• 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!

We won’t always get it right

perfectionPerfection is elusive.  In fact, it’s unattainable in this life.  However, that does not keep us from expecting that standard of ourselves and of others.  Oftentimes, I either say to myself or I hear other people say: “Why couldn’t (I) they just have done ____?” And you can fill in the blank.

We won’t always get it right. I won’t, you won’t always do what is best for ourselves, for others, for God.

This is where God’s forgiveness greatly impacts our relationships one to another.  I really like Eugene Peterson’s translation of Colossians 3:12-14: “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.  And regardless of what else you put on, wear love.  It’s your basic, all-purpose garment.  Never be without it.”

We won’t always get it right. I won’t, you won’t always do what is best for ourselves, for others, for God.

Paul, writing to the Colossian church, challenges us to live in light of the reality that we can never completely and perfectly fulfill the ‘law’ or carry out the ‘work’ with which we have burdened ourselves or others.  That is why the love and forgiveness that Christ offers to us is so life ‘changing’.  It moves us away from self-centredness to Christ centredness; offering to others what Christ has and continues to offer to us each day.

We won’t always get it right. I won’t, you won’t always do what is best for ourselves, for others, for God.  However, we can extend to one another (and to ourselves) Christ’s love and forgiveness which will remind us that when we don’t get it right, it’s not the end of the world.  For Christ once again offers to us His love and forgiveness, picks us up, and sets us on our way again to serve Him as best we can with all our heart, mind soul and strength.

Praying in a gospel centred way

Prayer is essential.  As I shared in the last post: “No man or woman can progress in grace if he forsakes prayer.”  We could enlarge that statement to read: “No team or group of workers can progress in grace in ministry to others if they forsake prayer.”

A perennial question that arises is: how should we pray for one another?  We could pray the ‘one another’ commands as a team.  We could pray the promises that God has given in His Word to sustain and encourage us.  We could pray for the perseverance to stay faithful in ministry together.  All of these prayer points are ones you and I have prayed many times for one another.

Gospel-Centered-Discipleship-Jonathan-Dodson-SomaThen another thought came to mind.  How should we pray for one another in a ‘gospel centred way’?  Prayer is one of our guiding principles, and the Gospel is the ultimate guiding principle from which the others flow.  So, what would it ‘look like’ to pray in a way that drives us back to the Gospel and our dependence upon Him?

Take a practical example.  During our World Team Day of Prayer, we might find this prayer point among others: Pray for our team to remain united together around the common vision of multiplying disciples and communities of believers.  During our concert of prayer together, one of our team members might add: Yes Lord, search our hearts and show us how often we create disunity among us because of our willingness to put our own self above others.  Remind us that the Son of God came not to be served, but to serve and that His sacrifice frees us from self-love to be other-centred.  May our hearts be warmed by that grace again today so that we might grow in unity and have the gospel power to be able to see the vision of our team worked out. 

I can so often fall into the trap of thinking I can ‘do’ all that is expected of me as a worker.  That is why the challenge to pray in a ‘gospel centred way’ would help myself, and I expect many others, to keep my eyes upon the One who is the author and perfecter of our faith.

Feel free to share examples of how you might pray a prayer point in a gospel centred way.

Who speaks into your life?

Passionate, activist, self-motivated and independent. Cross cultural workers could easily be described by this series of adjectives.  There is nothing like living and ministering for Jesus across cultures.  It drives one’s passion and stirs a desire to engage in work which is not always easy or rewarding.  It takes commitment and inner strength to get up each day and press on (Philippians 3:12).

However, our passionate independence can do us wrong if we do not deliberately seek to ‘grow in community’. community

Spending time in community provides an opportunity for others to speak into our lives; to be used by God to help us better assess our projects and plans. A community gives us perspective and allows us to grow in self-awareness as to our true heart motives.  A community stands with us and offers us the ‘one another’ help we so desperately need.

Community can take a variety of forms, and it can be composed of different people, not necessarily those from just our agency (see the TC4u document located on the WT Hub, or contact me and I’ll see that you get a copy).  Whatever form or composition it takes, it is essential for us to participate regularly in community with others.

Yes, I know that there are a number of obstacles to participating in community life for us as cross cultural workers. Yet, the benefits far outweigh the effort it will take to overcome those obstacles, simply because ‘growing in community’ causes us to grow individually and corporately in Christ.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it best when he wrote: “The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and His work become the one and only thing that is vital between us.”