Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A sending God

UK blogger Andrew Jones explains: "Missio Dei [the mission of God] stems from the Triune God: the Father sends the Son, the Father and the Son send the Spirit, the Father and Son and the Spirit send the church into the world." So a missional church is about doing God's work in the world today.
Nice, succinct and to the point - as long as I believe the underlying truth, "There is not relationship with God without Christ" which is the first stage of Jones litany. To agree to this truth is to agree to a darker truth, "without Jesus one's eternal future is in hell." Does that make God intolerant? Yes, intolerant of sin. Without Christ there is no hope for you and I or our well meaning friend who has not accepted Jesus. This truth has kept me up more nights than I can count. Here is what Paul said about "his people."
"I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel (Rom. 9:1–4).
Brian Jones in Non-Religious Devotional Thoughts 10/14/2013 asks us this series of questions, "How about you? Do you feel great sorrow and unceasing anguish for that non-Christian friend you work with? That Jewish neighbor? That Hindu person who works at the restaurant you frequent? If not, why not? To me there are only two answers to that question: You either don’t believe in hell, or you don’t care that your friends will go there when they die. There’s no middle ground here. Most Christians I meet either don’t believe that their non-Christian friends are going to hell, or worse, don’t care. Are you one of them?"
We may wish they would come to the church but, the commission says "go make" not "come become." The church needs to be attractive - that is part of doing Jesus in the community. The problem arises from making beauty of church more important than making the church mobile.
Mike Breen, pastor at Community Church of Joy near Phoenix, Arizona, says. "The missional church is rooted in not just the New Testament church of Acts, but in the mission of Jesus himself. A missional church lives out the church's three-dimensional calling: to be upwardly focused on God in worship that is passionate; to be inwardly focused on community among believers that is demonstrated in relationships of love and compassion; and to be outwardly focused on a world that does not yet know God."
To do this means an attitude shift described by Pastor Janetta Cravens, of First Christian Church in Macon, Georgia, "We are moving from seeing ourselves as a church who needs members from the community to seeing ourselves as being in a community whose members need the church. We've realized we're here to serve the community in unique ways."

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