In this sixth installment of the mixed tape series, Seth shares his experience with the church’s call to make disciples of all the nations. As followers of Jesus, we are called on to learn and receive our Father’s heart so that not only will we know Him better, but so that we can express His heart for the broken world through our lives.
Seth begins by sharing two stories. The first time he cried in church was when a pastor had shared a story of seeing a post card in the bottom of the trash can with a couple kids’ faces on it he didn’t know. After a little back and forth with God about the pastor not having emotional response to seeing these kids he realized what his response would have been if they would have been his own kids, and how he’d absolutely stop at nothing to find them. This is God’s response to all of his kids who are disconnected with Him. The second story came about as Seth was reading a book by N.T. Wright in a public library on the life and teachings of Jesus. He started crying, in such a strange place at a strange time, when it finally sunk in how serious Jesus was about his disciples actually doing the things He taught them. He invested in them all He had and expected His followers to live the way He lived.
In Matthew 28 Jesus gives the Great Commission to his disciples, to go and make disciples of all the nations. Jesus prefaces His Commission with a very important note about all authority under heaven and earth being given to Him. When Jesus was challenged about His authority it usually came in the instances when He was forgiving sins. He makes a point here to reiterate this common thread in His teaching that the Father is not counting all their sins against them. He is a Father who loves, is full of grace, and can’t wait to forgive His kids and welcome them back in to the family. In the OT the nation of Israel was instructed to stay put as all the other nations would come to them to learn about what God was like. But in this new Commission, the disciples are instructed to go out. To re-enforce this point the curtain in the temple is torn in two during the crucifixion to show, among other things, that God’s presence is not confined to a building, or country.
Two things were to happen in disciple making. They were to baptize people and teach them to follow everything Jesus had commanded them. This was not an easy job to convey and show everything Jesus was about, and probably the most difficult portion for them (and us today) is getting us and others to understand the Father’s heart. We are very good at deciding who we like, who’s in, who’s deserving of love, etc. and then deciding that God must feel the same way we do. The Pharisees had a clear list of who’s in and who’s out, but they had to remind themselves, as we do today, how truly big the Father’s heart is. For many of us it is possible to spend most, if not all, of our time talking to and being around only Christians. But the reality is there are millions of people in this world who are disconnected with the Father for a variety of reasons, and our job as Kingdom people is to care about the things God cares about. Our hearts should break for the same things that break His heart.
In reality as disciple makers, our success rate is very low, and fruit can be few and far between. This means that to see what we want to see happen in the world, we’re going to have to sow a lot of seed, and keep sowing. Jesus tells them right after the Commission that He will be with them. He used, and will use, absolutely anyone who has an open disposition to following the Father’s heart for His children. He calls us out of whatever we’re doing in to a more meaningful life. He says if you’re willing to follow me, I can use you. The Great Commission invites Christians to be people of hope in a culture of pessimism. The problems in the world are great, and none of them can truly be solved without an apprenticeship to Jesus at the center. He said there is one way, one truth, and one life.
Seth related Jesus’ calling on this group of teenagers He called His disciples to our relationship with the youth and kids in our community. The reality is it’s harder than ever to be a kid and teenager in our world. We can’t call ourselves a community that loves and values our youth unless we’re a church that volunteers like we love our kids and youth. Who will teach them to pray and to become peacemakers if we’re not investing back in them to help change the world? This is the call on our community, to invest in the future generations and teach them to follow the ways of Jesus.
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