• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Mission Forward

Mission Forward.  The term suggests movement or traction.  Perhaps, we ought to write forwardit: Mission (moving) Forward? More importantly, the term oozes enthusiasm and delight. Perhaps, we should edit it again to read: Mission (moving) Forward (with shouts of joy)?

You might be thinking that sounds kind of silly, but you and I know there is a difference between ‘moving forward’ in a long slow lane of traffic and ‘moving forward’ with a project where many team members are involved and contributing.  In both cases, you are ‘moving forward’.  However, the one brings you no real joy while the other creates a wellspring of joy that pushes you out to share the work with more people.

Our ‘mission’ is to work together in teams to see communities of believers birthed who will in turn give birth to other communities who will in turn give birth to other communities.  Our ‘vision’ is characterized by innovation, multiplication and expansion.  We want to approach the same task, but via different approaches or avenues.  Our goal is always a chain reaction of multiplication.  Our focus is on those who have the least opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If Mission Forward is currently synonymous with drudgery for us, then we may need some ‘outside-in’ perspective.  We may need someone to help lift our eyes above the grind and see how our God is at work in this world.  If Mission Forward isn’t currently causing that gospel joy to well up in our hearts, then we may need to ask the Spirit to drive 1 John 4.19 deeper into our hearts.  If Mission Forward is one’s current driving motivation, then we should spread that joy to others and draw them into the work.

Mission Forward.

Learning how to celebrate when we get it right

A number of us are complainers by nature. Part of the reason may stem from the fact that some of us have a perfectionist streak. Part of the reason may also stem from the fact that we don’t really like it when others achieve what we were hoping to achieve; in other words, we don’t really like it when others ‘do better’ than us.

As a result, we can have trouble celebrating with others when God brings fruit to their ministry. We can struggle to rejoice with others‘ when they get it right’ by accomplishing what we say we are all about: multiplying disciples and communities of believers.celebrate

Recently, I have read about how the community of believers launched by the efforts of Bryan & Jacinda (WT Philippines) and their team continues on in outreach and growth. That news should warm our hearts as we recognize God’s power in the lives of new believers to give them the faith and the capacity to carry out the ministry.

I also recently read about Dan, Lisa, Mike and Becky’s (WT Cameroon) efforts to translate the Bible into the Oroko language. They are within sight of completing that task, thanks in part to the partnership between their team and a number of national workers. Not only are they on the throes of putting the Word of God in the language of another people group, but they have ‘multiplied themselves’ through the number of others with whom they are working.

I’m sure there are a number of other examples I could cite.

I don’t know what ‘celebration’ should look like. Maybe it’s just a word of thanks sent or a prayer offered back to God or a big shout of praise. Whatever form it takes, it should start in our hearts as we learn together as a WT community to rejoice with others at what the Lord is doing among us.

Much Joy

Indeed, since much joy is the true fruit of the gospel of Christ, the angel calls this gospel “good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all people.””

Joy is that elusive quality of the Christian journey.  We can find ourselves often tied to an emotion-al roller coaster due to the circumstances in life and ministry.  Something in this comment though, from Jonathan Edwards, points to a deeper, a more settled response of our heart.

I know (we know) that joy is the fruit produced by the work on the Spirit in our lives: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace …” I know (we know) that joy flows out of our experience with the Lord: “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”  Remember singing that little chorus: “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy way down in the depths of my heart”?

So, I can talk about ‘joy’, but what I’m having trouble grabbing a hold of is this notion of ‘much joy’.  Somehow this takes the discussion to a whole new level.  Something needs to go deeper.  It is probably the Gospel in its fullness.  My heart needs to ‘feel’, to experience God’s work on my behalf.  I need to bask anew in the ‘great’ sacrifice, the ‘deep’ love of God the Son.  Centering my heart on that good news, on the Lamb of God will cause a fruit of ‘much joy’ to overflow in my heart and life.