Mission Starts With Beauty

May 16, 2012 in By Ryan, Missional Living

If I’m not careful, I let myself get stuck staring at a computer screen all day, pretty much every day. As the weather gets nicer outside, I find this dreadful. Last Monday, I intentionally took a 15 minute break, went outside, laid in the sun, played with the grass, and felt the breeze. It was more beautiful than the rest of my day and something I’m convinced I need to do every day, because as I laid in the grass, God gave me life for that day.

In the first creation narrative of Genesis, God declares the goodness of God’s creation seven times. God even looks upon everything God has created and finds it “supremely good” (Genesis 1:31 CEB).

The story of God begins with beauty.

When we look upon the world we live in, we might struggle to come to the same conclusion as God did. The brokenness of sin and death is often much easier to find than the beauty of love and life. And maybe rightly so, because the world we are a part of now is different from the world God found “supremely good” in the beginning. Sin and death have come into the world, and the world is no longer how God intended it to be.

We might begin to think that God’s mission is simply to get rid of a problem. When we view God’s mission as getting rid of something, I think we miss the fullness of God’s abundant life.

Because the divine, the beautiful, the sacred, is to be found all around – if we simply slow down enough and pay enough attention. If we take a break from the manufactured computers of our lives, we can participate in God’s life-giving creation. If we take our focus off ourselves and put it on others, we can love the way God intended us to love. And just as we can participate in God’s life-giving creation, we can participate in God’s life-giving mission, helping creation live into the fullness of God’s life.

Recognizing and living in the beauty of God’s world is the beginning of living in God’s mission. If we take seriously the scriptural testimony to a God who is at work in the world, restoring and reconciling all creation to God’s self, we begin to see that God isn’t starting over from scratch and isn’t just solving a sin problem but is working to restore creation to its intended wholeness, beauty, and supreme goodness.

How does beginning with the goodness of God’s creation affect the way we view God’s mission in the world?

Right now, how can you slow down to see the beauty of God’s life in the people, places, and creation around you?

God’s Story and Invitation

May 3, 2012 in By Ryan, Missional Living

Throughout the last year of my life I have been awakened to a greater understanding of who God is, the story of God, and what God is doing in the world. It is an exciting and on-going journey. MissioLife (and Chris Folmsbee and others) has shaped and guided this journey into a missional life.

My story is similar to many others’ stories. I was raised in a Christian family, my dad was a pastor, and I have always belonged to the church. I was taught about believing in God, God’s love, God’s sacrifice, God’s forgiveness, and the life that is possible through it all. I was taught to seek God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. And I was taught to love others.

I am so thankful for and blessed to have parents and a Christian community that raised me in the love of God.

But I have also learned in the last year or so, that maybe there’s something about being Christian that I missed growing up. Chances are that I was taught more than I learned, and that now I’m aware of what I have been taught all along. Regardless of whether I missed it or was never taught it, I’m discovering that there is much more to following Christ than just being forgiven and trying to love God as much as I can.

I’m discovering that my life has nothing to do with my own story and everything to do with God’s Story.

I’m discovering that when I place my life into God’s Story, I find who God created me to be.

I’m discovering that I’m learning more and more about what God’s Story really is.

And I’m discovering that God’s invitation is not just for my sins to be forgiven but for each of us to be a part of God’s redemptive mission to restore all things to their intended wholeness.

That is why MissioLife has been a valuable resources for me and our community. It has guided us further into God’s Story and God’s invitation to be part of God’s loving activity in the world. I look forward to sharing more about our experience with Missio Life.

Whether you have used MissioLife or not:

How do you understand the Story of God? What is God doing in your life and in the world? How can you respond to God’s invitation?