Mission Devotional - July 13, 2016

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive us when we get ahead of you. Forgive us when we charge ahead on our own strength, full of our own agendas, without first waiting for your Spirit to lead and instruct us. Help us to have the wisdom and the patience to truly wait on you. Amen.

Scripture: Luke 24:48-49 and Acts 1:4-5

Journal: How big a part of your everyday life and mission is waiting on and listening to God? In what ways, or in what areas, are you prone to charge ahead rather waiting for his leadership and direction? What does it look like in your life to wait for the promise of the Father?

Reflection: I don't know about you, but I have a tendency in life to charge ahead, rather than to make space and listen to what the Spirit would have me do and say. It is a ready, fire, aim mentality that can leave me in situations where I'm frustrated and burn out if I'm not careful. That's why I really need to pay attention to the way Jesus sent out his disciples, so that I don't make the mistake of running off and trying to change the world in my own power and strength. Jesus doesn't blow the bugle and yell, "Charge!" Instead he tells his disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait. Wait until he sends his Spirit to direct and empower them. We would be wise to do the same.

The first movement of mission, it would seem, is to wait on the Lord. It's all over the pages of Scripture: from Moses shepherding in the wilderness, to Elijah sitting by the brook, to Jesus spending 30 years in a carpenter's shop and then being led by the Spirit into the wilderness, to Paul going into Arabia. It would seem that God knows our tendency to charge ahead, and so he takes us aside first to make sure we are listening to him. That's because mission is more about joining something (or Someone) than about manufacturing something. I would do well to remember that.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

After more than 20 years of church planting in Japan, God led Ron and Amy Barber to a new challenge of equipping the next generation of church planters. Their new ministry at IGSL in the Philippines prepares students for ministry in cross-cultural contexts around the world. Pray today for the Barbers as they continue to get settled in the Philippines. Pray also for Amy whose father recently died.

Young Life Tennessee seeks to pursue and befriend lost or disinterested teenagers to introduce them to Jesus, share the gospel, and help them grow in their faith. Pray today for the students of Young Life Knoxville who will be attending summer camps.

Closing Prayer: O Lord, our God, help us always to wait on you, and resist the urge to move ahead before we have heard your voice and received your wisdom and direction. In the name of your son Jesus, we pray. Amen.