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Mission Brings Health

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By: Elisha Lawrence

The statement "Mission Brings Health" may not sound provocative to you, but it does to me. I heard it recently from a group of church planters at a conference.  The reason it was so provocative to me is that in a genuine sense I experienced the opposite.

While I grew up in a Christian home and learned a lot of things, I think I became a Christian just before college. The start of my spiritual growth was undoubtedly through college while being involved with a campus ministry.

The thing that got me hooked on Christianity was honestly the mission. I was amazed that God drew people to Himself. Not having seen a lot of people outside the church world come to know Christ before college, I was blown away when I saw it firsthand.

In college, I was around people who routinely talked with their friends about Christ. They initiated friendships with people they didn’t know with the hope of sharing Christ with them. And I was both terrified of it and inspired. I wanted to see God work. I wanted Him to use me.

So I threw myself into college ministry with reckless abandon. And God taught me so much through what has now been 14 years of ministering to college students.

And while mission most certainly brought health to my life — a passion to learn about Christ, a desire to share the gospel, daily discipline of spending time with the Lord — it revealed a darker side of my heart too.

Part of me was inspired by God’s Word. Scripture like Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew 9:36-38, Colossians 1:28-29 and 2 Timothy 2:2 were life verses. I genuinely did want God to work both in my life and in the life of others. I also wanted praise, honor, and recognition.

When I heard people share their testimonies and they mentioned a person who led them to Christ, I longed for someone to talk about me like that.

My fantasies were about having generations of people who traced back their spiritual lineage to my name. While mission did bring some health to me, it also revealed a deep-seated selfish ambition in my heart.

I used the mission of God to try to be like God. And as a result, I crashed physically. After 11 years, I was exhausted and felt a deep uneasiness that I couldn’t figure out. I didn’t want to pull out of mission altogether, but I felt like I couldn’t keep going.

I thank God that He is a gracious God who reveals sin in our hearts. And I’m thankful to God for men who spoke into my life as I processed through my spiritual and emotional fatigue. I had mentors in Campus Outreach and City Church who patiently worked with me and a sweet wife who endured my daily ups and downs.

Truth be told, I don’t think my problem was necessarily being on mission. I just neglected a vital reality of being on mission and that’s being filled with the Spirit of God. It’s not that I wasn’t reading Scripture and praying regularly. I was. It’s not that I wasn’t reading Scripture or involved in a community group. I was.

I was practicing all the spiritual disciplines that I still believe are vital to spiritual growth and I was growing. However, even in that growth, I do think I was missing a vital connection with the living God. And that is what scares me when I hear that mission brings health.

When I think about City Church and our mission statement, “Gospel Change for Broken People on Purpose,” I am deeply thankful to be part of this church.

God does 100% call us to live lives on mission with Him. God is a missionary God who fills people with His Spirit and uses us to take the gospel to people. He wants us to be counselors, evangelists, and friendly neighbors. He wants us to take a deep interest in other people and their spiritual well-being.

But as we do that, we also must recognize our brokenness. Because I’ve seen the darkness of my own heart, I’m different as I go out on mission. Because I realize that God is still on a mission to change my heart, I know I’m not the finished project.

It’s kind of funny, but mission did bring health to me ultimately. Seeing that my heart can take even a good thing like serving the Lord and turn it sinful reveals my desperate need for the Lord to be with me.

I can’t do mission without Him. I can’t do anything without Him. My adequacy is from God (2 Cor 3:5). Apart from Him, I can do nothing (Jn 15:5). And knowing this, I can approach the call to be on mission with humility.

When I share the gospel, it isn’t just something for those I talk with, but it’s for me too- And in this way mission truly does bring health!

Posted by Elisha Lawrence with
Tags: mission
in Faith

Where Are Your Feet?

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By Megan Evans

If you’ve been around church culture long enough, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “One foot in the world, one foot in the kingdom.” This is usually in reference to a person who is going through the motions of the Christian lifestyle (going to church, gathering with other believers, etc.) but is hanging onto a part of his or her life that does not want to be given up. 

I’m afraid this phrase can be used to identify many Christians today, including myself. I want Jesus and the World. But I cannot have both.

We are increasingly getting our standards, views, and beliefs from the world: the Internet (specifically social media), our friends and family, politicians, celebrities, the list goes on and on. These things and people are not inherently bad in and of themselves, but they are changeable. Opinions change. Political views change. People change. Even what is right and wrong in a moral sense will change. In a time like this, as the church, we have to be diligent to get our standards, views, and beliefs from what is steadfast, unchanging, and constant: The Word of God. Scripture is inspired by the one who is “…the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

1 John 3:13 says, “Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” As Christians, we are not called to agree with the world. We are called to service, sacrifice, humility, giving away of one’s things, and weakness, all characteristics that the world does not uphold. It is much easier to want to gossip about our friends instead of serve them. It is much easier to cheat on our taxes than to learn how to better steward our finances. It is easier to talk poorly about a coworker to get that promotion for yourself than to joyfully want it for them.

It is also easier to agree with a friend’s opposing view out of fear of what will happen to your relationship. James 4:4 references this as adultery with God himself, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” When you overhear that conversation at work between a friend telling another to divorce her husband to get back at him, you don’t want those friends to hate you. It is much easier to agree than to challenge.

When you open your wallet to see that business card staring at you, remembering your boss never checks the bank statements, it is much easier to spend someone else’s money. When you remember your girlfriend’s parents are out of town as your dropping her off from a date, it is much easier to let desire win. But Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

If you have a relationship with Christ you have the Spirit dwelling within you, giving you discernment of what is pleasing to the Lord just by asking. You have the Word of God, an active tool for you to grow in Godliness. What would it look like for you to cry out to him to ask for a mind set on him? What would it look like for you to read your bible for daily wisdom on how to serve him? I think it would look like you looking completely different in your friendships, your workplaces, and your homes.

The Christian life isn’t easy. We cannot passively work at our faith. The Lord graciously gives us the strength to battle our flesh, to battle what the world is crying out for us to hold onto. Hebrews 6:10-20 is a picture of the strength we have through God.

We are able to stand firm with the armor of God. We have the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness of the Gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God). This isn’t a cutesy thing we teach our children, but a real battle of Godliness versus flesh that the Lord has more than equipped us for. Verse 18 says that we can obtain these things through prayer and supplication. Prayer, not silence. Begging, not standing by. Active, not passive.

Church, let’s ask ourselves and give those around us the permission to ask us what part of the world our feet are stuck in. At first it might feel like a loss, but it is the greatest gain. You are giving up the world and gaining the Kingdom.

Posted by Megan Evans with