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Monday, September 29, 2014

Introduction: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Mark 16:15, “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.’”

In previous series as we have been reading Scripture to understand how we can respond to Paul’s call “to lay aside the old self…and put on the new self,” we have looked at turning away from the world’s ways, beginning discipleship, and stepping into a life of faith. Now  in this new series we examine what it means to be sent back into the world as Jesus said, only now as ambassadors for God. How does He define the role of envoy or messenger of His words? What does He mean by all the world and the whole creation?

We are familiar with the concept of apprenticeship where a person will study under a Master Craftsman until deemed ready to venture out on their own—now as an experienced, capable, and polished expert ready to train others.

But God gave this charge to Israel when they were still struggling to become a nation and still considered an infant from the world’s perspective: “Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.” Psalm 96:2-3 NAS

Jesus sends His overwhelmed disciples out after a few years of relationship with Him when they got almost everything He taught them confused. He gave them one strong word of counsel: Wait for the Holy Spirit, and one promise: He would be with them always until the end of days.

On his missionary journeys Paul often left a new group of believers as witnesses and ambassadors after only a few weeks and in some instances a few days. How? What could they possibly have to share? Often we stumble over words within our own families.

Israel also struggled to understand this new role as they entered the Promised Land in the Book of Joshua. New Christians wrestled with a new form of church—a new shape to worship in the book of Acts, and believers are still exhorted to speak God’s words and His story today—sometimes under great deprivation and battle. Revelation warns us of corrupted churches and insidious values.

His story. To us and through us to others by His Holy Spirit. His words. Whether we’ve only known Jesus for a few days or for decades. We share His life changing words that we have seen and touched and felt personally—even when we mess up—maybe especially when we mess up.

This study unfolds as stories of decision and indecision, small personal choices and large public commitments, silent personal prayers and strong battle armor. Mondays we will reflect on a Scripture passage. Wednesdays we'll consider meditative questions. Fridays we'll respond with poetry.

Thank you for continuing the journey. As you discover your own questions and insights, prose and prayers, please share.

Lord, please speak Your words in our hearts and souls and thoughts so that we may always be ready to give Your words of truth and hope and grace as You send us into everyday living.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 146:5-9

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the Lord their God,
Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them;
Who keeps faith forever;
Who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphans and widows.”

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