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… or more accurately, praise to God who created the world that we live in and enjoy.

Just one of God’s landscape paintings…

Following on from my tongue in cheek Jacana story yesterday, this morning I read this from Vivien Whitfield commenting on Psalm 104 in SU WordLive.

As a keen birdwatcher I regularly feed the birds in my garden and record those which come. It’s fun to watch their different characteristics. Greenfinches sit guzzling on the seed feeder. Tits fly in and out again quickly. I have seen collared doves appearing to plead with me to put more food out. And yet all the birds fly off when I go out into the garden. They depend on me when the surrounding food supply is low, but they’re wary of me as well. Perhaps that’s a good illustration of how humans are with God. We depend on him for everything and yet there’s a right wariness too – which comes through clearly in this psalm.

Yesterday we had a plump woodpigeon perching on our decking fence patiently waiting for untidy feeders like the sparrows and coal tits to dislodge seeds on to the ground so it too could feed. I’ve also been excited about the beautifully coloured goldfinches that come regularly to feed from the niger seeds this year.

Then there are the bossy noisy starlings, the bullying jackdaws and the imperious magpies that disturb the quieter robins, collared doves, tits and dunnocks.

Please take time to read Psalm 104 today. God has given us an amazing world to live in.

The Earth reflects the amazing creativity of our God. We destroy and exploit it at our peril.

Another quote from SU WordLive this morning

 

 

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Jesus had a habit of answering questions with his own rather challenging questions.

But then God has given us a lot of clues about how to live our lives in relationship with him – and in community.

In the Bible, starting with Genesis, where we find the Ten Commandments we find a good starting point…

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.

  2. You shall make no idols.

  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

  4. Keep the Sabbath day holy.

  5. Honor your father and your mother.

  6. You shall not murder.

  7. You shall not commit adultery.

  8. You shall not steal.

  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

  10. You shall not covet.

And then throughout the rest of the Bible!

Which is why Wycliffe Bible Translators exists: to enable all peoples to engage with the Bible in a language which speaks to their heart. It’s how God shows us humans how to live in his creation.

So when the young man got up from his bench, saying goodbye to Jesus… I wonder what he did next?

 

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… and setting the right priorities.

 

God of Mission

As I wrote last weekend, it’s not original. I like to give people these seven words and ask them to make a sentence… or two… or maybe more. Most sentences make sense, but I believe only one combination of these words is correct.

What would you come up with?

This blog is called John 20:21. That’s the verse where the resurrected Jesus walked through a locked door to say to a bunch of fairly frightened disciples:

Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.

God the Father had sent God the Son into the world as a human baby initiating a massive change in his relationship with the world and the peoples of the world that he had created. If we tie John 20:21 in with Matthew 28:19 and Acts 1:8 (not to mention many more references throughout the Old and New Testaments), we see Jesus initiating another new stage in which he gives his followers down through the ages an awesome responsibility! A responsibility to be totally involved in what God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are doing.

So what’s the answer to the seven word Mission Puzzle?

I was prompted to blog by another blog post entitled As the Father sent me written by Martin Lee (Executive Director of Global Connections). You can read more about Martin at the bottom of As the Father sent me. He starts like this:

Please help us in OUR mission – the cry of many mission agencies and committed missionaries. Evangelicals have always been and will always be activists. Yet it is so easy for the emphasis to be on my mission, my calling, my sending, my ministry and when this happens it should fill us with concern.

Does this fill you with concern? If you work for a mission agency or a church… have you ever been guilty of this possessive emphasis?

Have you got a sentence from the puzzle picture above that you are happy with? Reading Martin’s blog will certainly help!

After some references to early 20th century theology, you will find this…

God is a missionary God. ‘It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church.’

And later…

We are called simply to be part of God’s mission as we follow Jesus who said: ‘As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ It’s not the church of God that has a mission, but the God of mission who has a church.

And he concludes…

UK mission agencies and churches probably need to think much more carefully about the key implications of their role in God’s mission. It is not about MY mission and the promotion of what we are doing, but the work of the Kingdom.

So I’m thinking where does the mission agency that I have been a member of since July 1988 fit in? Have I been guilty in my roles in mobilisation and church engagement of pushing Wycliffe’s vision at the expense of God’s mission?

While I’m sure I often got it wrong, I’m actually encouraged by a memory from the early 2000’s when we held a series of Vision Lunches around Ireland. More than once invited ministers commented that it was their first experience of being asked by a mission agency “How can we help you?”

Wycliffe Bible Translators exists to enable all peoples to engage with the Bible in a language which speaks to their hearts

So how do we do that?

Well… since the God of mission has a church, Wycliffe’s aim is to serve the church, both in the UK and Ireland – and in the many countries where people groups still wait to receive God’s word in their heart languages.

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A Mission Puzzle

 

God of MissionIt’s not original – although the photo is – but I like to give people these seven words and ask them to make a sentence… or two… or maybe more.

Most sentences make sense, but I believe only one combination of these words is correct.

Have a go.

In a couple of days I’ll blog on this topic again inspired by a blog I read last week

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