Come Over to Macedonia

In Worship by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

Devotional Guide:

Daily Bible Readings:

Monday, September 06. Read Acts 15:6-21. 1) Why were the apostles and elders meeting tother in Acts 15? 2) What about the meeting gives you some indication of the seriousness of the matter? 3) What evidence of God’s leading do you see in this text?

Tuesday, September 07. Read Acts 1:1-5. 1) What is happening in this text? 2) What, in the text, let’s the reader see what Jesus has planned for his church?

Wednesday, September 08. Read Acts 13:1-3. 1) What church is this concerning? 2) What does Luke say this church was doing? 3) What do they do that seems to point to a commitment to mission?

Thursday, September 09. Read Acts 16:1-5. 1) What kind of relationship would you say that Paul had with Timothy? 2) What did Paul want Timothy to do? 3) How do you think this shows Paul’s consciousness of a mission?

Friday, September 10. Read Revelation 1:9-3:22. 1) To whom is this section addressed?  See 1:9-11. 2) What specific things did John say to the addressees? 3) What does John say that gives insight into what God expects of his people?

Saturday, September 11. Read Acts 16:1-10. This is Sunday’s sermon text.

Prayer for the Week:

O God, we want to be consumed by you, surrounded by your mission and purpose for us. Help us to be mature in every way. May we because of our intention and commitment set about to do what you want us to do in this world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hymn of the Week:

If the name of the Savior
by Jesse Brown Pounds, 1885

If the name of the Savior is precious to you,
If His care has been constant and tender and true,
If the light of His presence has brightened your way,
O will you not tell of your gladness today?

Oh, will you not tell it today?
Will you not tell it today?
If the light of His presence has brightened your way,
Oh, will you not tell it today?

If your faith in the Savior has brought its reward,
If a strength you have found in the strength of your Lord,
If the hope of a rest in His palace is sweet,
O will you not, brother, the story repeat? [Refrain]

If the souls all around you are living in sin,
If the Master has told you to bid them come in,
If the sweet invitation they never have heard,
O will you not tell them the cheer-bringing word? [Refrain]

Devotional of the Week:

A little Bit of Mission Stubbornness
Can we have a dash of stubborness in our mission stew?
by Greg Anderson

Stubborn: “Having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so.”

I typically consider “stubborn” as a negative attribute, but when it comes to a church’s mission, I think a little stubbornness might be a key ingredient to long-term success. Notice I wrote, “a little stubbornness.”

Think in terms of baking a cake. If I want it to be the exclamation point on a satisfying meal, then I need to make sure the cake mix is balanced. If I were making a chocolate cake for example, I wouldn’t add four cups of bitter chocolate and a dash of sugar. The result would definitely be less than satisfying and would certainly decrease acceptance to future dessert invitations.

How can a well-measured portion of stubbornness be a good thing?

Consider the first part of the definition above. “Having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something.”

To be “dogged” is to be, “determined to achieve something and continuing to try despite difficulties.” Dogged determination can be a very good thing when applied properly. Before we can understand how it should be applied, we must understand the nature of what we are applying it to. A church’s mission is the means by which a church achieves its vision. In simplest terms, your vision is where you want to be and your mission is what gets you there.

Vision is static. It is a destination; a future that is ahead of us. Mission is fluid. If my vision is to be in Houston, Texas, my mission is the vehicle that gets me there. I cannot compromise my destination, but I can choose any number of transportation means. Depending on the urgency of my vision, my mission could be a plane, train, automobile, bicycle, or walking. Or, my mission could be a combination of those various means.

But, what if I refused to alter my mission? What if I said, “I know my vision is Houston, but my grandfather walked everywhere he went, and that’s good enough for me? I refuse any other mode of transportation to get me from here to there.” I suppose that could work out well for you, but my hunch is you will have about the same number of people join you who will eat your four-cup bitter chocolate cake!

What is your church’s vision?

Where do you see your church in 10 years?

What is your church’s mission?

What will get you from where you are to where you want to be in 10 years?

If your vision is to be a place where people engage God in meaningful worship experiences, will your mission be to repeat what we have practiced for the past 50 years?

Or, will your mission be to study worship passages in Scripture as a means of discerning how people of God respond to God throughout various seasons of life, culture, war, peace, plenty, famine, etc., and adapt worship experiences accordingly?

If your vision is to be a place where people grow spiritually, will your mission be to have Sunday evening worship services, Wednesday night Bible classes, and gospel meetings, or will you examine various new media, small groups, men’s or women’s ministries as a means to a spiritual maturity end?

If you say, “You can’t change the mission of God!” I lovingly disagree. Sometimes, Jesus met with crowds. Sometimes, he met with a few. Sometimes, he preached. Other times, he healed. On occasion, he chose to pray alone, while on other occasions, he prayed with many. Paul was a missionary. He was also a tentmaker. He wrote to many. He wrote to one. Peter preached to thousands. He preached house to house.

The vision of Jesus, Paul, Peter, and countless others in Scripture was the same — to honor God and share the Good News of His amazing love. The mission, however, was varied, fluid, adaptable, and yes — sprinkled with just enough “dogged determination” to be effective.

The second part of the definition of stubborn, “especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so,” does often rear its ugly head. It is not a new phenomenon. Jesus was at times deeply distressed at the stubborn hearts of the Pharisees (Mark 3:5). Talk about poster children for an inflexible mission!

As we examine our mission — the part that gets us from where we are to where we want to be — may we prayerfully and carefully discern God’s will versus our stubborn will. Surely, our mission is to love, serve, share, give, show hospitality, and so much more. However, the means by which mission is exercised may vary vastly from church to church and that is a reason to celebrate — not dig in our heels.

A dash of stubbornness related to the mission can be a good thing. Hang in there. Stick with it. Persevere. However, if your mission isn’t working, then be just as determined to prayerfully identify what will — and trust in a God whose love is unrelenting.

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