[This post was in my most recent newsletter “The Davis Report” which I send out to friends and partners.]

Recently I was listening to a presentation by Alan Hirsch who shared a few things that caused me to reflect on what God is doing in our lives. One of the areas in which the Lord has directed us is to be a blessing and aware of the opportunities he brings to us on a daily basis. In Hirsch’s presentation he talked about what it means to be missional. Now that is not the same as having a missions emphasis or doing missions. It’s not even the same as having an active missions program in your church. It has to do with who you are, not what you do. Then what you do emerges from who you are as disciple of Jesus. In being missional he shared these three traits:

1. See God differently – as a missioning God. God is always doing mission – seeking and saving the lost, establishing His Kingdom in the lives, homes, cities and nations.

2. See the Church differently – as disciples called out to do the mission of God. We are to be imitators of God, therefore we are to be on the same mission as God. His mission is our mission. Instead of seeing the church as a recipient of God’s benefits, or a gathering of worshipers, our focus should be to be more like him, a missioning people.

3. See People differently – as people created in the image of God waiting to meet their King. Humanity is not the enemy of God nor the Church, but a people whom Christ died for, even while they were sinners. So we see them with that potential, wanting to be a part of their lives and serving them, loving them, and forgiving them until they come to know Jesus and are transformed by his grace and power into citizens of the Kingdom of God.

This is where the Lord has us, learning to see God as He really is, to see His Church as she really is and to see our neighbor, humanity as it really is. About 2 years ago the Lord had us move to a neighborhood in Portsmouth, Virginia to begin to be a light to that community. Not in the way you would normally do it in a church evangelistic campaign or program, but to integrate our lives with the lives of our neighbors. That is one of the characteristics of being missional – being in proximity of the world we are called to reach. I had spent so many years being isolated from the world, almost living in “spiritual bubble” surrounded by Christians. Now we are attempting to live near those who are in need of Jesus. To be honest this is more difficult than we had imagined since our lives have been so segregated from those whom Jesus has called us to serve.

As we live in among, and serve our neighbors, we desire to do three things that will make a difference:

· Mirror Jesus – imitate Christ. But to do this we must know Him because the Gospel IS Jesus. Our level of intimacy with Jesus has become a priority. Not in the normal “let’s go to a worship service” intimacy, but a moment by moment conversation with our Lord so that we will see what He is doing, and then do what He does.

· Depend on Jesus’ power and not our own. What I mean is, instead of flaunting success or material wealth to the point of depicting a people who can do anything they wanted, we strive at being a people dependent on God’s power. This is another shift in our thinking that is taking some effort. In the past the Church has presented herself as having wealth, power and all the material strength she needs to build, buy all she needs. I always felt this was to show the prosperity of the Lord, but in reality it shows an arrogant and prideful heart. God forgive us and help us to present humility and be a people who are powerless so that only the power of Christ will shine. It should be our goal that our flesh or efforts will not take any glory.

· Proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom. That is why we are here. As we truly develop friendships and become a part of our neighbors lives we can then speak the truth of the gospel to them not as hired preachers, or guilt manipulated door to door sales types, but out of the experience of being among them as friends. That way we can not only share our lives, but make disciples. Jesus never said go and make converts, or go and plant churches, he said go and make disciples. This means we become a part of people’s lives in a genuine way, and proclaim truth and life.

I share these things to encourage you to look around and see the opportunities the Lord has made for you to make disciples. It is refreshing and liberating to know that you don’t have to go off to some school somewhere, become a member of the clergy, spend hours in seminars and trainings, but merely get to know Christ more and more, live in proximity of the world we are called to reach and be that Jesus you have gotten to know where you live. Don’t try to impress others by your wealth, your knowledge or your religion; but remain meek and humble in the image of Christ and not in the image of religion. Then your opportunities to tell others about Christ will be genuine and effective.

One of the house churches in our area has done just that by becoming friends with some Asian Muslim refugees. They are teaching them English, how to live in the USA and become close friends with several of these families. They are certainly misplaced and in need of a friend. Maybe there are some folks like that near you that you can serve.

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