Where do you feel the safest? Think about it for a minute……
I can imagine that you think of things like: in the arms of my beloved, in my house, in the arms of Jesus, in worship. Some will think of an actual place and others of a spiritual place.
The safest place to be is in the Kingdom of God, because of its eternal value, hope and unconditional love. My question is where is that Kingdom? I think its present in all of us as Jesus’ followers and we take it everywhere we go. So we are safe, when taking the Kingdom with us.
At yet when you look at Europe it seems like a place of desolation, despair, pain and not at all safe. Nations are scattered, politicians are wooed upon because of their opinions, people try to protect themselves by locking up their houses and staying for away from any stranger. The longing for a European Union seems to decrease every day. In many countries people vote for ultra-conservative governments. And yet at the borders of Europe there are people crying out for help, literally. And Europe is closing borders.
How great would it be if the whole world could be a safe place, because there is hope and love, because the kingdom of God is visible in society. As European Christians we are excellent at creating beautiful church services and attracting many other Christians with those. We feel safe in our community we respect others and treat them respectfully, but it is generally better if we all stay in our own corner.
Is this the best way to practice Kingdom culture and transform the world? Should we escape the worldly culture, or should we adapt to that culture or should we actually engage with it? Living a missional lifestyle means that we influence others by who we are and what we do and say. Our lives are a reflection of Christ in us. We show the Kingdom. This will most likely not happen if we only invite people into our bubbles; it is much more likely to happen when we go into politics, engage with the arts, work in hospitals and businesses, it happens when we go to the borders of Europe, , to the sick and needy. Transforming our nations needs to happen outside our comfortable and predictable walls.
And I know it is really hard to be living testimony; because we are human. This means we will run into discouragement, sickness, fear and many other things. But still we are in the safest place and God is calling us to expand his Kingdom, and he promises us he will go with us.
Changing Europe means stepping out of our comfort zone, to show people the love of God. This may mean we have to do things we never thought we would do. This means we have to dream bigger than Sunday mornings. This means walking in the plan God has for our lives.
Make the church an incarnational church, be present in the local community and culture. Show hope, live hope, give hope.
At the coming Mission-Net Congress we would like to explore together with you how we can make the Kingdom of God visible. To explore how we can cross set boundaries, challenge our personal boundaries and transform Europe.
Thursday December 28 Speakers: Hester Zoutman (NL) and David de Vos (NL)
To reach people with the hope of Christ, we need to bring them what is in God heart. Genuine compassion for people is needed for us to understand how much God wants each human being to be intimate with him. Genuine compassion will show us what God weeps over and where he rejoices.
Compassion is all about opening ourselves to people, listening to them, walk with them and unconditionally love them.
Friday December 29 Speakers: Mpumi Maweni (SA) and Mari Ovsepan (RU)
Culture is found everywhere around you. Culture is shaped by events and experiences from the past and vision for the future. We cannot change the past, but we can influence vision for the future. Moving deeper into Gods culture we learn to stand firm and demonstrate the culture of love, forgiveness, support and encouragement.
Saturday December 30 Speakers: Matt Bird (UK) and Arleen Westerhof (CA)
Tell your story. Challenging statement for many Christians. God is personal and intimate. Your story is therefore personal and intimate. That makes you vulnerable. So make sure you tell your story the way you tell stories the best. Show people how God has changed your life, that will affect them more than any theory about sin and grace.
Sunday December 31 Speakers: Sarah Breuel (BR) and Hans Walter Ritter (DE)
Challenges will come, the bible promises us. And the challenges will come when you least expect them and in an area of your life where your defence is low. The Bible also promises we are winners. We will not be winners, we are winners! That alone will keep us going and standing strong.
Monday January 1 Speaker: George Verwer (US)
None of the Christians I admire ever expected themselves to be in the position God placed them in. By supernatural power and courage they obeyed Gods call. A lot of times we are our own biggest obstacle to really step out and bring hope. Reading the Bible I see many people afraid and telling God they are not capable. Being courageous does not mean you have no fear, it means you go despite your fear.
08.30 Morning Celebration with Worship & Bible Study
10.00 Response Groups
11.00 Country Meetings
17.30 Prayer Meeting
19.30 Evening Celebration with TED talks, interviews and Praise
22.00 Late Night Program