Another Mission Monday. Another series in our Outreach Saga.
The link there will catch you up if you're so inclined. The basics so far - I'm in a home group/church that has decided to meet out in a local park for the summer. We're meeting next to a set of low-income apartments on Sundays, inviting the people to a "BBQ for Jesus" and hanging out with them.
My last two Monday posts have talked about our first two experiences relating to what we have done with the people there. Yesterday was another good day where we were able to bless people relationally, financially, and spiritually. I had a great conversation with some guys discussing our souls, forgiveness, and cremation(!).
The outside manifestation of what Jesus is leading us to do is cool enough. However, I am seeing an equally important side-effect.
I am being transformed.
I have been a faithful church attender since high school. I went to church when my mom had given up on it long ago. I've been through church splits, highs, lows, and anywhere in between. The Lord has been walking with me all along, through the trials and blessings. However, over the last several years I have struggled at church. I knew that I was not going to get milk. I wasn't a new Christian, and I felt that I needed to reach out and be a blessing to others. I taught Bible studies and Sunday school classes. I filled in for the pastor if he was gone. Why, I even acted as a "lay pastor" when we were 5 months in between ministers.
Still, it was more of a duty going on Sunday mornings. I felt it was my fault. I needed to pray more prior to church. I had to get my "heart" right. It was on me.
Now that we aren't doing church as usual, I think I'm seeing something.
Since we don't have a strict format, since we're going week by week trying to listen to God and do whatever is set before us, there is a difference in my heart.
There's an excitement. There's a renewal of a passion that had cooled.
There's a new dependence on Jesus.
We don't know what is going to happen each time! We have done a variety of things so far. I can't plan - I can't use my prior knowledge of the Bible or church to guide me. (Certainly I'm leaning on the Word, but it isn't where I plan a three-point sermon or lesson).
It is staying sensitive to the Spirit each time we're out there. It is crying out to Jesus through the week, recognizing that I am in over my head! I need Him to walk with me through this.
I am being changed again.
I have had the privilege of many different experiences that have strengthened my relationship with Jesus. A mission trip, nine months of Bible school, and my long history in church walking with some dear people.
It reminds me of my physician assistant program. The first year was almost all classroom. We took in so much information it was like drinking from a fire hose. The second year was our clinical year. We worked with doctors, PA's, or nurse practitioners to take care of patients. I was part of a team that helped people, and it made the classroom learning real, because it was applied learning.
I feel like our little group is in clinicals right now. We've had many years of going to church, learning and building up our knowledge base and our spiritual lives. Now we are in the practical stage. It is time to go out and do.
It is a challenge. It is frightening at times. It is also exhilirating. I know Jesus is helping us as we try to obey as best we can. I'm learning more and more the truth behind this verse:
“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)