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God is the ultimate missionary…

Inspired by Sam’s mosaic values discussion, i’ll be posting some missional values i wrote up a while back. I’ll be using trackback’s for the first time and posting in chunk the next few days as Parke suggests. They way they’re written up is not in stone, but the convictions behind them are very foundational to me.

Please feel free to critique and comment.

First core value: God is the ultimate missionary

God passionately pursues every one of us with his love. Whether we are believers or not every one of us is, and continues to be, God’s mission field. Mission is God’s initiative, not ours. We are never alone on this mission. The Holy Spirit goes ahead of us preparing the hearts of men and women long before we arrive. Jesus serves as the ultimate example of seeking the lost and revealing God’s love. God’s missionary heart for people is not a crutch, but the inspiration, power, and example by which we move with Him on mission.

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • alex mcmanus February 20, 2006, 7:18 pm

    exactly. whatever else we might know about God, we come to know it because he pursues us with a missionary zeal.

  • Nathan February 20, 2006, 7:58 pm

    I agree that God pursues us at all costs, even giving up his life. And though I DO agree that love is a driving factor, I think God’s unstoppable love is a by-product of a passion for his own glory. To portray God as working salvation for mankind PURELY because he loves us creates a man-centered Gospel message, and leads other problems prevelant today in America’s churches. People partake in religion because they desire to be apart of something greater than themselves, they want to connect to the Divine. If I want to find something greater than myself, it’s somewhat deflating (to me) to imagine this all-powerful being is so focused on me. In my mind, it makes much more sense that God loved and saved me YES because of his love, but also to bring his beautiful name glory, so that (in the words of Paul) “by my life or death, Christ is glorified.”

    that’s just my opinion. I do agree with you on God’s passion for reaching the unreached.

  • alex mcmanus February 20, 2006, 8:30 pm

    nathan,

    i think to portray God as pursuing the salvation of man PURELY because of his love does not make it a “man-centered” gospel as you suggest. It makes it a “love-centered” gospel. also, wouldn’t portraying God as One who pursues man purely for his own glory make it a self-centered gospel?

    if the ultimate reality is that there resides at the center of creation a self-centered being who desperately pursues his own glory, then the self-centered person who pursues his own glory is the most like God.

    If, on the other hand, the central reality of the universe is a God who acts according to love [not love of self but love of another] then the person who loves [not self but others] is the most like God.

    I think the person motivated by love not self is the most like God. I think this because the scriptures tell us explicitly why God pursues men. “God so loved the world…,” we are told. If God pursuing his own glory was in fact the purest motivating factor, John 3.16 should read, “God so love himself…” or “God so loved his own glory…”

    Happily, it doesn’t say that. Of course, God’s love brings him glory. No doubt about it. Just my take.

  • Nathan February 20, 2006, 9:02 pm

    Alex, that’s one of my favorite passages. I absolutely believe that “God is love.” From the writings of the Old Testament, we also see that He is wrath, forgiveness, vengeance, creativity, etc. I believe we are to love because Christ loved and commanded us to love. I believe that everything God does is for the sake of His glory. God created us for his glory (Isaiah 49:3). When God rescued Israel from Egypt, he did so for His glory (Psalm 106:7-8). God forgives our sins for His own sake (Isaiah 43:25). We’re commanded to do good works to not only show love but ultimately so God will receive glory (Matt5:16). One of Jesus desires is for us to be with Him to see glory bestowed upon Him (John 17:24).

    There are many other passages that explain God’s actions (both loving and wrathful) as being explicitly for His glory. I won’t post them here out of consideration of another’s blog-comment space. I’ll take some time to prepare my thoughts in a post on my own blog, though I doubt I’ll explain my thoughts clearly. Thanks for your thoughts Alex, and excellent post.

  • onelife February 21, 2006, 10:46 am

    Wow, thanks for the insightful comments Alex and Nathan! I intellectually and theologially know that God is not man-centered and brings glory to Himself, because He alone is worthy of glory. But to be honest, i currently only know how to connect to God by his unfailing love for me, personally. and for that i give him glory… even though objectively i know as God he deserves all glory regarless.

    is that too touchy feely?

    I wanted to start off with this value, because we often go about our lives and get disconnected with the reality that He came to us first… and on top of that, many of us burden ourselves with the mission of God as if we were alone in it, ie. all the angst we hear from people as they attempt to transition themselves or communities missionally.

  • Nathan February 21, 2006, 11:27 am

    Lon, touchy feely, haha, no not at all. I believe that God’s love is his primary method for connecting with us. When Jesus reads from the scroll of Isaiah in Luke 4, he reads a passage from Isaiah 61. Interestingly, Jesus reads “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,” but STOPS mid-verse, not reading “and the day of vengeance of our God.” Maybe Luke forgot to add that in there. Or was Jesus saying, “I’m ushering in an era of God’s favor upon ALL mankind.” We know the “day of vengeance” is yet to come, and Christ will usher that in as well. BUT, at present we live in the wonderful era of God’s favor. He is God and can choose the appropriate method, but it would seem odd for God to use “scare tactics” or any other method than love in the era of the outpouring of His Spirit and favor.

  • James Petticrew February 21, 2006, 4:54 pm

    I pastored a church in Ashton Under Lyne in Northern England, on the building next door which had become a nightclub was a plague which said that Francis Thompson had lived there. Thompson wrote the poem “The Hound of Heaven” This tremendous spiritual poem pictures God as relentlessly pursuing those who flee from Him, like a hound chases its quarry. It is a wonderful poem if you have’t read it have a look at. The poem really come alive with significance when you realise that Thompson struggled with drug addiction for most of his adult life. This poem is his testimony, his experience, not just a work of literature. Thompson discovered that nothing he could do or be could stop God’s relentless love hunting Him down. Now if we could only get more people to realise that! The link for the poem is below
    http://www2.bc.edu/~anderso/sr/ft.html

  • James Petticrew February 21, 2006, 4:54 pm

    Ps that should plaque not plague!

  • Lon February 21, 2006, 11:24 pm

    thanks for stopping by James, i’ve heard people quote the title to me several times, but i’ve never read it, thanks for sharing it with us!

  • sandrar September 10, 2009, 5:36 pm

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

    • lon September 11, 2009, 12:56 am

      Thanks so much for chiming in Sandra! glad you enjoyed it, stick around, i hope it's a source of insight and encouragement!

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