Sunday, May 3, 2015

Life on Mission: A Book in Review



I read constantly: books, magazines, Bible studies, fiction, nonfiction, comics, cookbooks . . . well, you name it, I read it. Well, not everything. There is a lot of garbage, to put it plainly, coming out in book form and print. When I find a piece that feeds my soul and hits me between the eyes, I’ve got a winner and I want to share it.

My life has been changing as rapidly as my 15 year old granddaughter. This time it’s not hormonal, thank you, Jesus. But the feel is just about the same. To put it mildly, I am “clinging to the old rugged cross”. Truth. Honesty. Realism. And then I want it presented in ways I can press forward and use it.

Tim Harlow has nailed it! His book, Life on Mission, was a page turner and eye opener.

            Your mission if you accept it is to:

                        Connect
                        Serve
                        Share

                       Grow

                        Pray

Sounds simple? Well? Kinda. But, probably not.

It’s all about doing what Jesus did and said in The Great Commission. Jesus role modeled all these aspects. The King of kings rolled up His sleeves and went right in the middle of the mess and mire of this world to connect. Thieves. Money mongers. Prostitues. Lepers. Liars. You name it, He sought them out. But Jesus also pulled His sleeves down and met with members of the religious order, the wealthy, and ones who were just plain curious. Jesus always served others, shared, helped others grow, and prayed.

            Tim Harlow said, “We must return to the methods Jesus used and modeled for us in his ministry. Through a close study of the Gospels, we learn not only what Jesus did in His ministry, but also how he did it! In four passages of Scripture—Matthew 10, Mark 6, Luke 9, and Luke 10—Jesus gives us 15 specific instructions to the mission teams He sent out.”

Trust me, I could go on and on about the lessons I learned from the book on what Jesus needs me to be doing. I am so far from the challenge. One thing Harlow said hit me to the core. I always felt there was something lacking in me because I did not have a heart for foreign missions. Then Harlow quoted Mother Teresa, “I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?” My heart rejoiced.

I live in a Tier1 county. That means poverty. That means a lot of our kids go to school hungry. It means we have a lot of low income housing, people in debt, crime, drugs, and social unrest. This is where my heart is.

            Harlow says, “For some reason, we’ve bought into a church culture of “sending” missionaries and waiting for them to report back to us at home base. If we’re not careful, we run the very real risk of simply paying for mission elsewhere instead of engaging in mission right here. Clearly we can’t afford to do that anymore. We’re losing ground at home.”

I am on a mission. The harvest is ripe right here in my Jerusalem. I have a plan to connect, serve, share, grow, and pray. Will you pray for me? If you are in my area, will you join me? I won’t even mention what I will be doing. You must be curious enough to ask me. Sorry.

I want you to read Life on Mission. I want you to consume it like fruit of the Spirit. God needs boots on the ground, right here in the USA, and more importantly, right in your hometown!

Let me leave you with another quote from Tim Harlow. I hope it stimulates you to grab his book and get ready for the harvest! I hope this leaves a question in your heart to find out “the how”.

            “When I was younger, verses like this one from Matthew used to really freak me out: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 NIV). To a kid who has only perfected the art of getting in scrapes and terrorizing his younger sister, this sounds like a death sentence. You have got to be kidding me. Does being perfect include never getting grass stains on your Levis? If so, I am doomed to the fiery flames.

            I hope we’re all on the same page by now and understand that nothing but Jesus’ sacrifice is what yanks us out of hell by the scruff of our necks. And yet . .  .here we are, rubbing our necks, left to grabble with commands like this. Grow up. Be holy.

            How? Is it something we do, or is it something only God can do—or is it somehow, weirdly, both?”

God bless you all.

 
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