Spiritual Discipline // CELEBRATION
By Chris Bowlby
God has given his people a great big mission – as Lead Pastor Isaac reminded us a few weeks back – we are God “Plan A”. What was the mission that God gave His people?
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18–20 (NLT)
This is incredibly daunting. Make Disciples. Of all nations. Teaching them to obey ALL COMMANDS. God doesn’t give us a mission without empowering us to carry it out. He promises to be with us . . . this is at the heart of what it means to be a Pentacostal. Here is our definition we will continue to work from:
“A Pentecostal Christian is a Christian who takes seriously the invitation of the scriptures to live filled with the Holy Spirit so that we are constantly united with Christ to carry out his mission of renewing the world one human at a time.”
“United with Christ to carry out HIS mission of renewing the world one human at a time.” This is the mission God has called us towards and empowers us for. It’s easy to be caught up in the enormous calling of God – all nations – teaching all things. But God has uniquely crafted each of our lives to be a people that are ALREADY interconnected, one human at a time. Likely, you don’t have to look far to see an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with someone in your circle. You likely have a family member, a friend, neighbor, or a coworker, someone that you already have a connection with that needs to understand God’s love for them.
Today, we have the opportunity to practice the discipline of CELEBRATION. As a society, we seem to have “celebration-phobia”. A birthday party here with a few friends or an anniversary dinner are about as rambunctious as we get. For most, it’s no sooner than reaching the conclusion of a task that we move on to the next. Celebration cuts into our productivity! But celebration is at the heart of the Chrstian experience:
“Celebration is central to all the Spiritual Disciplines. Without a joyful spirit of festivity the Disciplines become dull, death-breathing tools in the hands of modern Pharisees. Every Discipline should be characterized by carefree gaiety and a sense of thanksgiving.”Richard Foster, The Celebration of Discipline
As we discovered our God-given invitation to participate in Evangelism this week, we have the opportunity to invite others into this rhythm of celebration. Who in your life is due to be celebrated? Has someone in your life recently passed a milestone? Birthday? Job promotion? Softball Championship? Received a raise? Won an award? Celebrated an anniversary? Passed through a challenging season? Get creative! When we have the opportunity to celebrate with others we inevitably are sharing the love and care of Jesus. When we celebrate others we are telling them that they matter, they are seen, and God is excited about them. When we invite others into the holy practice of Celebration we help them to see that God cares about them.
- Who in your life needs to understand the love of God? Who are you already connected with?
- Begin to pray that God would give you an opportunity to celebrate this person. If you’re regularly following along with our devotions, Mondays we are already praying for someone!
- Identify how this person can be celebrated. Take them to dinner, buy them a meal and deliver it, make them a card, write a song about them, be creative!