JOY!

Isn’t that a wonderful word?!  I have a sister-in-law that would say it is (her name is Joy)!

got-joy

That word leaped off the page of my bible this morning.  Twice!

The seventy-two returned with JOY and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” At that time Jesus, full of JOY through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. Luke 10:17-21 (NIV; emphasis mine)

My lips turned into a smile when I read that Jesus was full of joy; joy through the Holy Spirit!

I see this joy from two perspectives: joy in being sent and joy in sending.

The 72 were returning from a Spirit empowered mission.  Jesus had sent them out in pairs.  He said “Go!” into the fields to gather the harvest.  They went.  They returned with joy!  Jesus gave a loving correction – reminding them that true joy isn’t in accomplishment – even for the Lord – but in knowing that their names are written in heaven.

Jesus sent the 72 out.  “Go!”  He sent them out to share the joy that can not be taken away; the joy that is revealed to little children.  Why?  Because it is what the Father was pleased to do.

Do we have joy in being sent?

Do we have joy in sending?

Do we have joy that our names are written in heaven?

Oh, Father…  restore to us the JOY of our salvation and stir a desire to rejoice in being sent, in sending and in knowing what You have saved us from…

 

 

I am the most selfish person I know

Seriously.

I am.

Nothing actually brings that out more than mothering.  I’m convinced of it.

Since this isn’t a mommy blog, I’ll frame it through a missional lens:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Today, this topic comes to the forefront because my day was interrupted by a sick child that needed to be home.  My plans were changed.  I was cranky.

Selfish.

Caring for others requires us to constantly hold our agendas with open hands.  Living missionally – in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our communities and around the globe – requires giving up our plans and being sensitive to the opportunities and needs around us.

God did some surgery on my heart and he replaced my cranky attitude with gratitude and joy.  It was a good day and I got to serve my child and enjoy some extra snuggles.

God’s still working on me.  Thankfully.

 

Simple instructions.

Jesus makes it seem so simple.

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40

All the laws.

All the commandments.

Simplified.

Two commandments.

They seem like simple instructions.

They should be simple instructions.

 

 

Best. Valentine. Ever.

It was almost a year ago now…

A young girl consumed my waking thoughts.  She may have invaded my dreams, too.

She was 13 years old.

Her forever family had not found her yet, and time was running out.

Were we her family?

After much prayer the Lord told us “no”.

I love God’s heart.  Although we were not her family, in God’s provision some very dear friends of ours were.

valentine

Fast forward…

This afternoon, I was walking thru the parking lot at school.  I glanced over and saw our friends.  And their daughter – only home a little over a month now.

She saw me.

She recognized me.

She smiled at me.

Best. Valentine.  Ever.

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families; Psalm 68:5-6a

I’m thankful that Abba Father is so kind…  He placed her into an amazing family and has given me the great gift of watching her thrive and blossom in that family.  I’m taking the responsibility of being part of the community that leads her to Christ and nurtures her in His truth very seriously.  What joy!

 

Go and Make Disciples

I’m super pumped about the weekend ahead!  It’s our church’s Missions Fest weekend!  We teach and preach missions and disciple making every week (yay!!!), but this weekend is especially focused on the nations and foreign missions.

Surgery has taken place in my own heart over the past few years when it comes to this special focus during Missions Fest.  It used to be that I would approach this weekend with a “we’re gonna make them see!” kind of attitude.  Maybe with a goal to shock people into caring about global missions…

I think I can admit that without shame now because it is a testimony to God’s grace and work in my life.

I am very much looking forward to this weekend.  Not because I hope to use shock value to get a point across, but because God deserves the glory due Him.  My desire is to increase awareness about His plan to be glorified among ALL nations, languages, tribes and ethne.  There is no greater joy for me than that!

I love how the Message says the Great Commission:

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Isn’t that awesome?!  “Go out and train everyone you meet…”  Just do it.

Here’s a great video on disciple making that get us OUT of the church and GOing into the world:

Why “go out and train…”???

I looked again. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there—all nations and tribes, all races and languages. And they were standing, dressed in white robes and waving palm branches, standing before the Throne and the Lamb and heartily singing:

Salvation to our God on his Throne!
Salvation to the Lamb!

All who were standing around the Throne—Angels, Elders, Animals—fell on their faces before the Throne and worshiped God, singing:

Oh, Yes!
The blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving,
The honor and power and strength,
To our God forever and ever and ever!
Oh, Yes! Revelation 7:9-12 (the Message)

That’s why.  That’s why I love missions.  John Piper says “Missions exists because worship does not”.  Some day, missions will cease to exist because the King will be worshipped by every nation, tribe and tongue. Yes and amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.