Why are we rubbish at mission?

(and no I’m not talking about Sunday Papers or Richard – just the church in general and me (Mark) in particular)

Is it because: We comfort ourselves with thoughts that we don’t “sin” much – so therefore we forget what doing wrong feels like (not because we aren’t doing wrong, but because we kid ourselves that we aren’t). So now, we have forgotten what it feels like to do wrong and we can’t imagine what it feels like for people who know that they are doing wrong – in fact, we forget that there are My Blueberry Nights dvdrip

Prison of the Dead ipod Romancing the Stone movie full

The Prince of Tides A Merchants of Venus (aka Dirty Little Business) movies A Nightmare on Elm Street move Patton movies people who believe that they are doing wrong!

So we have forgotten how to address people who are aware of their wrongdoing. We can’t imagine what to say to people who are aware of their wrongdoing because we’ve forgotten what it feels like to be a wrongdoer.

There are people out there who know that they do wrong and know that they want out of it, but (very) unfortunately we’ve forgotten what to say to them because we’ve forgotten what it feels like to do wrong (because we kid ourselves that we don’t do much wrong).

I experienced this with a friend just the other day – he knew he was doing wrong, but I just didn’t relate to it. I let him down.

I need to put myself on a programme that reminds me how wrong I am so much of the time and at the same time reminds me of the basics of what Jesus has done for people like me – because it seems that I’ve forgotten. After all, if I’ve forgotten how wrong I am then I’m forgetting how much Jesus wants to, and can, help us.

36 thoughts on “Why are we rubbish at mission?

  1. Perhaps it is in our thinking. We like to put things into wee boxes and say this is our work and this is everyday life. People talk of thir work/ life balance. The same can be said of mission. People “do” a mission or think about how to do evangelism.
    Of course it is good to plan events but sometimes the best way to impact someone is to practically show Gods love.
    Perhaps this is one reason why Healing Rooms International and Street Pastors are booming – They are directly impacting people’s lives…and they are grounded in prayer.

  2. Hi Patricia, I think that perhaps you are touching on a potential problem with programmes. I wonder if, because we don’t do well at mission in our everyday lives we then decide to resort to programmes as if they will somehow succeed where our normal ability to fail at mission lets us down. I note, though, that you point to the success of a couple of programmes. These two programmes are well grounded in good motive rather than just an ethos of “let’s speak the gospel in a programme and hope that doing that makes up for our lack of motive”!

  3. For me, we aren’t that good at mission, because we’ve forgotten how to relate to people. When we accept that relationship with Jesus, something else seems to happen within our psyche, that converts us again into a different mode of thinking, different mode of existing. Now on one level this may be fine, because romans does talk about the renewing of our minds, but I doubt it was to the extent of forgetting how to relate to people. We almost see people as a target, a work in porgress, as oposed to valuing them for who they are, and the gifts that they have. Something I read recenlty, suggested that we need to stop thinking along the lines of us bringing Jesus to people, but actually seeing Jesus in people, and i liked this. As for healing rooms and town pastors, certainly where I am, the town pastors have no programme, and do talk about their faith as they demonstrate something of jesus to people on a friday night.

    Being able to be salt, to impact others lives, seems to be a problem, only due to our intentionality of mission, which thus puts people off us, because actually we come across as though we don’t really care about them, the person, the individual, but all we are concerned about is, if they will make a committment, and when they do, we see them as job done, they are now processed into theprogramme of now processing others.

  4. Andy, thanks. What you’ve touched on prompted me to wonder…
    A problem with seeing people as being potential converts is that we forget why we want to see them get to know Jesus – we de-personalise mission and treat it as a numbers game or a duty. We forget that we are desperate to see them get to know Jesus because of how fundamental He is to life. Our mission should be driven by our desire, not our sense of duty. If we can’t get that desire then perhaps we should think twice about what we are doing trying to do mission anyway?

  5. I was not necessarily talking of programmes. I have come across people that have got into the mind set that they are not good at sharing the gospel. (Because they consider it to be a programme or formalised model) Or they think that only certain people can, as they think of up front evangelists that can communicate the gospel really well.
    It can just be about being salt and light, showing God’s love to people in practical ways.
    As for the two programmes I mentioned, both require churches to work together within a town, city etc…. I wonder if that makes a difference to the impact they have, personally I think it does.
    I work for YWAM Stirling, a small community team. Our vision is To see communities transformed and empowered to reach their full potential.

    We do that in all kinds of ways from having programmes like a after school club to simple relational work. We do that by sharing God’s love practically whilst addressing local needs.
    It is not necessarily an in your face method. It’s about valuing the person and meeting them and accepting them where they are. Its not about ticking boxes with regard to converts, rather its about connecting with people on a journey. Of course we want to see people come to Jesus ultimately. Sometimes that means committing long term rather than short term.

  6. But are we ‘rubbish at mission’? A seed sown is in the ground, or heart, unseen. God causes it to grow. We all sometimes ‘miss it’ and let people down but God doesn’t. Another time you, or someone else, will be in the right place at the right time. God isn’t fazed by it, or limited if we pray.
    We play our part – we can impact someone’s life anywhere in the process with a word or an action. Nothing is wasted.
    It’s not that we have forgotten what it feels like to do wrong (is there anyone truely like that? That doesn’t know what doing wrong feels like?). No, rather, we may have forgotten what it was like to live on the ‘wrong’ side of God (wether in our experience we were changed through to that way of believing, or grew into it). In that place, on the ‘wrong’ side of God, ‘wrong doing’ seems an uncontrollable condition with no way out of it, and sometimes no reason to want to get out of it, and no help even if we wanted to.
    If we meet people who want out of that place then we can only show them the door in the bick wall they’re up against. Not always addressing the problems (though in practical ways that can help) but showing them the bigger picture, the bigger need and the bigger answer.
    Again, it might only be a few words but you’re pointing the way to the original problem that will shape their present responses.
    I know you know all that, Mark, and anyone who is aware of failure, and sensitive to need, is not rubbish at mission but is actually right in there where he should be. 🙂

  7. Hi Patricia, Lori(snr),
    If I’m up front I’m feeling quite challenged by New Testament evangelism. There seems to be quite an element of speed to it, like a fire spreading quickly through. This then leaves the church able to focus (a) on itself and (b) on it’s very narrow focussed mission/message to those outside. Most of the good works of the church seemed to be amongst themselves. Their evangelism seemed to not be based in long term relationships with people. They seemed able to speak the truth and divide the hearers – for and against. Maybe I’m missing something, but I’m noting a lack of long term friendship evangelism, a lack of community work (other than within the church community) and other kinds of slow evangelism that we see a lot of today.
    I guess, if I take these observations to be correct (which they may not be – and I haven’t looked back over the NT specifically to assess this issue) then the question is whether the problem of our poor evangelistic performance is with us (the church) or with the way the world is.
    It could well be with the way the world is. After all the message was brand new back then and nobody had heard it – but then maybe that is true today too… I don’t reckon many people out there really know what the gospel is – so surely it should be easy to swiftly tell the message and divide people.

    Lori(snr) I like appreciate your comment about forgetting what it is like to be on the wrong side of God – that’s a very incisive thought.

    Patricia, You are right about being salt and light. I’ve got a feeling that the church could be a lot more salt and light to those outside if we were able to first focus more internally, caring for each other as a family. I think our effectiveness comes out of our internal state, our relationship with God. Our relationship with God is nurtured by the body – if we are a poor body then we will not be effective in our mission. I do believe that generally the church is a poor body.

  8. Mark,
    I am not saying that we can not do direct evangelism of course not. Jesus Spoke directly into situations and packed no punches. I agree with what you say about being internally nurtured and “fit for purpose” if we are not in that environment we go out on the wrong footing. Unequipped.
    In my blog I talk of community, I gain a sense of community from my church but I also have a heart for my city and the geographic community.
    I agree too about sometimes we don’t see the end result and sometimes we have no idea that we have made a difference. Both direct evangelism and modelling have a place. My point was that it does not have to be engineered. Sharing our faith can be a natural part of life.
    I wonder at times if it is that we get too comfortable and fearful to speak out in case we offend. Fear of Man if you like.
    My 5 year old was at her friends for tea a couple of months back. It was her first invite so I had been invited too. I became aware that my daughter was waiting for grace and the wee boy we were visiting would not start tea as my daughter had not. I started to say to Jen it was ok just to start tonight. The mum asked what I meant by that.
    I then explained to the mum Jen is waiting for grace. The mum said oh right will you say it then. I proceeded to say grace. Her little boy was slightly confused so the mum tried to explain what we had done.
    After tea we chatted and it turned out that the mum was going in to get a tumour removed the next week. I then asked if the mum would like me to pray for her. She said she would appreciate that……
    All because saying grace is a natural aspect of my daughters life. I very nearly missed that opportunity and its almost certain that have it may have taken me longer to form a relationship with the mum.
    That opportunity may just be a piece of the jigsaw…. it may be a part of her journey with God…Before her op the mum texted me to let me know she was on her way to hospital and she gave me a prayer request, that to me has potential…

  9. Patricia, that is fantastic. A really good reminder of how we should just be very normal about what we believe and how we live out our belief. You did what I didn’t when I mentioned about the friend in the blog post above.

  10. Well, I’ve done the confession (well no doubt only some of it) – now pop over and kick me for penance (I don’t remember penance being in my tradition!).

    I’ve got a feeling that we aren’t aware of what we need to confess. Thinking about it, I think that is normal – when we start on our journey, whilst we may realise that our separation from God was complete we may not realise quite how many of our actions come from that – so we don’t realise all of the things we need to turn from straight away, rather it can be a long process of recognising sin and changing throughout the whole journey.

  11. I’ve actually been thinking of this a lot lately. The New Testament picture and the different ways of evangelism now. There’s a lot of social action (very needed) and yetGod uses the heartbeat we have ourselves and there’s a bit of me forever into ‘direct evangelism’. I’m not sure that’s popular to express sometimes. In fact, it’s easy to feel discouraged about it.
    I think, also, lack of expectation often blunts our awareness of ANY conversation, ANY event, can lead to an opportunity to say something about Jesus, God, our faith, the meaning of life, flow, whatever… No matter how small our comment might be, it can be the opening someone needs.
    So, I think we need to be bold!

  12. Lorimer

    Like I said direct evangelism works. It’s not an either or thing. Some of our now Institutions and traditions have been founded on social action.
    I guess for me sometimes we have to way up what to do.
    As a small team within an International organisation I have been aware of that. We spent a bit of time when we started building and working hard to gain relationships. People can feel threatened or suspicious of a “new” Christian thing in the area. As a local girl I know that there has been lots christian churches set up then fold or move in an area where we are. Last year we got a request of another YWAM wanting to visit us and do a full blown 2 week outreach. When we explored it, we just felt it to be the wrong thing at the wrong time. We prayed about it as at first it seemed fantastic to get help.
    But it was wrong, so we turned that team down. There was a danger that it would do damage rather than good.
    That isha not to say that kind of thing won’t work, even in that area at another time but we clearly felt it was not right for then.
    It all depends what you mean by direct evangelism and how you do it. If it is grounded in prayer and if there is thought about how to follow up and disciple people afterwards it can and does work.
    That is the wonderful thing about God He is not bound to set things he can use anything to get someone’s attention …..cause he knows us that intimately. As long as we are hoping to his leading, He can use us…..even our mistakes.

  13. Thanks Lori, Patricia for your latest thoughts regarding ‘direct evangelism’ – very useful points. I know that I’ve always been afraid of it, but as I’ve come to understand what God has done for me it is becoming easier to express the gospel directly.

    I had the Jehovah’s Witnesses in today. They are an example of ‘direct evangelism’ and I get the impression that they tend not to deviate from it. Also, it is clear that they recognise that they have no time to waste, that there are others out there that they need to talk to. They did have a sense of urgency that I haven’t seen too often elsewhere.

    I found myself challenged about how I spend my time and how I need to give time to getting the message out – urgently.

  14. I had a conversion experience ( that was my own experience) even though I was on my own at the time. After that it was as if this was what was in my heart… to tell people, even though before this I would never ever have imagined doing such a thing.
    Over the years I have done the streets, doors, pubs thing which some love and some hate. Yes, mistakes made, but also lives reached, theres no doubt about it.
    But, like you say, Patricia, there’s also daily life, friendship, building relationships…. but at heart I never feel so alive as when I’m being direct at the right time.
    Thats the key, I guess ‘at the right time’.
    People see me in this way but I feel I’ve lost a lot of courage in recent years.
    It’s hard to get encouragement!
    But I’ve enjoyed reading Mark’s challenge and thoughts and dillemas because I recognise these things have been in my thoughts.
    I’m going to pray to get back in the flow, be more aware. Been talking to the sandwich man, who comes to our work, but I had kind of drifted away from being ‘ready’ for anything….
    BUT NO MORE!! Onward and upward!

  15. Hi Lorimer, My history is almost an opposite – growing up in a Christian family – kind of a slow realisation of truth. I don’t think that I’ve ever doubted, but realising how big it is and realising how all encompassing it is, has been a process over the years. Hopefully there is some benefit in this process! 🙂 I think that this explains how I’m slowly getting bolder. It’s encouraging to see where you have been as it gives me hope that perhaps that is where I’m headed from my starting point of very little courage. I hope that where I’m headed is an encouragement to you that you can regain courage.

  16. Hi Mark, I’m inclined to think of the tortoise and the hare! Remember, the tortoise wins! I think the hare might have the burn-out factor! 🙂 Your experience of believing is absolutely valid and so all the more fantastic in your resolution to know where you are headed in the courage stakes!!! I missed our sandwich man yesterday….but was resoutely kind and patient to those I met all day thereby saving on much repentance and misery at being a potential grumpy evangelist….always a hazzard in the saintly stakes!!

  17. i’ve just started working on our culture of denial, which predominantly occurs in Western Societies and/or cultures that praise smiles over the lament as Rob Bell calls it. I think because we think we might actual fall apart if we accept the fact that we aren’t alright, that things are horribly wrong. That sometimes entropy does win the day. And that we as people are part of that entropy through our choices. The book of Lamentations, is a book where people Lament and God is nowhere. At least it seems that way. We must all become aware of the reality that it is okay to share our shit (Skubalon; Paul uses it) with one another and in doing so we actually draw nearer into community and into God…

    BLOG: (Would love to join your blogroll and meetup sometime)

  18. Hey, Mark and others, thanks to your encouraging remarks I spoke to three people on the Thursday and Good friday. A Taxi driver who wondered why shops don’t close at Easter anymore, an older man who thought Easter was “..creepy and wasn’t Jesus just a good man..” and a young man living in a hostel in Leicester who had come over to our town looking for work. We helped him and took him for some food. All of them I was able to talk to quite directly. A jigsaw piece in the path of their lives! I have to say though that, for me actually being bold and getting in there and saying stuff, it was like getting a rusty old wheel to work again!!! …but I was encouraged!

  19. Lorimer, this is great, and I hope and pray that it continues to bring encouragement to you. A friend of mine posted on her facebook recenlty that she wanted something to believe in. I responded by telling her I culd help her with that, but she knew that, and I wouuld happily chat to her at any point. She has since opened up about all sorts of issues in her life, many of which I can relate too. It is my experience that God often brings people who we can relate too, into our lives. So whatever our story, whatever our background, whatever our journey, there will be people we can empathise with, share stories with, and speak what God has done in our lives as well.

  20. Maybe we have to become like children again and quit being fearful of what people think or may think of us.
    I have really enjoyed my day today going to a Colin Buchanan children’s event. My daughter wanted to invite her friend who does not go to church. So we invited him and said that his mum could come too to see what he went to. We all enjoyed the day and the mum bought a CD for her son to sing along to at home …and they are coming to church next week.
    All we did was ask.

  21. i think evangelism as is needs to be layed to rest. i think what it was in the time of jesus and what it is now is like saying ketchup and tomatoes are the exact same thing. sure there are characteristics and similarities, but, I think we are very far from what it meant to be. In the 1600’s the “sinner’s prayer was introduced during one of our many Great Revivals. Yet, it is NOwhere in scripture. People met Jesus and were changed. I think this is where we start. Let Jesus change people, not us. Surrender our theologies and doctrine and step out of the way and let God do what He wants. Evangelism and Gospel were political terms (Emperors would use these terms as part of their campaigns) in the day of Jesus, they were about agendas, Jesus steps in and starts talking about a gospel of peace, grace and equality which really angered Rome. One of the many reasons He was tried as an enemy of the state. I think we need to come back to the realization that “Everything is Spiritual” (thanks to Rob Bell on this one)…everything we do has spiritual value. Everything. It effects eternity. Even talking to someone about their kids and the weather for 2hrs and never mentioning Jesus, we are being Jesus naturally because He is within us. There were times when Jesus himself hardly even talked about God, but when he did speak, you knew He was talking about Him. I want to learn that art. I want to know how to be Jesus when I speak…

    Blog: travelersnote.wordpress.com

  22. Thinking about what you have put George – and thanks for that:
    Jesus simply referenced the truth that he was bringing. We tend to reference Jesus and then his truth. Jesus simply told people what their problem was, told them the answer and told them to repent. It wasn’t about a prayer of repentence, it was simply a stating that of commitment to repentence.
    Of course, when we reference the truth, the gospel, we do have to reference Jesus, after all it is embedded in him. So I’m not saying don’t mention Jesus – just that we somehow seem unable to explain the gospel as Jesus did.
    I think that we perhaps tend to fall back on evangelistic methods and formulas rather than just being able to ‘be Jesus when I speak’ (as you say George).

  23. I had a conversation with a physicist the other day and I found myself simply talking about the things that seem true to me (my faith) about life, our minds, our universe, our level of understanding, our foolishness, our mistakes, our inability to survive. Looking back it felt more like talking about the truth rather than the evangelism I’ve got used to seeing. One point that hopefully added up for this guy was to relate the constant critique God gives to his people throughout the Bible and how this is like the scientific critique in the quest for truth. However, I had to also point out that the church today seems to have forgotten that so much of the Bible is criticism, from God, of his people. Generally we seem to have lost that critique – the physicist found this uncriticality quite worrying (in fact, he brought it up in the first place).

  24. thanks mark! yeah. good point. what i find is interesting is that truth was never a concept or something to conquer (westernized christianity is know for this approach to evangelism), the jews viewed truth as unfolding, something to be continually discovered on an ongoing basis. truth was always a person. and if we are to ‘share’ truth and it is a person and then jesus says we are to be like him (follow me is another way of saying ‘be like me’ ‘do things the way i do them’)…how do we become truth so naturally that people who encounter us will also encounter truth. i think this is the challenge. the ability to surrender to the process of transforming ourselves,lives, mindsets into truth…it is funny tho’…jesus never stayed on people’s problems, he saw them as already forgiven, this ability is something i want to learn and be able to give to others when i meet them. peter says christ died once and for all and again as Rob Bell asks: “what if everyone is already forgiven and they just dont know it yet?” an interesting question, especially in light of the peter verse. i wonder if we starts seeing people as God sees them will change how we do everything? i think evangelism (again a political term) is supposed to be counter-cultural to governments, tyrranical leaders, and even religious systems as a way of life…it is supposed to offer hope. again, ev. as is should leave us be. and we should revisit what it means to ‘BE christ’ in everything. the word disciple is talmidim, which connotes lifestyle. almost like shadowing the very thing we follow.

  25. That’s interesting…just lately someone was talking to me about Theological Pluarism, Inclusivism and Exclusivism…and I am certain one of these was explained as “..what if everyone is already saved but they don’t know it yet”..but they are actually. How like that phrase you used George. It’s all very interesting and I accept that as we ARE then just being with people the Kingdom of God is near..even if nothing is said. But there are so many ways that God reaches it’s good there’s still room for evangelism of the “old” style?? Not sure if I agree with your comment:
    “i think evangelism as is needs to be layed to rest. i think what it was in the time of jesus and what it is now is like saying ketchup and tomatoes are the exact same thing. sure there are characteristics and similarities, but, I think we are very far from what it meant to be.” (George June 9th)
    I had a good chat about God with an acquaintance drug addict a few weeks back (after Blog encouragement) but faltered a bit again lately in speaking to people until my sandwich man (see my comment April 3rd) from work appeared with an Invitation to his wedding!! Hey! I didn’t put him off after all!!! Really, what I have found as one way is more simplistic I suppose…when I expect the unexpected, when I am full of God and aware of eternal things ( with a bit of courage thrown in) then things happen; I’m bold and speak up, and response comes. Romans 10:14 – 15.

  26. hi thanks for that. i love conversation, i learn a lot. the reason i say it must be layed to rest and still think it should is because evangelism now has become a set way of finding out if someone is saved or not. and yet, there isnt one verse that says its our responsibility to save people. i do, however, find many verses where jesus says it was his job to do it (John 3:16-17). and if they are saved, what we are responsible for is to love them unconditionally. now i am a dreamer and do believe that we can love unconditionally, but also believe that we will never do it perfectly on this side of the new jerusalem. but i think we can fight for it. i am also playing with etymology here, the word evangelism scares a lot of followers, it scares those that have heard the word oustide the church further away from any kind of community gathering. we must lay it to rest because it is one thing that is getting in the way of us actually being christ to everyone. again, i think theology and doctrine in the hands of men may have and already has the potential to hurt those we seek to share a healing message with (i write about this in my blog: travelersnote.wordpress.com — title: theology is dead or the “Ahh” moment)…something that God is having me revisit now is this idea of surrender as a way of life and not a seasonal thing we do to get the answers we need from Him. And that is hard, especially for me that loves conversation. But, I think we must be able to lay down things, the danger is we think that since we discuss things we must be moving forward and the danger is that we are all flawed people with holes, so that means whatever we come up with is going to naturally have holes. the danger is if we don’t lay things down then they too can become the idols and gods we were never meant to have, and how ironic would it be that evangelism might be one of these? having said all that, i think mission is a better word. because it leaves the ‘4 steps’ process up to God rather than to us. it gives God the responsibility to ‘save’ those who need saving. He does say we are co-workers with Him in this, but I think it is to demonstrate (action) his love to the world. Again, the danger could be that we become like the Levite (who knew all the answers and practices within the religious system) and walk right on by those in need. I think there are times to talk to someone directly about Christ, but, I don’t think it needs to be stressful or fear-based, some people equate the HS with fear. Yet, John says: perfect love drives out fear. it does sound like both of us are on the same page on that though. but i hope that somehow gives some sort of clarity to why i think the word and the practice (that it has become over centuries) of evangelism should be layed to rest. And we should become more aware of those around us and apply a cloth to stop the blood, or listen to those who need listening, or carry someone’s burdens with them…there is something incredibly divine about just being with someone else (the whole book of Lamentations goes into this)…to me this is evangelism…??

  27. WoW! I need my thinking head on with analytical googles! Lol! I can feel my brain cells creaking. There’s so much in your post I will need time to digest it and THINK about…Hopefully will be able to respond at some point when cerebral processes and time allows!!! I’m sure others will have thoughts on it all though…

  28. You are giving us food for thought. I guess I would frame “everyone is forgiven” as “everyone can be forgiven (if they wish to accept both a need to change and God’s forgiveness)” – purely because I can’t imagine a God who would love to be eternally suffering the rejection of unrepentant people and a God who would love his people to eternally suffer rejection.
    Forgiveness is more about reconciliation with God than anything else (we don’t gain forgiveness for any other purpose) – and you can’t force people to be reconciled with God. I am firmly anti-coercion because I believe God is firmly anti-coercion.

  29. i def. agree!! I might say that everyone is forgiven but like you said whether they believe it or not and accept it as truth is up to them. i mean there is a collection of stories in scripture of jesus letting people walk away from the kingdom. this is why i am def. not a fan of trying to persuade people into the kingdom, especially when jesus has a go at the pharisees for having no heart on more than one occasion. i believe people have to want it. Brian Mclaren responds to this kind of discussion with this thought: If God asks us to forgive others and sends people to some destructive pit somewhere, then He himself is asking us to do the very thing that He is not capable of doing? (Give forgiveness). Which is an interesting thought to challenge any conventional view, but it also does come back to whether or not a person wants to follow christ…which was an invitation in and of itself.

  30. Your latest discussion seems interesting. I have just finished reading the shack which certainly challenges your thinking on God. There is part of me that is thinking
    Is this us trying to put God in a box in order to make us feel better?
    Is this an excuse not to do evangelism and get you off the hook?

    I am not saying it is

    I believe God wants us to ask questions, as we do that He reveals more to us…and God can use any means of evangelism.. the chat at the school gate or the evangelistic event.
    Is this not just a case of trying to play with words?

    Why not be lead by the spirit. I think there are different things that work at different times. Everyone is different and God knows what is right of each person.

    The most important thing is that we walk in obedience.

    See my blog http://honestlylivingit.blogspot.com/

  31. You are absolutely right Patricia, to say what you say.

    I noted the other day that a good proportion of the Bible is criticism, by God, of his people. So I do think that it is important that we are critical of how we do things – but with the intention for obedience.

  32. this is a bit where i was coming from. most of the time our definitions don’t come from scripture, but from our own personal worldview and how we view life. and i agree god can use anything, but just because he can use anything it doesn’t mean everything is to quote Paul, “benficial”. I don’t think that there NEEDS to be a plumbline, this is where my point of discussion comes from…once we start labeling and over-defining things, then the spirit of surrender is out the window. but i do believe that it is in the discussion that we all can find the “ahh” moment that we need, which will look differently for everyone. i do believe that we can too easily put God in a box, having said all that, I think that God is not afraid of our conversations and neither is he afraid of our boxes because as we see time and time again, he will most surely break out of them. too many times our theology (another word for theology would be the box we try to fit him in) gets in the way of us experiencing God or as you say the Holy Spirit. The Celtic monks nicknamed the holy spirit the Wild Goose, it is the understanding that when one submits to the Wild Goose their lives will never be defined by any type of convention. i think whether we choose words (and yes, I think it does matter what words we choose to use, especially in light of postmodernism and the world in which we have live; the medium (our (words) is the message). We have to know what we are saying. But , honestly, at the end of the day, it comes down to surrender and yes being lead by the HS, which I kind of encapsulate in the idea of surrender.

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