A Calling and a Mission
What does it mean to you to be called by God?
Our calling is not to do something or to go somewhere; rather we are called to Someone. We can view our family’s Military service as our mission field for God and help others to see Him in our thoughts, words, and actions. Mark’s Gospel takes us on a journey with Jesus and his disciples to see what it means to be on mission for God.
About This Journey
As Christ followers, we are the hands, feet, and voice of Jesus wherever we are. “Dedicated to God’s Mission” explores what it means to be a dedicated Christ-follower on a mission for God everywhere He takes us. Jesus had urgency and purpose in what He did and where He went. Together, we travel with Him and the disciples and learn from His attitude of love and service.
This Week's Readings
Good News Worth Retweeting
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.-Mark 1:1
Good news travels fast.
Social psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania analyzed social media habits and found people more likely to share good news than bad. Twitter has become a place where news breaks. Since it launched, the highest compliment for users of this social media platform is to have one of your 140-character messages “retweeted”—shared by other users.
You may be surprised to learn that Pope Francis has the most frequently retweeted Twitter account in the world (@pontifex). This may be an indicator that people are hungry for good news and truth. The good news retweeted from the Pope’s account may also indicate the interest people have in God.
These thoughts about Twitter were prompted by the first verse in the Gospel according to Mark, which reads like a modern-day tweet:
@GospelMark: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” #hehasgoodnews #heisgoodnews
In his first sentence Mark alerts his readers to what is to come in his account of Jesus. He provides a short summary of the acts of Christ and the identity of Christ. It is as if he cannot wait to begin to share the good news he has come to know and love. The word gospel is from an Old English word meaning good news, the translation of the Greek term for these accounts of Jesus. The Greeks used the word for gospel to declare a military victory, announce a royal birth, or broadcast a political triumph. Mark uses the word with the intention of passing on the good news about Jesus. More importantly, he intends to proclaim that Jesus is the good news.
Today we begin a thirty-day journey with Jesus and his disciples to see what it means to be on mission for God—which means, in effect, to retweet Jesus. No, I do not mean sending 140-character comments about Jesus into cyberspace, although that could be an effective method of sharing Christ. I am talking about the good news of Jesus making such a difference in your life that he can be seen in your thoughts, words, and actions. Sisters, Jesus is good news worth retweeting!
What does it mean to you to be on mission for God? When you consider your life as a follower of Christ, how are you sharing the good news of Jesus?
Lord, today let me be a conduit of you and your good news. Amen.
Prepare for the Journey
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”
Nellie sat in a group of military wives at a retreat center in the Rocky Mountains. “I never wanted to be a military wife!” she said:
I knew nothing about the military, but I did know it was not for me. The constant change, the many moves, and short roots did not feel comfortable. I grew up in the same house until my freshman year of high school when my mom remarried. Our family moved into a new house about a mile away to provide the new marriage a fresh space. I remember sobbing as I sat on the floor surrounded by stacks of boxes in my childhood room. Moving from that home was very difficult. That move, however, began a series of moves that ultimately allowed me to embrace the nomadic routine of being part of a military family. God used those difficult moves to prepare me for what was ahead. I am so grateful for his path of preparation!
Today, Nellie thrives as a wife, mom, entrepreneur, and follower of Christ. Through her web-based business, she connects other military wives with services in new military communities and makes their adjustment easier. She helps “prepare the way” for other military wives and God is using her as a voice of encouragement.
God is all about preparation. Before he sent Jesus into the world, God used John the Baptist to prepare the way. Even before that, he spoke through prophets like Isaiah and Zechariah with the news that Messiah would come. He prepared Jesus for his public ministry through the life he lived in a small village with an ordinary family among ordinary people. Similarly, God prepares us for the mission he has for us. He uses our past experiences to make us into people ready to serve him where we are. As a Christ follower, you are not in a military community to waste or bide time; you are there for a mission. You can’t always see how your mission will play out, but you can rest assured that the Lord can and will use you if you have a willing heart. Just ask Nellie!
Preparation for any mission is a process. In what ways can you look back and see how the Lord prepared you for military life?
Lord, you are a God of preparation. Help me see the ways you have prepared me to be on mission for you in this place, for this season. Amen.
At Your Service
John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.-Mark 1:4-9
“Who, me? Are you sure you’re asking the right person?” I feel embarrassed when I think of my response to an invitation to serve punch at a welcome coffee for the incoming commanding general’s wife. I know it sounds old school to write about serving punch at a formal gathering, but trust me—this was a big deal. Formal protocol was more the norm than it is today, and it was an honor to participate. I was brand new to this military wife gig and to describe myself as insecure is an understatement. What if I went to this formal function and spilled something, or forgot a military acronym, or made a complete fool of myself in any myriad of ways? I felt inadequate to serve.
To compare my fear of accidently baptizing a general’s wife with punch to John baptizing Jesus is certainly out of balance, but the emotion attached to feeling inadequate is universal. Jesus approached John to baptize him and John clearly felt inadequate to serve in that capacity. Yet, to baptize Jesus was part of the mission John was to fulfill. His was the task to introduce the Messiah to the world. He was inadequate, but in his service he was obedient. John dedicated himself to do God’s will by doing as Jesus asked, even as Jesus dedicated himself to do God’s will in leaving heaven to come to earth. The picture is one of obedient service: John served Jesus as Jesus committed himself to be a servant of all. Jesus invites us to participate in his mission of service.
We should feel inadequate to serve the way John and Jesus did, yet the call to be obedient requires that we allow Jesus to serve through us, and he is beyond adequate. Remember, the first trait God is looking for in someone to be used in service is not competence, but obedience. The self-declared obedient servant of God, the apostle Paul, revealed the secret of his competence when he said, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
How are you involved in serving others? What can you do to combat feelings of inadequacy that may keep you from serving?
I desire to do your will, O God. Open my eyes to see opportunities to serve others today. Amen.
You Can Do It!
And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”-Mark 1:10-11
“We can do it!” are the words emblazoned on the iconic World War II motivational poster featuring a woman who became known as Rosie the Riveter. As America’s men went to fight in the war, women were recruited to fill the colossal gaps in the factory workforce. Rosie the Riveter was an empowering figure as she challenged women to carry out an important mission for the nation.
The dramatic pronouncement from heaven here in Mark 1 is a moment of heavenly empowerment. Jesus is commissioned by God to do the work for which he was prepared. The Spirit confirms that he is equipped for the role. In essence, Jesus is reminded with words from his Father that he is not alone. “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” are words of approval and empowerment. The words communicate the competence of Jesus to fulfill the mission before him. In a loose paraphrase, God is saying: “You can do it!” Jesus could do it because he is the Son of God. He could do it because the Holy Spirit empowered and equipped him.
Empowerment is that intangible something that enables me to hold my head up high, walk with confidence, and do something positive with the influence that is mine. When I’m empowered, I have that Rosie the Riveter attitude of “I can do it!” As a Christ follower I know that my “can do” must come from reliance on the Holy Spirit’s work within me. Thank God that the same power that equipped and empowered Jesus for ministry is available to each of us!
Sisters, God does not send us on mission on our own. He empowers us. He equips us. He says to us, “With my help, you can do it!”
Think of a time you felt empowered. Write some of the words that come to mind in your journal. What do these Scriptures have to say about empowerment?
- Deuteronomy 31:6
- Acts 1:8
- 2 Corinthians 12:9
- 1 John 4:4
Father, help me walk in your “can do” Spirit today. Thank you for the reminder that you are with me. Use me in your service. Amen.
The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.-Mark 1:12-13
I don’t like to talk about temptation. I’m, well, tempted to ignore it and not think about the reality of its effect on my soul. I could even boast about the mega-temptations that do not make it past my line of sight and make me feel pretty good about myself. If I did, I would be succumbing to the temptation of deception. Temptation is a reality of life for everyone. Even Jesus was tempted.
The road toward mission fulfillment for Jesus took him to the wilderness. For the Hebrews, the wilderness was branded as God’s proving ground. It was dry, dusty, difficult, and dangerous—as in “he was with the wild animals” dangerous. He was sent there by God, full of the Holy Spirit, to be tested. In this desolate place Satan set out to thwart the mission of Jesus and compel him to be disobedient to the will of the Father.
This was no Survivor: Judean Wilderness Edition to see if Jesus could “outwit, outplay, outlast” Satan. Jesus was not tested to merely see if he could survive. It can be hard for us to comprehend that Jesus as God faced a genuine test. Scripture is clear that Jesus is both God and man; we can understand his humanness being tested because our humanness is tested every day. Temptation and testing come to us not because we are sinners, but because we are human. In this barren place Jesus came face to face with his humanity.
Satan’s goal was to get Jesus to deny his dependence on the Father and to act on his own. Is there room for a little true confession? I’m tempted to do that every single day! I am tempted to provide for myself, protect myself, and promote myself—and so was Jesus! He understands my temptations and I know his victory over temptation offers hope for me. I overcome temptation not only by following the example of Christ, but also by inviting the victorious Christ to live in me.
How can the areas of provision, protection, and promotion be areas of temptation? In what ways are you tempted to provide for, protect, and promote yourself?
Lord, it is comforting to know you understand temptation and times of testing. I pray for wisdom to recognize temptations and for faith to trust your power to overcome them. In your mighty name, Amen.
Resources & Info
Resources to help you and other military wives in your community.
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