Missions is Fellowship
We were greatly blessed this month by the visitation of Pastor Tony and his wife, who are missionaries in Albania. To engage in what God is doing in the world is to interact with the totality of His body the church. From simple errands to evangelistic shopping(Yes that is searching for souvenirs with Gospel tracts in hand) we thoroughly enjoyed the visit and encouragement from our dear friends!
Not only do the Orthodox observe Easter a week or two later than others they also hold a very long Eucharist service Saturday night. We joined the ceremony to observe and engage in conversation with those that planted beside us during the ceremony. It was daunting to see the crowd gather with incessant but quite pleasant gregorian prayers and songs/chants. One after another were bringing offerings to the ornate icons situated in the building, some even bringing eggs, flowers, or other misc. things to clutter the area around the lifeless image. It was heartbreaking to witness and also hopeful as there was no doubt someone among the many who was honestly seeking Christ and just may have started their search for the truth of Christ’s Salvation. We were able to speak with a handful of available people asking what they believe about the service and seeing who among them even knew the why of the whole ceremony. It was a sobering time and was a prayerful time as so many are gathering in the name of Christ but have no knowledge of His salvation, true nature, or heart for them.
We had a wonderful opportunity to gather people around a traditional seder ceremony with a New testament service that explained each part of the feast and its very meaningful direction towards Christ. Gathering in the park, we had a beautiful time with friends we have made in the time since we have arrived and truly deepened our bond with them all as the conversations led to very powerful truths. We are finding that events like these are great tools to teach and lead people to the truth of Christ! The culture is already predisposed to respond to imagery and symbolism so PLEASE PRAY for creativity in reaching people through these things.
A Pattern of Love
“I felt in my bones; first, that this world does not explain itself. It may be a miracle with a supernatural explanation; it may be a conjuring trick, with a natural explanation. But the explanation of the conjuring trick, if it is to satisfy me, will have to be better than the natural explanations I have heard. The thing is magic, true or false.
Second, I came to feel as if magic must have a meaning, and meaning must have someone to mean it. There was something personal in the world, as in a work of art; whatever it meant it meant violently.”G. K Chesterton Orthodoxy
There is no explanation for the way of living by faith, it is a selfless yet selfish act, it is risky yet the most assuring, it is rational yet mysterious. In a word, it is something left to us by God. No promise of reward nor assurance of conscious peace led Rae and I to where we are today, we considered it as it was left for us to consider in God’s word. As one of my favorite authors expresses above this life is a sort of magic with violent meaning, it has a purpose so clear and it is a purpose set aside for ALL believers in Christ. There is no human pattern that we follow and there is no true rational meaning to what we even are doing day to day as we simply ask complete strangers, ” have you been born again” or “Jesus loves you, do you know how He has loved you?” or one of my favorites, ” If God was around the corner and you met Him what would He say to you, what would you say to Him?”. In spite of this apparent uselessness that we partake in and sometimes even feel, there is a higher pattern that is profoundly divine and this pattern is the very fingerprint of God with what Christ did on this earth; it is the pattern of Love. It is by THIS pattern that we did not just consider a field that God desires to work in and among people, we went forward to buy it, own it, and make it our own as Christ has given us the ability to partake in truth! There is no making sense of a life given wholly to Christ, it is a dead man walking, a spiritual life with a very Biblical outcome. We are living in the higher pattern of love, and it is a joy to have no definite way to explain just how our life is graciously hidden in Christ.
Our Vision and Prayer according to The Great Commission:
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore(Reach), and teach(Teach) all nations, baptizing(Immerse Them in Christ’s Truth) them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all(Challenge their capacity) things whatsoever I have commanded you:(Engage their faith in Biblical Responsibility) and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (See Them faithfully kept by God’s Grace). Amen.”Matt 28:18-20
Please pray as we believe God to:
- Reach: Evangelism to the Lost
- Teach: Biblical Study and Training in the Word of God
- Immerse others in Christ’s Truth: Fitting into the fellowship of the Church, discovering their Identity in Christ, and Observing the Ordinances
- Challenge their capacity: Biblical Discipleship and Biblical Accountability
- Engage their faith in Biblical Responsibility through His Ability: Opportunity and Leadership Development in the Church
- See Them faithfully kept by His Grace: Faithful Feeding and Fruitfulness in their Lives