Becoming an Externally-focused, 24/7 People of God
From the first word's said about him to his last words on the cross, Jesus mission was clear - he had come into the world to be the face of God's love and compassion, to teach us how to live with one another on this planet, and to save us from ourselves. He was called "Emmanuel, meaning God With Us!" He came to "seek and to save that which was lost." His own job description is captured for us in Luke 4: to preach good news to the poor; proclaim freedom for the prisoners; recovery of sight for the blind; to release the oppressed; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor!" (Luke 4:18 [also Isaiah 61:1-2]) When later asked if he were the ONE that John the Baptist had been looking for, he offered these proofs as validation: the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, and the poor have heard the good news!
From the cross, as we've heard again recently, he forgave those who committed the atrocity against him - and in those words and his acceptance of our sin's penalty in death, we have the free gift of eternal life in Him! To his disciples while on earth, Jesus said, "Freely you have received; freely give!" Another time he told them, "As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
SO I SEND YOU...
The mission and purpose of Jesus in this world are now given into our hands! His job description in Luke and Isaiah is OUR JOB DESCRIPTION! In a book entitled The Externally Focused Church, the author challenges the church to turn its energies and gifts to the benefit of its non-members! Much of what we "do at church" is focused inwardly, for the enjoyment and enrichment of our worship experience, or for our education in the faith, our discipleship training. But the best training in the world was what Jesus gave his disciples - hand's on, on-the-job training. We grow best in our faith when we have to use it as we go and serve the world. There are only three chapters distance between when Jesus called his disciples and when he sent them ahead of him, "with power and authority to drive out all demons, and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick!" Sounds strangely like his own job description above.
We are a missionary church! That means that we don't exist for ourselves, but as an extension of the Kingdom of God - our homes and families, our businesses and workplaces, our schools, our community involvement, should feel the influence of that missionary calling. We are sent by Jesus Christ -- into the lives and circles of influence around us -- as missionaries asked to spread the Good News of God's love and care, His healing power, His willingness to hear and to be His hands, feet, eyes and ears to those who need them -- every day.
I invite you into this adventure -- into the daily experience of God's leading, of watching for His fingerprints on the coincidences of your life! Won't you come and see what God might do in you and through you? Come and See! Then Go and Tell !!
Fr. Phil Eberhart
Sr. Pastor @ REZ
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