Sometimes you just have to do it. Sometimes you just have to jump in, say "dang the consequences" and do it. Sometimes there is no question about what the "it" is that you're supposed to do. Unfortunately, that is the exception and not the norm.
Sometimes, though, everything seems to fall in place and there is no doubt. You can say the stars lined up right, it was the right sign of the moon, it was just dumb luck, or whatever. I prefer to think it's part of a plan. I don't buy into the idea that everything happens for a reason, but I would like to think there was a grander plan.
It happened this morning. I don't usually blog on Sunday because I'm getting ready to lead worship in 2 services, but I do read the selected readings. This morning, the reading from Luke lined up perfectly with the sermon that I had planned over a month ago to preach today. So, if you are one of my flock, stop reading and pick this back up after church.
The message for today is the last of a 4 part series on discipleship taken from the plan for discipleship found in our Book of Discipline: Invite, Welcome, Nurture, and Send. Today is about sending. That's what happens in Luke 9 and in John 20. In fact, it happens a lot. Jesus was always sending someone out to do something. In Luke 9, he sent the Twelve out to preach the kingdom of God and heal the sick. In John 20 he breathed the Holy Spirit on them and gave them the power to forgive sins. Isn't that cool?
Isn't it awesome that if we claim our place as disciples, we are also sent out into the world to heal hurts and bring this message of "Good News"? Isn't it awesome that we are ambassadors of Christ, sent out into the masses with a message of release, healing, and forgiveness? Is there any one of us who doesn't know someone that could benefit from hearing about this Jesus who loves them no matter how bad they think they have screwed up their lives?
So, why is it that so many churches don't? I'm serious. Why is it that so many churches have turned inward in their focus? I'm really trying to figure this out, and it's something that I have struggled with for years. I know I've talked about this alot, but by dang, it's important.
Now I know this isn't the case everywhere, but dog gone it, we cannot be disciples if we only sit in the pews. We can show aspects of discipleship, but to get the full experience, we have got to let Christ send us out. We cannot fully be disciples if we only minister to those on the inside: we can welcome and nurture, but that's only part of the bigger picture.
I love it when Christ shows me someone that I need to talk to. I really love it when it's obvious that this person is someone who doesn't fit the norm. But's what is even more cool, is when that person starts telling ME about what Christ has done for THEM. They felt that Christ had sent them to me...talk about an eye opener. But it is awesome.
I promise that I will quit talking about this when more churches start turning their eyes, energies, and time back out into the world and focus less on what's going on within the walls. I promise. Are my expectations too high? Maybe. Am I missing something? Possibly. Until Christ tells me that I can quit, though, I'm going to keep being sent out, and by dang, I love it.