Monthly Archives: February 2011

Being a “Missional Mom”

It never ceases to amaze me at how my life can seem to fill itself up with busyness even when I am not trying. Even the to do list of a stay at home mom can become long and full and taking a break for a simple pleasure like blogging is not always easy. But I realize how much writing refreshes me and that I need to do it more often…at least until something (or someone) calls me away.

My most recent read is a book called The Missional Mom (thanks to Ron Edmondson who shared it on his blog). It is a refreshing look at the job of being a Christian Mom, a big part of my job description these days. In its early chapters, author Helen Lee emphasizes the responsibility that each of us have to share the love of Christ with others. In short, all Christians are missionaries in the world and are called to share Christ with others at work, school and in the world. So basically, my job as a mom in a household of Christians is to care for “my missionaries.” I love what Helen Lee says about the job of a mom in caring for her “missional outpost.”

Seeing the home as the family’s mission base also gives mothers a better perspective on the activities and tasks that go on inside their homes. Each household activity can serve as an important channel for fulfilling the mission God has given us. Even the most mundane task – changing a diaper, doing laundry, cleaning a bathroom – can be seen as having eternal value. Any activity that contributes to the larger misson of supporting the “missionaries” in your family can be a sacred act as you undertake the activity with God to advance your family’s God-given mission. When motherhood becomes more missional, we see much more clearly how our activities play a part in God’s redemptive work in our fallen world. (Page 27)

The Missional Mom is a very insightful and challenging book! I recommend it as a great read for all Christians regardless of whether you are a mom or not. 🙂

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The Way of Grace

Over the last several weeks I’ve been working on two books:  The Grace of God by Andy Stanley and The Prodigal God by Tim Keller.

The Prodigal God is Keller’s analysis of the story of the Good Samaritan as told in Luke 15.  He gives us some in-depth thinking on the intentions of Jesus as he was telling the parable of the Good Samaritan.  The younger brother represents those who are sinners in the world – those who know they are sinners and freely admit it.  He also compares the role of the older brother to the Pharisees in Jesus’ time.  Those who hold themselves to be morally above the “sinner” (younger brother figure), who, whether they realize it or not, think they don’t need a savior because they are good enough on their own.  Their moral and upright living has earned them the right to have “favored status” with God.

In Chapter 9 of The Grace of God, Andy Stanley shares a similar comparison in the story of Matthew.  Matthew, at least in the eyes of the other disciples, did not deserve to be used by God in the same manner as one who had lived a moral and upstanding life.  One who had been faithful to his Jewish heritage and the Law.  Yet Matthew, as he writes his gospel, from the very first chapter, is eager to call attention to the fact God uses a lot of “sinners” to fulfill his master plan. (Judah, Tamar, David, Bathseba, Rahab, etc) And He changes their lives along the way!

As one who was raised in the church from birth, I have seen both sides of this picture and many times struggle regarding what side I am on… am I the older brother or the younger brother…the “self-righteous or the self –exiled?”

Andy Stanley closes Chapter 9 of the Grace of God with these few paragraphs:

The tension between the self-righteous and the self-exiled did not end with the coming of Jesus.  It is a tension that exists to this very day.  So maybe this would be a good time to stop and ask yourself, “To which side of the aisle do I lean?” If you had been invited to Matthew’s party [with “sinners”], would you have been conflicted? Would your first inclination be to stand on the outside and wonder? Would you wonder why Jesus would fellowship with sinners before confronting their sin? Would you be concerned that by not addressing their sin Jesus was in some way condoning it?

Or would you lean the other way? Are there things about your current lifestyle or perhaps your past that would give you pause before walking into the presence of Jesus? Would a cloud of shame form overhead?  Would you be tempted to stand outside in the hopes of catching a glimpse while avoiding eye contact?  After all, you know who you are and who you pretend to be.  To bring all of that into the presence of pure righteousness? You would be crazy not to pause. Or would you?

Chances are, there’s a bit of both in all of us.  We are judgmental of certain types of people or behaviors and then we can turn around and put ourselves in time out – self-inflicted exile from the presence of God.  But in either case we step onto the well-worn path of graceless religion.  Either way you choose you find yourself further from the grace of God.  After all, the flip side of “I’m not worthy” is “But with enough time and effort I could be.”

Here’s what I think Matthew would tell us after watching Jesus:  there’s a third way.  The way of grace.  The way of grace is offered; it is not earned.  It is offered to all people, regardless of who they are.  So when you catch yourself bouncing back and forth between judging others and condemning yourself, pause.

Pause and remember: you can’t be good enough; you don’t even have to be.  That is the way of grace.

— Andy Stanley, The Grace of God, pp. 142-143

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