Transformed Lives Transform Lives (or why your prayer life matters for mission)
As a church we say we exist to put church within touching distance of people’s lives and to lead them to encounter the Lord Jesus. A key part of this is growing a culture in which everyone is empowered to lead people to Jesus. Seeing lives transformed and leading people to faith in Jesus is the great adventure God has planned for each and everyone of us.
This year we are focussing on how we grow as people who are empowered to lead people to Jesus. The sermon series in Acts is designed to help with that. Teaching about the early church and the truths of who we are in Jesus and who he calls us to be today. We are also encouraging people to take part in the MOVE training sessions and to go along to the Fruitfulness On The Frontline series.
And all of this brings me to the Call To Prayer. We’ve just had January’s ‘Fruitfulness’ session, it was entitled ‘A Spirituality For The Frontline’. The focus was how can we best ensure we are effective and distinctive witnesses to the love of God on our frontlines. The answer was not a series of suggestions of what to do but rather a suggestion about who we should become.
The thesis was very simple, transformed lives on the frontline will transform lives on the frontline. To be light and salt in the world is not something we do but what we are. And that is the very life of Jesus in us.
Jesus’ promise in John 7 was that if anyone thirsts they would find what they need in him. What is more they would find a river flowing out from them to others. This picks up Ezekiel’s vision of a river that flowed from the temple and wherever it flowed there was life. Being fruitful on the front-line is about having our thirst met in Jesus and letting that river flow from us to those around us.
The challenge given at the session was to be people who go to Jesus to have our thirst quenched, to be filled so that we may overflow.
We were encouraged to consider how we were wired and how we best met with God. Some of us are thinkers, some are feelers, some of us are reflective, and some of us are activists. But all of us can connect with God.
But whoever we are and however we are wired there are still key things that we can all do to meet with God. We were reminded of the great sermon by John Wesley called Means To Grace. In this sermon Wesley highlights key things all followers of Jesus should be doing in order to have their thirst for him met.
We should be praying. Just as Jesus did, we should seek to set aside time to be with God. We should be people of the word. We have been given scripture to guide us and teach us. We should be people people, sharing lives and faith with one another and coming together to worship and celebrate who God is and all He has done.
Practising these means of grace means we can be filled by the Holy Spirit and the promise Jesus makes in John 7 is that from us, God’s love and Spirit will overflow into the world.
I have been to all of the LICC sessions. In each session we hear a story, or two, of how a Christian has made a difference in someone else’s life and how as a result that person has found faith in Jesus. Interestingly it doesn’t seem to matter what sort of church that Christian attended or what that church’s exact mission strategy happened to be. What really made the difference was that the Christian was full of the love of God and from them that love overflowed.
Paul Harcourt, who heads up New Wine, made a similar point recently. We can talk a lot about why we do mission. We can get everyone thinking right - orthodoxy. We can also talk and teach a lot about how to do mission - orthopraxy. But unless we want to do mission we won’t. What makes us want to do mission? New hearts, the love of God poured into us by the Holy Spirit.
And to be those people who want to do mission, we need to be with Jesus.
This is why we are holding a Call To Prayer. Not because it is a new year and a good thing to do but because it is the most important thing we can do.