What can Calvin & Hobbes teach us?

Imagination… Creativity… Vision… when I hear these words, I think about Calvin from Bill Watterson’s famous comic strip. Calvin and his tiger friend Hobbes certainly found some creative ways to pass time during snow days, crashing through a town of fake snowmen being one of my favorites.

When we here at GO InterNational are not on foreign mission trips, we’re here in the U.S., working, living, in school, at the grocery store, driving, etc. – but the call remains the same here and abroad: engage the world and engage people with God’s good news, in word and in deed.

So, as Christians, how do we use our imaginations and creatively engage with the world in our local context – where verbal proclamations of the gospel are typically frowned upon in public, where people continuously try to force religion out of the public sphere, where we feel like people don’t want to talk about religion?

We’ve been encouraged by some creative stories recently of people who proclaim the gospel and show the love of Christ on short-term mission trips, and do the same thing in their day-to-day life at home:

  • A man who works at an Amazon warehouse during the day and drives a truck for another delivery service at night. He meets people and identifies their needs during the day, then prays for them while driving in the evening!
  • A young girl who works as a waitress at a restaurant shows love to her coworkers through her genuine joy and forgiveness (even after a co-worker stole money from her!). She also freely tells patrons that she is working as a waitress to get her through Seminary, opening the door to share the reason for the joy she has in Christ!
  • A father of a high school basketball player who develops relationships with other parents, modeling healthy competition and sportsmanship and finding one’s identity in more than sports. You can’t underestimate what showing forgiveness after a loss and genuine humility after a win does to bring glory to God!
  • A mother who hosts community potluck meals at her house, modeling Christian hospitality and identifying people in her neighborhood who need support and prayer!
  • A young couple who opens a coffee shop and sends as much profit as they can into holistic Christian ministries and development efforts in Rwanda and Nicaragua. The husband sits on the city council and the wife on the city beautification chair, using their business expertise as a platform to also have a voice in politics.

These people aren’t often called pastors or missionaries or evangelists, but they are no less living into the values Christ modeled for us in unique ways. The work of the Kingdom of God is not limited to pastors, or short-term mission trips, or physical places like churches… it is our future hope, but it is also here and now in the way the community of believers engages creatively with the world for God’s glory.

If you know someone who is creatively integrating their faith in their workplace, neighborhood, or general sphere of influence we would love to hear their story, or yours!

Who Will GO?

Who Will GO?

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

Isaiah 6:8

 

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In Isaiah chapter 6 we read the story of the prophet Isaiah’s call to ministry. From it we can learn several things about our own call to join God’s mission in the world.

  1. The supremacy of God in worship.

The passage begins with Isaiah’s vision of the Lord. In that we see a picture of worship in heaven. We will never be in a position to serve God if we are not continually engaged in worship. It is out of our recognition of who He is and our worship that we can begin to serve him.

  1. Our shortcomings don’t prevent us from being used by God.

When we encounter the living God in worship, we become aware of our own sinfulness. Isaiah cried “Woe is me!” However, God still called him and used him. Whenever we are presented with an opportunity to serve, we often feel inadequate. Many times people respond to an invitiation to go on a mission team by saying, “what can I do?” If we resonnd in faith, God can and will use us for His glory.

  1. Obedience to the call is the proper response to God’s glory.

nepalWaterfall-1030x772oWorship is our proper and primary response to God. But, it must lead to obedience. Think how wonderful it would have been for Isaiah to just stay in the Lord’s presence and worship forever. But, he was called to GO. Just as we are called to GO. The Lord blesses us for a reason – to GO and invite others into His presence forever.

  1. Being sent by God is no guarantee of (earthly) success.

This passage goes on to describe how the people would respond to Isaiah’s message. It isn’t a pretty picture. Their hearts would be dull, their eyes, blind, their ears unhearing. Isaiah’s message would not win him any popularity contests. We need to realize that we will face trials and challenges when we serve. We will be called out of our comfort zones. We are not to measure our “success” by worldly standards. Yet we are still called. Isaiah went and was faithful to the call and we must do the same.

  1. God will be with us.

Though God’s spirit rested on the prophet, we have an assurance that Isaiah didn’t have, the promise of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that he would give us the Holy Spirit. It is because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we have the power to obey him and join him on mission wherever he sends us.

Be assured of this, you are called! God calls us to join in the mission to take his message to the ends of the earth. Consider joining a GO InterNational team this year as an opportunity to answer the call. Let your answer be, “Here am I, send me.”