“There is no other way to retain continuity with the apostles than to keep on doing what they did.” –Carl E. Braatens
This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
God’s plan might not happen tomorrow, it might take seventy years (or more) but He is intentional about keeping His promise to you…
- His promise that He will never leave you, rather, He will come to you.
- His promise that He will bring you back to the place you were meant to be in.
- His promise that He will prosper you…
maybeprobably not with fame, money or comfort, but with joy, hope and a full life.
- His promise that He will be found when you look for Him.
- And His promise that He will rescue you when you most need it and least realize it.
There’s nothing accidental about God at all. He created the world for you to live in, He created a body for you to grow in, He gave you breath to move, He gave you a job to do and He has been preparing a reward for your retirement. There’s nothing accidental about that at all. God has been intentionally giving you opportunities to experience everything He has made you for.
The problem is that we often prefer to live accidentally. We have an aversion to plans and a dislike for anything that hints of intentionality. There’s less pressure if we don’t commit and there’s less stress to hit a goal if it doesn’t exist. So we live our lives day-to-day, hiding from the troublesome fact that we were made in the image of God – in the image of an intentional God.
CCCJ’s vision is to give God glory by making disciples of all nations.
Everything we do in our gatherings and in our relationships begins with the desire to reflect glory back to the Father. And every plan we make is to help us as a body walk into an opportunity to make more disciples who will help bring the Kingdom to Carl Junction, to Missouri, and to the rest of the world.
Today, here’s some great stuff from Mike Breen and 3DM (weare3dm.com). Read the excerpt and then check out the entire post by following the link at the bottom!
This community of persons is revealed at the baptism of Jesus, where “heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’”
There is a Father speaking identity to a Son, and the empowering Spirit of God descending as a dove. The Trinity, as it was eventually called by Tertullian.
But the interesting thing about what the Father spoke over Jesus at his baptism -which anyone listening at the time would have recognized- was that they were words of commission sending Jesus on official ‘”family business.” Paul uses almost the same familial language when he sends Timothy to Corinth, “For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord” (1 Cor 4:17).
The revelation at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry is that he is not operating independently, but he is coming from a family to represent a family.
The Trinity isn’t simply an abstract concept to be contemplated by spiritual directors and scholars, it’s a deeply relational reality that tells us that at the very center of God’s nature is community. A family. God is family. And the God who is family is on mission. God is Family on Mission.
There is no other way to retain continuity with the apostles than to keep on doing what they did. –Carl E. Braatens
When I hear someone say, “I just don’t know what God has called me to do,” I assume they’re looking for the specific task God has given them. And I’m always excited to join in the search but I toss this out this consideration…
Your mission, first and foremost, is to make disciples. If you’re not fully engaged in making disciples, don’t waste time worrying about what God has specifically called you to do. Make disciples first, then search for your unique role. Because before you were called to work with children, you were sent to make disciples. Before you were called to sing, you were sent to make disciples. Before you were called to write, you were called to make disciples.
If you know nothing else about your role in the Kingdom, know this: You were saved to save others. You’re surrounded by family, friends, neighbors and co-workers and you’ve been sent to make disciples of them.
So, as you’re patiently waiting for God to “call” you into a specific ministry, consider that maybe God’s patiently waiting for you to be faithful with the first mission He gave you.
On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.
But the word of God continued to increase and spread.
Imagine being so used to seeing God’s power exercised that it became normal to you.
If you’re like most of us, your most common prayer is for God to bless your food and your biggest prayer is for God to heal your Grandma. You pray those prayers every day, but if you woke up tomorrow and Grandma was healed, it would blow your mind.
Instead, imagine a life where God’s power is so normal you never miss a beat when you see it.
That’s the life God promises. You be the hands and He will be the power. You be the feet and He will be the miracle.
When God wows an unbelieving culture with His unbelievable power, He’s opening the door for you to do amazing work.
Don’t let yourself be caught standing there in the crowd with your mouth hanging open. Be ready.
Failure and success are often separated by nothing more than our perspective and a second chance.
When I was in high school, I had a job where my boss and I just didn’t get along. He would regularly say something that would upset me and I would say something back and he would get mad and we’d both start yelling. Before I knew it, I was in the middle of this full-blown, yelling, screaming fight. Later, I would look back and think, “That’s not who I want to be.”
When I was in college, I started dating a girl and everything seemed perfect. But, as things progressed, the relationship quickly became innapropriate, which messed me up spiritually and drove a wedge between my family and friends. Later, I looked back and thought, “That’s not who I wanted to be.”
Just the other day, I was driving down the road and saw a couple of trucks who’d just been involved in an accident. I thought, “Someone should help them out,” but I was in a hurry and didn’t have time, so I went around them and continued on. An hour or so later, after my schedule had slowed down, it hit me like a ton of bricks… “That’s not who I want to be.”
When I face a situation and I fail, I realize I AM JONAH. And in that moment, I have a very clear choice to make…
I can live in my failure and be defined by my failure…or I can let God shift my perspective and grab a hold of His second chance.
Jonah failed. It’s that simple. He had a mission and he chose to run. He had an opportunity that he tried to avoid and he messed it all up. But God, in the way that only He can, gave him a second chance…a chance to be redeemed.
The whale tossed him up on the shore, God’s word came again and Jonah marched off to fulfill his calling.
What second chance do you desperately need? Where does the whale need to toss you? And where do you need to go?
Today, make the choice to grab your second chance, shift your perspective and be who you were made to be. Yesterday doesn’t matter any more, but today does.
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever.”
Any time you can say those words, you know you’re having a bad day.
Something has gone terribly wrong with your plan and it’s time for some serious self-evaluation.
In moments like this, I am reminded that I AM JONAH.
When life is cruising along and everything seems great, I tend to forget just how indebted I am to the Almighty. I tend to start believing the lie that I’ve got pretty good plans and I tend to begin replacing God’s plan with my own.
I begin to separate “real life” from “religion” and my life starts to feel like some kind of spiritual double agent. I forget to pray, I neglect reading my Bible and my head fills up with visions of money and comfort and success.
Inevitably, it’s in those kinds of seasons that crises hit. Injury, death, bankruptcy, heartbreak and betrayal hit us hardest when we’re the weakest – it’s Satan’s way of driving one final wedge between our heart and God’s.
So, we find ourselves sitting in a corner, holding our knees, rocking back and forth and, with tears streaming, saying, “It’s no good. It won’t work. It’s all over. Why should I even try?”
And it’s in those moments when we should say, as Jonah did, “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple…. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.'”
Sometimes, when we find ourselves in the belly of the whale, deep underwater, waiting to die, we forget that the whale isn’t our executioner…it’s God’s saving grace.
Today, call on God, return to Him and be returned to His path. Emerge from the belly of the whale with a new hope and a new commitment.