Do you wonder why we don’t. . . wonder?

A deep conviction has been developing in me that the church has lost their sense of wonder about God. Kids have a great sense of wonder about the world. For little kids, miracles are everywhere; in spider webs and pretty leaves. We lose that wonder about God as we “grow up” and “make” God into a predictable being. Becoming mature does not mean we need to lose wonder. I have developed a three question process that allows me to rediscover wonder in everyday mission. These are questions I ask when I enter a coffee shop, store, neighborhood, church service, or any gathering of friends.

  1. Rhetorical Question – Has God given up on these people? No!
  2. Biblical Question – What is He doing? Redeeming Lost Souls.
  3. Wonder Producing Question – How far is He along in the process? I do not know, but I hope find out. I wonder!

Are you interested in finding out what God is doing? Would you let it develop to a point where you are moved to action?

The church must work toward wonder. Creativity is sparked when we sensitize ourselves to God’s work in the lives of those around them. For those that have begun to think and pray in this way, suddenly, mowing a neighbor’s lawn, walking their dog, raking leaves, and baking cookies becomes a step in spreading the Good News; it becomes a partnership with God’s work, to express his love to a world who is wondering if he loves them anymore.

What causes you to wonder?

The Gospel is for Christians Too!

The Gospel is for Christians too! Many Christians are content to keep the Gospel on the front-lines of overseas missionary activity, but leave Jesus behind in their desire to move on to what they would consider the weightier matters of discipleship in the local church. Evangelism is a catalyst for discipleship and the Gospel is the pattern becoming like Jesus; the goal of discipleship. I know I just used the E-word and a lot of people are cringing. Let me explain.

The Gospel is the good news that terms of peace have been extended through Jesus to a people at war with their Creator (2 Cor 5:19). I do not share in his Reformed view, but I love how Michael Horton, in The Gospel-Driven Life (p. 77.), elaborates on the Gospel. “Nothing that I am or that I feel, choose, or do qualifies as Good News. On my best days, my experience of transformation is weak, but the Gospel is an announcement of a certain state of affairs that exists because of something in God; not something in me.”

The good news is that we, ourselves, are not the Good News, but rather participants in God’s patience, mercy, and love. When I fail to show the transformation that the world and even I expect, God is still on the throne and the Good News can go forward. This releases the pressure and I can exalt God even in my failures. When I rehearse the Gospel, even preach the Gospel to myself, I am reminded of the power to truly live. We have been offered such precious news that it cannot be held back. Even in prayer, I can remind myself that I am praying in Jesus name and not my own.

I can approach the throne of grace with confidence (Heb 4:16) not because of my successes but because of Jesus work. We do not have to hide in our failure and weakness but in, and only in, the name of Jesus we can receive the help we need. In Jesus name I can pray like this: Father, I come before you, not in my own power, not in my own righteousness, not in my own capability. I come before you in the authority of Jesus, your Son, who gave me access in this faith in which I stand because of His blood. I come on the merits of Jesus, not on my own merits.

This is true freedom. It is clear that a world at war with its Creator needs to hear this. When I as an individual embrace this Gospel as a way of life it will begin to spread outward in concentric circles of influence. The world does not need more “perfect” Christian families to isolate and mock, but it could use some families like mine that fail, respond in repentance, and declare the wonder of God to a broken world. When I require perfection of my family members, I will allow embarrassment to poison them when they inevitably fail. I want the Gospel to permeate our lives to show a watching world how secure and free we are in Christ. That’s what I mean by Evangelism, and the world is ready to hear it. It starts with me, it starts with you, because after all, the Gospel is for Christians too!

Cultural Comfort and African Memories

As a nineteen year old I boarded a plane for the first time in route to Sierra Leone as a part of a University mission team who would be spending six weeks ministering alongside Youth For Christ in the capital city of Freetown. When we landed, the stairs led us down to the tarmac where we were greeted with a heat wave and the hustle and bustle of an international airport in a poor country recovering from its most recent coup d’état. There were way too many machine guns being toted proudly by men too young to know how to use them. The ferry boat to the capital was inoperable and we were met hours later by our Liberian host who loaded us into the truck. Toby and I (the only two male team members) rode in the back of the truck under the canvas canopy on top of the luggage on the late night trip around the estuary, slowing for the big holes in the road, filled with water, which showered the thin veil above our heads. We were stopped by military police at curfew and forced to spend the night at the checkpoint. My first night in Africa, I spent on the ground, looking at a moon that was larger than I ever imagined, listening to toads in the swamp, and battling the mosquitos.

When we woke up we found that we had been sleeping in the spot used as a latrine by the guards. As we drove the rest of the way to Freetown we waved at the villagers from the back of the open truck. Unknowingly, as we responded to the thumbs up sign given to us by the friendly people, we were signifying our support of the resistance movement. That was the second obvious error we had made. Later that day I settled into the home of a Korean missionary for my second night of inter-cultural experiences. I made so many mistakes in those next days as I tried to communicate with my gracious hosts in anticipation of moving into the house where the whole team would reside for the next six weeks. Those first few days brought a huge culture shock that dissipated over the weeks as my heart became entwined with the people of Sierra Leone. I would do it again in a heartbeat and love the challenge of these encounters. I count those days, twenty two years ago, as pivotal in my desire to engage inter-culturally and propelled me into ministry training. Sierra Leone continues to have difficult road ahead of it and my heart goes out to her people.