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Read an Excerpt from "Godspeed"
into the power of the Holy Spirit.
If Jesus is real in your life and you are real around other people—allowing them to see your failures, successes, struggles, heartaches, heartbreaks, good moments, and worst moments—it won't be long before people see Jesus in you.
We believe in a God who created all things, sustains all things, and participates in all things through personal relationships with those whom He created. We need to gain a greater confidence of Christ's imminence and presence in our lives.
Christ is on mission in the world right now to people all around us. Correct theology liberates us from the old religious thinking that says "I've got to go do things for Jesus" and frees us for incarnational, relational Christianity, which says "I'm going to do things with Jesus."
When we realize that Jesus is doing things in the people all around us, and we get to join with Him in that process, the whole gig changes. "Mission is not first of all an action of ours," Lesslie Newbigin wrote, "it's an action of God, the Triune God, who is
unceasingly at work in all creation and in the hearts and minds of all human beings, whether they acknowledge Him or not."
We put flesh on Christ's present mission.
In order to do this mission with Jesus, we first have to be committed to a loving, meaningful, intimate relationship with Him.
If we go to the world before we go to God, we find ourselves going into the world to get love instead of to give love.
Too many Christians do ministry from a place of their own needs. They do good deeds because it's a part of the identity they want: I'm that guy who does those things for people. I'm the girl who is always there. I'm the one who saves the day. Similarly others cultivate relationships because they have love-needs that are yet to be met in their lives—needs designed to be met by Christ alone.
We must become satisfied with and saturated in the love of Jesus. Only then can we go into the world to give love instead of receive love. Only when we do it this way is it the mission of Christ, because the Bible tells us that God is self-sufficient and needs nothing. He did not create us out of need but out of His nature. He did not create us to get love from us but to give love to us.
Our goal is the same. We must be so satisified in the love of Christ that we're free to go and give love to others. That doesn't mean that we don't need love. We do. It simply means that we won't be doing mission out of a need to get love from people. Rather, we'll do mission from an overflow of our identity in Christ and the fact that
we are the beloved of God. With all of our failures, all of our fissures, all of our brokenness, all of our battles, and all of our drama—we're accepted, adopted, and adored by God.
If we get that identity right in our hearts, then we'll get incarnational Christianity right in the world.
Britt Merrick is the founding pastor of Reality, a network of churches with locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ventura, Stockton, Santa Barbara, and London, England. He is the author of Big God and blogs at www.brittmerrick.com. Britt lives and surfs with his wife, Kate, and their two children in Carpinteria, CA.