Remember the Mission

By Mike Bradley, LCMC Service Coordinator

Remember the mission. Three words that you will hear me say often as I begin my tenure as Service Coordinator for LCMC. There are certain things about who we are, what we do, and what we believe as Christians that must never change. They remain true in every era, country, community, and congregation for all time. The mission God has given us is one of those things.

Our Lord Jesus articulates the mission in Matthew 28, telling us to go into the world to make disciples. That was the mission for the first disciples and churches, and it remains the mission for us today. Remembering the mission will inform the decisions we make as an association moving forward and will shape what we do and how we do it in the time and place in which we live. It is important that we remind one another of just what our mission is. History teaches that it is far too easy for leaders to become distracted from focusing on God’s priorities by focusing more on religious activities that do not help us remain focused (see the Pharisees).

One way to articulate the job God has given us to do is this: Our mission is to develop healthy leaders and disciples in the Church (see Colossians 1:28) and equip God’s people for lives of effective witness and mission in the world today (see Ephesians 2:8-10; 4:11-12). These will be things that we will prayerfully and strategically develop more in the days ahead in LCMC. We will be asking the Lord to show us how we can work together as leaders, congregations, districts, and fellowship groups in developing healthy leaders and disciples, particularly next generation leaders. And we will seek His guidance in how we can network and resource one another in equipping God’s people for the work of ministry He has prepared for them so that we can experience a robust practice of the Priesthood of all Believers.
           
All of this will only be possible, of course, as we experience the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit at work in us and through us. The Holy Spirit made a difference in the life of Jesus. He made a difference in the lives of those first disciples. And He still wants to make a difference in our lives today. The mission remains the same, but in order to more effectively accomplish the mission, some of the ways we carry it out will need to be adapted and Holy Spirit-led risks will need to be taken.
           
Let us remind one another as often as we need to sisters and brothers of the mission God has given us because one thing that is most certainly true is this: The mission remains the same.
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Words from the Heart

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

Joshua Becker, a leading spokesman for what has come to be known as the Minimalist Movement, once wrote, “If you are not content today, there is nothing you can buy this weekend to change that.”

In these days of pandemic, Christians are asking the Lord what He is trying to teach us. I believe the simple answer is “lots of things.” But one of the key lessons I believe the Lord is wanting us to learn is one of the foundational principles of the Kingdom of God – to be content with what we have.

This is more than just being content with what we have materially, although that is certainly part of it. At the heart of this Biblical principle is something much deeper. The apostle Paul describes it this way in Philippians 4:11-13: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Paul was set up to have a wonderful life. Well educated, intelligent, from a comfortable family, a Roman citizen. He could have been a leader among his people. But then Jesus grabbed his heart and he gave it all up to take the Gospel to the world.

There were lots of blessings in doing so, but there were also shipwrecks, beatings and imprisonment. Talk about social distancing!

What Paul learned from Jesus was that contentment does not come from material things, or freedom of movement or freedom from illness and pain. If it could, we wouldn’t keep reading about the latest heartbreaking suicide from among the Hollywood or Wall Street elite.

The result of lack of contentment is obvious. James 4:1-2 says this: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.”

What Paul learned is what God wants to teach us through these COVID-19 days – to be content in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. This is only possible as we bring our lives daily to the Lord and find our contentment in Him alone. As James says, we lack contentment because we do not ask God.

Our leaders are struggling to find the balance between protecting people from illness and opening our society again. We need to pray for them that they would seek God’s wisdom in it all. In the meantime, we who know Christ can be at peace, testifying as Paul did, that we can do all things, including experiencing His contentment, through Christ who gives us His strength.

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Starting Sunday April 19, 2020 we will be joining Victory Lutheran Church in Medicine Hat for our Sunday morning services. You can find them at

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgysKMa2yvwe2LS9fbdp7ww/featured

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VLCMedHat/

Victory’s Website:  https://victorylutheran.ca/sermons/

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