Tag Archives: mission of God

Loving On Purpose

Recently I read a number of accounts of restoration and resurrection in the Bible. Surprisingly, none of them were in the Easter story. What I was reminded about, though, is that God has always been in the business of restoring and resurrecting.

The_Raising_of_LazarusThe account that stood out to the most was the story of the resurrection of Lazarus. Yes, Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead to make his way to Bethany, but when he got there he fully entered into the situation, listening to and comforting Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary. Jesus allowed his grief to align with their grief, since he dearly loved this family. It was from this place of empathetic union that formed an environment where healing could flow, even resurrection.

Jesus wasn’t the disaffected physician or the practitioner seeking to simply fix their problem. He loved them on purpose. Yes, he knew that by bringing Lazarus back from death would cause many to believe in him, but that didn’t stop him from loving his friends because they were his friends.

It is interesting that this resurrection story occurs just weeks before the Easter story, and is but one of many instances that Jesus brought people back from death. This speaks to me that resurrection and restoration are vital aspects of the mission of God’s kingdom and are, as Jesus exampled, an outcome of love. As a mission of God’s kingdom, it is also a mission of the people that make up that kingdom.

Looking forward to Easter, the purpose behind our many Easter events is to bring about an environment of love where restoration and resurrection can take place. May this be a vital part of all our preparations and planning. It is only fitting for the people of God’s kingdom.

Grace and peace,

When Jesus saw her crying and the Jews who had come with her crying also, he was deeply disturbed and troubled. He asked, “Where have you laid him?”
They replied, “Lord, come and see.”
Jesus began to cry. The Jews said, “See how much he loved him!”
John 11:33-36

Embracing Mission: It May Not Be What We Originally Thought It Was

I nearly gave up on mission. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was crazy for missions. I would evangelize on the street corners of my home town. I would jump at any chance to take a trip somewhere in the world to share the gospel. I thought I had found my life’s calling. That was until at 24 years old, God told me, “I want you to stay home for a while,” meaning serve in the local church rather than out “on the field” somewhere. That was 18 years ago. I was happy to obey and continued to have a deep passion for missions. But, somewhere along the line, my passion faded, my vision narrowed, and dare I say, my heart hardened.


Over the last few years I have realized that my view of mission was too small. I had believed that mission was something that God had assigned for the church to do along with other things like teaching, worship, prayer, etc. My main view of mission was “getting people into church.” I didn’t realize until lately that mission is something that God is up to and is bigger than the church. The church gets to participate in the mission of God, which is reconciling the world to God through Christ.


When mission is viewed as something the church does, then the church dictates the strategy, the outcome, and the goal, which generally means filling seats on Sunday morning. If mission is viewed as something God does, then it is something beyond the church. God is then given the freedom to accomplish it on God’s terms, with the strategy, outcome, and goal finding its fulfillment in the reconciliation of the world.


What this means to me on a practical note is that mission can happen anywhere, any time, with anyone who loves God by loving others. This takes mission to a whole new level with ever expanding horizons. I am excited about mission again!


Grace and peace,


Participating in the Mission of God

With this Sunday being Guatemala Mission Sunday at Valley Life Center, I’ve been thinking about the mission of the church as being grounded in the mission of God. I even mentioned the mission of God as the framework for our Sunday conversations on joy over the last few weeks. I described it like this, the mission of God is a mission of love (John 3:16) and it’s out of God’s unconditional love for his creation that the Son was sent to redeem not only the people of God, but as well, all creation. My point about joy and the mission of God was that just as love and joy were integral to creation they are both integral in redemption, making all things new. 


The beautiful thing about the mission of God is that God invites us to participate in this mission in Christ. The goal of the mission of God is to establish the kingdom of God both in this age but also in the age to come. We participate in this mission when we orient ourselves to God’s mission, to others, and to the world – in the context of the local church. (Thanks, Scot McKnight.)


It sounds silly, but we first must become aware of God’s mission to be able to participate in it. I only mention this because Christianity has over the generations become more and more individualistic, focusing on the benefits to those who believe, instead of becoming part of something God wants to do in the world. If God is others oriented, then his church should be as well. The fun and challenging part is exploring how the mission of God can be expressed within the local church. 


Even though we do a lot of things at VLC that can be described as missional, I pray that we continue to ask God how we can connect to the mission of God both as individuals and the body of Christ.


Grace and peace,