On Sunday, we were joined by Rob Burns, pastor and planter of ReaLife Church here in Philly. ReaLife was planted out of a former bar – turned cafe. Rob’s a brother in the Acts 29 Network and has been a huge encouragement to me in this journey. I began connecting with Rob even while we were still in Boston and so it was a joy for me to have him connect with our crew.
Rob led our Sunday Gathering and taught from 2 Corinthians 5. A couple of things from the night.
1. Words can become so overused that they mean everything and nothing at the same time. Rob cautioned against having “mission” and even “gospel” become a meaningless part of our vocabulary. He wasn’t against the terms. They’re Biblical terms. He loves them and so do I, but the danger is in assuming that because we say them often, we know what it means. It was so healthy for our team to hear these words unpacked again. We need to constantly be doing that.
2. When you’re finding yourself not on mission, the remedy is not to try harder. It’s not to work on methods or techniques or to psyche yourself up. The remedy is Jesus. The “solution” is to go back to Jesus and be renewed in your amazement of Him. Mission has to be an overflow of love and amazement with Christ. It comes down to a heart issue and the solution will be reapplying the Gospel to it.
3. A missional church is made up of missional Christians. Missional church does not work top-down, but bottom-up. If we want a church that is on mission, it means that we need every individual on mission. We’ve been reconciled to God and have been given a ministry of reconciliation. It’s a package deal and you can’t have one without the other. Good to be reminded of that.
4. We were reminded of “Gospel accounting.” Not only does God pay our debts through Christ, but he also imputes His righteousness to our account. The Gospel not only takes you from the negative to zero, but adds immeasurably to your account so that you are way ahead. “For our sake he made him to be sin rwho knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21) God sees us now, not in our sinfulness, but in the righteous perfection of His Son. Rob said something like, “If you are not blown away by that, you haven’t looked at it enough.” I need to keep looking at it more.
5. It was so healthy for our team to hear from another voice besides mine. And it was so good to be reminded that we are not building a kingdom of our own, but being swept up into a Kingdom-size movement much bigger than us. So we celebrated what God is doing in central Jersey with Reid Monaghan last week, and celebrated what God is doing in Philly through Rob & ReaLife this week.