“Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave to you”. Joshua 1
We can’t separate love and obedience. We might like to try sometimes but we can’t. Jesus says “If you love me you will obey my commands” (John 14:15) Paul says: “I want to know Christ… so forgetting what is behind I press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me.” (Phil 2: 12 – 13). To the people of Israel in Joshua 1 God says: “Be strong, I’m with you, be careful to obey my commands.”
Following Jesus is supposed to be simple – Love God and do what he says. Leading or being part of an MSC is supposed to be just as clear – be a community that loves God and follows his way.
Too often we complicate it with our buts and ifs. How does this work?, What about so-and-so? Did God really say that? We muddy what is simple, when God would want us to stay clear and focused.
So how do you keep your MSC simple? The Up, In, Out triangle is a really useful tool here. It’s modeled on Jesus pattern of life; time in intimate connection with the Father, time with close friends and family, time serving the world in Mission. How do you lead an MSC? Make a regular pattern of doing Up, In, Out together. You won’t be able to do all of this in one meeting so fix some simple repeatable patterns across a month and stick to them. Sometimes this will mean doing more than one MSC thing a week; if that’s the case then you are doing it right!
The other way to keep it simple is to regularly come back to what God told you to do in the first place. Every MSC grows out of a sense of vision or purpose: a thing you want to be, a part of the world you want to make better, a group of people you want to bring to Jesus. As you started there may well have been bible verses or prophetic pictures that were particularly import. Obeying God’s call means regularly coming back to these and using them as the measure. How are we doing with this… what are we doing well? What needs to change?
We recently did this with Ohana – we got together and looked at the bible verses and descriptions that we felt God give us as we started. We reminded ourselves that we are called to help families flourish and to see that no-one is left behind. To see one generation tell God’s work to the other (Psalm 104) to make sure the lonely find a place in family (Psalm 68). It was encouraging! We realised what we were doing ok! We reminded ourselves why we exist and we got some good challenge about what might need tweaking in each of our lives.
What has God called you to do as a community? Go looking for the things that will remind you, then simply do it.