Archives For Live Sent

…Beth Bevan

As we wrapped up the Live Sent series this past Sunday and last Thursday, I found myself both convicted and overwhelmed.  I am convicted by the calling that we all have been given but it is overwhelming to look around at the brokenness and find a place to start.  God tells me to simply keep it simple.  To pray for promptings.  And when I’m prompted, to pray for obedience.  Throughout this messages series we were given the tools on how and where to start…..  Practice hospitality.  Be in this world but not of this world.  Be intentional in the circles that we find ourselves in.  And finally, to not be okay with our world the way it is.

I resonate well with the two dilemmas that Greg put forward.  I have felt the angst in my soul when I have looked around to see the contentment of those around me.  But, more often, I feel the contentment in my soul while I see the angst in the world around me.  To know that I am okay, but the world and most of those around me are not.

Living Sent is often expressed in a God-given cause that we embrace.  And the cool part to that is its all to give Him the glory, but it comes in a million different ways.  A few years ago, I sat through our “Not a Fan” series and Greg preached about that “thing in your bones that you can’t not do anything about.”  I didn’t have that.  I prayed for it though.  Fast forward not even a year and I found myself in Liberia, Africa feeling the excruciating pain of God placing that “thing” in my bones.  I couldn’t stand to see what my eyes were seeing, or hear what my ears were hearing.  The guilt of my own advantages weighed me down beyond breathing.  At one point during that trip, I had to stand with arms outstretched and deny kids water.  There wasn’t enough.  I had to say no.  It ripped my heart out and made me furious.  It wasn’t okay.  The Bible says that to whom much is given, much is required and I knew then that I was required to be a voice for these beautiful people.  To do everything in my power to ensure that one day I wouldn’t have to tell a single child or person no.  Fast forward to today.  A group of us now run a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing safe water in Christ’s name to the beautiful people of Liberia.  We aren’t big huge financial planners or business executives.  But we are men and women who were face to face with the brokenness of this world and were prompted to do more than look the other way.

The amazing thing about Living Sent is that it comes in so many forms.  Not everyone is going to find a cause that warrants a non-profit organization.  Living Sent is finding what you experience where it meets God’s concern, feeding it when you’re tempted to medicate and ignore it and fighting it in ways that line up with your gifts.  To not be okay with it as it is.  Not sure where to start?  Ask yourself……what is my angst?  What can’t I stand?  What seems hellish on this earth?  If those questions lead to a multitude of answers…..then pray.  Pray that He show you.  And pray for the obedience to follow.

…by Dave Wright

Have you been living “Live Sent?”  I know I have had a hard time reminding myself to do it.  I think my parents used to call it “practice what you preach.”  As Christ followers, we are called upon to love one another.  In the past week, I have come across two instances where the same religious organization has been in the area doing their version of “Live Sent.”

While we were visiting in South Carolina last week, we saw a church protesting in front of a military base condemning personnel because they were in the military.  Fast forward to five days later when they were in St. Louis protesting at the World Series (not because they are Cub fans) condemning people who “worship the god of baseball”….REALLY?  Do actions such as this really mean living sent?

We all have been challenged to go out to our circles….our family, friends, work, and community to show what it is like to be a Christ Follower.  Beka was correct when she said, “Just don’t bring them to church, bring them the truth…”  Living Sent is not living in this world, but living with the world.

There is an old church camp song with the lyrics…”They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love.”  I can’t think of too many additional ways to live sent than this.

Here now is some advice from me…be relatively patient with your circles…people inside will ask what you are doing.  Don’t be afraid!  Tell them!  God will present to right time for you to share the story of your journey of following Him.

…by Amanda Huber

The person I was

You wouldn’t recognize

The person I was

Although I have the same eyes

The things He’s seen me do

The things He’s seen me try

The person I was

Is the person I despise

We all have a story. We all have pain and hurt and darkness. In most of us, it’s just under the surface. In most of us, it’s there tearing us down. In most of us, it’s telling us we don’t deserve better. But God has a plan. God has a path. It is only because of God that I have been forgiven. If it were just up to me, I couldn’t let my stuff go – I wouldn’t be able to move forward and have healthy loving relationships and complete joy. I get to have these things because of His love for me. I needed God. I needed forgiveness on a higher level – and I received it.

That is why I practice hospitality. That is why I want you to know Jesus.

It’s natural for me to do this daily. I’m past the point of caring a whole lot about what other people think of me – ah, the joys of your 30s. But I still care enough to not want to offend people with what I say (I hear that fades in your 50s – I’m KIDDING). I have found my deepest connections have come when I’m just being myself and I encourage the same from you. Get out there! Meet your neighbors! God placed you where you are in that neighborhood, in that school, in that store, at that park for a reason. He is really that good. Be used by God to change lives and if you get really crazy, pray this prayer with me:

Use me, God

Show me what my part is in this transformation of the world.

Take hold of my head, my heart, and my hands and use me for you purposes.

God commands us to love one another. So do it. But you have to get out there and actually meet them first.

Engaging Culture

…by Brian Walker

Andy points out how the Church has impacted culture in the past and in fact we even continue to do so today. Think about the challenge of engagement this week as a more personal way of impacting culture. Perhaps you naturally retreat from engaging those around you or perhaps you blend in too well. Wherever you are in your journey, this is the week where we make progress in engaging those around us.

Looking at our impact or engagement with culture leads us to another important consideration. The relationship with the Church and culture is not one way. Andy demonstrated how the Church heavily impacted the Roman culture (and the same is probably true of American culture), but the Church was also impacted by Roman culture as well. One example of cultural impact we see is found in the book of Acts. Coming from a Jewish background, early Christians like Peter excluded the Gentiles because they were viewed as unclean and uncircumcised. The sign of circumcision was vital for any man to become a true part of the Jewish community. However, God had a different plan for His Church, which he revealed to Peter. After a vision (check out Acts 10), Peter became a champion for including the Gentiles into the Church. We see that even in the early Church there was cultural impact.

Cultural impact even takes place today and it is something that we should become more aware of. I never really started noticing cultural impact until I began studying cross-cultural worship. A part of this study included how missionaries introduced worship in different places. Often missionaries would introduce western music, which was completely foreign to the native culture. In some cultures, this introduction led to elevating western culture as the “proper” or “christian” culture. On the other hand, it is increasingly becoming more common for missionaries to observe the native culture and find natural expressions of Christianity within their culture. This leads to breaking down barriers in sharing the Gospel and helps people relate. This study helped me to realize how culture and Christianity interact. I’ve even begun to better see how our culture interacts with Christianity.

I would encourage you to take some time to become more aware of how you, as the Church, are impacting culture and how culture is impacting you. This awareness is important for us in revealing areas that Christ might be able to better shape us. As we embrace living sent, we can also learn from the example of modern missionaries in observing culture. By learning the stories (culture) of those around us, we will find relevant ways to share the Gospel. It is important for us to engage with culture and I hope you become more aware of how we interact with it.