Leaving The Parking Lot, You Are Entering Your Mission Field

Posted: February 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

Luke 10:1-16 — This passage is amazing in all that it packs into 16 verses. Today’s lesson is the first of a few that we will have on this passage. What to talk about today?

Today’s devotional reminds me of the fact that we are all missionaries where we live, work, and play. This thought of being missionaries where we live, work, and play is the slogan or motto for our church. As many of you may know, for the last two Christmas holiday seasons, Elena and I have gone to the Florida Keys for vacation and while there, we visited The Vineyard Community Church in Little Duck Key, FL. The cool thing that I like about that church was that when you are exiting their property they have a sign that says “Entering Your Mission Field.” Between our church slogan at LifeSong Church and that sign at the church we visited in the Keys, you can see where I am going with this. We all have a role to play in expanding God’s kingdom here on earth. As we see, in 10:1 here, “The Lord now chose 72 other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places He planned to visit.”

There were far more than just 12 people who had been following Jesus. Here, Jesus designated a group of 72 to prepare a number of towns for His later visit. These disciples were not unique in their qualifications. They were not even members of the 12 nor were they of the 3 closest to Jesus. There not better educated, more capable or of higher status that any other of Jesus’ disciples. What matters is that they were willing and humble servants of the Master. They had been following, listening, watching and learning. They had been in the process of being equipped for their mission. They had been in the process of being equipped with Jesus power and Jesus’ vision to reach all people with the message of salvation. They were just regular folk like you and me. They were equipped by Jesus and they were sent out. They went because they were willing. They went because they were “all-in”. They went. They did not say well I have this to do or that to do. They did not say well Jesus I like to keep my church life and the rest of my life separate. They did not say it’s your job, Jesus, not mine.

The point here is that you and I are as members of Christ’s local body being equipped to be sent out into the mission field of our lives in our spheres of influence. Church itself, the Sunday worship service, the church activities at the church and in the community, the small group (or life groups as we call them), all of that is not the all to end all. The Sunday worship service is our weekly break to give praise to God in music and it the place we hear the rightly divided Word of God where we are both encouraged and challenged to live out God’s Word in our daily lives. All the events at church such as youth group, community groups, and other corporate activities at the church are to equip us to be His agents in the real world. The community events that we stage corporately are to teach us and model for us how we are to live our lives like Christ everyday. However, these things only go so far. When we leave all these church activities, we leave the parking lot and head into our mission field. You have one. I have one. We all have our spheres of influence. Just look at your Facebook friends. These are the people that you know from where you live, work, and play. And your Facebook friends are not all the people that you know and come in contact with in your daily life. Where you live, work and play is your mission. Where I live, work, and play is my mission field. This is where we do the real work of the Christian faith. By living our lives in front of others, by engaging others in our lives, we have opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We all have our own gifted ways in which we have been empowered to share His gospel.

Do you have to have a Masters Degree to do so. Do you have to be the co-director of community outreach as Elena and I are to do so? Do you have to be Jarrett McNeely, Mike Blackwood, Hayden Wengrow, or even, Jeff Hickman (our elder team as we call them or our full-time pastoral staff as you might call them)? The answer is truly no. Of course, Jeff, our senior pastor, and the other guys on the elder team have been specially trained and specially gifted for the positions that they hold and that they have been called to by God. They are our equippers but does not mean that we can abdicate our calling as Christ followers to be missionaries where we live, work, and play. No. Our full-time pastors are the guys that equip us and send us out into our individual mission fields. Just as Jesus sent out the seventy-two (72) to their individual mission fields. The pastoral staff at my church and at yours if you do not go to my church and each one of us are here to make Jesus’ name known in all the world from your Judea, your Samaria, and to your ends of the earth. We are to be sent. We are not to just sit in church on Sunday, participate in church events, go to small group and think that we are expanding the kingdom of God. We must go into the mission field and be known as Christ followers. We must tell the story of the Bible (creation, fall, rescue, restoration) and its story of hope through Jesus Christ in ways that people in today’s world will connect with. We must make them want the story of the Bible to be true. We must be able to show them that it is. Do we have to have special qualifications to do this? No. All we have to be is equipped and all we have to be is willing. All we have to be is understanding of the fact that sharing the gospel is every Christian’s job. Not just those who get paid to do it. The ones that get paid to do it are our equippers and we need them desperately but then when we leave the parking lot, we are entering our mission field.

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