Up until this point, the basic mission of Return Ministries has been to help people find a refuge, a safe, healthy church which would create an environment that would be conducive toward helping our congregation get reconnected and stay connected to Jesus Christ. As we are coming upon our first year anniversary soon, I have felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to write and establish the new mission of Return. This mission statement has been approved by our board of directors and is now the official mission statement of Return Ministries Inc.
This mission statement is four-fold, and each of the four points is of equal value and importance but yet unique, and each of them is connected to the others. You could draw four arrows, and the first one is an arrow coming down from God to us. The second one is an arrow going up from us to God. Then the third one is an arrow going inside of our hearts, and the forth one is an arrow going from our hearts outward to others. Below is a summary of each of the four points of our mission.
1. To Receive Daily the Grace of God that Enables us to:
First, we must understand that God pouring into us is the only way we could ever have anything of real value to pour back up to God or out to others. We only know God because of His Grace that He freely gives to us. We are saved from our sins by His Grace, and it is His Grace that gives us power over our sins each and every day. We all are spiritually bankrupt apart from the Grace of God, and we all need to experience His Grace each and every day of our lives in order to fulfill our life’s purpose. We only love Him because He first loved us.
For us to attempt the next three aspects of our mission without first receiving a fresh supply of Grace each day would be futility and vanity. As we empty ourselves at the cross or at the feet of Jesus, we can be filled with the Holy Spirit of God, which will enable us to obey the LORD and live our lives totally for Him. While at His feet, we can eat the Bread of Life, (Jesus Christ, the Word of God), daily, which will give us the strength, and faith we need to carry out our divine assignment.
We should never feel holy or in good standing with God based on our good behaviors or deeds. Instead, we need to remind ourselves daily that we exist only because of His tender Mercies that hold back what we deserve and His amazing Grace that gives us what we don’t deserve. All believers need God’s Grace each and every day. We will never not need the Grace of God because God’s Grace is Jesus doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. Grace is Jesus meeting me, right where I am, in my trespasses and sins and washing me clean. It is Grace that makes us holy and righteous, and it is Grace that justifies us. It is Grace that enables us to live an overcoming, victorious life that is pleasing to God.
Whatever good work we may do for the Lord Jesus Christ can only be accomplished because of the Love and Grace of God that He so freely and so generously will pour into our lives as we humble ourselves before Him each day. Remember, Grace is totally undeserved, unmerited, unearned, pure favor of God, and it is available to anyone and everyone who will repent of their sins and call upon the Name of Jesus.
2. To Give Jesus Christ All of the Honor, Glory, and Obedience That He So Richly Deserves.
The very purpose of our existence here on the earth is to give Jesus Christ glory, honor, and obedience. We were created for His pleasure, and we should live to make His Name known and not our own. We were born with inherited sinful natures, which cause man to try to gain glory and honor of his own name as he travels through this world. Mankind was born with an independence from God that wants to go his own way and do his own thing. But the good news of the Gospel is that God did not leave mankind in this horrible predicament enslaved by our sins. Instead, He sent Jesus to this world to save us from our sins and to bring us back to a unity with God.
Because of the Grace of God, through the Blood of Jesus Christ, man can be restored into a right relationship with God, and once restored man can now spend his time and energy toward giving the Name of Jesus glory and honor instead of lifting up his own name. Because of the Grace of God, man now can obey God with every thought, word, and deed. As we put our trust in Jesus, instead of ourselves, He gives us Grace that is more powerful than our sinful natures. In fact, His Grace is more powerful than anything, so powerful that the proudest human can be transformed into a person totally dependent upon God, with a desire only to serve, honor, and obey God.
This is where many get confused, because the enemy has sown a deceptive doctrine into the modern church age that teaches that the Grace of God gives man a license to sin or frees man to live anyway he wants to live, or frees him to do his own thing. The very opposite is true, because the Grace of God changes our way of thinking and will actually cause us to want to obey God and start asking Him what He wants us to do and how to please Him. Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins and to free us from the power of sin so that our lives could be reconciled back to unity and harmony with God. Through the cross and the shed Blood of Jesus, we can actually give Him the glory, honor, and obedience that Jesus so richly deserves.
When we obey Jesus out of a love relationship with Him, and not out of a sense of duty, it makes His trip to the cross worth it all. Our giving Jesus glory, honor, and obedience actually fulfills the very reason Jesus came to this earth and died in our place. For He died to not only save us from our sins, but also to reconcile us back to God.
3. To Allow Jesus Christ to Grow to Spiritual Maturity in Our Hearts and Lives.
Christ growing in us is actually a life-long process, but it is a process that the believer can stop at any time during his journey. God gives us a choice of whether we want Him to grow in our lives or not. Of course it is the perfect will of God for each believer to grow to spiritual maturity, but it is a sad fact that few choose to sell-out and go all the way with God.
Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God was like a mustard seed that could grow into a mighty tree. He taught in the parable of the sower that the Kingdom was like a seed planted in the ground. But some seeds grew and some did not grow. Some seeds fall on wayside soil; some fail to take root because of the stony places, and some fail to grow because of the weeds, thorns, and thistles in our hearts. The problem is not with the seed, for the Word of God is perfect, incorruptible, and eternal, but the problem is with the ground, the heart of man. We must till the soil of our hearts and minds in order for God’s Word to grow inside of us. We continually need to confess and repent of our sins, wrong thoughts, wrong attitudes, wrong actions, and God’s Word will flourish inside of our beings as we keep the ground of our hearts free from an obstacle that would hinder growth.
Jesus Christ, the hope of glory, living inside the hearts of men, is the most amazing thing about the Gospel. We can more easily believe that Jesus came to this earth to die for us, because He loves us, than we can believe that He actually lives inside of us. Many people feel like they are far away from God, when in fact, God is right inside of their hearts. All they have to do is to dig up some unforgiveness, or get rid of some stones of bitterness, and their relationship with God can be restored in all of its glory, with just a little bit of repentance. Be aggressive about pulling up the weeds of the cares of life, the deceitfulness of riches, and worldly pleasures, and this will allow the seed of God’s Word room to grow.
This is what divides and separates Christianity into the many thousands of different sects or denominations. All believers have a different level of capacity and desire to grow in God, or better said to allow Jesus to grow in them. Some Christians want just enough of God to go to heaven when they die; others want to go a bit deeper and open their hearts to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, while there are others who are even willing to be water baptized in the Name of Jesus, and be buried with Him, planted with Him, crucified with Him, so that they can come up with Him, in newness of life.
Once a believer allows God to lay in this foundation of Blood, Fire, and Water, then the believer can begin a journey of being saved from the self-life, or being saved to the uttermost. The Apostle Paul offered the analogy of the believer pressing onward toward the mark, (the fullness of Jesus Christ).
As the Tree of Life, (Jesus Christ) grows and matures in the believer’s life, the believer will experience the fruit of the Spirit growing and manifesting in his heart. The real evidence of God maturing in someone’s life is love. It is by love that people will know that we are His disciples. Love is the fulfillment of the law, and Christianity is pretty simple once we realize it is all about loving God and loving others. If you have the love of God in your heart, you have everything. But without the love of God, you have nothing.
The very reason that Jesus Christ comes to live in the heart of the believer is so that the believer can grow up to maturity and come to spiritual fruition. Some will bear fruit 30-fold, some 60-fold, and others will grow up to bear fruit 100-fold. No farmer has ever been satisfied with just the planting of the seed. Instead, he knows that his work has just begun, and it is a long process of work in order for the seed to grow up to maturity and bear fruit.
4. To Reach Out to Others With Jesus Christ’s Unconditional Love.
Outreach is the fourth and final piece to our mission. We should never stop short with just discipleship because the reason Jesus allows the fruit of the Spirit to grow on the Tree of Life in our heart is so that we will take it to others and share. Many believers are so focused on their own spiritual growth that they never realize the joy of reaching out to others with the love of Jesus Christ. The only thing that is greater than Jesus Christ growing in our hearts and lives is to experience the joy of sharing Him with others.
The very nature of Jesus is completely unselfish, for He reached out to people His entire ministry, always giving, healing, feeding, teaching, and loving on everyone with whom He came in contact. He has asked us to do the same. Jesus wants each believer to reach out to the lost and dying world. He wants us all to be disciples and share His love and His truth with others each day. He plants and grows this Tree of Love in our hearts so that we will go into the world and allow His love to flow out to and touch others.
Christians are to love everyone, without exception, with the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. He even asks us to especially love those who can’t love us back or can’t give anything back to us in return. The poor, the needy, the hungry, those in prisons, the widows and orphans He asked to love without limits or conditions. He said that when we do it unto the least of people, we do it unto Him.
It was never the intention of God for Jesus Christ to grow in the hearts of the believers only so that the believer could experience a greater eternal reward, but He grows inside of our hearts so that we can go into our communities and share His love with others. Sure, His eternal reward will be glorious, splendid, and greater than anything we have ever imagined. But growing in God is not about our eternal reward. It is about God filling our tree with the fruit of His Spirit and Word so that we can go and share it with others.
Please join with me in helping us at Return Ministries fulfill the Mission that God has called us to do.