Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Mission on the Move

If you want a quick guilt trip, compare your last 24 hours with Jesus first 24 hours in Luke 4:31-44. Let’s see: preach the good news – check! Deliver from demons – check! Heal the sick – check! Jesus was definitely a man on a mission!

Okay – so our productivity won’t match up with Jesus productivity*, we can still join him on mission. Remember, Jesus’ mission was to go with authority, power, and compassion. Let’s see how we follow him.

1. Go: Jesus went. He didn’t wait for people to come to him. He went to where the people were. He took the initiative. We are on mission with Jesus when we “live sent” and go to our friends, neighbors, and co-workers with the words and the works of Jesus. Look for the Outreach Idea of the Week for ways to “live sent”.

2. Authority: People were amazed at Jesus teaching because he spoke with authority. He had authority because he is king of the kingdom. We aren’t kings of the kingdom, but we carry the King’s message! We join Christ on his mission when we share with confidence (but not cockiness or condescension!) because of the authority of the gospel.

3. Power: Jesus didn’t shy from power encounters with demonic forces. He knew that we are in a cosmic conflict. The kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan come to a collision when the gospel is being spread. We join Christ on his mission when we pray against the powers of darkness that blind men’s eyes to the glory of Christ in the gospel!

4. Compassion: Jesus could have looked and the crowd and pronounced a “blanket healing” over all of them and called it a day and grabbed the remote. But rather he took the time to touch every single person that was brought to him. And it took him all night! We join Christ on his mission when we live sent lives of indiscriminate compassion. We must love first, ask questions later! “Ready, Fire, Aim”

“Jesus, empower us to join you as you go with authority, power, and compassion!”

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,
Pastor Tom

*(Hmm, is “Christ’s productivity” part of our “imputed righteousness”? Let’s hope so!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Mission of Jesus

Jesus has a great mission statement:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18-19)

You’ve got it all here – preaching, healing, liberating. This is enough to unite the Right and Left on a common mission to all those “out there” who need it! We immediately think of the homeless, disaster victims, welfare recipients, and the like.

The only thing is, this mission is not for those “out there”. It is for those “in here”. We forget that when Jesus targets the poor, the captives, the blind, and the downtrodden, he is targeting us.

Jesus is saying that all of us, rich or poor, healthy or sick, are “poor, captive, blind, and oppressed”. In our fallen sinfulness and brokenness those are our defining characteristics. And until we see ourselves in those terms, the gospel does not have much to offer us.

Think about when Jesus said that he had come, “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Who is he talking about? You and Me! If you want to be sought and saved by Jesus, you have to see yourself as lost.

That means we must stop pretending (minimizing our sin and need) or performing (justifying ourselves in a plethora of ways) and come to grips with our brokenness.

And as painful as this may be, consider what you get – “Good News”, “liberty”, “recovery of sight”, and “the year of the Lord’s favor”! In other words, all that God is for us in Christ!

Sound like just what this poor, captive, blind, and oppressed sinner needs!

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,
Pastor Tom