Friday, January 31, 2014

For the glory of God and the joy of the nations

I've often heard about people developing a sort of 'purpose statement' for their lives - something that serves to evaluate and shape their decisions and activities.  Over the last five years, mine has been developing, and - for now, at least - I've settled on "For the glory of God and the joy of the nations." This is what I want to be about. 

For the glory of God...

 Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
               Psalm 96:1-4

God - Father, Son and Spirit - is deserving of all my praise, all my work, all my thanks, all my life.  It is for the sake of his glory that I want to live, making him and his great blessings known among the nations. Basically, I want to make God famous among people who have, through no fault of their own, never had the opportunity to hear!

... and the joy of the nations.

May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you rule the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations of the earth.
               Psalm 67:4
 
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
    let the distant shores rejoice.

               Psalm 97:1

There's a reason the gospel is called the good news!  The Kingdom of God is breaking into this world - he is setting all things right.  All those things in the world that we look at with pain - with that deep sense of "it shouldn't be this way" - will one day be no more.  Equity, justice, restoration, and peace are coming, this is certain.  And glimpses of this future and total restoration can be known TODAY!  This is good news indeed for all the peoples of the earth. 

I'm not talking about cramming western culture down the throats of other people in other cultures.  That would do a huge disservice to the beauty of cultural diversity that God himself created!  And this is good news for all nations, for all cultures, for all people. I'm not even interested in forcing or coercing people to listen to the good news of Jesus.  But for people who are looking for good news and have no chance to hear, I want to be there to invite them into God's big story of restoration. 

And so, here I am - for the glory of God and the joy of the nations.

Why am I studying at Ambrose?  To learn how to better understand and best express this good news in a cross cultural context, whether in Kenya or here in Canda.

Why am I going to Kenya? To help share and equip others to share this good news to all nations.

Why am I getting married?  Because together, Kevin and I can support one another in our similar, yet different calls to make Jesus famous in the nations.  I believe we can do more together than we can apart.

Why am I returning to Canada after my year in Kenya to work as a mobilizer? To help encourage, equip, and send others to do proclaim God's glory for the joy of the nations!

 Read John's stunning vision of this new city that is to come from Revelation 21:1-4, 22-27:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And 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...”

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

One day, there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and all the nations will be there.  But for now, there is work to be done!