This summer, we are launching a group of church members into the mission field–adults & teens, some of them are members of my family. For months, I prayerfully considered the question, “What is my part?” Even if you are not the one taking a plane to a foreign country or the inner city, it’s possible to be a part of the project. You can participate with the work of prayer. I am so thankful with the answer that God has given me this year. I hope it blesses you also. Here is my charge to the mission working churches in 2016:
“How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”
–Ephesians 1:3-6 (The Message–from Bible Gateway.com)
For anyone who has ever expected a child, you know that feeling? There’s a delightful anticipation for every member of the family. That is for sure! Whether you are the one having a baby, or it’s your sister, sister-in-law, aunt, parent, or friend—it doesn’t really matter. Does it? Everyone has a claim on the tiny little bundle wrapped in a hospital blanket well before the “labor day” arrives.
It doesn’t even matter if the baby is born in a hospital or adopted from half way around the world. You wa-ai-t for that child. You read every book there is to read on the subject of parenting, teaching, and caring for that teeny, adorable person. You also get down to business on the task of preparing a room for that baby to live in. There is painting and decorating, furniture buying, and baby registry making. When you are all finished, ready for your son, daughter, sibling, niece, nephew, cousin, or friend—then what?
Then the gift buying starts. Most women know that when there’s nothing left to do—there is always shopping! (All you men have done your part. J We know who built that bookshelf, assembled the crib and changing table, and started a college savings account while the recipient was in utero.) So, shopping, ladies? Yes, we do. We may be in Walmart when the onesies and sleepers draw us away from our grocery list. There is just so much love. We don’t even know what to do with it.
Is anyone excited yet? I know I am.
Well, I have news for you. We are expecting, Church! We all are. We are sending out a mission team to go and welcome untold numbers of new lives into the Body of Christ. Jesus is in the business of adopting life. (Romans 8:14-16) He is the Resurrected Life (John 14:6), and He is the Sustainer of life (Acts 17:28) all over the world. In just a few short weeks, we will be able to witness with our own eyes: lives changed, people made whole, needs met, souls brought to Jesus, and new brothers and sisters of all ages welcomed into our “Royal Family”—the Family of the King of Kings. Could anything be better?
Whether you are a mission-trip taker, a family member staying home, a pastor, teacher or leader, a next-door neighbor, or a friend—let’s claim this one as our very own. Don’t you want to? Aren’t you thrilled for those little lives and big lives coming to the Kingdom? God’s heavenly plans are always so much larger than our own. I know He is up to something this year, for this team,
on this trip,
in this church,
in this city!
Can you even imagine what it is? It’s going to be good! So what are we going to do? Let’s all get together and give a gift. Make it the Best. Gift. Ever. All the plane tickets are bought, the passports picked up, the bake sales finished, the car washes done—forget shopping. We are going to make place for these new lives coming to Christ. We are going to pray God’s strength and protection on this team going out to serve. We are going to get with God on what He is doing—bigger than what we expected, more amazing than what we thought, and we are going to…
Prepare Him Room.