Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Field Guide for Everyday Mission Part 3 of 4: A Conversation with Helen Lee Video and Quotes

Emmaus City Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM GCM Collective Christian Reformed Network of Missional Communities Everyday Mission


A Field Guide Conversation 3 of 4: Helen Lee Video and Quotes

To read and watch the quotes and clip from the previous post:

Emmaus City Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM GCM Collective Christian Reformed Network of Missional CommunitiesBen Connelly and Bob Roberts, Jr. have written a book and created 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, readto 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, in a series of four posts filled with videos and quotes, there will be teasers for the book in how to dive into not only loving, knowing, and understanding Jesus, but also walking in His ways.


How did God lead you into missional living?


"I found myself captivated by this idea, just this basic idea that every single Christian is called to be a missionary in whatever context God has placed them. It's not just a term for people who are sent far away to the far reaches of the world. And something about that was appealing to me as a mom especially because I was in the throes of raising my kids. They were still pretty young at the time and I was finding myself floundering in terms of my own identity and struggling with this idea that, 'OK, now that I'm a mom, does that mean that that's the entirety of who I'm supposed to be? Is that my only identity now?' I felt that there was a tension there because I felt that I was called to do more, that my children were important, but that there was more to the mission God had given me beyond just my kids. So when this missional idea entered into my frame of reference, I felt like, 'Wow, this is a message moms need to hear, this idea that they are called to be missionaries right there where they are.' In the home, absolutely, but also in whatever context God has placed them in their neighborhoods, in their schools, with their kids soccer teams wherever. There are so many opportunities to live on mission if they were willing to open their eyes to see what those possibilities are. ... For me that was really freeing. It's permission to just be open to how God wanted to use me for His missional purposes."

What does living on mission look like for you?


 "We've had a lot of lifestyle changes as a result of considering ourselves a family trying to live missionally. Part of that has been a rejection of cultural trends that I see all around me that are pushing even Christian parents to put their children at the center of their lives, and the accomplishments and achievements of their children kind of front and center. I feel like God really challenged us on some of those areas to say part of your mission is to stand against that. Part of your mission is to show that that's not necessarily the way to live, to make idols of your children and all their activities and their potential and all their potential accomplishments and really free yourself from those cultural binds."

"... Certainly thinking about our neighborhood and our block as being full of missional opportunities. We had been friendly with our neighbors before, but I think it was after we began understanding this concept of missional that we realized, 'You know, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to just live amidst and amongst those who are our 'mission field,' so to speak. Not that we would treat them as projects ... but for all of us to engage our neighbors and build relationships with our neighbors. And the last six years we've gotten to know our neighbors so much more as a result of just being willing to be open to opportunities to interact with them. Not building walls around ourselves as a family, but being willing to go outside the walls of our house to engage people right around us. So that's been a fun change as we've gotten to know our neighbors better." 

"Seeing really every place where we are with people on a consistent basis as being opportunities for mission. So that could be my kids' music schools, or their baseball teams, sports teams, what have you. We started looking at all those as, 'OK, every time we go into a situation where we get to interact with people on a regular basis, we're going to say, 'Alright, Lord, can you give us opportunities to be Jesus to the people around us.' So we have lots of little stories of times when people have come up even responded back to us and said, 'Wow, the way that you're family is, or the way you treated us, it really made an impact on us.' Those stories are really encouraging. It made me say, 'Clearly we're here for a purpose ... not just to live our lives, but to be agents of God's mission wherever we are and whatever we're doing."

"Our kids have never taken 'a class' on how to evangelize. And they've never read anything on how to reach your community or anything like that. But they love their friend and they love Jesus. And for them, it just made perfect sense that those two things had to come together. So they shared the gospel with him one summer afternoon ... and the boy accepted Christ that day. And it was this unbelievable, happy time for us all. But I feel like especially what it meant for my kids to see, to live out their calling as God's missionaries in that way, to see that their friend had made that decision was just unbelievably powerful for them." 

Why is living on mission so difficult? 

(7:4 11:27)

"The cultural pull on families today is incredibly strong. That's the biggest barrier I see for many families is that they just get so sucked into and caught up in the cultural trends to just pour everything into their kids and into just the busy-ness of life. To say, 'We're going to just follow along with everyone else and make sure our kids are doing five different activities each. Make sure they're well-rounded. Make sure they have every opportunity to excel. That mentality is so strong. I see it everywhere. And when I have been able to just challenge that a little bit and say, 'You know, God's mission may not be that your child gets to go to an Ivy League university and do something that might be considered prestigious in the world's eyes. God's mission for you, your son, or your daughter might be something completely different to live with the least of these, or to be a missionary in another country, or whatever it may be. It may be different from what you're imagining.' And just to be able to give parents the freedom to say, "no," to those cultural trends has been really freeing. And yet, those are the things that tend to prevent them from being able to live on mission instead, that pressure our society pushes on us to be successful in the world's definition of success."

"Sometimes when you're trying to build those friendships, trying to build those relationships, for whatever reason, there's a barrier. It may happen when they find out you're a Christian. I don't know if that's the reason. Maybe they just didn't like us. And that happens. I guess part of the deal is that you will experience rejection and there will be times when you feel like, 'I'm doing this with the Lord. Why would there be rejection?' But it happens. There are times when people won't respond the way that you hoped or expected. Things will be promising in the beginning and then there will just be some distance that appears and you don't know why. You feel the feeling of failure sometimes even though you know that it's all in the Lord's hands and He will open doors as He opens doors to continue to be faithful even when you don't know why things turn out the way they turn out. Sometimes I think we think things will happen faster than they will. I mentioned the friend that our kids led to Christ. But our relationship with his parents has taken a lot longer. With the kids, they have less barriers to connect. But with the parents, they know that we're Christians and that we led their son to Christ, so there's a little bit of wariness on their part. But we're just trying be patient and we're not trying to push too hard. We're trying to take our time with them. But there are parts of me that wishes things would just move faster. But I have to trust that things will move in the Lord's time. I can't orchestrate the situations or relationships the way I want. We have to be willing to be patient and to trust that you plant a seed and sometimes it takes decades. For things to bloom, you just don't know what that time will be."

"I think that there's an emphasis, or an over-emphasis, on results. Like, 'If you're living missionally, then you're going to see all these people come to Christ. And you're going to see all these results, great results for the kingdom. I think that can be a barrier because I don't think it is that at all, actually. We our being faithful to God and the mission God gives us and He is responsible for the end results. So I think it's hard sometimes for us as Western Christians to embrace and accept that the results are not necessarily in our hands and we have to accept that and embrace that."

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