Why are we here?
God has put me here to lead, serve, give and grow. And though I may screw it up from time to time, God’s Spirit is giving me renewed energy to keep fighting and to heal the world. I’m not going to wait for someone else to set things right because God has given me everything I need to reveal his kingdom. I know I cannot heal the world on my own, but efforts now make as much difference in me as around me, which is pleasing to God, also. My goal is to ensure God is seen and known “as all, in all.” I want to make his presence obvious to the world. As I do, I will experience a foretaste of his pleasure and presence which will ultimately fill the world.
Week One: Genesis 1.26-28
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
God made people to be like God—to care for the world and everything in it. You can distill our “mission” into four big categories: We’re called to LEAD – showing others a better way to live, drawing together resources, and establishing order so life can be enjoyed at its optimum; we’re called to SERVE God, other people, and the world itself. By “world” we mean the planet, the inhabitants, and also every culture and language and ethnic group, etc. Basically every good thing created by people, for people; we’re called to GIVE of our time, our energy, our resources, and our best efforts to ensure God’s plan for the world is executed successfully; we’re called to GROW the world, bringing more and more good things into it, out of it, and into existence that might benefit the world as a whole. We’re also called to GROW ourselves, so that we continue to develop into the people God has designed us to become.
Week Two: Ezekiel 36.25-28
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.”
God has promised us a New Spirit, which might be better understood as a renewed energy to complete our mission. We need this second wind to help us get back on track whenever we deviate from our calling. God has also promised us a New Heart, which might be better understood as fortitude. We have heart in the same way that a champion-level athlete has heart—we know what we’re fighting for, and we refuse to quit. We will work with God to heal the world.
Week Three: Matthew 19.28-30
“Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
The world God made has been corrupted, and he has called us to participate in re-creating the world. We are meant to set things right, to love and serve others, and to see ourselves as God’s agents and ambassadors. We should not imagine this work will be easy, but Jesus himself promised that those who sacrifice for his sake will not regret their decision.
Week Four: Acts 1.7-8
“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The kingdom of God is not a physical place, but a supernatural reality. Strictly speaking, we don’t “enter” the kingdom, so much as we “become” the kingdom. Whenever we cooperate with God, we are “in” his kingdom. And the true substance of Christ’s kingdom is Christ himself. Jesus is the kingdom; hence, again, whenever we work with God, we’re working with/in/for God’s kingdom. Of course it is very difficult to “be” the kingdom, so God has provided us a source of power—the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit gives us more than we need to be successful as we endeavor to do God’s work wherever we go.
Week Five: Romans 8.18-19, 22-23
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed…We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
We know that our efforts to heal the world will only get us “so far”; thus, we anticipate God’s full redemption of the world, and are enlarged through the process of actively waiting. This requires perseverance, but our ability to endure results in joyful expectation.
Week Six: 1 Corinthians 15.22-25, 28
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death…so that God may be all in all.
God’s ultimate desire and design is LIFE—both for humanity and for Creation. God has power to create life, and promises to do so even when circumstances conspire to make that seem impossible. God can resurrect—and what God has done in and through Jesus Christ, God intends to do with you and I, also. We can participate in this life-giving activity by working to ensure God is “all in all.” We work to both cultivate and curate the experience of God in every moment.
Week Seven: Revelation 21.3-7
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.‘ He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. ”He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
God will make all things new, such that paradise (once lost) is now regained. Creation will be, once again, as God intended; as will God’s people. We will experience God directly, personally and corporately, and enjoy God forever.