Go

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

I’ve been thinking about this passage a bit recently. It is used a lot. A verse that describes the mission brief that Jesus left first for those who had followed him and then on to each generation.

And it is a crazy thing to be asked to do. Therefore go. Go. Go away from this holy land that your ancestors took so long getting to and building. Go. Leave the land you have been promised. Go away from the temple where your God lives. Go from your homes, from your families. Go.

And make disciples of all nations. No longer is this message just for one nation. Go to all nations and all people.Leave not only the place where you are comfortable but also leave the culture you are comfortable with. Go to all nations. You have been blessed to be a blessing.

There are then stories about how the disciples went about carrying out this command. They sold everything they owned and shared everything. They practiced equality among people from different backgrounds. They equipped and sent out missionaries. They took opportunities that they were given to share the gospel with everyone they came across. They spoke to leaders, they spoke to groups of women meeting at the river, they met in the homes of the wealthy, they sang praises in jail.

They changed. They adapted. They moved.

They disagreed and held meetings to seek God’s will in new situations – decisions about big changes to things they had held onto as solid parts of their faith such as circumcision. And then they left it behind.

And then I think about this generation, about me. Sometimes we think about where it is we have to go but sometimes I think where do I need to go from? What do I need to go away from? What is it that I hold dear? Can people still be disciples if they don’t believe or do something I feel is important? Can I change? Can I adapt?

Church. What’s The Point?

rethink

Why do we need church? What’s the purpose? Maybe you are like me and you’ve speculated on the answer to those questions. I believe the answer to this question is hugely important. How you and I answer has ramifications on how we interact and connect with the church. Your answer will affect the kind of church you attend or don’t attend or if you even attend church at all. It’s an important question I believe Christians need to think about and take the time to decide themselves.

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Elvis the Rabbit

There once was a little rabbit called Elvis. Elvis lived in a large burrow under a tree in a big forest. Elvis lived with two big rabbits and a very tiny rabbit.

Elvis liked to go on adventures. Sometimes he would go to the meadow and play hide and seek with the dogs who were playing there. Sometimes he would climb to the top of the big hill and then roll all the way to the bottom. Sometimes Elvis would go to the lake and talk to all the fishes who lived there.

Elvis liked to tell the two big rabbits all about his adventures. Sometimes the big rabbits would say ‘wow, little rabbit, that sounds like a good adventure’ or they would say ‘you need to be careful, little rabbit, we don’t want you to get hurt’.

Sometimes the big rabbits would say ‘shush little rabbit, the tiny rabbit is asleep’ or they would say ‘tell me about it later, little rabbit. I’m very tired now.’

One day, Elvis had a really big adventure. He found a really big carrot and ran home quickly to show it to the big rabbits. But when he got home to the burrow under the tree, the big rabbits were not there. Elvis found a note on the table which said that the big rabbits had got to the shops and would be back soon.

Elvis sat outside of the burrow. He felt very sad because the big rabbits were not there and he had no one to tell his story to.

While Elvis was waiting, a large wolf walked past him. The big wolf stopped and looked at Elvis.

‘What’s wrong, little rabbit? You look sad.’

‘I found a big carrot but there is no one here to see it.’ Elvis sniffed, feeling very sorry for himself.

The large wolf looked at the carrot which was next to Elvis.

‘Wow, that is a big carrot. Why don’t you come with me and show my friends?’

Elvis looked up at the big wolf. The wolf smiled at him and Elvis thought that the big wolf would like to hear about his adventures. The wolf looked like he liked adventures too.

The wolf carried the carrot while they walked. Elvis told the wolf about some of his adventures and the wolf shared some of his adventures with Elvis. Elvis felt very lucky to have found someone to listen to his stories.

Elvis noticed that it was getting darker as they walked. He looked up and realised that the trees were growing very close together and blocking out the sun. Elvis started to feel a bit nervous. He had a funny feeling in his tummy and his hands were a bit shaky.

‘Where are we, Mr Wolf?’ Elvis asked.

‘We are almost at my friend’s house. They will be very happy to see you, little rabbit.’ The big wolf smiled again but this time Elvis didn’t like the way that the wolf looked. Elvis thought that maybe the wolf wasn’t a nice wolf after all.

Elvis’ legs were very shaky but Elvis didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know how to get home to the big burrow under the roots of a tree. He didn’t know anyone except the wolf in this part of the big forest. Elvis looked around and so didn’t see the roots of a tree sticking out of the ground. Elvis tripped over and banged the tree, making all the branches shake.

‘Are you ok, little rabbit?’ The wolf asked helping Elvis up.

‘What’s going on?’ Said an angry sounding voice from up in the branches of the tree. A large owl flew out of the tree to one of the lower branches. She looked at Elvis and then at the big wolf. ‘What are you doing with the big wolf, little rabbit?’

‘He is going to tell me and my friends all of his adventures. You go back to bed, Owl.’

The owl shook her head.

‘You need to go home, little rabbit. This big wolf likes to eat rabbits like you.’

‘Don’t you listen to the silly old owl, little rabbit. I have your carrot and you want to come with me don’t you?’ The big wolf asked.

Elvis shook his head.

‘I want to go home now, Mr Wolf.’

The big wolf laughed and held up the carrot.

‘I’m going to take this with me. You can come with me or you can go home by yourself.’ The big wolf started walking away.

Elvis watched him go and then looked up to the large owl.

‘I don’t know where I am or how to get home.’

‘Do you know how to get home from the lake?’ The owl asked.

Elvis nodded.

‘I can take you to the lake.’ The owl started flying next to Elvis, leading the way back to the lake. ‘You need to be safe, little rabbit. How did you feel when you were with the big wolf?’

‘I felt nervous and shaky.’

‘That is your body telling you that something isn’t right. You need to listen to your body. Sometimes you are in dangerous situations and you don’t really know that it is dangerous. When you feel like that you need to think about why your body thinks it is unsafe and then find a way to make things a bit safer.’

‘Like when I play hide and seek with the dogs? It’s scary but if I only play with two dogs then it is safe.’

‘That’s right. And if another dog joined you, what would you do?’

‘I’d go and find another adventure!’

The large owl smiled.

‘Adventures are lots of fun. I have my adventures when you are asleep.’

They got back to the lake and the large owl checked to make sure that Elvis knew how to get home. Elvis said thank you and then ran as fast as he could back to his home.

The big rabbits listened to his story and gave him big hugs.

‘You need to be careful, little rabbit.’ They said. ‘Adventures are fun but we need you to come home safely to tell us about them.’

Elvis promised that he would be careful during his next adventure.