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Meeting needs or pursuing God’s purpose?

(12 comments)

On Thursday May 19, I had the joy of hearing Steve Hawthorne teach at the office of Frontiers, a mission organization located here in the Phoenix area. 

Like many others who have been through Perspectives, I owe a great debt to Steve for his writings and work. What an inspiration!

Below are some thoughts based on some of Steve’s teaching that morning. 

“I have glorified You on the earth, having finished the work that You gave Me to do.” –John 17:4 NAS 

With regard to this verse, Steve said,

“Jesus references his life purpose in terms of what he did for God. … The Bible usually frames [missions / the story of redemption] in terms of what God gains for himself. Jesus wasn’t just meeting needs. Jesus was finishing. There was work. There was an actual task. He was not just keeping busy. Jesus had a task. He was able to say No to this and No that—because he knew his task.” 

“He did not do everything that needed to be done. He could have said, I need more time. But Jesus was not framing his mission around his capacities. Nor around the needs of the world.”

There’s a difference between mission that is done to meet needs, and mission that is inside of God’s specific eternal, relational purpose, which Steve Hawthorne calls a “purpose-pursuit.”

While human needs are met along the way of this “purpose-pursuit,” at the core, this pursuit, this mission does not begin with human needs. Rather, the purpose of God is to gain glory for himself, for the sake of his name. He does this through his plan to bless all the peoples of the earth through Christ and Christ’s followers.

For they have gone out for the sake of the name, … –3 John 8 ESV

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. –Romans 11:36 ESV

What a profoundly relational enterprise! The final words of our Lord’s Great Commission are:

… And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. –Matthew 28:20

The work of our calling and mission is not only “from him” and “to him”, but also “through him.” No wonder Jesus said, “I am with you always.” He is with us in an intimately collaborative work unto a wondrous fulfillment—“the end of the age.”

This specific fulfillment is rooted in the ancient purpose of God to bless all the peoples of the earth (Genesis 12:3). Ours is a supreme fellowship with a supreme global purpose—unto a supremely good and loving God.


Steve Hawthorne is the editor of the book, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. He also wrote the article, “The Story of His Glory,”  which is lesson 2 in Perspectives, and which is the basis for the biblical component of Operation WorldView.


12 comments so far:

At last! Someone who uendrstndas! Thanks for posting!

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世人都知英语好,唯有钱途忘不了;A B C D E F G,雅思、托福、GRE.教材辅导一本本,十年辛苦为谁忙?心脑不能并用,举一不能反三,意识形态、思维方式依然故我,词汇只知数数量而不知计质量,只知滥用记忆力,不知要自行分析判断,还得时常反省,自我总结。只知表面现象做足表面文章去应景,而根本不愿探求本质、发展和变化。再就是患得患失,拔苗助长一日用心,奢求十日之效;一月用功,便冀一年之绩。长此以往,如何到达彻底解脱之彼岸?We are trapped in the uvrsnoay learning mode which relies almost entirely on our faculties of memory alone, without independent thinking, without habitual classification of what we learned periodically. In fact, strategic thinking is such a rare commodity in this day and age that it demands a premium in the “market place”.Too often, we are so misconceived that we believed frequent exchanges of ideas with other fellow learners of English are so beneficial that they would make this trip or pilgrimage somehow faster and easier. While we may intuitively agree that the only way to learn English well is to closely mimic the process how native speakers learn and perfect their own language skills, few of us actually pursued that route to full fruition. At least in Mainland China, there is also a trend to place a disporportionate amount of emphasis on classic English literature and with the hope that this would somehow cultivate a refined English taste. What a waste of time. Not surprisingly, many have benefited from such grossly misplaced emphasis at the expanse of the whole nation: too much educational resources have been wasted or underutilized.The most important thing in the complete MASTERY of a language, at least in this author, is to put one’s heart and mind TOGETHER to wherever they need to be, whether in learning grammar, vocabulary, different modes of thinking or linguistic aesthetics. Additionally, a little knowledge on history, of the language in concern, is an absolute must.Just my two cents on language acquisition and retention.

With my wife and kids starting back to scohol, it's been a busy week. I've got 3 posts I'm working on now. I think I've also found a way to write them and have them posted at scheduled times. Toying with that feature now.

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世人都知英语好,唯有钱途忘不了;A B C D E F G,雅思、托福、GRE.教材辅导一本本,十年辛苦为谁忙?心脑不能并用,举一不能反三,意识形态、思维方式依然故我,词汇只知数数量而不知计质量,只知滥用记忆力,不知要自行分析判断,还得时常反省,自我总结。只知表面现象做足表面文章去应景,而根本不愿探求本质、发展和变化。再就是患得患失,拔苗助长一日用心,奢求十日之效;一月用功,便冀一年之绩。长此以往,如何到达彻底解脱之彼岸?We are trapped in the unorvsay learning mode which relies almost entirely on our faculties of memory alone, without independent thinking, without habitual classification of what we learned periodically. In fact, strategic thinking is such a rare commodity in this day and age that it demands a premium in the “market place”.Too often, we are so misconceived that we believed frequent exchanges of ideas with other fellow learners of English are so beneficial that they would make this trip or pilgrimage somehow faster and easier. While we may intuitively agree that the only way to learn English well is to closely mimic the process how native speakers learn and perfect their own language skills, few of us actually pursued that route to full fruition. At least in Mainland China, there is also a trend to place a disporportionate amount of emphasis on classic English literature and with the hope that this would somehow cultivate a refined English taste. What a waste of time. Not surprisingly, many have benefited from such grossly misplaced emphasis at the expanse of the whole nation: too much educational resources have been wasted or underutilized.The most important thing in the complete MASTERY of a language, at least in this author, is to put one’s heart and mind TOGETHER to wherever they need to be, whether in learning grammar, vocabulary, different modes of thinking or linguistic aesthetics. Additionally, a little knowledge on history, of the language in concern, is an absolute must.Just my two cents on language acquisition and retention.

mossmoss13 您好:我對 thuuearss 的忠誠度不高,需要的時候隨時在電腦上瀏覽,以前買的幾本印刷版 thuuearss 現在反而極少使用。Thesaurus 用途在於選字,選到的任何字都要再回到一般型的辭典驗證精確的含義,因此輔助的性質居多。幾本我比較常用的 thuuearss 是Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate ThesaurusRoget’s II: The New Thesaurus, 3rd edCollins English Thesaurus另外,Longman Language Activator 也不錯,不過編排方式有些不同於上述三本傳統的 thuuearss,因為 LLA 給的解釋多了許多,反而有點類似用法書。還有一種以歸類為主的編排方式,如 CALD2 光碟所附的 SMART thuuearss 以及最近出現的 MED2 thuuearss,後者頗有抄襲前者的嫌疑,因為製作的軟體公司同為一家,人員也有重複。

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