It wasn’t our Thanksgiving, but we took a long weekend anyway, and even ate a turkey — in honour of our American guest. Then we all got sick — except for Nicole. To be more precise, I have a man-cold, which has now been scientifically proven (ok, not really proven, but at least posited!) to be a much more significant illness than that which befalls the fairer sex!
That’s right, ladies, next time your hubby turns into a whining baby when he gets a cold or flu, give him some extra loving — its entirely possible that he really is feeling it worse than you would!
Fortunately, things are winding down for the year. Alpha finished up last Wednesday, but the Table 11 crew are going to continue to get together at our place until Christmas, just to keep our momentum going. Last Wednesday my “suspicions” were proven true and we welcomed our new friend Jim into God’s family. I’m pretty sure that our group was hand picked by God for what we have to teach each other, and we’re praying that in January, when small groups kick off, He picks a few more interesting and challenging people to meet with us.
Nicole started on Christmas decorations yesterday. I make her wait until December 1st, because I’m adamently opposed to the rampant consumerism that comes along with this holiday, but I have to admit, it looks nice in the living room. And I’m looking forward to watching Benjamin open his presents in a few weeks.
I’m learning a new technology called SilverLight, which may or may not be a silver bullet for Microsoft in finally changing their direction from thick to the thin/web client world. Ramping up on new tech sucks, but once it clicks, and starts flowing, its a good feeling.
For those that have enjoyed pondering Christianity with me, I do intend to finish out my series of thoughts, I’m just not as confident in proposing solutions as I am in identifying problems. But the discussion has been very valuable to me, and although I’m sure not all of you enjoyed reading it, the feedback has been generally positive — a publishing house even contacted me and offered to send me pre-release copies of a couple books on Christian leadership that they’re putting out!
2008 has been a physically ambitious year for us. We moved twice — once from another country, had a baby, bought a house… 2009 doesn’t hold quite so many physical challenges, but that’s good, because it will give us some time to figure out how to apply some the things we’ve been learning. I won’t write again until I have some practical ways to apply those things, because even though I’m well aware that I’m not always right, I try to at least have an informed opinion before I spout my mouth off.
So, I’ll leave you with something our pastor said in church a couple Sundays back, that I found both encouraging and challenging. He said there are three roles available to the individual Christian, and we each are built to do two of them at a time. The roles are:
An evangelist — This is not someone who gets up on the street corner and preaches about judgment and doom. An evangelist is someone who lives out the love of Christ in their world. That means that where ever we are, we’re to act like, look like, talk like, and love like Christ did. (The Onion has a great article about how unusual that kind of Christian is these days)
A missionary — Someone who goes out. They have a passion for getting out of their comfort zone, sometimes into danger, to make His love known to the ends of the earth.
A supplier — Someone who equips the others. As a Christian, its your responsibility to supply evangelism and missions — in real and practical ways. That includes your finances, in tithe, both to the local ministries you’re involved in, and to the missionaries we send out. That includes prayer, and intercession. That includes time and energy.
So if all of us are made to be two of those things, maybe most of us will be Evangelist-Suppliers — which means we demonstrate Christ in our communities, and we ensure those we send out are properly equipped.
Some of us may be Evangelist-Missionaries — which means we are sent to communities that aren’t our own to show Christ’s love to others.
And some of us are Supplier-Missionaries, which means we are sent out to provide the infrastructure, logistics and support for the Evangelist-Missionaries.
Now this isn’t my sermon, so I hope I’m not butchering it in my delivery, but what I’d add to it is that God may have us fulfilling different roles in different seasons in our lives. The majority of people reading this are likely equipped, at the moment, to be Evangelist-Suppliers. But are we being effective at that? And are we ready, should God ask us to change roles? Do we know enough about Evangelism that we could do it in another place? Have we been responsible enough Suppliers that God could trust us with the Supplies given by others if we were sent out?
The bottom line is that none of these things are optional for Christians — or for individual churches. Maybe you aren’t one of those people with the burden to go to Africa and Supply or Evangelize, but if you’re not, then you have been burdened with Supplying those who have, and you are responsible to Evangelize right where you are.
Are we living out Christ in our communities? Are we supplying the missionaries He sends out? And are we willing and ready to be obedient if God wants us to accept the Missionary role for a season of our life — or longer? Are we willing and ready to be obedient if God wants one of our loved ones to accept that role, and Supply them as though we were giving back to a God who loves us and made us for a purpose?
Our challenge, as a family, for 2009 is embracing the role God has tasked us with for this season in our lives, and being as effective as we can at it. I try to avoid the self-righteous-question-to-close-a-blog-entry thing, but this is a collective discussion, so I’ll end with one, just this once:
What role is God asking you to fulfill in 2009, and are you ready to be effective at it?