A Vision Produces a Mission

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There is nothing like a good hot curry at 4:30am in the morning to get your mind to ponder
the majestic things of God. You may want to try a “missional breakfast”.
In theology we speak of “Progressive Revelation”. We mean thereby that our unchanging
God is continuing to reveal Himself and change His people. The climax of that change in
one sense came two thousand years ago. God sent His Son.
The fullness of God, as the letter to Colossians reminds us, resides in Jesus the Christ. The
intro to the letter of Hebrews reminds us of the “completion” of God’s revelation in His Son.
That does not mean that God no longer speaks or reveals anything to people. Rather, all
that He continues to reveal for individuals and communities will always be grounded in the
purpose, the work and the person of Jesus the Christ. For that reason, Jesus prepared us
and said, “I will send you the Holy Spirit, and He will lead you in all truth.”
To lead, or be led, implies change. This month marks the tenth anniversary of my ministry at
Millbrook. I remember one of the early comments made to me: “Jerry, just remember, if
anything changes around here, I’m out of here.” Well, thank God, we have and are
seeing changes, and yes, that person is still with us.
One of the majestic things of God is His vision for the world. He has planned a “new world”.
The citizens of that ‘new world’ will be, not, in the first instance, church goers, but disciples
of Jesus. God’s vision for this new world has been birthed on earth. It is a community of
people who collectively are called “The Church”. I am not speaking of egocentric, power
hungry, morally confused individuals who hide behind braided garments of religious
traditions. No, God has in mind those who love with His love, who walk humbly with Him,
and have His vision of a Kingdom Community. His Kingdom community is the true
“Rainbow coalition”. These are the peoples, tribes and nations expressing and sharing the
diversity and unity of God’s character and attributes.
God called me to Millbrook so that change would occur. He called me to be a
“Community organizer” (sounds familiar?) for His glory. Nehemiah was called to be a
community builder. He experienced distractions, but he remained faithful.
We have shared how remaining in the PCUSA was one of our distractions in the process of
rebuilding. The interesting idea behind “re-building” is an implied assumption that
something is in need of repair. That, no doubt is true.
We called ourselves a Community church but were under-developed in our relationship
with the Community. Millbrook should not forget the work of the Mustard Tree, which is, in
some ways, pioneering work reaching out to the kids in the community.
I have been “pondering” a recent comment made by one of our saints. Referring to
earlier years when the Holy Spirit was “active”, and people came for healings, this person
observed the following: “In that time, we were essential turned inward, seeking personal
encounters, content to see blessings flow among ourselves”. There were blessings; God IS
good.
The Holy Spirit IS active at Millbrook. Some of us (and we are increasing) do share a clear
vision of Millbrook as a Kingdom community that is connectional with saints from other
Christian faith traditions. Like Nehemiah, we will not be distracted, but, keeping our eyes
on Jesus, continue to build and reach both inward and outward.
An inward reach is firstly personal. It keeps us connected to Jesus and the true motive for
“Being and doing”. Our outward reach continues as we engage the community, a lost
world, into which we are called to serve.
God’s vision required Jesus to move out of “His comfort zone” in heaven. The dramatic
changes He experienced we remember particularly at Easter. His vision was majestic (our
salvation), and so He persevered. I don’t believe Jesus ever had any “self interest”. We do,
but we are called to surrender it for the cause of Christ.
Our “pot luck” luncheons always reflect a wide range of dishes (Thank you Jesus!).
Why? Surely it reminds us that people have a variety of tastes and needs. Is “worship” any
different? We want people to be “fed”. So, we should always ask, “What do you like to
eat”? Others are more inclined to say, “Sit down, shut up, and get out if you don’t like it”
I have over these years seen folks “get out”. I continue to be in touch with some of them. I
pass no judgment when I say that the majority are products of our culture; they are
“consumers”, not “Community builders”.
Millbrook is continuing to change because the Holy Spirit is at work. New members,
baptisms, visitors, community outreach and planning are evidence of that.
I am grateful today to be here, and share in that vision. My prayer is that the words of
Isaiah “Behold, I am doing as new thing…do you not see it?” (Isa.43:19) will touch your
spirit. As the song writer notes, “Open my eyes that I may see…”
Wow….time for a curry seconds!
Joyfully,
PJ

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