Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Field Guide for Everyday Mission Part 1 of 4: A Conversation with Steve Timmis Video and Quotes

Emmaus City Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Network of Missional Communities

A Field Guide Conversation 1 of 4: Steve Timmis Video and Quotes


Emmaus City Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Network of Missional Communities
Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts, Jr. have written a book and created everydaymission.net that I don't want to just read through; I want to patiently soak in, apply, wash, rinse, and repeat the wisdom they've gained. And I want to take on this journey with others. Right now, A Field Guide for Everyday Mission: 30 Days and 101 Ways to Demonstrate the Gospel is sitting on my night stand, ready to inspire and centralize my focus on following Jesus everyday by the power of His Word and His Holy Spirit. Potentially, this adventurous reading and living will be on the horizon for our City Groups with Emmaus City. For now, these next four posts, filled with videos and quotes, are meant as teasers for the book in how to dive into not only loving, knowing, and understanding Jesus, but also walking in His ways.


What is one of your biggest missional failures?


"I think most of life in ministry is comprised of more fails than successes, and that's what we learn through primarily."

"My biggest 'FAIL' by ... a 'country mile' ... was berating God's people to mission as opposed to letting the gospel win their hearts by the Spirit for mission."

 "I was a legalist, effectively. I hammered them with the obligations of the gospel without winning their hearts with the glorious things of what God has done for them. ... And they were never won for Christ and His mission. They could only be sustained living missionally either for short bursts of time or for a longer period of time, but then they just gave up through weariness because Christ wasn't continuously refreshing their hearts."

"Even when the gospel is presented as law, and the implications of the gospel are presented as law, well then God's people will respond, but they're going to respond 'in the flesh' as it were. They're going to respond just in a sense of out of obligation. And they'll grow weary of that because living missionally is hard. That's the thing we have to realize. ... So, it can never be sustained unless it's sustained by hearts continuously refreshed by Christ through the work of the Spirit kindling my affections for Him."

What change did you see when the gospel became central?

"A lot of people confuse (missional living) with a hard-nosed intensity, that it's a kind of relentless 'narrowing of the eyes, let's just get our face set and go for it.' Whereas I think any work of the Spirit, through the gospel, always produces a lightness and a simplicity about it. ... That was the change. There became a lightness and a simplicity to missional living. It wasn't an obligation, a duty to perform. It was a joy to live like this for Christ.

"Evangelism and living missionally has got to come out of a heart that's full of Christ, that delights in Him, that loves Him, a heart that is captured by Him, that is ravished for Him. Without that, then it will be burdensome, and 'in the flesh,' we just won't be able to sustain it. But in the Spirit, then there's that lightness and it's sustainable because it's the gospel that refreshes me even when I'm met with resistance, even when people react badly, even when people abuse me, because living missionally, you're always going to get abused. But even when that happens, the gospel refreshes your heart. It's the Spirit that picks you up, dusts you down, and sets you on your way again. And that's the glory of the gospel."  

"For those who were captured by the gospel and got the gospel, there was a willingness to try things and a willingness to take risks. For those that weren't, it becomes very intimidating and a daunting thing."Hang on, I'm not sure I want to do that. I'm not sure that I dare do that." There's a receptivity, a lightness to it when people are captured by the gospel. Because if our effort fails, so what. Then we've tried. The biggest failure is to try new gospel initiatives. That's a sin, an unwillingness to live missionally for Christ. It's not a fail to try things to engage with the community, your neighbors and so on and to fall flat on your face. The Father delights to see His children doing that."

How did God lead you into missional living?


  "I understood the gospel, but I didn't understand that it was the gospel that persuaded other people. ... If Christ was who He said He was, if the gospel was true, if Christ did what the Scripture said that He did, and that He died for me and died for His Church, and that we are His mission strategy in the world, then that made it really quite easy for me. There two key elements. One was biblical theology ... the idea that the Bible tells a coherent story and that it's basically about God's purpose to have a people for Himself that He reveals His glory to, that He displays His glory through. Understanding that was a game changer for me. ... (And the second was) if we're ministers of the gospel, then the gospel is that which we minister. So don't get distracted by a range of other things. ... It's about mission, it's about equipping people for gospel ministry."

Biblical methodology vs. Biblical identity


"Because you see this identity of who we are as God's people and what we're about, then you understand why Paul did what Paul did and why Paul says what Paul says. And because Jesus is the climax of the great biblical story, because He is the One in whom the glory of God is revealed, and the One who displays the glory of God to the world supremely, and all that we are, we are in Him – our union in Christ is foundational, central, and pivotal because of that, then you understand Him better and why He did what He did ... and the way that He did it."

Why is living on mission so difficult?


 "There are two reasons that living missionally is wearisome: (1) other Christians and (2) non-Christians. The third problem is ourselves, but we conveniently forget that. ... Individualism ... is a critical issue for us in the West and we just don't appreciate how absolutely shot through the whole way we look at the world is by individualism, the way our culture has baptized and accepted as normative the Genesis 3 individualism that so ripped apart God's good creation. And so living life together is a pain because I'm not living as an individual, it's not about my self-actualization, my self-fulfillment, my pleasure. I can't talk anymore about my personal space. I'm only ever a steward of all that God has given me, all the resources He has given me to steward for His glory. Whoever it's about, it's never about me. That's tiresome and wearisome. ... And then we're going to get our hearts broken by others when they walk away after we've invested in them, unless our hearts are always being continuously refreshed by Christ. It's the Hebrews 12, 'who for the joy set before Him' and it's 'for the joy set before us' being Christ's glory, Christ's fame, Christ's reputation ... that's my ambition and I want that to capture my heart and win my affections and that of my brothers and sisters so that we can sustain a lifestyle that is just radically foolish in the cultures that we live in."

"Mission is corporate all the way"


 "The danger is that people immediately jump on that and say, 'OK, then I have no immediate individual responsibility.' And I want to say, 'No, as an individual I do want to speak of Christ, and I do want to speak for Christ, and I want to take opportunities, and I want to pray for opportunities.' ... You can't say it's all corporate, but the primary method for mission is God's people. They're the ones that He's revealed His glory to. They're the ones that He displays His glory through. And it's by this that all men will know that you are My disciples, says Jesus, in that you love one another. So our love for each other is the primary way in which we provide an authenticatication of the gospel, and that which makes the gospel attractive."

   "There is a sense in which corporately, when we have a people who love one another despite our sin, despite our brokenness, despite our culture, individually, corporately, and so on, collectively, that a people are so transformed by the gospel, that we live out together our justified life, our sanctified life, our anticipating of glory life when we live that out and the Spirit is so at work among us, equipping us, enabling us to forgive one another, bear with one another, serve one another, that is what causes people to say, 'God must be among you,' and that's why I say the primary means of mission is God's people."

Next post: A Field Guide for Everyday Mission Part 2 of 4: A Conversation with Jeff Vanderstelt Video and Quotes

Father, love us. Jesus, lead us. Spirit, embolden us.

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