21 Dec 2009

Being on mission with Jesus

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In the case you’ve missed home group lately, we’ve been exploring what it means to be missional Christians through the book on Jonah. It’s probably be more appropriate to say we’re learning how not to do mission through Jonah. But what we do get to see is God’s heart through the disobedience of Jonah. It’s been an interesting ride to say the least.

In addition, for the past two weeks, we’ve read articles that have been helpful in understanding who we are called to reach, and how we need to proceed if we want to do mission for the long haul.

This article penned by Bob Thune, quotes Tim Keller on the biblical concept of “oikos”, which means “households” in Greek.

Tim Keller helps to answer this question by observing that the standard pattern of evangelism in the New Testament centered around the oikos (Greek for household). But the word household in NT times was much broader than we tend to think of it. “In the Bible, evangelism does not happen primarily through programs… it happens naturally through one’s oikos, or household… A household was not just your family, but… a fairly tight-knit, close set of colleagues, kin, friends, neighbors. It was understood that when you became a Christian, you had been called to be a steward, evangelistically speaking, of your oikos.”*

So who is in your oikos? Lately, I’ve realized my immediate neighborhood is also my oikos. I have had more opportunities to meet and talk to my neighbors this past year than my first four years combined. Whether its waiting at the bus stop with my son, or shoveling snow in a shared parking lot, there’s never a shortage of opportunity to extend my oikos beyond my own family.

But being a community on mission is not for the faint of heart. There are times when being on mission means being interrupted and inconvenienced. Like Jonah, it is easier to be comfortable and protect one’s boundaries rather than crossing cultures. But in order to be on mission, it does take sacrifice and dying to ourselves and our agenda. We need to remind ourselves that we proceed not to earn the delight of the Father, but because we already possess it in and through Jesus. In our last home group of the year, we discussed Dan Cruver’s article, “What Orphans Need.” Here’s the gist of the article:

As God’s children, not only do we have the privilege of participating in His mission to redeem and renew creation, we also do so in the strength and knowledge of our Father’s delight.

As we head into 2010, let’s delight in the delight of the Father who sees us as he sees his Beloved Son, Jesus. We “get in” on what Jesus has with his Father! All the status and privilege is ours in Christ Jesus. May we marvel upon this truth this Advent season. May it propel us into mission. Not out of obligation, but out of the joy we’ve received from Him and for His glory alone.

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