from mess to ministry

::our mission field::

"And all of this is a gift from God... God has given us this task
[this ministry] of reconciling people to Him...
So we are Christ’s ambassadors;
God is making his appeal through us."
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (NLT)

local mission.  foreign mission.  witnessing.  ministry.  these words - these phrases - they conjure up all sorts of ideologies and images for us.  most of which are loosely based on what, if any, subculture of Christianity we were exposed to in our formative years.

for me, "ministry" was something that people - usually men - were "called to".  and it usually meant "preaching" or "pastoring".  women served in the church and they served their men.  this calling, so it seemed, was certainly not for everyone.  "mission work" was something else altogether, pieced together from a handful of stories of visiting foreign missionaries.  again, for a few.  either elected or selected - those whom had this ambiguous "calling" from the Lord.   
i spent years in overwhelming confusion about purpose.  calling.  ministry.  discipleship.  i was so paralyzed by the seeming complexity of it all that i was unable to grasp simplicity of His word:  

"If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation"... anyone.  not just someone.  not a few.  anyone.  that's me.  and if you know Him, that's you.  "the old has gone, the new has come".... and with it, our purpose - our task - our assignment - our ministry - our calling -  laid out before us:  "this task of reconciling people to Him." we are marked as His ambassadors. His messengers.  Right then. on. the. spot.

at that very moment, we are transformed.  from a mess into His masterpiece: 

"For we are God’s masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good works
He planned for us long ago."
Ephesians 2:10 

a masterpiece is a one-of-a-kind. There are six billion humans on this planet and there is only one you. You are, in the greek, "poiĆ©ma" (poy'-ay-mah) - crafted and created by the Creator. 

but we get lost in the middle of the questions - in the "ifs".  if He has purpose for us. if  ministry for us. if He has plans for us.  and yet His word tells us that He creates us anew - all over again - so that we can do the works He already planned for us.  
"Your greatest life message and your most effective ministry 
will come out of your deepest hurts." - Rick Warren 

it is our deepest hurts that drive us to the ends of ourselves and into the arms of our Savior.  and there, He transforms our hearts - and our hurts - for His purpose, exchanging our disgrace for His grace.

and our mission field:  it's right there, below our feet.  the ground where we are standing, or sitting as the case may be.  and those people - the ones across the street - and across the room - they need your ministry.  they don't need our theology. they don't need our church buildings or our programs.  they need our Savior.  they need His arms reaching.  His heart seeking.  and so we go and we seek on His behalf.

a few weeks ago, the roster for Parker's first grade class came home.  on the back, was pictures of each of the kids, holding up signs with what they want to be when they grow up.  and there, at the bottom of the last row was my Parker. 

just last night, i tucked my little missionary into bed and he says, "I really hope I can be a missionary when I grow up." hand cupped around his little cheek, i remind him, "Oh, Parker, you already are. "

you already are...  

"I have learned that I will not change the world.
Jesus will do that.
I can, however, change the world for one person.
So I keep stopping and loving one person at a time.
Because this is my call as a Christian."


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