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Stop Waiting for a Warm and Fuzzy Moment

Over the past few weeks I’ve had a number of people ask me, “How do you feel about your kids leaving home and going to the mission field?” My daughter will be serving overseas in about two months. My oldest son (and his new bride) hope to serve in Cambodia in about a year. And our youngest son will be starting at IU this coming fall, which I understand is quite a mission field all of its own.

The tone behind the question is that Laura and I should be sad about our kids not only leaving home but also going so far away. Sure, part of us wishes we could all stay in the same town and be one, big, happy family. We’re parents who love our kids. But we’re also excited for our kids to step into this new season of life where their faith is their own, and they’re embracing God’s call to go and make disciples.

The truth of the matter is that at some point in time we’re all called to leave home and go to the mission field, even if your mission field is right down the street. Many of us tend to think that only a few, special, more-spiritual-than-the-rest-of-us individuals are “called” by God. The rest of us just have a career and go to church.

Wrong answer.

There are times in Scripture where God gave specific callings to certain individuals for set purposes. God specifically directed the church in Antioch to set apart Barnabas and Saul “for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2). In Acts 8:26, the Holy Spirit called Philip to a specific location on a dusty road to share the gospel.

But there are just as many (if not more) biblical examples of individuals joining the mission of God without a voice from heaven or a clear call to a particular place or people. Timothy joined Paul in ministry, because “Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him” (Acts 16:3). Priscilla and Aquila used their tent-making business to work alongside Paul (Acts 18:2-3, 18-26). We read of no special vision or warm-fuzzy moment that led to their decision. They were being faithful with what they had, who they were, the opportunities placed before them, and they trusted that God was leading them.

Don’t wait around for some warm-fuzzy moment before you accept God’s call to join Him on mission. Use wise judgment, godly counsel, and your gifts, talents and skills to go to work in your “mission field,” wherever that may be.

As J. D. Greear says, “When it comes to calling, we don’t need a voice; we have a verse” (Gaining by Losing, 80). Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), and that includes the person next door and the employee down the hall.

When more Christians grasp this, they will shift from spectators to participators in the mission of Jesus Christ. And churches will go from gathering audiences to empowering armies.

Are you ready to accept the call?

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

Re-evaluating Your Inner Circle

I’m guessing you and I share something in common. Throughout life, we have desired to be an insider and have abhorred being an outsider. 

My earliest memory of this yearning was on the playground in elementary school when I stood in a row with other students waiting to be picked in order to play kickball. My wife shared with me that as a pre-teen she had a dream she was a cheerleader. When she woke, she scurried about looking for her pom-poms, only to remember that in the wakened world a cheerleader she was not.

All through life I wanted to be in the inner circle, as though my identity hinged upon the acceptance of the “right” people. I believed that if I did enough, was smart enough, and was “successful,” I would be ushered into that revered group of other accomplished, intelligent and successful people. 

Of course, being part of a group is not evil. Jesus invites us into His expanding circle of the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14). But the longing for validation derived from a group reveals a misguided quest. I am not a “somebody” because of my group identification, but because of my God identification. God declares our worth. “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

C. S. Lewis writes that “as long as you are governed by that desire [to be an insider], you will never get what you want. You are trying to peel an onion; if you succeed there will be nothing left. Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain” (“The Inner Ring,” The Weight of Glory, 154).

If you believe that membership in a particular club, association, society, or fellowship determines your value and self-worth, you will always be found wanting. As soon as you are “in,” that circle will begin looking rather stale, and you will begin an endeavor to find another one, promising you more prestige and prominence. 

The challenge is to break this quest for the inner circle before it breaks you. But if you break it, something beautiful begins to emerge. You will find your fulfillment not in the identity of a circle but of Jesus Christ. The inner ring of important people will not define you. You will discover that you are part of a group of like-minded people, but that becomes more of a by-product than an end goal. Aristotle placed this by-product among the virtues—the beauty of friendship.

Break your quest for the inner circle. Don’t determine your value (or someone else’s) based on a “Who’s Who” list you’ve made or not made. Enjoy the life God gave you to live. Work hard, pray without ceasing, be generous, and you will find yourself in a circle of friendship that far outweighs any distinction from a circle of insider wannabes.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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