Now that I am home, I have had the chance to reflect quite a bit on our missionary expedition in Central America. Here are some thoughts I’ve had.
1) The people we worked alongside of in Costa Rica are amazing. They have literally sold out for the sake of the Gospel and it shows. From their countenance to the fruit of their labor, it is clear that God honors their radical obedience. This was true from Bishop Palomo to the Zirkels to the interns.
2) More than ever, I am convinced that there is a Movement of God’s Spirit restoring and renewing the Methodist Church. This Movement is inspired and fueled by the Will of the One. The fundamental dissatisfaction with the state of the world is found in all corners of the globe. People of all ages – but particularly young people are sensing that something is profoundly wrong with the world.
3) I believe that the message of Christ and his Revolution is universal. There is no language barrier or cultural limitation on the strength of the Gospel. My cute stories and personal anecdotes cannot change lives, but the Word of God does. It is a sword that is piercing the heart of people everywhere. It breaks the chains of oppression. Where the Scriptures are shared, lives change. My preaching has to be strong, researched, and the best God has for me to give – each time – every time.
4) The call to join in Kingdom building work is supposed to be challenging and life changing. Small alterations in our life patterns is not what Christ demands. He wants it all. If you want part of him, you must take it all. People know intuitively that the Gospel is a call to die – not just clean up a little. I must sell out to press the cause of Christ. My preaching is to be a fearless call to holiness that makes everyone uncomfortable. Necessarily, this will include me as again and again I am reminded of my own sin and love of comfort.
5) University may well be the epicenter of God’s renewal of the Methodist Church. I don’t say this lightly, I know it seems self-serving. Yet, revival begins somewhere – this I know. Why not here? Why not here? If we are a committed congregation of obedient people practicing radical sacrifice and ceaseless prayer, will God not delight in answering our prayer for regeneration? University is my home. The strength and gifts that God has placed in our sweet church are beyond the norm. Where much has been given, much is due. If we truly believe that God is willing to begin a Worldwide Methodist Movement from within our walls, then perhaps he will.
6) Finally, I am certain that there is no such thing as going deeper in our discipleship without growing wider in our witness. There is a subtle Christian lie that is quite popular. It states that we can concentrate on growing deeper while neglecting our evangelistic calling. The disciples were sent before they knew it all, before even the words of the New Testament were recorded and collected. Going deeper in our discipleship and faith is impossible unless we are reaching out with our witness and invitation. To this end, we can never stop going, never stop sending, never stop growing.