year, starting today. So he asked us what do we think of when we think of the word: missionary. There were your standard answers; sent, on mission, telling others about Christ, but he told us that we want to come to the point that if someone asked us this question, we should think of “myself”. This year we want to focus on ourselves as mission minded. He talked a bit about being missional where you are. I thought about yesterday’s post regarding all I miss in Utah, and how I have never felt mission minded while living here. Yes, I’ve worked as a teacher, and helper in children and youth ministries, and I’ve understood the impact this work can have. But, I have never gone out to work and thought: “I am on mission.”
We see a problem that no one else does and pray about being a solution to that problem. We have to engage in that culture, be a part of the culture. We have to get our resources and connections to help us be the solution. This can be where you have gone out as part of a short mission. It can be a place that was part of a presentation or somewhere you’ve read about. Or it can be the place right where you live. I’ve thought about this in a minor sense, that I’m here because God brought me here to learn, perhaps to be a small part of a group that helps those in need. I have never seen it in the big picture sense though: that I am here to serve as a missionary to serve Him and be that solution that no one else has seen. I understand that wherever we are that we are to be mission minded, but for some reason never considered it as a whole idea here. I’ve always thought of this move as temporary; as a step on our way to learn things then move on.
God never stops sending people out. He is always sending people on some mission or other. Always. Why should I consider the time I have here any different? God delivers people, then He sends them. Never alone: He is always with us. Here is here, with me, right now, in West Plains.
One verse that really struck my today is Jeremiah 29:7, “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” This is where God has taken the nation of Israel away from their land to another, as prisoners. God tells them to seek the peace, and in the NASB it says the welfare of the city. Seek the welfare of the city, and I will have welfare. Wow. I suppose you could look at this the same way for the company you work for. Seek its peace and prosperity, pray for it, and with what it gains, I will gain as well. I never thought of that, never saw it.
I am glad the Lord works out these writings and the sermons I hear the way he does. I am a bit ashamed, but at the same time glad I can look forward to an idea that He puts in my mind. I know it is a battle to be satisfied here, but these ideas will spur me on to look positively on this city and it’s works. I hope I can bring Him glory in the things I can do for Him and through Him in the time I have left here.
The last thing the sermon covered was, we can’t be an Acts 2 Christian until we become an Acts 1 one. What that means, is that we are always seeking the fellowship of the church, the bond we have as Christians that is displayed in Acts 2:42-47, and we forget about becoming the Christian that is mission minded of Acts 1:4-8. They were baptized with the Holy Spirit, then they were sent out to be “witnesses to Me [Jesus] in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Then later came the bond of fellowship and community from Acts 2. Perhaps we are getting this wrong. We join a church to meet people and to have fellowship and community, and we forget our first mission: to go out. When we try to be Acts 2, we become so inward focused that we forget about our mission.
Our assignments are to meet two people and hear their story, and to pray that God would reveal to us the thing no one else sees that we can become mission minded towards. Thank you God for opening my eyes and allowing me to be brought low so I can be lifted up, and that you are sovereign, even in my writings. I will ever praise You! I even recall the fact that I will be starting the Perspectives class in January: to be more Mission Minded!