Whenever I left the house during my teen years, I always heard my mom call after me, “Remember who you are!” Those poignant words have stayed with me ever since, and I might even repeat those words to my own teens today. Thanks, Mom!
We all ask the “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” questions way more than we realize. It’s often subconscious and unknown to even ourselves. We fill our minds, hearts, schedules, garages, portfolios and lives with attempts to answer these questions. We pursue comfort, security, wealth, power, “stuff” and much more. But when these things break, fade, fail or grow boring, we move on to the next things. Often, we’re so focused on what could be “someday” that we miss what we’re in the middle of right here and right now. We miss the very core of our identity and faith.
January is a great time to reflect on who we are and why we’re here, both as individuals and as a church family. So, here at Greenhouse Community Church we started 2020 with a message series called “Right Here, Right Now,” taken in part from Alan Hirsch’s and Lance Ford’s incredible book, Right Here Right Now: Everyday Mission for Everyday People. In this series, we looked at four central aspects to living out our faith “right here, right now”: mission (move), incarnation (in), relationship (alongside) and commission (out).
It starts with mission. The Latin root of the word mission is “missio,” which literally means “sent” and “to move.” The fact that our faith has a mission implies that we are designed and called to be ambassadors who move. Ambassadors never give up their true citizenship. Rather, their true identity empowers them to be fully present and engaged in the context that they’re called to. Ambassadors can’t stay at home and simply talk about their assignment nor can they spend all their time huddled with their fellow citizens in their embassies. To be true ambassadors, they need to move!
For our family, that meant literally moving to Utah. For you, it might mean moving across the community, the street or even the room. We need to move out of our comfort zones and join in with what God is already doing around us.
The incarnation of God shows us that we need to move in. We need to know our own culture and language and be able to translate the good news of Jesus in a life-giving and inviting way. Every place has a culture and even subcultures that we need to understand.
Jesus modeled this approach through relationships. We are designed to move alongside others. Jesus lovingly and virally spread his message along relational lines. It wasn’t gimmicky, manipulative or forced but was real, genuine and undeniable.
Finally, Jesus gives us a commission. In other words, we are called to move out and intentionally share the love of Jesus with whoever God has put into our paths. This could be an act of kindness, a word of encouragement or asking somebody how they’re really doing. We’ve found the question, “What is your religious background?” to be a great way to open up meaningful conversations about God and faith. For the person who strives to be a “good person” but lives in the chronic anxiety of “How good is good enough?” it is radically freeing to hear of the unconditional love of Jesus. Look for what the tangible “Good News” is for each person. The options are endless!
This sermon series has been both a huge encouragement and challenge for us. We need to reimagine ourselves as ambassadors and our church family as an embassy. We’ve been having a lot of fun processing what this means for us, and we pray it is an encouragement and challenge to you as well!