You are a son or a daughter of God. He loves you and values you deeply. Your worth and identity are found in Him. His love for you is tenacious and wild and all-encompassing.
You are a subject and a servant of King Jesus. As such, you are called to obey His every command, and to become more and more like Him. You are to make the growing up into His likeness an intentional priority in your life.
You are a missionary-ambassador, filled with the Spirit of the Almighty. You represent Him, and are called to share His message of Good News far and wide.
And all of this is true for us as a local church. We are family. We are co-laborers. We are comrades in arms; a fellowship of radical disciples on a great and noble mission. We are none of these things because we are amazing, or because we've figured anything out. But because of the awesome and beautiful and majestic love and grace of God -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
But we need to respond. We need to live out these identities, these roles, with which He has gifted us. It is such a privilege! We don't deserve this, but we get to be in on it anyway. There is nothing in the universe more important or more worthy of our lives. It will be hard, but without being a grievous burden. It will cost everything, but will be more than worth it. It will challenge us to the core, and stretch us beyond endurance, but we will be given strength to persevere.
So this is what I'm asking you: It feels bold, but I believe with all my heart that this simple challenge is the best thing we could do with our time and resources and gifts. Here it is: Will we order our lives around these corporate identities? Family. Discipleship. Mission. Will we make it a high priority in our lives to live out spiritual family with one another; To grow in Christlikeness, and to help one another in the same pursuit; To be about the mission of proclaiming and demonstrating the Gospel in our city and beyond? Will we be willing to say no to lesser pursuits, though they be tempting and attractive, or even good and noble? Will we actually make decisions based on how they impact this high calling and priority?
Now, I will remind you that, though I am speaking of a corporate situation, this is still a challenge to each of us as individuals, and as individual physical households. As I shared a couple of weeks ago, in a family, not all of us will, or even can, live out our commitments and priorities in the same way. In our family, Peter and Rebekah are not around as much as Philip and Hannah. They do prioritize this family, and they make commitments to us. They say no to other things routinely for the sake of being with us. However, they still do have significant responsibilities and commitments elsewhere. We do not judge them for not being at every family event, even though Hannah is at them all. Does that make sense? There is freedom here, not burdens and judgments. Each of us have our own life realities that we have to deal with -- relationships, work, responsibilities, households, bills, callings, etc. And these all must be given their proper due.
With that being said, don't gloss over the challenge, because it is still a significant one. I cannot answer it for you, nor you for me. I can only trust that the Holy Spirit will guide you, and that you will obey. And I do trust that. I love how James put that this evening.
So, to state it again, will we make this spiritual family on Jesus' mission together an intentional and thoughtful priority in life? Will we not decide our involvement in any event or gathering or project based only on how we feel or what is convenient or what our participation may cost us -- or even simply on what we think is best for us individually? Will we choose to believe that we matter? That we have something to offer, and that it is essential? That our life decisions, even our personal ones, impact the rest of us, because God had joined us together. Will we allow this thing to cost us significantly? Will we constantly seek to lay down personal ambitions and selfish dreams? Will we be stubbornly centered on Jesus, and faithfully committed to one another? Will we be family? Will we intentionally and obviously grow to be more like Christ? Will we give our lives for His great cause -- the redemption of the world? Together!!???
I can think of nothing I'd rather give my life to. And I am overwhelmingly grateful that I get to do so with you.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.