Many of us know John 3:16. But someone once also said, “For God so loved the world, he left us here.”
Really? A lot of us would rather escape this world than stay here. But as followers of Jesus, God has left us here, not to take up space, but to live into God’s purpose for us—something far greater than our sorrows, our diversions, or our success. He left us here to be witnesses of God’s rescue mission.
For those of you who wake up each morning ready to see how God’s going to use you, our times together this winter will just add fuel to your fire. And if you’ve been having a hard time dragging yourself out of bed lately, feeling like you’re on a hamster-wheel of the “same old, same old,” we’re going to pray together and challenge (but not guilt) each other to live fully into the adventure God has waiting for us.
We want to be like Peter and John in the book of Acts, who when threatened with prison for sharing their faith, said, “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Or like Paul, who said of his passion to share Christ, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died” (2 Corinthians 5:14)—or, as in The Message Translation: “Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes.”
In the end, says Covenant pastor and evangelist Lon Allison, “It is love that makes sharing about Jesus a core part of our being.” This love that comes from God gets us out of bed in the morning. Love fuels us. And it’s love that compels us to shake off our spiritual winter and lethargy, saddle up our horses, and go with God on his Great Gospel Adventure to bring people back to a relationship with him.
BLESS: Becoming Good News for Everyone. With this in mind, we’re inviting you to join us in a BLESS adventure throughout this coming year. BLESS is not a sneaky way to get you to download information or memorize scripts. It’s more like learning to love our neighbors well—by cultivating habits that get ingrained in our everyday life.
God’s way of reaching and restoring the world has always been through blessing. The five missional practices make up the acronym BLESS and are a way to participate in the strategy God gave Abraham to reach the world. “And I will bless you…and you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2).
We’ll be inviting you to develop and practice five simple habits with those in your spheres of influence—friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors and colleagues—the people outside of God's family—so they might take a step closer towards making faith commitments to Jesus.
We’ll pray that our relationships with others will deepen as we partner with God’s Spirit to bless those who do not know him. This BLESS adventure is meant to get all of us a little more “unstuck” in helping people find their way back to God. It’s an intentional way for all of us who want to follow Jesus—kids, youth, and adults—to become more like Jesus as we join his mission to the world.
Rather than saying, “Do I have to do this?” we want to become so compelled by the Spirit in joining God’s mission that we’ll soon wake up every morning, asking God, “How can I be on mission with you, God, today?” And as God reveals himself and his plans for you throughout the day, you’ll be saying, “I just HAVE TO—I want to, I get to do this!”
--Steve Eng, lead pastor