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On the Frontline

Anthony and Kylie Watts are Inspire Missioners, and Co-Directors of the Inspire Core Team USA. They raise support so they can work full-time with Inspire. Their latest blog post is a challenge to us all as well as an insight into life on the frontline as an Inspire Missioner.

Where have you seen Jesus?

I won’t ever forget the first time I was asked this question. It was my last year of seminary (oddly enough). Kylie and I found ourselves at a dinner table with an eclectic group of people asking each other, “Where have you seen Jesus the past week?” For a seminary student this should be a simple question, right? Wrong! I sat completely bewildered. And it didn’t end there! They prayed over every response made. They gave thanks, petitioned, and celebrated. I won’t ever forget the feeling that came over me. My mind was racing with feelings of confusion, doubt, and frustration. I had just spent the last three years getting trained for ministry, learning more about God, and yet, I felt like I didn’t know Jesus. In that moment I learned a hard truth about myself. I was a consumer Christian. I wanted to just show up, eat food, listen to someone teach about Scripture, then leave! I was so accustom to consuming Christian activity I was literally getting frustrated everyone wanted to share and pray for one another. Did I mention I was almost finished with seminary?!  

My faith (by and large) could be summed up in the events I attended (church services, small groups, prayer nights, etc). It’s not to say these are bad things, they’re not! However, for me, these became stumbling blocks to seeing the banquet all around me. I had lost sight of the fact that the Spirit was continually inviting me into the Father’s work in my everyday life. There was a clear disconnect in my spiritual life. I only “saw” Jesus at events. The reality of most churches is that you can attend services that require little or nothing of you. On top of that, most churches don’t equip you for everyday discipleship to Jesus. You can attend church for years and never get to know anyone around you. You can sit and observe (from experts) worship music, sermons, dramas, videos, etc. and not have to engage. Again, these are not bad things, but the potential to cultivate consumers is a very high risk. 

After Jesus’ crucifixion we find his disciples behind locked doors (John 20:19:23). They too were bewildered. What they knew about Jesus seemed too good to be true. After all, Jesus was supposed to reinstate Israel to its former glory. Remember when James and John requested, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” Jesus responds by essentially saying, “Are you sure?! It will cost you your life!” All of the disciples, it seems, at one point or another have a moment of confusion about Jesus’ purposes in the world. So needless to say, the disciples are perplexed about everything that happened the last few days and probably the last three years! Fear crippled them. They were afraid of the Jewish leaders, and rightly so! We don’t know the details of each disciples journey to the house that evening. But I imagine they all showed up with broken dreams and wounds. I wonder if the disciples realized they were consumers in that movement? Did they simply like Jesus for what he could offer them? Maybe they realized they were more enamored with Jesus’ blessings, then Jesus himself? Praise God it doesn’t end here! 

The past week has been inspiring (pun not intended!) for us. We hosted an all day discipleship training on Saturday, then on Sunday we hosted our house church, which happens every other week). Then last night we held our first all house fellowship gathering. At our house church the Spirit reminded me of John 20. The Spirit was showing me Jesus walk into our house and sit amongst the people gathered as we were worshipping. It was as though Jesus was eager to offer a special gift to us. As we continued in worship I realized what he wanted to offer us. He wanted to show his nailed pierced hands. His wounds. He wanted to offer the greatest gift we could ever imagine, his presence with us. This is exactly what Jesus did that night when his disciples huddled in fear. He showed up (scaring them silly!) and offered his presence.  

I’m still learning this lesson. I often fail to see his presence all around me. But he’s there. In fact, Jesus promises just that. He told his disciples, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Then as he is sending his disciples on mission he says, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The Spirit was reminding me of this beautiful reality at all of our gatherings. That He is present; and not only present when we gather but as we leave one another he is still with us. We can only unhinge our consumeristic tendencies by joining Jesus and participating with him in our everyday lives. During this season of living by faith I’m learning first hand the powerful gift of His presence. When we started working with Inspire there was only one house fellowship of about 14 people. The Lord has multiplied and blessed the ministry to well over 60 people in just one and a half year! We give thanks for all God is doing in our midst. It was especially cool to hear Drinklings (local coffee shop) ringing with stories of where people have seen God at work in their lives. 

At our discipleship training I was reminded of the hard truth I learned when I gathered at my first house fellowship. It’s in reference to marriage, but can easily be applied here, and that is, you can live under the same roof with someone for years and never know them. Do you know Him?  

Please don’t miss Jesus’ invitation! If you don’t see Him and long for that, then simply ask. Next time you gather in church, are with friends/family, at work, or wherever you find yourself this next week, expect to meet Jesus. He wants to show you his nail pierced hands and wounds. He wants to live life with you, day-by-day, moment by moment.  

If you want to change your life, start asking yourself, “Where have I seen Jesus?” In asking this simple question you’ll begin to discover he’s all around you.

Please consider being a part of the Inspire community of supporters, giving your prayerful and financial support to help us to continue to equip and resource Missioners, including Anthony and Kylie, as the Inspire Movement grows. Contact us for more information, or make a gift now through our giving page

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