Mission begins with an explosion of joy.
Who can be silent about such a fact—Christ defeated sin!
~Jared C. Wilson, 2014 Life On Mission Conference
I recently attended a conference with a small group from my church. The speakers, Jared C. Wilson (author of Your Jesus Is Too Safe and Gospel Wakefulness) and Bland Mason (pastor of City on a Hill church in Boston and chaplain to the Red Sox) led a weekend of talks under the heading of Gospel-Centered Mission.
Gospel-centered. Meaning we don’t hike up our bootstraps and enter the mission field—whether that be Africa, Haiti, or your own backyard—and leave the gospel behind. Both Jared and Bland emphasized how big the gospel is—and how often we make it extremely small. We reduce it to a sinner’s prayer, or a few Steps to Peace with God. And while none of these things are bad, they are not the beginning and the end of how great and mighty and ginormous the gospel is. Jared Wilson says, “When we turn the message of Jesus into a ‘get out of hell’ free card, we make the gospel small…Obviously the gospel is the ABC’s of salvation. But it is also the A to Z.”
Christians need the gospel as much as unbelievers do. We need it every day, every minute. We need to live in and explore its depths. We need to breathe in its freedom. And that can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Bland Mason gave six points to help us “Live Missionally.”
1) Get serious about Jesus and stop playing with sin.
2) Repent of hijacking the mission. (It’s not about us, and we don’t want it to be all about us.)
3) Approach missions as a community and not just as a solo missionary.
4) Take steps this week to be on mission, wherever you are.
5) Pray and dream about how King Jesus might want to use you on mission. (Step out of your comfort zone. You can glorify God in whatever you’re doing—going to school, changing your baby’s diaper, working, cooking, etc.)
6) Write your own eulogy by the way you live your life.
These points and many others made during the weekend challenged me to live
more deeply—more really, if I can use that word—in the gospel.
Jared mentioned a story that has been very close to my heart for the last couple years, as it has inspired me to write my latest manuscript based on these historical events.
It is the story from Paris Reidhead’s sermon “10 Shekels and a Shirt” of two young Moravian missionaries who heard of an island in the West Indies where an atheist British owner had 2000 to 3000 slaves. And the owner had said, ‘No preacher, no clergyman, will ever stay on this island. If he’s ship wrecked we’ll keep him in a separate house until he has to leave, but he’s never going to talk to any of us about God. I’m through with all that nonsense.’
Three thousand slaves from the jungles of Africa brought to an island in
the Atlantic, there to live and die without hearing of Christ.
Two young Moravians heard about it. They sold themselves to the British planter and used the money they received from their sale, for he paid no more than he would for any slave, to pay their passage out to his island for he wouldn’t even transport them.
As the ship left its pier, the Moravians had come from Herrenhut to see these two lads off, in their early twenties. Never to return again, for this wasn’t a four-year term, they sold themselves into lifetime slavery.
The families were there weeping, for they knew they would never see them again. And they wondered why they were going and questioned the wisdom of it. As the gap widened and the housings had been cast off and were being curled up there on the pier, and the young boys saw the widening gap, one lad with his arm linked through the arm of his fellow, raised his hand and shouted across the gap the last words that were heard from them, they were these,
‘MAY THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING!’”
To listen to the audio of the Life On Mission conference, click here.