Mission is a Family Affair, Part 1

Throughout C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series, human girls and women are frequently referred to as “Daughters of Eve.” In classic Lewis style, in the midst of a story full of whimsy and heroism, he used a simple phrase to communicate a deeply theological reality about women and our very nature. We women are daughters of Eve. This is obviously true in a physical sense, for we are all her physical descendants . But this is also true in a spiritual, philosophical sense as we have been uniquely designed to be life-givers, a reflection of Eve whose very name means, “giver of life.” Now there are various lanes of application that we could take to expound on that idea, but for the purpose of this article, I would like to take some time over the next couple of days to dive into how Christian wives and mothers may do this in their families. The past two weeks we have looked at the general call of women to adorn the gospel with winsome lives and words, and then some practical ways a single woman can do that in her unique sphere of influence. And so now we will continue to examine this same topic, with another season in mind. However, before we do that, a few caveats.

There are some wives who are not mothers, and some mothers who are not wives. The many reasons for that fact, and the scope of women’s lifestyles, simply cannot be addressed piece by piece in 1500 words or less. So please read this understanding that I am not assuming that if you are one, you must be the other, but only writing this collectively understanding that those roles frequently go hand in hand, and certainly hope you can gain from either aspect of this writing whether or not you fulfill either of, or both (or neither, for that matter), of these descriptors. Also, this piece will be specifically addressing believers, married to other believers. If you are a believing woman married to a non-believing husband, the practical application of what is addressed here may look different. If this is your situation, know that this article is not meant to be a source of discouragement, or to feel like an unattainable standard because of your potentially difficult life circumstances. The Lord sees you and is able to lead you through prayer and the Word in what your mission looks like in your own situation. So it is with those clarifiers in mind that I would like to move on to the purpose of this blog post today. We Christian wives and mothers are called to be cultivators of gospel culture in our families, nurturing life in the face of death because of the promises that are assuredly ours in Christ, who is our hope. Both our marriages and the way we parent have deeply missional ramifications, abounding in potential to glorify Christ as we lay down our lives for those nearest and dearest to us.

Sent TO our Husband
Immediately upon being married, our husbands become our greatest human priorities and the primary person we have been sent to, to be an embodiment of the gospel. Even as I write those words I am humbled as I am sincerely aware of how often I fall short to live out that reality on a daily basis. The Lord sent me, a particularly weak vessel, to help my husband, and I frequently look to the Word for hope that that must be for the purpose of exemplifying His great power (2 Corinthians 12:9). As Paul expounds upon in Ephesians 5, the mystery of marriage is that we get to represent in our union the reality of the Good News that is Christ and his nourishing, cherishing heart for His Bride. When we go back to creation in Genesis, we see that women do this through helping their own husbands cultivate and subdue the earth. When we look at 1 Corinthians 11, we see that man, “is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.” This is referring to the reality that God directly created Adam, but formed Eve from his side. On first take, we may think that this is defining some sort of tier-system of glory, but that is not what it is saying at all. As Rebekah Merkle says, “If Adam is the crown of creation, Eve is the crown of the crown. Women are the glory of the glory. When you read of the Holy of Holies in Scripture, are you on the furthest fringe of holiness, or are you closer to the center?” The obvious answer is that you are closer to the center. To glorify something means to show off its excellence, even to make it radiate. We get to be the radiant crown, the crescendo, of God’s creation, as we give life to those around us by drawing attention to the goodness of God through our bodies, minds, and spiritual acts of worship. And there is no greater way to do this than to lay down our lives  in service of our closest friend on earth (John 15:13). Do we practically consider how to show off our husband’s excellent qualities, sharpening him as iron (Proverbs 27:17), prayerfully strategizing the unique ways we can minister to him in his individual needs? In a conversation with my mom this week, she encouraged me to distinguish the “big rocks” from the “pebbles” in my priorities as I seek to do all that I believe God has called me to each day. Ladies, after the Lord, our husbands are our first and biggest rock to go into the jar of our life plans. I am preaching to myself here. How often do we plan our days, think about what we want to get done in a week, and then, only later, maybe ask our husband what they would like to do or if there is anything we could help them with? This method automatically puts them on the fringe and even detrimentally can cause us to perceive them as an inconvenience that keeps us from getting to what we think is important. The harsh reality is that if we get this priority wrong, it will naturally distort all of our other priorities. Our ministry and care for other people will only ever be as effective as our ability to minister faithfully to our husbands.

Seeking to repent of the wrong view, and to replace it with the biblical lens of our role as ones who have been called to love, cherish, serve, respect, and submit to our husbands, here are a few questions to consider:
Are you in tune with the state of your husband’s heart right now? What does he need prayer in? Are there practical ways you can be of comfort, encouragement? Is there any truth from the Word that might build him up, “as fits the occasion, that it may give grace” to him as he hears it? (Ephesians 4:29)
What ways is your particular husband tasked with “cultivating and subduing,” and how can you help him in that?
What is your strategy for service to your husband this week? Would putting his needs on the calendar first change how you approach your schedule?

Sent WITH our Husband
Another aspect of viewing our marriage with the perspective of calling and mission is that you will understand your relationship as being primarily for the purpose of putting the gospel on display in a lost world. This flies in the face of the self-serving relationship messages that are hurled at us by our culture, and yet it is a rich and true reality of Christian life. We come together to go out. As we desire to fulfill the biblical mandates of seeking to serve and submit to our husbands the way we talked about in the previous paragraph, the Lord is able to use that to build up his church and draw lost sinners to himself. Like the example of Priscilla with her husband Aquila that I shared two weeks ago, we get to go with our husbands to our children, to our church, and to the lost world. You and your husband have unique works and ministry God has called you to in this world. You’re a team! One of marriage’s great joys is prayerfully considering together what ways the Lord might use your covenantal union for His purposes. Naturally, it will look very different for every couple as each one has their own vocations, personalities, gifts, and responsibilities, but this is just another way God gets glory through the multitudinous ways people can bring him honor with their lives. Through seeking the Lord together in prayer, we can trust that He will lead us. In Psalm 143 it says, “Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!” With the Lord help, we can fulfill His mission for our lives, beginning in our homes, the way we shape our family culture and invite others in, and then also as we discover what role we have to be faithful ministers of God’s varied grace, through our spiritual gifts, in our local church (1 Peter 4:10). 1 Corinthians 12 illustrates the necessity of our involvement in the Body of Christ so clearly as it points to each person as a various member or body part of the whole body, which is the church. Whether in the context of your family, the church, or the world, it is a wonderful thing to consider what particular ways God is calling you as a couple to serve Him on this earth.

A few more questions to consider in light of our callings to be missional couples for the Kingdom of God:
What missional opportunities are there in your husband’s vocation? Is there a way you might be able to help or encourage him as he seeks to be a light in a lost world?
Are there any relationships that the Lord might be putting into your lives to share the gospel or be a means of godly counsel?
How does being sent with your husband to your children shape the way you present your relationship to them?
What unique part do you and your husband have to play in your church? What ways can you support him in his ministry there?
Is there a ministry the Lord has put on your heart? Have you discussed with your husband what it might look like to pursue it?

On Wednesday we will continue this train of thought, exploring the missional role of wives and mothers to their families, as we look at how we are sent to our children in order that we might send them out. Until then, I encourage you to prayerfully consider working through some or all of the questions I listed above, with your husband when necessary, and see if there are any ways you might reform your priorities this week as you consider how you are called to minister to and with your number one man!


Missional Women: Single and Undividedly Devoted

I really love How-To’s because they take concepts that we might assume would be common knowledge, and break them down so that anyone can learn from them and grow to benefit themselves and others. So welcome to “How to be a Single Christian Woman!” You might have read the title and thought, “Um, Priscilla, this life chose me, I’m not trying to learn how to do this because I just am this.” But I promise you that there is much to learn in this time as a single woman because there is much to be done for and unto Christ as a single woman.

I am twenty-nine years old, single, and yes, so ready to mingle (shameless plug). As early as high school I have imagined myself being married and having children, but the Lord had it that I would be a single woman throughout most of my twenties (hey, I’m not 30 yet, and you never know). Don’t worry, I am well aware that I “still have time” for marriage and a family and that God will have me marry should that be His will for my life. But, honestly, this gift of singleness that God has given me has caused me to draw nearer to God, and has led me to my knees in prayer and to the Word of God more than most any other situation in my life. And for that, I praise the Lord that I am, and have been, single.

For me, being married was about checking the next item of accomplishment off my imaginary list. After graduating college and getting a job, it was the next natural step of life. I made decisions about my time and investments based on how it might affect my potential for marriage. Yet that next step never happened, and year after year, disappointment after disappointment washed over me. It wasn’t until about 26 that I fully acknowledged my sin of idolizing marriage, and I don’t think I’m being too harsh in saying that I wasted time and energy pining after an idol when the Word of God beckoned me to rest and trust in the Lord. I repented of a heart that rejected the singleness God had given me for His glory and purposes, a gift that I had seen as a thorn that I couldn’t wait to have removed.

I know this isn’t the case for every single woman. Some of my friends love being single and are content with this station of life. I praise God for them because it’s so refreshing to be with women who are excited about how they can use their time and energy in various ways. But just as I loved marriage as an idol, it is possible to love singleness as an idol.

Eventually, I came to understand what was plain in the scriptures, that singleness is ordained by God to secure an undivided and undistracted devotion to the Lord (1 Cor. 7:32-35). Single woman, our singleness is not simply for us and our enjoyment, or lack thereof, just as someone’s marriage is not simply for them and their satisfaction. God has afforded us this gift that He could have given to anyone else, but He saw it fit to give to you and me. Being single is the assignment, the mission that has been given to us, and it is a calling from God for us to use right now. Just like any other spiritual gift, this gift is given to the believing woman for the glorification of God and the edification of the body of Christ!

I want to present a few points of action for single women that will benefit us in our walks with the Lord. These practical points are not meant to serve as works – we very much need to know and trust in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of our lives, and that His gift of salvation is freely given to those who repent of their sin and trust in Him. And I want to make clear that the following steps must be accompanied by prayer and regular reading of the Word. With that caveat in place, let’s consider two things: the heart and the life of the missional single woman.

A Missional Heart

As missional single women, we want to strive to make the most of our time for the Lord but to do so in all humility, seeking God’s grace and depending on Him to accomplish what He has set for us to do. So what should our heart posture look like as missional women?

Use your spiritual gifts to love the church.

Jesus Christ loves His bride, the Church, and the Honor and Glory of the Father. He died for His Bride, an act of obedience to the Father, and rose from the grave to destroy her sin, removing every stain from her transgressions. He loves and desires her unification, glorification, growth, and purity. As women saved by grace, we are a part of that. Just because we are single, and we might not see a single’s ministry in our churches, does not mean that we can just sit back when it comes to the church. God gave us gifts, and they are for the purpose of serving the body of Christ. If we are not serving, if we are not using what God has given us, our disobedience harms both ourselves and the church. Let’s ask God to cultivate in us hearts that love Him, desire to use what He has given us, and care for the people He has given us in our local churches. Scripture to study: 1 Corinthians 12; Hebrews 10:24-25; Romans 12:3-8.

Rely on the Holy Spirit for your singleness.

One of the greatest mistakes that you and I can make as single Christian women is that we build up a spirit of self-reliance, even though we say we trust in an all-powerful God. As singles, we manage our own time and depend on our own resources, and can fail to acknowledge that both our time and resources actually belong to the Lord, and are to be submitted to Him and used for His glory. The Holy Spirit is our Helper, and not just in times of need, but in all things. We need to rely on the Spirit of God to walk faithfully and obey God’s commands, to live purely and purposefully. Let’s pray today to rely on God’s Spirit for our singleness, that we would neither waste these years nor overwhelm our schedules with works, but instead redeem the time unto God’s service. Scripture to study: Galatians 5:16-22; Romans 12:1-2; John 16:13-15.

Learn to see Jesus Christ as your Kinsman Redeemer.  

Does this sound familiar? If it does, it is probably because it’s found in the book of Ruth to describe the ever-dreamy Boaz who saves Ruth and her mother-in-law from the depths of despair. If you haven’t read this heroic and romantic part of scripture, I highly recommend it. But not just because it’s a sweet story of a woman in need being provided for, but because it points us to the Messiah, Jesus Christ! A kinsman redeemer was one who, by law, could vindicate a relative who is in trouble or need. And the Lord God is our vindicator and defender. As single women, we will come across many challenges that highlight our singleness: making huge financial decisions independently, praying for unsaved family members, moving to another part of the country, switching jobs, dealing with difficult issues in your neighborhood. Whatever may come our way, the Lord God is always our defender, and Jesus Christ is our rescuer! Younger women may look to their fathers, and married women might look to their husbands to defend, protect and care for them in times of need, but they too must rest in knowing the Jesus Christ is the one who cares and provides, vindicates and rescues. Scripture to study: the Book of Ruth, Psalm 72:12-14, Daniel 6:27

A Missional Life

The words above may be true of our hearts, but how should this all manifest in our living? There are some realities that single women usually experience that married women do not, such as having the ability to stay up late to rewrite a blog post that just didn’t draft properly (…yes, this is a confession). Or even being able to rearrange our schedules without having to work around another person’s schedule because they depend on us. Because of this, it’s commonly assumed that singles have more time than marrieds, and in some cases, this is actually true. However, if your day as a single woman looks anything like mine, you might be wringing out the towel to find any extra time. So I’ve found that it’s not necessarily that we have more time, but that we have more flexible time than that of married women.

Though we may have a solid work schedule, the hours spent before and after work are typically concerned about our personal needs being met: preparing for the next day, cooking meals for ourselves, exercising, spending time with friends, doing homework, balancing the budget for our own endeavors and saving goals, and more. And this is all good! We do not need to sacrifice cultivating these good organizational habits.

But in order to be missional women, and not just organized women, we need to have the things of Christ not just in mind, but at the forefront of our minds. These single years are a time when we can be single-mindedly devoted to the work that the Lord has set before us: to go forth and make disciples of all the nations. Here are some helpful ways we can accomplish this:

Think about how we use our time for serving the Lord and His church, and not just ourselves.

These single years are fleeting, so treasure them, and use them for God’s glory! We must ask God how He desires for us to use this great gift He has given for His purposes and not just our own. As a single, I believe selfishness often masks itself in my life as busyness with many haphazard activities that don’t involve the church and even some that do. Usually, these activities are self-glorifying and bring us some sort of personal satisfaction, or they make us feel comfortable in a way church might not. Now, of course, not every personal activity is bad, and in fact, it most definitely honors the Lord when we engage in gifts, hobbies and skills He has given us. But let’s examine it all, and consider if our schedules look like our time belongs to us, or if we use our time for the glory of God and the edification of the church. As Christians, we should love what Christ loves, and Christ loves the glory of the Father and the Church. Let’s ask ourselves if we organize our time according to what God loves. One way to do this is to sit down with a calendar in hand and write out the events and plans for the week. Take inventory of what should be a priority: days attending church, time in God’s word, and time spent serving others. How much of your week is spent in this way? What are the other things that fill up your schedule? Have you asked someone in your church where there might be need so you can pray about how to serve? Scripture to study: 2 Timothy 2:4; 1 Corinthians 12.

Learn from women older than you.

Single Christians, we need to be under the care and authority of the leadership in our church, but also under the instruction of women who love the Lord, and from whom we willfully submit to their counsel as seen in Titus 2. These women can be married, or single, work in or outside the home. For some, the first Titus 2 woman they ever have is their mother, and that is certainly a blessing. But whether or not our mothers have instructed us in sound doctrine, there is great benefit and necessity in seeking wisdom from other older women as well. We need this spiritual authority in our lives to learn, grow, and be held accountable. So single women, think of a mentor, pray for God’s grace and favor, and pursue her to ask her to be someone who can teach you from her perspective of wisdom. Scripture to study: Proverbs 1:7, 4:6-7, 15:12, 19:20; Job 12:12; Hebrews 13:7; 1 Peter 5:5-7.

Teach women younger than yourself.

We shouldn’t think that just because we are not married, we do not have some wisdom to impart. And we cannot think that just because we are young, we are not ready to teach those that are younger. At this single season of life, no matter how busy it is, we potentially have the most amount of free time and energy that we will ever have to give to service to others in the church. And that service should focus on the commands found in scripture. Titus 2:3-5 is very clear that older women are to teach younger women according to sound doctrine, and God graciously did not provide exact age parameters. What are you supposed to teach the younger ones? The word of God, and specifically from Titus 2, you must also teach them to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands. A possible way to do this is to volunteer in youth or children’s’ ministries, but maybe that’s not what God has called you to. You can still teach younger sisters by simply inviting them over to lunch or dinner, teaching them to cook a meal with you, asking about their walks with the Lord and their study of the Word, and praying for them. Scripture to study: Titus 2:3-5; Proverbs 22:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:8; Matthew 28:19-20; Psalm 145:4

Consider working to earn money, and learn to save and spend on more than just yourself.

As single adult women, we may need to work in order to pay for rent and food, clothing and outings with friends. And though not every woman needs to go out and work, it may be good for those of us who are younger to learn the value and responsibility of work, being a good steward of money and giving generously unto the Lord. By working, we can learn to be under the authority of a supervisor, and you have the opportunity to practice not grumbling, but instead working with all diligence unto the Lord – even if we don’t like our job. The money we earn should be used to pay for what we need, but we should also obey God’s commands to be generous givers. And we can use work as an opportunity to trust God as our provider, giving Him thanks for His provision to pay for our needs. Learning to steward money well, and not spend frivolously on ourselves is another helpful way we can set our mind and money on the things of Christ. These habits are important to understand whether we remain single, or if the Lord gives us marriage. If you remain single, you will begin building important habits of financial stewardship that will bless the church, and that you can teach to younger women as they enter adulthood. And if you get married, what a blessing you will be to your husband that you are appreciative of his hard work, encouraging of his generous giving of the firstfruits of his labor, and careful with the money he earns to care for you and your family! Scripture to study: Ecclesiastes 5:13-17, 18-20; Luke 16:10-13.

Living missionally now as a single woman should inwardly look no different than living missionally as a married woman.  Our hearts, souls, minds, and strength should be used all for the glory of God, and we are to keep our hearts with all diligence. In essence, we are to be faithful bondservants of the King Jesus Christ, to love Him above all else, and to daily deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Jesus Christ. I am praying with you that by His grace and with His guidance, you and I will lead lives that glorify Christ, proclaim His gospel to all those who have not heard, make disciples of all who believe, and, in the end, hear the blessed commendation, well done, my good and faithful servant. ◊

Missional Women: How to Be Compelling

You want to be a faithful witness. I know this about you. No Christian woman on earth wakes up thinking, “How can I be totally ineffective in reaching lost sinners for Christ today? Good. Let’s do that.” And yet at any given point, if we are to hear a message on living sold out for the gospel or on evangelizing, I think it’s fair to say that the majority of us respond with a sense of guilt over all the ways we aren’t living up to that calling. Why is this? I would suggest it is because we have a far too narrow view of what a missional life looks like, and far too low a view of what the gospel can accomplish in the hands of regular, everyday women like us. Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” As sisters in the faith, we must consider together, what does it look like for a woman of God to be a city set on a hill, a light on a stand? Looking to the Word and the women contained therein, we will find that the key to being a faithful witness as women is in the way we make the gospel winsome with our lives and how we nurture and admonish the truth with our words.

A Cross-Shaped Life
Before we ever have a chance to speak a word of Good News to a person, we have the opportunity to embody our theology in every aspect of our lives. In her book The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, Rosaria Butterfield puts this poignantly when she says, “The domain of Christian witness is not in salvation (that is God’s work) but service – selfless love and sacrifice.” Certainly, our witness is not to the neglect of verbally pointing people to the salvific Word, but we must back our spoken gospel up with cruciform lives. To live missionally begins with viewing all that we do as a means of ministry. The way we dress, the meals we make, the thoughtfulness with which we decorate our space, the manner in which we carry ourselves, the way we submit to authority, the purposefulness with which we make our lives work for the particulars of our people; these are all ways women persuade others of the beauty of the gospel. We get to be compelling, showing off the generosity and kindness of God through cultivating lives and rhythms that bless our families and then welcome others in to be blessed too. In her book Eve in Exile, Rebekah Merkle describes it this way when she said, “Women are born translators. We take principles, abstract ideas, and then put flesh on them.” 1 Peter 3 suggests that women are so capable of making the gospel winsome with their lives that they might even win a non-believing husband without a word! This is just one example of the God-given power of a woman using her natural  design as a glorifier, taking the simplest of acts of obedience and faith to bring attention to her good and faithful God, but throughout the Bible we see many more.

Compelling Women
We have a treasure-trove of examples to look to in the Word of women who make biblical realities taste with their lives. In the Old Testament we see the Shunammite preparing a room for Elisha (2 Kings 4:8-9). The “discerning and beautiful” Abigail, through quick thinking, protects her servants as she humbly feeds and offers counsel to David in a moment when he is about to act out against her foolish husband and their household over a petty personal offense (1 Samuel 25). In the New Testament we see Dorcas, “who was full of good works and acts of charity,” making clothing for women in her church (Acts 9:36). Then there is Lydia, a seller of purple goods, worshipper of God, faithful to the Lord, and prevailing upon Paul and his co-laborers to allow her the honor of showing them hospitality while they ministered in her city (Acts 16:11-15). There was nothing extravagant, public, or popular about how these women lived out their faith. They just looked for every opportunity to do basic things for the sake of others, and the goodness of God was embodied by their service. It is as we compel others of the riches that are in Christ through the way we live that we then also have the means to teach them the truth.

Adorning Words
“In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you,” (1 Peter 3:15). If we are adorning the gospel with our lives, the natural result is that we will have opportunities to evangelize as well as to admonish and nurture others in the faith. This brings us to an important aspect of a missional woman: she is reading her Bible, she is plumbing the depths of grace that she can find there, and she is carrying that good news to other people. Instructing is inherent to our design as women. For better or worse, we often cannot help having an eye to see what is going wrong in someone’s life or an area of struggle, and then desiring to speak into that issue. We are being far too narrow in our thinking if we believe that teaching truth is primarily in the form of leading a bible study or participating in structured discipleship ministry. While those are wonderful ways to fulfill this call, the bottom line is that on a near-daily basis we counsel our friends and family through the conversations we have, the statements we make, and the advice we give. Because of this, we must view the way we use our words through the scope of proclaiming gospel truths.  In everything we do we get to, as Gloria Furman puts it, ‘Go as one who is sent.” We are sent into each life circumstance, each conversation, as an ambassador of gospel goodness.

Teachers of Good
We see women teaching, admonishing, and nurturing others in the truth throughout the Scriptures. Titus 2 tells older women to teach the younger women things that are in keeping with sound doctrine. When Paul breaks down what sound doctrine looks like in a woman’s life, the ramifications are surprisingly practical. A doctrinally sound woman is reverent in her manner, faithful in loving her family, self-controlled, pure, hard working, prioritizing her home, kind, and submissive to her God-given head. In Proverbs 31:26 we see that the excellent woman, “opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” One of my favorite biblical examples of a truth-proclaimer is Priscilla who, with her husband Aquila, heard Apollos passionately proclaiming a partial-gospel, and so together, “They took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately,” (Acts 18:26). I don’t doubt for a moment that Priscilla understood the deeply important work of her role in the home, as a married woman, to the glory of God. In fact we know that she must have been a very hard worker because she helped her husband in their business as tent-makers (Acts 18:3). But even with all that to do, she wasn’t excluded from using her intellect, wisdom, and words to share the gospel with another soul. Godly women get to highly esteem our role within our families and church while also seeing that a critical part of that role is teaching and admonishing in all wisdom. This task, of proclaiming the gospel in word and deed, is for all of us.

Imaging Our Creative God
In an old favorite worship song the lyrics say, “Let worship be the fuel for mission’s flame.” We are called to lives of purpose, to running on mission, not for our own sake, but as an overflow of our love and adoration for the Lord. There is nearly limitless creativity to be applied to the way we go about doing this as women, if only we are willing to view our world through our Creator’s eyes. God’s design for us is not unexciting or narrow. As Rebekah Merkle points out, “What do we know about God? Is He interested in creatures that are dull, underappreciated, and underutilized? Oh for pity’s sake. He’s the God who created the tiger. The eagle. The sun. The palm tree… what God has created for us is far more breathtaking, crazy, scary, and glorious than we want to assume, and I don’t think any of us, if we throw ourselves into the roles that He has set for us, will find ourselves bored.” God gives us the canvas of our lives to paint something beautiful with a gospel brush, utilizing the colors of our unique circumstances, relationships, and gifts. By the power of the Holy Spirit, abounding in hope (Romans 15:13), may we pray about what it would look like in our own lives to embody the gospel in all that we do, making the Word winsome with how we speak and teach others in our lives.  We must remember that while this isn’t always easy, it is simple.

We must not over complicate it.
Beginning with today, let us ask ourselves…

How can I make biblical realities taste?
What gospel truth can I meditate on today?
What would it look like to embody grace in this circumstance?
How can I show the beauty of the gospel in my home? At work?
What ways can I display how compelling a grace-based life is?
Where can I go?
Who can I encourage?

We are the only access the world has to the means of grace, so may we not keep it a secret, hiding our light under a basket, but rather shining bold and bright as we make the most of every opportunity.

*In the next two weeks, we will explore the practical aspects of missional womanhood as both single and married women. So be sure to check back next week!

Foundations: Mission

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

The past three days we have reviewed some beautiful realities. By the truth of God’s authoritative Word, empowered by grace, we are called out of our former darkness to live as holy. We have just one of our blog’s foundations left, and that is that we are created to be missional beings. After being for God’s glory, we are called to live set-apart lives because we are given the incredible job of being ambassadors for the Kingdom of God! We represent our King, bringing the gospel of reconciliation to a lost world.

Since I was young, I have loved reading missionary biographies. I always admired that missionary men and women showed such consistency and clarity of purpose in their lifestyles. There was no question as to why they went to the people groups God called them to; they were there with the singular objective of evangelizing and making disciples. For years I yearned for that type of clarity in my own life.

When I was 18 years old and attending summer camp as a middle school leader, I had the opportunity to sit on the beach one afternoon with our visiting missionary and speaker’s wife and share my heart for the mission field with her. One part of our conversation in particular stood out to me. She said, “If you aren’t living a missional life in the context God has placed you in today, you won’t become a faithful missionary just because you have a change of address.” Through our conversation, the Lord grew my understanding of His Word and I felt convicted that we are actually all called to be “missionaries.” All Christians are commanded in scripture to evangelize and disciple, wherever God has placed us!

Certainly vocational missionaries have a wonderful and special role in this endeavor as those who work to spread the gospel to unreached people full-time; but that does not mean the rest of us are off the hook. There are at least two things that we can do on earth now, of which we won’t be able to do in Heaven: sin and evangelize to the lost. Which do you think we are here on this earth for? We have been redeemed to lives of purpose! We have a mission, and that is to proclaim Christ’s name with our lives and voices in the places and at the times the Lord provides, making the most of every opportunity. It is with this understanding in mind that we write to you here at Adelphe Collective. Our posts are written with the goal that you would be challenged to think missionally with us about our world, but also that you would consider your personal context and how God has called you to serve and proclaim Him faithfully there. If you are in Christ, we write to you as those who have been set-apart to passionately proclaim the great gospel we have received. And if you are not yet a believer, we write to you to say, “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God,” (2 Corinthians 5:20).