Sunday, July 28, 2013

A thought on missional living

I have written 2/3 of a couple of different posts this morning, but they ultimately were not coming from a pure heart, and they were much too focused on me. So, I am going to try again...

I have been (slowly) reading through the book of Daniel as I continue trekking through the Bible, verse by verse, book by book... last night, as I was falling asleep, following a time of ministry brainstorming and planning (which is incredibly exciting!) I was conflicted by some feelings of intent and motivation. The group that was together was a collection of folks from my wife's small group and my own, we group together for an outreach ministry with one of the local apartment complexes and try to love on the people who are out there as best we can. We are hoping to expand what we are doing, as well as bring in more small groups reaching out to more complexes. The problem that we often run into is this feeling that we are not a charitable organization who is just there to give stuff to them, to meet their physical needs, and then go away until the next event. We are there to allow God to work through us and demonstrate His love for them not only through the provision of needs, but also through the investment of time with them. That relational investment is the difference between being good people doing good things, and being God's people, doing God's work. God has gifted us so mightily with inroads and connections with this particular complex, and has supplied us with fertile soil. It is our job to make sure we are planting seeds. If all we ever do is add more to the soil, through gifting of physical things, but we never plant the seed of investing in their lives, then they will never grow! It is a large burden to try to sit and discuss how we manage to balance the two... giving material things is so easy!
So, I was struggling with how to discern the difference, and I began reading in Daniel 2... following King Nebuchadnezzar's (I almost spelled that right without looking! Who puts 2 Z's??) dream, and the inability of the wise men to explain it to him, and the decree to kill all of the wise men because of it (dramatic)... Daniel goes to the king and asks him to put a hold on the killings so that his dream could be explained.The king asks if Daniel can do it, in verse 27, Daniel begins to explain that no man can interpret this dream, but that there is a God in Heaven who gave this dream to the king, and gave the king a gift of the knowledge of things to come, and that it was not up to Daniel to explain the dream, that it was a matter of seeking God, in verse 30, Daniel captures exactly the heart of missional living:
 "But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me for any wisdom residing in me more than in any other living man, but for the purpose of making the interpretation to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind."

Daniel's heart here is one that says, "I am no different from anyone else, apart from the gift and revelation of God I am no more good or wise than they." Daniel knew that anything he did was by the grace of God alone, for the work of God alone, that through him God could reveal himself to those he was serving. That is the difference between meeting solely physical needs, and making a deeper, heart changing connection with people. The intentionality of doing all things to the glory of Christ. It requires the humility to say that we are nothing outside of Christ, with the faith that through Him, great works can be accomplished; the willingness to lay ourselves down and allow Christ to work in us, leading us into obedience to His calling; a position of reverence and worship to the God who has given us the opportunity to serve in His name; and a focus on the advancement of His Kingdom. Faith, Obedience, Reverence, Kingdom.

If we are seeking these principles in all we do through the outreach opportunities that Christ has ordained for us, we will be more than just a nice group of people who do nice things... we will be subversive agents of the Gospel, seeking the glory of Christ.

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