Saturday, April 21, 2012

Truthers and Liars

My heart is very full right now with the things God is downloading this day.

Let me preface all these things by saying I’m in process like you, and joyfully admit it. Yet even in this process, I have not fully grasped the dimensional grandeur of God’s grace and truth, but every day I see through the glass less darkly.  And the more we understand the more there will be to understand. Understand?

I want to touch on a subject that is understood and misunderstood in a wide variety of ways. Mission, or as some call it missions, tends to conjure up pictures of white skinned people in western clothing, Bible in one hand and finger in the air preaching to a group of people not so white skinned. Or missions my bring to mind foreign foods that are sampled on a Saturday night, prior to hearing a missionary tell us about their adventures in another land. Some call that a missions convention. Still others picture teams of non-commissioned lay Christians traveling out of this country to construct a building that may be used as a church, a learning center, an orphanage, or a simple living structure for the less fortunate. And none of these images are incorrect, but they are incomplete. For the very notion that mission(s) is to be done elsewhere, by other people, and directed towards some heathen yet to be exposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is tacitly wrong.

Mission begins in the mind of each born again believer, then emerges from a heart and life that is properly restored. But restored from what? Restoration from lies we believe to be true about ourselves. These lies keep us from living missional lives; which ultimately keep us from doing missional work so as to advance the Kingdom of God and to see souls saved and transformed, domestically or internationally. Geography means little when it comes to people bound up in lies.

I'm not going to speculate about what lie is keeping you back from God’s best for your life, not to mention God’s call to live missionally, but I will tell you that it is the greatest obstacle that must be removed before all that Christ died for can shine outward from our lives (i.e. mission). Let me ask you; when you’re around people that live, speak and demonstrate truth, doesn’t it make you feel good and refreshed to be with them? Don’t you come away with a desire to be with them more and more? I know I do. Kind of like when we expose our open hearts to the Bible, there are portions of God’s word that download tremendous amounts of transforming truth, and we then become very hungry and excited to return to those portions – as well as share them with others. That’s what happens when we are around genuine Truthers.

What do we call people that lie or don’t tell the truth? Come now, don’t be afraid to answer. We call them liars. Correct? (If you want to argue this point – call me we can talk.) And my experience has been that lies and liars produce some very unsettling feelings deep within us. Yet because we are so accustom to a life and culture of lies, we simply think, that’s how normal life feels. We’ve been convinced by lies and liars, that what we are feeling, all humans are feeling and that must be normal. We tend to think it’s an experience that everyone else has; therefore it must be right or normal. Not true! Just because something is common, or even experienced by the masses, does not make it right or true. As a matter of fact, if we’ve spent less time with Truthers than with liars, we’ll actually think the Truthers are telling lies. Get it?

My point is this: Mission(s) is all about advancing the truth of God. And it begins within our own hearts and minds – not with dollars, hammers or even inconvenient sacrifice. But with our ability to know the truth, hold onto the truth, live in the truth and then others will sense (or feel) something very special about us. As a matter of fact, they actually may ask us to give an explanation of the hope we have within our hearts. Which will actually produce a feeling within them, and that’s what they are really meaning when they’re asking about our hope in Christ.

Please don’t miss this point. If we build houses for the poor, they may ask what motivated us to do such a thing. And we could honestly say, the love of God or even, because it’s the right thing to do. But unless we ourselves have been restored by the truth and resonate it outward to those in our mission target zone, the attraction to our “missions work” will only be the physical things we are providing that they otherwise did not have. Which is not evil, or even bad, but it’s not necessarily transformational. As a matter of fact, it will tend to cause us to be dependent upon a works based outreach. Jesus did tell us the poor or those in physical need will always be with us, but lies can and should be totally eliminated from people’s lives and cultures. Because next to our salvation, of which only Jesus could provide, came the next and equally significant reason for His coming into this world – to testify to the truth (John 18:37).

Solomon prophetically penned his holy desire for what God describes and we should understand as mission (Proverbs 30:5-8). “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. 7 Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: 8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” What? It sounds like Solomon was emphasizing this very premise: TRUTH must precede PROVISION.

Yet how often are we called to give, go, do or even say something in the name of a Kingdom mission, while we are still bound up in lies? Stop right now and ask yourself, what this array of thoughts makes you feel. Does it make you feel good, bad, indifferent, indignant or what? If you’re like many, you’ve already been equipped to maintain some measure of religious composure when exposed to the truth, so you may feel nothing. If that’s the case, you can be rest assured that you will seek to do missions from a backwards view of Proverbs 30:5-8. All of which is not a sin that would lead to your own damnation, but it is definitely a sin or the missing of a mark or point that God is STILL trying to get across to people just like you and me. And that’s what tends to keep us from living the mission. And that lie is it’s all about more works and more dollars.

Let me beg His grace and truth to be upon your heart and mind. Let me ask Jesus to speak His truth to you regarding missions or rather, YOUR MISSION WHILE IN THIS LIFE CALLED CHRIST.

As we gather tomorrow at (Sunday 04/22/12), know that our visiting missionary is not here just to tell you what’s been done in some other country, but he is here to assist you in understanding the mission of truth we are each called to live in Christ Jesus.

Amen for now and see you in the morning!

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