It's that time of year when my church, Trinity on the Hill UMC in Augusta, GA, experiences our mission event. Sometimes such efforts can lack the study, prayer, theology, and "underpinnings" that connect with the whole of the Christian's life or the Church's life. Perhaps these brief daily devotions will help you prepare for mission in your church and community.
We'll follow a Scripture, meditation, and prayer approach leading up to our Trinity Outreach Celebration culminating on Sunday, February 3. I'll "tip the hat" to where some of these ideas are found, if you want to learn more, and encourage you to use this as a springboard into the life of following Christ. Along the way we will celebrate what God has accomplished through us, and what God might be needing of us in the coming year. We'll hear from some of the "saints of the ages" and also lift up some of our Trinity partners each day, plus give a link if you desire more information on any of them. As always, if you have a question, or curiosity, or an idea be sure to contact me. After all, this work with God is a living, dynamic, ongoing relationship and conversation that creates new realities with God and between us.
Let's start today by reading Genesis 12:2-3.
For a long time people who followed God have been sent on incredible adventures. If you look over the Old Testament you’ll find it is a consistent pattern shared time and time again- Noah, Abraham, Jonah, the prophets, and others- show us that God’s ways are very, very different than our ways. If we follow God in our time and place then we are going to be a peculiar people. Jesus picks up on that long tradition of being sent as a missionary.
Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of man, was sent with a purpose. As followers of Christ, we too are sent with a purpose. That’s why you’ll sometimes read a devotional or hear a preacher speak of church folk and Christians as being a “sent people.” John 20:21 “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (I was reminded of this again as I read the book The Gathered and Scattered Church by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay which Scott will loan you if you want to dig into this more.)
Of course, we easily get stuck in our habits, our routines, our neighborhoods, our lives. The Scripture repeatedly says “Go” and “Do” while human nature steers us toward comfort and routine. As in days long ago, Jesus confronts us with the claims of God’s kingdom as opposed to our small kingdoms. God reminds us to follow the way of true belief and let go of our idols. The Holy Spirit reminds us our dull, lifeless religion isn’t as practical, as incarnational, as transformational (for ourselves or others) as it needs to be for us to know an abundance of life today, much less tomorrow.
It’s a new day! God’s spirit calls out to us. Will God’s people of all ages yet again dream dreams and see visions begging to become reality in God’s kingdom?
Ask yourself: What great mission adventure is God calling me to in 2013?
"God isn't looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him" — Hudson Taylor, 19th Century British Protestant Christian missionary to China, and founder of the China Inland Mission
Pray for Action Ministries of Augusta, formerly Augusta Urban Ministries, as they focus on local needs of families and individuals related to hunger, housing, and education. This is both a local and North Georgia conference partner. If you want to know more: Action Ministries of Augusta.
Pray for the Trinity Outreach Celebration and be sure to register for a mission project Saturday, January 26 or a mission class or two on Saturday, February 2.