Monday, February 17, 2014

Being Missional: It's as Easy as Up, In and Out!

When Jesus entrusted his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, I'm sure at least some of them were thinking: "What!? Really!? I hope he's talking to Peter and not me!" What an undertaking and what an incredible privilege that God has designed to use His people to gather the nations unto himself through the power and the work of the Holy Spirit within us. While this may seem like a daunting task, we take joy in knowing that while we are the body of Christ, Jesus is our head and he directs us as his servants in ways we are sometimes unaware to see His kingdom come to all areas of our lives and all parts of the globe.

As you consider how God might be calling you to be missional, to act as a missionary to your neighborhood, to your office, your family, or a group of people you spend time with, think of these three easy concepts: Up, In, and Out.

UP: As you attempt to reach others, how are you connecting them vertically to God and directing their attention up to Him? Sometimes it may be as simple as praying before an OUT or IN event described below. It could be a monthly gathering to talk about God. It could be sharing the story of God's redemptive plan in a way that is accessible for them. For example, reading the King James Bible from Genesis to Revelation is not likely to communicate in the language that a group of young surfers would understand! Somehow, you need to communicate the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, in a verbal way that your group can understand and access. If your not, then you are missing the "UP" of being missional and the core of what we are sent to proclaim.

IN: One of the ways in which people experience God is through being a part of His body and participating in life with people who live the gospel in their daily lives. As you seek to reach others, gather a small group of people to help you. We are each gifted differently and we are only the body of Christ together! When we develop relationships, care for one another, we are INvesting IN each other as brothers and sisters of Christ. Demonstrate God's love by particularly caring for those who are the core of your group that has decided to live missionally alongside you. This could be your life group, a few other Christians in your neighborhood, or your spiritual family here at Trinity. Jesus says by "this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." Why would anyone want to be a part of a community that doesn't exemplify what Jesus told us to exemplify? We have to invest in one another through gospel community in and off campus. You can develop relationships by caring for one another, praying for one another, and events that foster connection and INtimacy.

Out:: We are being made more and more into the image of Jesus and as He demonstrates, we were made to serve and be giving of our selves. The study we're doing right now has touched on this time and time again. When we give of ourselves, we connect with the image of God in which we were created, a God who gives lavishly, generously, and in abundance. We demonstrate this OUT in the world when we serve others. Sometimes it may be that we serve the group we've decided to try and reach, like our neighbors. Sometimes we actually invite those neighbors to come and serve with us so that they see what it means to be a follower of Jesus. OUTward focused events could be traditional service, like cleaning up the neighborhood, but you can also serve by helping foster community through social gatherings. For example, did you know recently there was a food truck night at the local community center? If you were interested in reaching young families in the area, you could go OUT and hand out blankets for warmth or to sit on and eat.

Individuals that focus too much on UP, can sometimes come across as only concerned about getting someone to make a commitment or sign on the dotted line. Groups that focus on UP are often mostly concerned about bible studies and how they themselves can grow in holiness but often neglect caring and reaching out to others. Those that focus too much on IN sometimes seem more like a support group that others have difficulty feeling apart of. Then there are those who focus so much on OUT that they serve but rarely ever talk about Jesus or really intend for those they are serving to join their community. In order to live missionally we must live our faith UP, IN, and OUT.

This is an easy way to remember and pattern your efforts either with your life group or a gathering of those who want to help you reach a particular group of people. Alternate between UP, IN, and OUT activities. For example, one week have an IN gathering where you and those closest to you get together to talk about how God might want to use you to reach others. Tell stories about how God has been working in your lives and how you can support one another. The next week go OUT and serve together by hosting a neighborhood party whose proceeds help someone in need. Invite anyone who seems interested to join you for a bonfire on the beach for an UP activity in the weeks that follow where you pray for everyone gathered and share a brief biblical story in an easy to understand way and then talk about it.

Hopefully, as you begin to think about how you are UPing, INing, and OUTing, we can together be faithful to Christ's commands to make disciples of all nations, all peoples, wherever we find ourselves.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Being the Hands and Feet of Jesus

You've probably heard this phrase before or something to this effect: "You are the hands and feet of Jesus." Usually people are referring to the statements Paul makes in 1 Corinthians 12 where Paul explains "[Y]ou are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." (Verse 7). It's true! We, as brothers and sisters in Christ, unified by His Spirit, are the body of Christ with Christ as our head. When we act in the world to see "thy kingdom come" we do so because we participate together in God's mission. Jesus said "As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." (John 20:21)

Many of us are in week 2 as we go through the "God Provides" study together as a faith community. I want to encourage those of you in the study to not skip over the parts that call us to action OUT there in the world. I want to encourage those of you NOT in the study, to also consider these two calls:

1.) Consider a way in which you can serve others. Are you having trouble thinking of some things you could do? Let me name a few ways that you could consider reaching out and being a conduit for God's provision and blessing for others:

A. Local Mission Partners: We have a number of local mission partners that we work with on a regular basis. There are all sorts of needs that we can connect you with For example, Space Coast Center for Mother's with Children, our mission partner just over the causeway, is looking for tutors to help some of the moms. Do you know anything about the Principles of Economics, Developmental Mathematics, or Intermediate Algebra? Connect your skills with those in need! Our Service Administrator, Carla Carson, is available to connect your skills with many of our different mission partners. Feel free to email her (, call (321-777-2047) or stop by Mission Central between services on Sunday mornings to begin the conversation.

B. Your Life Group: Think about your own needs in your Life Group, or if your not in a group perhaps your own family or group of friends. Pray that God would identify a need that you could fill either on your own or together with your group. It could be helping with a garage sale, or getting moved in. Maybe someone in your group could really use a date night and you could volunteer to watch the kids for an evening. Don't miss the opportunities God places directly in your path.

C. Serving On Campus: There are so many different needs you are already connected to here at Trinity. Perhaps your group could help with The Edge one Wednesday afternoon. Your group might be able to help with the Youth or Children's ministries. Maybe you could provide by helping one of our Pastoral Care teams or reaching out to someone who you hear us pray for regularly on Sunday mornings. Again, our Service Administrator, Carla Carson can connect you to the various needs here on campus.

2.) Go on a prayer walk! As Pastor Michael pointed out in the second week of this series, God calls us to "Prosper where we are Planted!" and to seek the peace and prosperity of our city. We had a great chance recently to do this when we served at Sea Park Elementary. You can see a video of our Youth Director Luke Barnes getting some work done below! Week 2 of our study encourages you to go on a prayer walk and pray for your community. You can do this whether you are in a God Provides Life Group or not. I'm hoping my group will spend some time on a Saturday walking down Cassia Blvd. and praying at a few places. In a short walk you can stop at four locations: Pray for our civic leaders at the Satellite Beach City Hall, pray for our schools and children at Surfside Elementary, pray for our faith communities at Our Father's House, pray for those in law enforcement at the police station. Again all these locations are right next to each other. Get out there and pray!

I encourage you to join me and others to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to be the body of Christ sent out into the world to see His kingdom come and to seek the peace and the prosperity of our communities.