By Brian Sharpe
Imagine being on a trip with 16 other people in two cars, traveling through 11 states in three days. Imagine the number of hours you would be in the car. Now imagine doing this with no electronics. You had music to listen to, but no cell phone or movies. That’s the trip I recently came back from. It was an amazing trip. The conference was well done. I know God was at work in the hearts and the minds of the students and leaders, and I loved watching Him do so. I am excited to see the lasting effects of this trip.
It is easy to go on trips with students and think that they are just for them. However, I needed to be open to hearing from God. I do believe He spoke and taught me a lot. This Sunday, you will hear more about what God taught me. One of the lessons I wanted to share is that if you are open to hearing from God, he will speak while you live life with others. On this trip, I watched God break down barriers. He brought students and leaders together to have conversations that were amazing. God helped the students feel connected with each other, and the key ingredient to that was time together. It was proximity.
That is something that a lot of people struggle with in the church. They feel alone. They see other people connecting and they wonder what is wrong with them. That becomes a reason why people leave churches.
I really believe the remedy for this isn’t a new church. I believe the remedy is proximity. Who are the people whom you are inviting into your sphere? Who are the people whom you are choosing to run with? We call a person like this your Barnabas. These are the people whom you live life with and live on mission with. The “on mission” is really important. Are you on a mission to point each other toward Jesus and the ways of Jesus? When we are not inviting people into our life or living on mission, we are losing out on what God has for us. We can live life with people and not be on mission and it can be good, but it will be lacking. If you live on mission alone, you will feel like no one is as committed to Jesus as you are. But when you live life with people and live on mission, you will see God at work all around you.
Living life with others is you being willing to let others into the mess of your life. They are people you would have over at a moment’s notice, even if the house is a mess. They’re the people with whom you will share the highs and lows of life. They are the people whom you are in close proximity to in life.
Being on mission means you are living in a way that is honoring to God and you are seeking to walk with others on that same journey. It doesn’t mean you are perfect at it, but it means that you are seeking to honor God in everything. You are seeking to know God and depend on Him in prayer. You seek to love others well and live your life as an act of worship. That is what it means to live on mission.
See, one of the things that the Challenge conference taught us is that we are all sent out as missionaries. We have been placed in this world for a reason, and it is to live life with others. It is to live on mission. It is to share Jesus with everyone with whom we come into contact.
So the question is, who are you living life with? Is your life focused on the mission of God?