Friday, June 17, 2011

Mission as the Overflow of Joy

Sorry that I've not blogged in a while, my computer crashed and I had to get a new one. That sentence was harder to live than it was to write! I'll say more about that soon but for now here's a devotional I just wrote for our church's e-newsletter and bulletin.

In last week’s devotional I turned the corner from writing about prayer to mission, but in making this turn I did not leave prayer behind. Prayer is absolutely central to being on mission with Jesus because being on mission with Jesus is about being in love with Jesus. It’s about walking with him and talking with him and learning from him and submitting to him and overflowing with the joy that is in him to those who need him.
Earlier this week I received an e-mail from Pastor Mike which included a quote from Lesslie Newbigin. Newbigin’s words so well express my own sense of what it means to be on mission with Jesus that I decided to pass them on to you today. Please read them carefully and cherish the truths he shares.
“There has been a long tradition which sees the mission of the Church primarily as obedience to a command. It has been customary to speak of ‘the missionary mandate.’ This way of putting the matter is certainly not without justification, and yet it seems to me that it misses the point. It tends to make mission a burden rather than a joy, to make it part of the law rather than part of the gospel.
“If one looks at the New Testament evidence one gets another impression. Mission begins with a kind of explosion of joy. The news that the rejected and crucified Jesus is alive is something that cannot possibly be suppressed. It must be told. Who could be silent about such a fact?
“The mission of the Church in the pages of the New Testament is more like a fallout which is not lethal but life-giving. One searches in vain through the letters of St. Paul to find any suggestion that he anywhere lays it on the conscience of his reader that they ought to be active in mission. For himself it is inconceivable that he should keep silent. ‘Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!’ (1 Corinthians 9:16). But nowhere do we find him telling his readers that they have a duty to do so. . . .
“At the heart of mission is thanksgiving and praise. . . . When it is true to its nature, it is so to the end. Mission is an acted out doxology. That is its deepest secret. Its purpose is that God may be glorified” (The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society, [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989], 116, 127).

Longing with you to overflow with the joy of Christ,
Pastor Charlie

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