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SHOW THE WAY

YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD—LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BEFORE MEN SO THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD DEEDS AND PRAISE YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN.Matt 5.14-16
Light of the world, for the world.Since the Holy Spirit’s anointing in Baptism, we are now missionaries, agents of the Kingdom.Jesus was God Incarnate during his earthly days.Since his Ascension and Pentecost Spirit-pouring, WE are now Christ incarnate every day.Our real-life mission Habits come together in this final one:SHOW THE WAY.
Christ’s Presence is released into your sphere of influence as you Show the Way in his Name.We show the way individually and as a church.Once more, John Dickson’s Best Kept Secret documents how the early church infiltrated and subverted the dominant world empire of that day:
We know that the Jerusalem church set up a large daily food roster for the destitute among them—no fewer than seven Christian leaders were assigned to the management of the program (Acts 6:1—7). The apostle Paul, perhaps the greatest missio…

SPEAK PEACE

Following his Resurrection, what was the first word that typically came out of Jesus’ mouth when he encountered people?“Peace be with you.”What is the first word that typically comes out of the mouths of Christians when they encounter people in daily life?Hmmm.What message does the world typically assume comes from Christians?How much of the responsibility for that perception comes from the world’s imagination, and how much of it is ours?
Paul’s letter to the Colossians called for wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of opportunities, and for conversations to be full of grace.(Col 4.5-6)I wonder if our hearts are divided.Do we grasp how great a privilege we have to Learn Peace, Pray Peace and Speak Peace?By nature we are self-willed, and thus always striving for control.It feels easier to be your own “savior” than to be still in the presence of the True Savior.
Scripture is like seed, Jesus said.Think how powerful seeds are—and yet their power is only released through stillness,…

ENCOURAGE THEM

The blessing and curse of social media:We know things about people instantly.Or, we know things about people instantly(you read that correctly).People spin what they want us to see.There is always more than meets the eye.Give it time…places of disappointment will surface.In such moments, the company of a genuine friend, caring unconditionally, will matter.
This was at the heart of how the Roman Empire was penetrated by the Gospel.Emperor Julian was beside himself with the “negative” effects Christian encouragement had on society. Calling the Christians “Galileans” because of where Jesus grew up, and “atheists” because they did not worship the cluster of Roman gods, he said… When it came about that the poor were neglected and overlooked by the priests [pagan], then I think the impious Galileans observed this fact and devoted themselves to philanthropy…I believe that we ought really and truly to practice every one of these virtues…for it is disgraceful when …the impious Galileans suppor…

LAUGH WITH DELIGHT

Laughter…a Missional Habit?Absolutely!
In the interest of your brief reading time and my brief typing time, let me cut to the point:The News of Jesus is transmitted person to person, life on life, incarnated in one, while experienced by another.Jesus did not remain aloof in the safety of angels’ wings.John 1 says he made his DWELLING among us, full of grace and truth.Importantly, Jesus described his coming as “eating and drinking” with people. (Luke 7 and more)
Laughter:there is cynical laughter, drunken laughter, sadistic laughter. Don’t let these counterfeits jade you.Real laughter is the holy hilarity of DELIGHT.GOD’S DELIGHT.
Do you know delight—do you know HIM?The obstacles to our witness have less to do with the world’s problems and more to do with our own “delight gap.”If we BELIEVE JESUS (previous missional habit) we will then learn to LAUGH WITH DELIGHT.How?
The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy…The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to …

DO I BELIEVE JESUS? REALLY? WHY DOES IT MATTER? (part 3)

They’re watching.Get used to it.
Faith in Christ is very personal—but never private.All that the Holy Spirit works inside you will be seen and experienced by everyone you meet.There are real consequences to whether or not you Believe Jesus.
Clarity helps here:This is NOT “image management.”Jesus told disciples not to act religious “to be seen” by others.(Matthew 6) The Pharisees of his day, including most of us reading this post (!) know all about image management.You can even hire consultants for it!And yet, to Believe Jesus is never hidden, nor meant to be.
Paul wrote the Corinthians that God spreads the aroma of Christ through us (2 Cor 2).Some like the scent, others don’t. But the aroma cannot be missed.
Paul wrote the believers in Thessalonica that Believing Jesus caused them to become a Model of joy in the Gospel in spite of suffering for it.He also said that the Gospel Message rang out from them.(1 Thessalonians 1:7-10).But notice as you read the verses, that their missional i…

DO I BELIEVE JESUS? REALLY? HOW? (part 2)

Time for the obvious:If I am going to believe Jesus, I have to know what he says, and if I am going to know what he says, I have to listen to him.

“Obvious” does not mean “easy.”
Truth:I’d rather not listen to Jesus because of fear or pride—I might hear something I don’t want to hear, or, risk losing control. (as if I ever really was in control!)It feels safer to outsource, to have someone else do the listening for me.
But Jesus said:My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 Moving from fear to faith in every area of life means to listen. And to listen, I first have to hear. It is hard to hear amid nonstop noise and competing voices. Think with me a moment:how many voices bounce around inside your head every hour of the day?How can you hear Jesus amid the clamor?
Years ago, before iPods, Spotify and digital tuners, those of us who took cross-country road trips and wanted to listen to the radio had to turn knobs and watch a needle go back and forth.And, d…

DO I BELIEVE JESUS? REALLY? (part 1)

The first of the B.L.E.S.S. habits is to BELIEVE JESUS.Sounds simple.Except that I don’t often do it.
I like reading the four Gospels—Jesus’ words and actions.Familiar material.But the more I read it, the more something challenges me: What if I really believed what he said?For example…
Do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Luke 12:29-31
…I believe “that” Jesus said and did great things; I believe “in” him as God’s Son; but I have a really hard time believing him…believing that he will do what he says and that I can place all my life into his hands.
Why?I’m scared.And so are you.We’re children of Adam, who famously said “I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”Fear is the baseline of our lives.Like Adam and Eve, we work hard to cover our nakedness, manage our fear, with all kinds of Fig …