Tag Archives: gospel

Live on Mission? Where Do I Start?

“How do I start living on mission? I know I need to, and I want to, but I don’t know where to start.” This is a conversation I’ve had with myself, and it’s something many of you have probably played out in your head or in conversation. It’s a good question to be asking, it’s and understandable not to know where to start.

These are a few simple thoughts from articles I’ve read or conversations I’ve had about living on mission. Most of these are not new ideas, but the key to all of them is intentionality. Most of us don’t live on mission because we don’t do it on purpose, and missional living doesn’t happen by accident.

The bottom line: You are the strategy

The people are the church, and we are the mission. If we are truly going to live on mission and grow missionally (as opposed to attractionally), the majority of our growth will be people who come on the arm of someone else. That means people engaging and inviting people, both to Remedy and to the gospel. Since WE are the strategy for mission, if we don’t do it, it will not happen.

Got it…now how do we do that?

Overemphasize mission…particularly at the start of the group

In the beginning stages of a Missional Community you need to do more mission-focused things (out) than you do worship/teaching (up) or times of hanging out with people already in the group (in). You need to be out doing things that connect to Persons of Peace (people God has already prepared in advance to be open to you and your vision) in your mission context and then spending lots of time with them. If it doesn’t get into your DNA early…it won’t get in. Pragmatically, think of it this way: For every time you do something “up” or “in” focused in the first 3-4 months, you need to do AT LEAST 2-3 outward, mission focused things.

Adapted from “Top Reasons Missional Communities Fail” by Doug Paul.

Invite them to dinner

Invite a friend or neighbor to dinner at your place before you invite them to a Missional Community or on Sunday morning. 2 reasons:

  1. Coming to a church’s small group or Sunday gathering for the first time is intimidating, especially for an unchurched person.
  2. You want to be friends with them, not just “win” them.

So invite them over, get to know them, and let them get to know you. Help them take the first step into community.

From a conversation with Luke Allen, Lead Pastor of The Covenant Church.

Throw parties and invite your neighbors.

This could be anything from a get-together in your apartment to a full-scale neighborhood block party. The transient nature of many cities can lead to neighbors barely knowing one another. Sometimes all it takes is to initiate by invitation!

Taken from “11 Gospel-Centered Ways to Love Your City” by Tim Gaydos.

Do mission in bite-sized pieces

It can be difficult to understand how I can meaningfully serve my city and make a difference, but it is much easier to see how I can serve my neighbors and make an immediate impact on their lives.

As you get to know them, look for ways to serve them. Take them meals, offer to watch the kids, do yard work, paint a fence, schedule a play date or a neighborhood cookout. What things can you do for your neighbors that will add value to their lives? Now involve your Missional Community in helping to engage your neighborhood.

Adapted from “The Neighborhood Approach” by Brad House.


Foundations of Missional Community Pt 3

This is the third in a series of posts from a session called Foundations of Missional Community at the Exponential Conference. The session was led by Jeff Vanderstelt and Caesar Kalinowski. The first two posts can be found here and here.

The first two posts were very idealogical, discussing what missional community is. It’s important to listen and have these conversations because we can agree on things in principle, but not even be on the same page in defining the terms. These two posts just lay out what missional community looks like in a very vibrant way.

The third post is very practical and wraps up their talk. Some of the things they talk about are fairly specific to their context and relationships, but please don’t get bogged down on every detail. Listen with ears that are asking how it looks to live missionally in community in your context, taking cues from their stories and experiences.

There may also be a few things mentioned that you aren’t quite on board with, and that’s ok. Don’t let those issues distract you from the point: learning what it looks like to live in missional community everyday, with real people, in the rhythms of real life. If some things you hear aren’t your particular bag of chips, what does it look like for you?

And that’s where the discussion starts. What does it look like for you to live on-mission and in community? What does it look like to live as a gospel community on mission, combining the two so much that it’s hard to distinguish one from the other? The answers to these questions are the beginning of what church really is.

Foundations of Missional Community Pt 3

“Lord willing” is the most appropriate phrase here

In the book of James, he says that we make all these plans, but that we don’t know what a day will bring. He says we will do this and that if the Lord wills it. So you hear lots of people say things like this, “Today we will leave our city headed for Almaty on our way home, Lord willing!” And attaching Lord willing to it is the most appropriate way to say it as we have seen in our time here and especially in these last few days. You can just never be sure.

So I preface all this with the fact that you can never be sure here. So having said that, Lord willing, we will be leaving our city this afternoon at 5pm on a train headed for Almaty. If things go smoothly we will be heading home on Sunday, May 31st.

Without sharing too many details, we heard two days ago and again yesterday that tings would not be finished by today and that we would be here several more days, but it was. God is powerful, and in this case we have seen his power even over men’s hearts. He moves things and people however he wants to, and his power touches everything.

So we head to Almaty for a doctor visit tomorrow and then we turn our stuff in to the Embassy the next day. The next day we have Sam’s visa interview where we will, Lord willing, get his visa and be ready to come home. So for now pray for a quick and good doctor visit. This will also be our first with Sam so his mom and dad are a little nervous about what all might come from it. Also please pray that all of our documents are in order when we go to the embassy.

Thank you, and hopefully we will be takling to many of you face to face real soon. Thank you for walking with us for all this time. We love you.

24-hour Sam, day 1

Sam is at the apartment, and he is loving it. He threw up and pooped in the first three hours, and he slept 11 hours last night. He has eaten everything we have given him, and even took a bath, although the bath was like torture. Things have gone really smoothly so far. It’s very surreal right now, but so cool. It’s sort of hard to put into words. This is what we have been working 2 years to get to, now he’s in the apartment with us. Mom and Sam are playing in the floor right now.

Here are a few pictures captured by iPhone technology.

So things are good, and we are back to another waiting game. We are praying and trusting our coordinators all we can because we have very little clue what is going on right now. Hopefully we will be headed home very soon.

We met a lady in the baby house who is from the Dallas area. She is adopting one of the little girls in Sam’s class. How crazy is that?! Not only a little Kazakh person, but one of the girls who grew up in Sam’s class with him will be living in the DFW area soon. We were very excited to meet her.  And what an answer to our prayers already. The day after we posted the blog about praying deeply for moms and dads for these little kids a mom shows up for one of them. We will continue praying, but it’s cool to see answers like that.

This is Aaron, and I want to make a clarifying statement, as well. On another one of our posts we had a comment from some friends here about other children and their situation in the baby house. While we are pleading for parents for these guys, person to person and in prayer, the reality is that some of them are not available for adoption at this point. There are different reasons for that, and some will join the available ranks sometime in the future, but things are not as simple as we might make them sound. I think most of our readers have gotten that message of complication and difficulty as you’ve followed us. It’s just a reality and an acceptable side effect.

Part of the heart that father has grown in us during the last two years is to be advocates for these little people, not just here but in general. We want to be ambassadors for their cause, and we really hope that people who have followed our story will consider adoption because of the great life-giving picture that it is. We hope that we can walk through the process with families in the future, and our appeal here, along with any pictures, are to illustrate the need and the mass of little faces and lives out there. These kids are by no means the end of the story, and a total of 4 from Sam’s class have been adopted or are in process during our time here, so good things are happening. We’ve done our best to share our hearts, and these are some of the people who have impacted our hearts on this journey, both big and little people.

Thank you guys for reading and walking so consistently. We love you.

court is tomorrow, easter is today

I don’t get to be at home to preach on this fine Easter Sunday, so this is my version of a sermon. Really this is what I am thinking today, so you guys get to share in it. It is adoption related since that is how my mind works right now. We also have some court day thoughts mixed in here.

Adopted. It is who we are at our core if we are in Christ. We were predestined to be adopted according to God’s favor and will (Eph. 1:5). But the predestination in itself didn’t finish it. It established what was to come, and even settled it, but it had not yet come into effect.

But then came Jesus. Jesus. The one who would pay the debt for the sins of the world. Jesus. There is no sweeter name.

So many people, Christian and non-Christian alike, give lip-service to the name of Jesus. He was a good man. He helps us in life. He saves us and loves us. He was our example. He is who you need to “pray to receive.” In some ways he has become cliche and maybe even vintagey or possibly even cool in some weird, sick way to talk about. Not that Jesus being cool is a sick idea. To those who have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness he is very “cool.”

But honestly Jesus is not “cool.” John Piper says a good word about this in his book Don’t Waste Your Life, but cool is just too flippant and idiotic to call Jesus. He is the Savior. He is holy. He is the King of all kings, the God of all gods. He stands in judgment over the entire world and everything is laid bare before his eyes. Knowing who I am, that doesn’t sound cool. It sounds freaking scary. Like I would rather pee in my pants than give him an ongoing, dap, slap, shake, grab, snap, cool handshake.

But the glorious thing in that is that he knows who we are. He knew who we were when he chose us. He didn’t choose us because we impressed him or because he thought we might make good pastors, or church planters, or parents, or accountability partners. He knew we were wretched and gross and filthy with the guilt of our sin and that we would continue in it up until the day he saved us and only get slightly better about it afterward. He knew us before and knows us better than we know ourselves…and he saved us and called us, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace (2 Tim. 1:9). We are his because he chose us to be his, and he chose us to be his knowing exactly what he was getting and what he would need to do to make us who he wanted us to be.

He adopted us. And our adoption was not cheap. His grace to us was not cheap. It was costly…deep…overcoming.

He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by his wounds.
We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way;
and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:5-6 

You were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. 1 Peter 1:18-19

Not sure we can live up to the standard of our own adoption in our adopting process. Not sure we can really even come close. But what we hope is that this process and the final outcome will be such a clear picture of the gospel to anyone who cares to observe it that they will rejoice in our own adoption as sons and daughters. The blood of Jesus is rich, and it changes everything. His resurrection gives us victory over death. Amen.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Was nailed to the cross and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul. 

Tomorrow we go to court. It has sobered us some. It’s a really big day. This is the day we have been working two years to get to. It’s tomorrow at 3pm. We have been working 2 long years to get to tomorrow at 3pm. How glorious is that? How stinking scared should we be. But we’re not. We’re nervous of course, but we are confident that the Lord will do what seems best to him, and we trust him.

Please pray.
1) that these 2-3 issues that we have been warned about will not come up or be minor, passing issues.
2) for peace in our hearts as we prepare and as we listen and speak.
3) for favor and a soft heart in the judge.
4) for clarity and favor as we make our statements to the judge.
5) for all the details that will go into tomorrow by a lot of people.
6) for approval.

Thank you for walking with us. Maybe, just maybe, we are getting close to the end of the road. Or at least to the end of this road before a new one goes in a new direction.

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