I’ve been reading through Mark’s gospel lately and one of the things that stands out to me is how different groups responded to Jesus: the crowds came in faith that he would heal; the demons he cast out often shouted that he was the messiah; even the religious leaders—quickly becoming haters—were astonished at the authority in his teaching. The one group who didn’t get it: the disciples! They were amazed, afraid, doubt-filled, ashamed to ask what they didn’t understand. “Their hearts were hardened,” says Mark 6:52. We even find Peter rebuking Jesus because Jesus had the audacity to talk about being killed!
The theme of Mark’s gospel is that Jesus is the the long-awaited savior
of the world; and that he would suffer greatly as he lived out that saving mission. But the disciples—the very people he chose to carry on that mission—had hard hearts, made-up minds, and mute lips.
I wonder how often we’re just like them.
Our hearts are hard when we focus primarily on serving the saints that are here instead of intentionally pursuing relationships with those who
aren’t yet following Jesus.
Our minds are made up when we expect Jesus to give us an easy life, when we coast spiritually, when we accept Jesus as savior but not as master.
Our lips are mute when we let fear or shame keep us from talking about Jesus.
When Eiley and I were first looking at The Journey Church one of the things that drew us was Section 3 of the church’s By-Laws: “In accordance with the Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:18-20, this Church shall be committed to an outward focus by placing the needs of those who are not yet followers of Christ ahead of the needs of those who are. While congregational care of regular participants shall not be neglected, outreach to others who are outside or new to the Church shall be given higher priority in the budgeting, staffing and scheduling of Church activities” [emphasis added].
Those priorities are not easy to make or to keep. But kudos to The Journey Church and her leaders for the courageous step of writing those priorities into the foundational documents of the church. Now it’s up to us to live them out – and here three easy opportunities to practice:
Three times this summer, we are going to gather as a church primarily for fun! As in years past, we are going to have a picnic and games at Eproson Park in Twain Harte. These evenings could just be a chance to have fun as a church family – or they could be so much more. Let’s make them more!
Here’s my challenge: I’d like each of us to pray for and invite at least one other person, couple, or family to our summer picnics. Invite someone you know, even if only casually: the couple in your neighborhood you see walking in the evenings, the barista at the coffee shop who knows your name and favorite drink, the family of your daughter’s friend at school (hurry, before school’s out for the summer!).
Invite them to join you. Carpool together. Offer to bring burgers or bratwurst for them. Just get them there! And don’t chicken out by inviting your good friends who are already plugged in at another church! That’s no fair!
Who will you bring?
Picnics With A Purpose: Wednesdays, June 20, July 18, and August 15; 6:00pm - ??