(It's good the picture is blurry because the kids are not legally allowed to be seen)
God sent me to Southeast Los Angeles County. He sent me to the Gateway Cities. I am happily under obligation to make disciples and gospelize the people in Bellflower. This is the missionary mindset. The term "mission" has the idea of "sent-ness" in its Latin form (missio). I'm not sure if it was Jonathan Dodson or Tim Chester but someone taught me around 2009 that I should realize that, according to the Bible (Acts 17.26, for example), everywhere I go I am sent there with by the sovereign purposes of God. Therefore, I should seek to be aware of that reality. I'm reminding myself of that as I write this post.
A second element to this missionary mindset is a sense of expectation that God will save people (cause them to repent from their sins and trust in Jesus Christ) through faithful gospel ministry. A pastor friend preached about this on Sunday night and God's Spirit convicted me. Do I really believe the gospel is the power of God to salvation (Romans 1.16)? Do I really believe the harvest is plentiful and abundant (Matt 9.37)? Am I confident that God truly and deeply wants all men to be saved (2 Tim 2.4)? I ask that last one as a self-identifying 7 pointer. I don't hesitate to affirm these things with my mouth or keyboard: God's gospel is powerful to save, the harvest is plentiful, and God truly desires all men to be saved. Now on to the hard part of living it out. I confess I'm too quick to theologize and give excuses for why there are no conversions. I'm too content with their rejection or indifference and I use (misuse) my theology to comfort me.
Tonight God reminded me that he's sent me to this city. We had our first of 8 basketball practices with seven 9-10 year olds for our YMCA basketball season. It's a joy to teach them the game. It's a privilege to meet their parents. I was sent to gospelize these parents and these children. And he wants me to expect a harvest. Expect power. Expect that the God who sent me, the God who desires their salvation, is the God who is actively working in and through me as I coach, teach, bless, pray for, and gospelize these neighbors. He's calling me to a missionary mindset.
And if you're a Christian, he's calling you to this same mindset. Do you realize God is sending you to your home, your work, your school, and your neighborhood? He is. Do you really expect to be an instrument used by God in bringing someone to repentance and faith? He sent your for that purpose. Be encouraged brothers and sisters, Jesus, who has all authority in heaven and on earth, who died for our sins and rose from the dead, is the same Lord who is personally with us as we go and make disciples.
In Christ Jesus,