New day

Desparity… exaggeration. Tomorrow is a new day.

Church was good… no further descriptive words. After announcement and none of the expected someone get up to protest, things went on normally, a better normal (which happens every now and then). Amanda did a good job leading. Lots of focus on Jesus – sermon included (funny that for a church). It was what was needed. My mind returned to what I read last night…

Colossians 1:21-23
21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Anyway, sat or rather participated with a somewhat better attitude than yesterday’s. Enough to say I even enjoyed myself – or rather, God. God reminding me of various stuff, thoughts in my head. Sense somewhat of community. Surprise surprise. Older guy… Ian Broadley (had to ask Nathania his name afterwards) started talking to us quite out of nowhere… mainly about workloads, YITS, uni etc… he asked about the Solomons, or rather the integration into the ‘Australian Way of Life’…. funny that 🙂 haven’t been asked that in a long while.

I got my act together this afternoon. Emailed Rowan for an extension for the Personal Creed. Hopefully my reasons are vaild enough. Wrote the Evangelism essay – which wasn’t as hard, once I worked out what the topic was talking about… Study for Doctrine test tonight and tomorrow morning over Subway… save the oral presentation for our long 40min Monday breaks x2. Must bring computer. Is it enough to suggest things are a little more under control.
🙂 for God.

I actually found the PE essay kind of interesting. What of more I’d like to do, when feasible. The topic being: Incarnational Mission relating to evangelism. Hopefully okay for a cram session maybe didn’t include enough practical examples. Read it if you like.

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Introduction

Incarnational Mission plays a key role in evangelism. John 1:14 (NIV), tells that, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” As Christians we are called to imitate the life of Jesus and by incorporating this action of the incarnate God into the act of mission, resulting in the concept of Incarnational Mission. This can be more clearly defined as, “The immersion in the life of Jesus rooted and growing in a particular context.” (Taylor, 2004) Simply put, Incarnational mission brings the concept of mission i.e. evangelism into the environment where it is most effective, amongst people in their typical culture.

Incarnational Mission

Mark Norridge states that, “Marshall McLuhan has famously said: “The medium is the message”, implying that the means of communicating the message contains a message itself. If this is indeed the case, then our efforts to communicate God’s love to God’s world can take no higher form than that which God Himself employed.” (Norridge, 2004)

The ‘means’ taking the form of anything from; overseas missionary work, by which the ‘missionary’ is called to, temporarily adopt or understand another culture (Hesselgrave, 1982: 131) to the implementation of activities undertaken by many emerging or organic churches in getting involved in their community and employing a lifestyle both Christian and culture specific.

By intentionally immersing yourself within a culture, be it modern, postmodern, western, international or other, you seek to meet the people on their level. Paul explains this well through his letter to the church at Corinth, “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews… I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Cor 9:20-22 for full text see appendix) By seeking common ground, you can be effective salt and light (Matt 5:13) where there is a genuine need in a culture that will respond far better in their apathy to ‘Christ coming to them’, than the passive act of waiting for the outside world to come to our churches.

Living out a lifestyle of this kind has implications for those involved, “Lifestyle and words go together. People notice that there is something different about us. They may put that down to our simply being nice people and Christians don’t have a monopoly on being nice! Unless we tell them why we’re different how will they know?” (Pollard, 1999: 77) So, despite Incarnational mission being, ‘to go out’ to the world in culturally appropriate ways, there needs to be words behind our motive so as to be able to adequately explain “why Christ”, and to be secure in the balance of being ‘in the world but not of the world.’ (Rom 12:2)

However, “The picture Jesus paints for his disciples is to live life with one hand clasped in the hand of God and the other reaching out to serve the needs of others.” (Posterski, 1989: 148) (Mrk 10:42-45) there are numerous examples of this both through once off youth/congregational attempts and those that seek to live Incarnational Mission daily. Be it to visit the same café a given morning of the week and seek to build relationships with the workers and other regulars, or the more drastic step of living in an unfamiliar culture and learning the ways of another.

Relationship is by far the most effective means of reaching others. Words are by no means the most effective way of communicating. Others will respond when they are both comfortable in a situation – this usually means a familiar environment, and have reached a point where they can trust the person they are listening too. A force fed measure of ‘Bible bashing’ will only make the individual on the other end resistant and will undoubtedly result in offence of an unwanted belief being shoved down their throat. By presenting a familiar lifestyle and not segregating through boundaries of foreign activity, the incarnational missionary has a far more effective means by which to live and share the truth.

Conclusion

By incorporating lifestyle into evangelistic approach, employing incarnational mission, we start placing the onus back on ourselves as Christians. Instead of our passive means of making church attractive to the world we create a situation that has relevance to outsiders. “It’s not the church that has a mission; the mission has a church.” (Morris, 1994) and as part of this church we are called to be the salt and light of Matthew 15, and follow in the footsteps of Jesus by becoming involved in the world we are called to disciple.

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