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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of June 19, 2017

The church shouldn't just be a meeting place for Christians; it ought to be a sending place for Christians.

Many Christians are so enveloped in "church world" (i.e. a continuous Christian environment) that they have very few opportunities to reach out to nonbelievers. In such cases, the church turns into a social networking place to meet other Christians. Instead, the church needs to be a place where believers can be built up and strengthened in faith, and then encouraged and empowered to be sent out into culture for the ultimate cause of sharing Christ with all people.

That's exactly what Jesus was getting at in Matthew 28:18-20, when he told his disciples, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

The Greek word for "nations" (ethnos) means a multitude of people. So, Jesus is simply saying that as you're living and as you're going about your business, make disciples of the people you're around.

Even back in the Old Testament, God was trying to get his people to spread his name, his glory, and his fame among the people of the Earth. In Psalm 96:1-3, the psalmist writes, Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

God calls us to share his story with people. That call requires that we be in the world in order that we have opportunities to witness. That's why the church needs to be a sending place for Christians.

Nothing steals your joy like thinking, "I will enjoy my life when ..."

It's very tempting to think that happiness will come to me once I get something: "I would be happy if I just had a bigger house, another car, a better job, more money, a different wife, a nicer family, a new TV...." But such thoughts are very deceptive.

In truth, all those things we want actually make us miserable; we fight and quarrel about what we want, and then we're upset when we don't get it (see James 4:1-4). Don't get caught up in things that you want or need. Instead, you should not worry about getting what you need; rest assured your heavenly Father will take care of what you need (see Matthew 6:30-32).

It's foolish to make your enjoyment of life hinge upon anything. There will always be one more thing for you to acquire before you can "enjoy life." The more you have, the more you have to worry about, which makes life that much harder to enjoy.

Instead of expecting possessions or circumstances to give you joy, seek the only source of everlasting joy—Jesus. Jesus says he came to Earth "so that [you] may have the full measure of my joy within [you]" (John 17:13). Similarly, Jesus said, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete" (John 15:11).

Jesus offers to make our joy complete and to give us the full measure of his joy. Since Jesus is wholly God, His joy is complete and whole joy. That Jesus offers us such joy is astonishing.

Therefore, find your joy in God for in his presence is fullness of joy (see Psalm 16:11). Don't let your joy depend on getting all the things you want because there will always be more things that you don't have, and therefore there will always be more things that will prevent you from enjoying life. Let Jesus be your joy, rather than waiting to enjoy life "when...."

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