Session Five - Follow Series
Have you ever heard about the scene in CS Lewis’ Narnia series ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, when the four Pevensie children hear the prophesy of how they will save Narnia? Or Harry Potter, when Harry is told for the first time that he’s a wizard; or the Lego Movie when Emmet, the main character, is the only one who can change the world? These characters all have something in common: they were told ‘the story’; they were given the background information and then they had a choice to make. In fact you could probably think of countless movies right now where the main character needed to make a dramatic choice, to decide what they were going to do to save the world.
Right now, you are in the same position as each of them. You have been ‘told the story’ and given all the information. Now it’s time for you to step out. Embark on your mission and save the world!
Pick Me, Pick Me!
Toward the end of his time on earth, Jesus empowered his followers to go out and spread the message he had given them to as many people as possible:
The Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them;
“The harvest is plenty but the labourers are few. So ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers out into his harvest. Go on your way…”
…The seventy returned with joy saying, “Lord in your name even the demons submit to us!” He said “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:1-3, 17-20
Now these were not the twelve apostles, but part of the greater crowd that followed Jesus everywhere he went; and from this crowd he chose seventy to send out on a special ‘hit-and-move’ mission. How cool would it have been to be chosen by Jesus? I can see them standing on tippy-toes, hands up thinking, ‘Pick me, pick me!’
The 70 came back astounded, amazed, in awe of the things they had seen and the miracles they had worked. But Jesus points out to them that greater than all these cool things they have done is the fact that their ‘names are written in heaven.’
The Francis Effect
In 2013 Pope Francis got everyone excited with a new style of leadership for the Church. He called it ‘the Joy of the Gospel’.
"As disciples of Christ we are called to be missionary disciples. Throughout our history God has always sent his people out on mission. To Abraham the ‘father of our faith’ he said “GO from your country … to the land I will show you” (Gen 12:1). He said to Moses “Go I send you” (Ex 3:10), to the prophets again and again he sent them out to proclaim his Word to the people. To Jeremiah he said “Do not say ‘I am too young.’ You shall go to all who I send you” (Jer 1:7). And now to our generation today, Jesus says “Go and make disciples” (Mt 28:19).
(from Evangeili Gaudium, Joy of the Gospel, 1.20)
When we have been commissioned by Jesus himself, how can we refuse? We have the invitation from Jesus to join with the likes of Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah; to join Jesus himself in his exciting mission.
For each of those movie characters - the children from Narnia, Harry Potter, Emmet the Lego Man – the choice they each needed to make was significant. It was going to change lives; it was going to change history! Our choice is just as important. A choice to follow Christ – to be sent out on his mission for us is a life-changing decision. It does change history; it changes our history!
For both Justin and Emily the choice to become a disciple of Jesus means their life today looks different, and in a great way. Their history was changed. In his letter ‘Joy of the Gospel’, Pope Francis goes on to say:
‘Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelisation; indeed, anyone who has truly experiences God’s saving love does not need much time or length training to go out and proclaim that love. Every Christian is missionary to the extent he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries’, but rather that we are always ‘missionary disciples’.
Evangelii Gaudium, Joy of the Gospel, 3.191-120.
Pope Francis goes on to say that it’s not how ‘qualified’ we are or how much ‘experience’ we have, but that the power for mission comes from the Holy Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit who qualifies us to be ‘missionary disciples’; and not just qualifies but compels us to evangelise, bursting to share the good news of Jesus with the world. Guess what? That Spirit is available for all of us. Before Jesus left, he said something really important to his disciples:
‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’
Acts 1:8 (NIV)
Ready to respond to that call? Head onto our last session 'Prayer For Mission' to find out how!
Tash Mierendorf & Pat Keady (c) 2014 Ignite Youth