July was a very special time for us as a church as we looked at the What, Why, and How of our mission as a church. For an Order of Worship go to www.solacitychurch.com/orderofworship.
Jon started us off with a call to worship from Psalm 95-96. Here are a few highlights from that passage:
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 3For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 4In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. 5The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. 6Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! 2Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. 3Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! 4For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.
8Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! 9Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! 10Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!"
Woven into the night, were breaks in worship and testimony that answered 3 questions about our Mission:
1. What is the Goal of our Mission?
2. What is the Objective of our Mission?
3. How do we live on Mission?
What is the Goal of our Mission? - The Glory of God - Psalm 148-149
The Psalms are not full of praises to God just by chance; nor are the psalmists just looking for some deity to direct their praise toward. instead, the posture of the Psalms is a call to "Give thanks to the Lord" because "He is good." Have you ever thought that God may actually be due your eternal praise and adoration just by the nature of being God? What we looked at in depth on Sunday night is that our ultimate and most fulfilled purpose, where our hearts finally find their pinnacle point of satisfaction and fulfillment, is where we are found glorifying God. We were actually created for such a purpose, to worship God rightfully and truly. Our resolve not to pour our praise out to Him is not dethroning Him, nor does it debunk the truth of His creator-ship and lordship; it is actually attesting to our ignorance, our rebellion against our Creator.
And unfortunately, this kind of rebellion is universal. In Romans 1, Paul, who is indicting all of the human race, shows us that "although we knew God" as God, seeing Him in all of creation, we ignored what we knew to be true about Him and exchanged the glory that He was ultimately due for idols that we created out of His creation. Think about this for a moment. Paul shows us that we attributed the worth our Creator deserves to the creation itself. This, according to Paul, is futility and foolishness at its finest.
On a practical level, think about how often this is your story. Our view of creation and life is so limited to our humanity. Our day-to-day does not acknowledge the divine. Furthermore, our actions prove that we are actually on the thrones of our own hearts and not God. And since we do operate out of the created order of things where our Creator is central, we are frustrated all of our life. Operating in a false reality where we are king and not God, we break relationship with God. This is the end of life as we know it. And unfortunately we inherited such a fallen nature.
There is good news though. God Himself, being the initiator from the beginning of creation, does not wait for such praise to naturally develop from his image bearers. Instead, He not only fights for what is right in that He is properly worshipped, but actively works for our joy in this life by allowing us, through the Gospel of Jesus, to worship Him. Look at the Exodus in the OT. The israelites were frustrated and enslaved because of their own sin; but God saved them. And He actively works for us in sending His Son to die for our sins, healing our relationship with Him by placing Him on his rightful throne in our hearts. He allows us to flourish in our posture of trusting God the Father through the complete work of His Son on the Cross.
And now, as the church that has discovered this joyful and eternity-changing news, we are allowed to be the carriers of such news to a fallen and broken world. We get to offer the freeing news that humanity doesn't have to play the role of God. How awesome!
What is the Objective of our Mission? - That Every Nation would Hear the Gospel - Matthew 28
Playing off of this theme of God's glory in creation as well as God's sovereignty in restoring our hearts to their rightful posture and place, Jordan shared about how Revelation 5 (a picture of eternity where every tribe, people, and nation is found worshipping at the throne of God rejoicing in the Lamb that was slain and found worthy to open the scrolls of God) impacted his understanding and fueled the motivation to carry out the Great Commission in Matthew 28 ("Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I [Jesus] have commanded them.").
When we catch the vision of Revelation 5 in that, for eternity, we will be caught up in whole-hearted worship of God in the Gospel of Jesus, it makes our worries, fears, and problems seem very small and makes His plans and purposes revealed to us in the Bible seem central. I wonder if you have had that type of revelation? Maybe God's plans for you as a Christian are much bigger than your 8am-5pm work week. And, just maybe, He is calling you to commit your life to making disciples of all nations.
We continued the night with worship. It is so encouraging to sing with one another as a church. God truly does use singing to encourage us to believe the Gospel in our lives.
We then turned to prayer led by Esaias Perry where we specifically focused on revival for our city and community. And there was a moment where it felt as though Jesus had settled on the hearts of everyone there. We were awestruck at the glory of Jesus as we prayed for our city.
How Do We Live on Mission? - By Simply Treasuring Jesus - Mark 14:3-9
We finished the night by examining the woman and her alabaster jar in Mark 14. What she did would resound through all of creation for the rest of history. And, yet, it was such a seemingly simple thing she did: anointing the savior for burial.
Though simple and ordinary, what we find in this account of Jesus' life, was what we, by grace, can do in our lives: be missional by taking our ordinary lives and treasuring Jesus with them. There are three things that specifically stand out in this passage that we highlight here: her Ordinariness, her Kingdom-mindedness, her Heart Posture.
This woman was every bit ordinary and a breath of fresh air in our culture where normal is not enough. She was from a small town called Bethany (notice Jesus was found not in the major metropolis but in a small rural town). She did not have to journey across the world to treasure Jesus. She just brought glory to her ordinary. And Jesus took this act of love and said that it would be proclaimed in the whole world. That is "Mission" at its finest! The Gospel went forth by her simple act of faith.
This woman knew how to leverage her life for the sake of God's kingdom. She saw that her accumulation of possessions was not ultimate; God's kingdom was ultimate and final. How might you leverage what God has given you for the sake of the spread of the Gospel? It does not have to be profound. It could be as simple as throwing a neighborhood block party for your neighbors, or it could be even simpler by taking your lunch break to share the Gospel with your coworker. Jesus more than likely does not want to take you out of ordinary life, but wants to give you eyes to see how the Kingdom could come crashing into your reality.
The disciples said that it was a waste for her to use her money in this way, to anoint Jesus for burial. Often times in our religiosity, we have agendas that seem biblical and wise. But Jesus wasn't really concerned with that. He was more pleased with the woman's heart than her actions. Jesus saw a woman who came before Him humbly to acknowledge His Lordship. I wonder what Jesus might do in our midst if we woke up everyday not with a list of obligations to fulfill, but with a heart to savor and treasure our savior? He might use that expression of worship in a missional way much more than He would our best efforts to spread the Gospel. He did that for this woman.
Here are some pictures from our gathering. Jesus surely was with us.