Mission Connexion

January 15, 2010

I know I have a lot of friends who will be serving at and impacted this year’s Mission Connexion being held at Crossroads.  To all of you I wish you a great weekend of drinking in the Lord’s heart and purposes at working his world!

I know you’re going to be hearing a lot more eloquent speakers than me this weekend, but let me add some thoughts on the weekend’s theme of “Reconciling Nations” from the nation God has drawn us to.

Nathan reminded us of our ministry of reconciliation during last Sunday’s service:

“All these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us teh ministry of reconciliation.  In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation.  Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us…” II Corinthians 5:17-20a (NET Bible)

What a great charge!  What a great responsibility God in Christ has handed over to his church such a great reminder of that for which Christ has saved us!

J.R. Woodward over at Dream Awakener published this quote on reconciliation from Henri Nouwen yesterday:

“How do we work for reconciliation? First and foremost by claiming for ourselves that God through Christ has reconciled us to God. It is not enough to believe this with our heads. We have to let the truth of this reconciliation permeate every part of our beings. As long as we are not fully and thoroughly convinced that we have been reconciled with God, that we are forgiven, that we have received new hearts, new spirits, new eyes to see, and new ears to hear, we continue to create divisions among people because we expect from them a healing power they do not possess.

Only when we fully trust that we belong to God and can find in our relationship with God all that we need for our minds, hearts, and souls, can we be truly free in this world and be ministers of reconciliation. This is not easy; we readily fall back into self-doubt and self-rejection. We need to be constantly reminded through God’s Word, the sacraments, and the love of our neighbours that we are indeed reconciled.” (click here for another great quote from Nouwen on the task of reconciliation)

Finally, one more quote from Newbigin on the passing of Jesus’ mission to his followers:

“It is of the essence of the matter that Jesus was not concerned to leave as the fruit of his work a precise verbatim record of everything he said and did, but that he was concerned to create a community which would be bound to him in love and obedience, learn discipleship even in the midst of sin and error, and be his witnesses among all peoples” (Newbigin, The Open Secret 176)

Any of you who has a chance, I’d encourage you to swing by Worldventure‘s booth (our missions agency).  You’re likely to meet our friend Doug Hazen (the NW Church Connections person). Besides being a very personable guy, he has a great combination of wisdom and experience that I’m sure will keep you talking for quite a while. 🙂 Also, look for Doug in the workshops being offered throughout the weekend and tell him we say “Hi!” (Joe Murray is also someone we’ve gleaned a lot from).

Enjoy!

Church

January 9, 2010

Just a quote from my present read:

“Here is a marvelously coherent and compelling picture of the participation of the church in world history. History is interpreted here as a struggle for liberation. The Christian has his place in it not just as a fighter for liberation but as one who has been liberated. Through the presence of the Spirit he is already a free person, bearing in his own life the freedom which belongs to the end. The community of those who follow Jesus is called to share in the struggle for liberation as those who are full of eager and patient hope: eager, because they have already tasted the freedom to which God calls all; patient, because God is to be trusted to complete that which he has begun.” (Newbigin, p. 120, The Open Secret)

Good stuff!

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I love Christmas.  Probably not as much as my wife loves Christmas, but I still love it.  There’s the family time, the food, the presents, the relaxation (or familiar holiday craziness) and all mixing together in one great big closing highlight as we take time to look back on the year and look forward to the burgeoning new year.

Today as I continue to read The Open Secret by Lesslie Newbigin I was reminded of that thing which, above all, makes Christmas so special:

The Bible does not tell stories which illustrate something true apart from the story.  The Bible tells a story which is the story, the story of which our human life is a part.  It is not that stories are part of human life, but that human life is part of a story.  It is not that there are stories which illustrate “how things are”; it is that we do not begin to understand how things are unless we understand how they were and how they will be.  (Newbigin, The Open Secret 92)

It’s not just the story, or “the reason for the season”.  It’s that we live in the story that God tells, and that his telling of how things were and how they are going to be has enabled us to live meaningfully in the present (how things are).

Christmas is special, because in the coming of God in the form of a baby over 2000 years ago my world was changed.  And every year around December 25th I remember with others that enormous leap in the story that in the Bible’s terms (Ac. 2:17; Heb. 1:2; Jas. 5:3; I Pe. 1:2 and many others), has catapulted us in to the last days as God’s restoration has already begun in Christ!

Merry Christmas indeed!

(BTW – the main impetus for this post is a conversation I had last week with a guy in our church who has stopped reading his Bible because it just isn’t relevant for him anymore.  This post is one of the reasons I cannot imagine living without a daily study of the story God says encompasses us all)

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