Category Archives: Missional Living

Serving in a Snow Storm

snow-shovel-100208-02

Jesus is a servant.  The way that he serves shows his love for us.  Jesus said his very mission was to serve us and demonstrate God’s love by saying:

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus is the good king who came to serve, who showed his love by serving us to the point of death on a cross (phil 2:6-11). It’s through Jesus service that the lie of Satan (the lie that said God doesn’t love us) is dispelled when we see that God loves us and will do anything to provide for us the very best of life and life to the full in his kingdom.

If Jesus is the Good King who came to serve, and if you are baptized into his name, you are his servants sent into the world to display the truth of God’s love through your actions–to show the world that God loves them through YOUR actions.  So how can you sere in the snow storm?

  1. Check up on the elderly and the infirm.  See if they need anything and then provide what they need.  Offer to drive to get their groceries or medicine if needed. The roads might be driveable but many won’t want to take a chance or might be to unstable to walk in the snow or ice.
  2. Shovel, snow blow, or plow your neighbor’s walk or drive way…even if they could do it themselves.
  3. Make a large pot of soup and bring some containers for the neighbors around you.
  4. Share some of the milk, eggs, and bread you started hoarding the moment you heard we were going to get snow. (Sorry, couldn’t resist).
  5. If you’ve got a good vehicle and confidence in your driving, offer to pick up a coworker or take them home if the roads are bad.

Finally, Ask the Spirit who you can serve and what you can do for them.  Use this as an opportunity to build relationships with neighbors you haven’t seen all winter or haven’t met yet.

Picture found here

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Come Die With Me

The Scriptures are often full of calls to humble oneself, take up your cross, deny yourself, decrease in importance so Christ can increase, to lose your life in order to find it in Christ, to become less of a focus so more of Christ can be seen through you.  We often don’t find fulfillment in Christ or success in mission because we desperately are afraid of dying. Watch this short video from Jeff Vandertelt:

We’ve got nothing to really lose, and, surprisingly, nothing to gain either, in living life on mission.  We have everything already!  In Jesus we already have the eternal love, favor, and kingdom of our Heavenly Father! We have his unconditional acceptance no matter how we perform, no matter what we accomplish, no matter how we fail.  The only thing we DO have to gain in dying to ourselves and living for God’s purposes is the precious life of someone lost who can be found through YOU.   And what’s funny, is when we lay down our lives, desires, and preferences for the good of God’s kingdom and the benefit of others, we actually find life that if abundant, full, and meaningful!  Our doubts, anxieties, and problems fade away because our eyes are off ourselves and are placed where they were created to be, on our Savior and on others.  We’re then filled with the greatest joy of being on the grandest adventure of all as we join in Christ’s mission.

Questions:

  1. If what Jeff says in this video is true, how should it change your life, your ministry, your priorities?
  2. What do you need to die to in order to live for God’s glory and the salvation of others?
  3. How is Jesus the answer to all the fears in your heart on this issue?  How is he greater than the things you will give up?

Purchase the full talk from the Verge Network here for $2.99.

5 Ways to Be Missional This Labor Day

Labor day is one of those days of rest and rejuvenation.  For our Nation its a yearly rhythm of rest that we all enjoy, but can also be leveraged for gospel purposes.  Below are 5 ways you can be missional this Labor Day

  1. Hold a neighborhood barbeque.  Invite everyone on the block.  If you’ve never done this in your neighborhood, don’t ask them to bring all the food.  Partner with a few members of your Missional Community or Small group to pay for the meal.  For those who have participated in the past, encourage them to partner with you in bringing a side dish to share.
  2. If you own a boat or have a place at the lake, Labor Day is a great day for a little cross-pollination.  Invite a couple from your Missional Community and invite another couple who are unchurched or dechurched.  It’s a great time to introduce friends and build trust between your Christian community and those who don’t yet believe.
  3. Invite your unchurched friends to join you and another Christian in Something you love.  If you love to camp or fish.  If you just take the opportunity of Labor Day to hit up a good matinée and some lunch, invite unchurched this is another great opportunity for cross-pollination and trust building.
  4. Show care to first responders.  A lot of people have Labor Day off.  Some work it every year.  Show love to your first responders.  Bring by food or gift packages for your firemen or police officers.  Talk to the Fire chief or police chief and see if your Missional Community, Small Group, or church can set up some grills and serve them a meal.
  5. If school doesn’t start for your community until after Labor Day, serve the underprivileged about to go back to school.  Pay a beautician or barber to come in and offer free haircuts.  Collect and hand out backpacks and school supplies.

 

You also might like:

6 Ways to be Missional This Superbowl

4  Ways to be Missional This Easter

9 Ways to be Missional This Thanksgiving

13 Ways to be Missional This Halloween

7 Ways to be Missional This Christmas

Picture found here

A Daring Confidence

Dale Meyer, Former speaker of The Lutheran Hour and president of Concordia Seminary has a daily blog called The Meyer Minute. It’s a great source of Gospel-Centered daily devotional thoughts.  His words have lifted me up and inspired me in Jesus love countless times.

On the July 24th post Meyer gives a couple quotes from Martin Luther about the place of Good works in a Christian’s life:

Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that the believer would stake his life on it a thousand times. This knowledge of and confidence in God’s grace makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and with all creatures. And this is the work which the Holy Spirit performs in faith. Because of it, without compulsion, a person is ready and glad to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, out of love and praise to God who has shown him this grace. Thus it is impossible to separate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate heat and light from fire. (Martin Luther, Preface to the Romans)

As we seek to live a Gospel-Centered Mission-Focused life, we need to remember that we’re not striving to impress God.  We don’t need to earn his love, to win his approval, or to secure our salvation.  We have that all in faith through Jesus. Our future is secure.   All we do, then, is in response to God’s love he’s shown us already.

“Faith is living, daring confidence in God’s grace.”  As followers of Jesus, we can stop examining our motives, stop tallying our good deeds, and look to Jesus’ love on the Cross  and know that he will give us all good things.  We’re then freed to love him and to love and serve others in his name without motive and without fear.

The Rob Bell looking Luther picture found here

How to Disciple Children for Mission with Paul Tripp

Watch this challenging short video from Paul Tripp about shaping your children into disciples by leading them into thinking through their lives as Mission.

In many ways, Paul Tripp is simply telling us to talk about the faith and its implications with our children.  Yet its also a reminder that everything that God has gifted us with is an opportunity to witness to Christ’s love.  It is a truth we need to learn and live out so that we can teach it to our children and show them how to live for God’s glory.

Questions:

  • What do you do to disciple your children?
  • What can you change to take the first, or next step, to help shape you child in the ways of Jesus?
  • Who else, besides you, needs to hear this message?   How can you share it with them and help each other become more effective at influencing your children for Christ?

Challenges:

  • Make a list of what you own.  Make a separate list of what your children have.  Have a discussion with your spouse and children on how you can use those things for God’s kingdom.
  • Make a list of the people you know  Make a list of the people your children know.  Put a cross next to each person you know are Christian.  Begin to pray, with your kids, each night for all the people who you know are not Christians.  Then discuss how you can show and share the faith with them.

Watch some more great videos from the Verge Network

No More Walls

This is a pretty good  video about the problem of Church being inward focus instead of being outward focused.  How should we live as Christians?  What should be the focus of our churches?  It’s worth a watch.

Video Found here

4 Ways to be Missional This Easter

  1. Host An Easter Egg Hunt.  Get together with your small group or Missional Community and hold a neighborhood Easter Egg hunt.  If you have connecting lawns (i.e. without fences) talk to your neighbors on either side of you and make arrangements to hide eggs on their lawns as well.  Use mostly plastic eggs with Candy inside, but you could also have some hard boiled eggs as well.  Send flyers out to all the neighborhood families with Kids 2 weeks in advance.
  2. Have an Easter barbecue.  On the Saturday before Easter, invite people over for the first barbecue of the year.  Have games like washers, Hill Billy golf, beanbag toss, etc. for the kids and adults to play.
  3. Have an Easter brunch.  On Easter invite your neighbors to come over Sunday at noon for Egg bake casserole.
  4. Create Easter Snack Baskets For Your Neighbors.  Especially if your neighbors don’t have children or grand children, they might not have much reason to get Easter Candy.  Make a little gift bag for each house on the block and hand them out with a simple message, “Happy Easter from the _________Family.”

Now if you noticed I didn’t say much about overt evangelism in any of the above suggestions.  That can be done.  Yet, your initial goal might just be to get to know your neighbors and to create a greater sense of community in your neighborhood.  Depending on where you are with building trust and friendship with your neighbors, you might want to add some Gospel elements into any of the above suggestions.

  • With an Easter egg hunt, you could hide some resurrection eggs amongst the kids.  Mark each Resurrection egg with a Cross.  When the hunt is over, gather all the kids afterwards and talk about each item that they found.  Make sure you trade a great piece of candy for the Resurrection eggs.
  • Share an Easter story book or video with the children to share the real meaning of Easter.  This is also a great time to give the parents a break by providing them snakes and drinks.  Get to know the parents while the kids are busy with the story and supervised in the other room.
  • Decorate Easter cookies.  Bake plenty of Easter themed sugar cookies.  Have the traditional eggs, ducks, and bunnies, but also crosses and any other biblical Easter cookie shapes you can find.  Talk about how each one connects to Easter.
  • Do an Easter craft.  Decorate crosses, foam door hangers, wreaths or create your own resurrection scenes.  There are some great resources for doing crafts and telling the Easter message.
  • Hand out age appropriate Easter tracts, books or videos.

I hope this helps you take a step towards building relationships with your neighbors and possibly witnessing to the love of Christ.  It almost goes without saying, but you can always invite your neighbors or friends to church Good Friday or Sunday Morning.  These days are often some of the most compelling and evangelist sermons of the year and often have cool experiential elements as well in many churches.  Whatever you do, do it prayerfully and know that God’s working through it.

 

You might also like:

6 Ways to be Missional with the Super Bowl

7 Ways to be Missional this Christmas

9 Ways to be Missional this Thanksgiving

13 Ways to be Missional this Halloween

Picture found here

Two Ways of Viewing Mission

This is a great (and short) video from Caesar Kalinowski on two ways of viewing mission: Proactive vs. Reactive Mission.

What is your Missional Community’s Proactive Mission?

What reactive Mission opportunities is God revealing to you as well?

 

Go to the GCM Collective’s website and check out the great illustration that Seth McBee made to illustrate the difference between proactive and reactive mission.

Don’t Be Afraid To Pray In A New Missional Community

Our Church Plant just started our third missional community. We had a few neighbors join us as well as a woman who just joined our church plant from our parent church. Our MC evening included a meal, some wine, and the Story of God.  I’ve partied numerous times with these neighbors.  Since  they know I’m a pastor, I’ve tried to be very conscious of not doing anything that would make them feel uncomfortable with me.  So out of all the times we’ve hung out, we’ve only prayed once before a meal.

Yet here we were, the second night of our meeting, and I offered to pray before the meal.  I tried to use the least “Churchy” tone and language possible.  I just spoke as if God was in the room, nodding His head, listening to me. We ate, read and talked about The Story.  As we ended the evening, I remembered that God was Great so I didn’t have to be in control.  I remembered that he already brought these people to hear his Story.  He engaged them greatly in our dialogue, and it was time to ask God to work in their lives.  So as we were ending, I asked, “Before we go, is there anything you are going through that we can pray for?”  Everyone asked for something to be prayed for.

The next day one of our neighbors came over.  Her prayers, which dealt with conflict with a few different people, were all answered the very next day.  We rejoiced over God’s goodness with our friend and neighbor.  My wife and I rejoiced even more that evening as we saw her praise God on Facebook and speaking of how the amazing ways He was working in her life.  Her experience and her witness would never have been possible without prayer.

Picture found here

 

6 Ways to be Missional with the Super Bowl

Millions of people are getting ready to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday. Personally, I’m not a huge football fan. Usually the Super Bowl is the only game I watch all year, but even though I don’t love the game, I love hanging out with people. The commercials and the food are always good as well. Yet can one use the Super Bowl as a chance to witness?

Here are a few things to think about being Missional with the Super Bowl:

  1. Don’t hijack the Super Bowl.  Don’t have a bible study during the half-time show or the commercial breaks.  People aren’t going to appreciate a bait and switch, especially if it means missing things something they really enjoy on Super Bowl Sunday.
  2. Host a Superbowl party and invite some unchurched people to get to know them better.  Also invite at least  2 or 3 members of your Missional Community so that relationships are formed between both groups.  This will make it easier to invite them to join your MC for the Story later.
  3. Make it better. If you’ve been invited to a Super Bowl party already, how can you “Bring the better wine” as Jeff Vanderstelf often says?  Bring the best food or drinks.  Be the biggest helper to the host.  How can you make things better for everyone so that people are glad that the Christians showed up at the party?
  4. Listen to others. As you discuss sports, the commercials, and life, listen to the stories others are telling.  They will give you clues to where the Gospel can be spoken into their lives.
  5. See this Sunday as an opportunity to serve.  Ask the host if they need you to show up early to help set up.  Be quick to pitch in as needs arise, and stay to help clean when the party is over.
  6. Pray.   If you’re hosting, share a quick prayer of thanks for the food and all your friends.  Pray before, during, and after, that God might show his love thorough you and that relationships and trust might be built.

Any other suggestions?

You might also like:

4 Ways to be Missional this Easter

7 Ways to be Missional this Christmas

9 Ways to be Missional this Thanksgiving

13 Ways to be Missional this Halloween

Picture found here along with some great Super Bowl appetizers

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