In This Issue: Five Sips of Refreshment for Weary Mobilizers
- FEATURE: Five Sips of Refreshment for Weary Mobilizers
- SUBVERSIVE MOBILIZATION: Pre-service Announcement Slides
- On Sale from Caleb Resources
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FEATURE: Five Sips of Refreshment for Weary Mobilizers
I was sitting with our church’s staff team during a recent weekly meeting, discussing important, weighty matters. (Because that’s what you do at staff meeting.) This had been a somber meeting; beloved people had died and tough decisions were looming. But a fellow staff member broke the mood by reporting that in the past week he felt refreshed. Refreshed. The word, the idea, blossomed in my mind. I thought, “I’d like to feel refreshed. That would be so nice.”
Along with many believers around the world, I’m making some effort to observe Lent. Nothing major, just trying a little bit to ponder my own mortality and think carefully about Jesus’ sacrifice. And unless you grew up way out on the edge of Protestantism, you probably realize that Lent is not the traditional season of refreshment. Even so, a quick boost might be nice. If you could use a little mid-Lent refreshment, here you go.
1. Good things (God things) are happening all over.
Sure the world is a mess. There are plenty of reasons to mourn, grieve, and despair. But all is not lost. God has not turned his back on this world. In ways both large and small, he’s bringing forth his purposes and keeping his promises to Abraham.
* The Operation World team is pressing hard toward a summer 2010 revision publication date.
* As many as 7,000 students may be taking Perspectives and PathWays courses in the U.S. this spring, and Perspectives movements are starting in over a dozen countries around the world.
* Organizations like Frontiers are seeing more people than ever relocate their lives to Muslim neighborhoods so they can, with respect and love, invite their new neighbors to follow Jesus.
* The kingdom of God is breaking out for the first time in new places all over the world.
* And in perhaps lesser news: The iPad will debut on April 3, giving us a whole new way to think about and distribute mobilization content.
Noticing that God is at work cheers my heart and refreshes my spirit.
2. We’re dust. We die. God’s purposes don’t.
In his quirky, moving, little book, Reliving the Passion, Walter Wangerin, Jr. writes, “‘Remember,’ the pastor has said for centuries, always on this day (Ash Wednesday). ‘Remember,’ the pastor has murmured, touching a finger to ash in a dish and smearing the ash on my forehead–‘Remember, thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.’”
This Lent as I wonder over the reality of my own, hopefully distant, death, I wonder if I will have done all that was possible with my life. Will I have made the difference I was designed to? Will I have given freely or hoarded the good gifts of God like the foolish farmer in Jesus’ Luke 12 parable?
Part of what pours grace on these thoughts is the conviction that regardless of my life’s balance sheet, when I’m long forgotten, God’s purposes will still move forward. I feel a deep sort of hope, like the river rock foundation of our old house, like a core of steel forming in a new mom, like the mantle of the earth: though I may live and die and like Abraham only greet the promise from afar, the promise remains. The promise is, and will be, completely kept.
I’m refreshed to remember that God’s ways are greater, grander, larger, and longer than me.
3. Even if our enemies overrun us, God does not change.
As I read, travel, and chat with churchy people around America I sometimes notice a fear that perhaps Muslims are taking over the world. Viral videos circumnavigate the World Wide Web, spreading a debatable doomsday of Western cultural destruction. People fear we’ll soon be living under Sharia law. And one Christian commentator applauds a growing home schooling trend among Muslims in the U.S., saying fewer Muslims in public schools will limit “all sorts of things that are inherently going to be detrimental to good old American young students.”
Although I spend a fair amount of time and energy trying to diffuse such nonsense, I recently began to wonder about what things would be like if this were true, if Muslims were our enemy and were indeed taking over. What would life be like? How would things change? Without doubt some of our brothers and sisters in places like Nigeria have understanding of these things miles deeper than mine. My conclusion, though, is that our basic mandate wouldn’t change: Discover what God is doing and join in. Even though our (alleged) enemies overtake us, we will still serve God. Take heart, his purposes will still go forward.
4. Redemption still happens.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe, but God is still in the business of redemption. He still takes the messiest nastiness and through hard work, great pain, and invisible power brings life from death. The examples we notice day to day are smallish reminders of the great work of redemption underway around us.
One such example occurred at our church recently as our pastor shared a moving story of personal redemption. If your hope could use refreshing, and you have 40 minutes for a compelling talk, click here and select “A Story Redeemed.”
In the darkest days of Lent, and some can be pretty dark, the hope remains that Jesus’ death was not in vain, nor was it permanent. The stone is rolled away and he walks again. And he has set in motion “the reconciliation of all things.”
5. God still uses the most unlikely of servants.
Finally, people like us can make a difference. Breathe in deep this reality: God invites you to join him in the most wonderful work being done today, extending his blessings to every family on the planet and lifting the praise of the nations back to him.
And if you doubt whether he can really use someone like you, you’re not alone. But you are mistaken. The few dozen charged with launching the whole movement we now call Church spent the last days of their first Lent and the first days after the resurrection running fast and laying low. They were adrift, weak, and scared. Jesus blessed them with peace, with the power of the Holy Spirit, and with amazing purpose. We, like they, are his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. Be refreshed. The coach is putting you in the game.
Know a mobilizer, pastor, or friend who could use some refreshment? Forward this column to them.
SUBVERSIVE MOBILIZATION: Pre-service Announcement Slides
In January’s Practical Mob. column I challenged us to, among other things, develop a great looking series of missions slides to drop into our church’s pre-service announcement rotation. This week at staff meeting, I debuted the slides that Paul Merrill and I came up with, and got approval to develop the idea.
You can find those slides on slideshare.net. I’d like to challenge you to check them out, critique them, improve them, springboard from them to better slides or simply post the better ones you already use. So far, we own the tag “globalflash.” If you’ll tag your uploaded slides with that, we’ll all be able to see what we all produce.
Please include any copy limitations or guidelines that you need to. Because, otherwise, I’m totally going to use your stuff to mobilize my church! And please, let’s be humble and not overtly take the credit for the increase in church attendance that will happen as people show up specifically to view our pre-service announcement slides!
ON SALE FROM CALEB RESOURCES
Mobilization T-shirts are now on sale for $4.99 each – while quantities last!
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