Following Jesus as His Disciples in our Time and Place
In this season in the life of our church we are revisiting our mission and asking the question, “Why do we exist?” What is our purpose? Are we living meaningfully in alignment with our mission and reason for being?
It’s always good to revisit these questions because we so easily and too often merely drift through life rather than drive our life with purpose. We do this individually all the time. We settle into routines involving our daily responsibilities, largely oblivious to the cumulative effects of the repetition of “wake-work-watch” and believe this is all there is to life. We binge watch the adventures and dramas of others, and in so doing, we miss the adventure available to us and the drama occurring around us.
It’s no less true for us as a church. We have our own ways of drifting – into the comfort of routines and traditions, or preoccupation with operational survival, or the inevitable busyness of life in general that crowds out any room for the abundance of life eternal.
But what if there’s more? What if life is not just about getting through the monotony of the day or the pursuit of “happiness” as we define it, but about encountering God, following His lead, being blessed by and with Him, and then become a blessing to others throughout our day? What if there’s more for our lives in Christ than we’ve been accustomed to experiencing?
When Jesus walked this Earth, He attracted crowds of friends and foes alike; people who needed and wanted to be with Him, and those who needed or wanted to get rid of Him. He ate and drank and celebrated (partied) with people constantly, and constantly had those who thought Him unwise at best, demonic at worst, and scandalous at all times. Jesus’ life was irresistible – you couldn’t help but be affected by Him.
The same could be said about the early church. The book of Acts records for us what happens when God’s people are affected by Jesus, live for the glory of God and good of others around them, and are empowered by His Spirit; it says they “turned the world upside down,” (Acts 17:6). For some this meant a loss of their income from exploitative and unjust practices; for others, it meant liberation, freedom, and fulfillment. Either way, the world around the church was affected by the church.
Why is this not the case today? We have the same Lord and we live in Him by the same Spirit.
So why are we not experiencing the same effect?
We the church – the collective people of God – need to wake up to the reality of life with God, in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the sake of the world that He loves (cf. John 3:16).
We need to revisit what it means to follow Jesus and become once again His people of irresistible influence for the glory of God and the good of our community.
Be sure to join us each week for our new series Following Jesus: Becoming the Church of Irresistible Influence, beginning Sunday, August 12, 2018! All are welcome!