Missionary

My name is Christopher Dryden. I am a missionary from and for the Kingdom of God.

Jesus hardly spoke about anything else. His entire life was about the mission – He was very clear about it.. He declared it, He demonstrated it. His call was for anyone following Him to also be about the mission of declaring and demonstrating just what the rule of God on the earth looks like.

For some time in the church circles that I grew up in, the focus was about being saved. Being saved was seen as a one off moment and once the line was crossed to ‘be saved’ there was the matter of living up to the morality of the church. A lot of it tended to be a bit defensive. There was a kind of reluctance to get engaged with the world and more of a desire to stick to our own to maintain the purity of our beliefs. Surprisingly very little was talked about the Kingdom of God. Likewise there was little indication that following Christ meant getting involved in the same mission as He was.

In a way it can appear rather appealing. You make a decision, you’re now in the club, you just got to keep yourself in the club and watch yourself from going out of the club and patiently wait as the inevitable end approaches and then you can leave all this behind. It’s a life with little in the way of much hassle. It’s just not the life that Jesus calls His followers to.

Among other things we can see about the life of Jesus, it definitely wasn’t one of safely patiently waiting until the inevitable end. As He was sent on the mission, so His followers are on the mission. That mission seeks to impact and influence a world corrupted by the kingdom of darkness so they can clearly see the alternative is breaking though in the Kingdom of light.

Looking after the elderly, visiting the lonely, supporting the prisoner, feeding the hungry, being a voice to the voiceless, advocating for the disenfranchised, loving each other as He loved us. Those are some of the expressions of the Kingdom to which we belong and to which we are called to be missionaries. Every member of the Body of Christ, gets to use their gifts to minister others and in doing so get to share their message they have. They do not have a message to drop off alone. The Kingdom reality is one that is clearly demonstrated in ways that shows clearly that God rules – in healing, delivering and restoring, He establishes His rule clearly.

I appreciate the challenge in being a missionary, though. Especially as it’s been referred to as a specialist subject designed for specialist Christians with their specialist knowledge. As we pat them on the back and tel them to get on with it, we can just slink back into safe and unperturbed waiting for the inevitable end. The only issue with this is that it is no way indicated in scripture. Seeking first the Kingdom and His righteousness – – is about looking for ways God answers our prayers for His kingdom to come and will be done. He has a great way of doing that, by putting us to fulfil the purpose for which we’re here by fulfiling the ultimate purpose for which He has called us.

Being a missionary really is not the sole preserve for the brave types going into the places yet to be reached by the gospel. Being a missionary is just as much about how you’re a Kingdom ambassador wherever you go. Every day we have opportunities to be about the business of prioritising the mission.

I remain grateful for significant influences throughout my life who pointed me to the implications of Kingdom first. I am grateful about the reality that this makes me a man on a mission, just like the example I follow was an mission. It calls for much to rely on Him, but once that takes place following His lead becomes more of a delight.

My name is Christopher Dryden. I am a missionary of and for the Kingdom of God.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

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Faithful to the Mission

When I am asked to do something within my strengths and in line with my passions there is something about me that gets tunnel visioned. It’s as if I block everything out except endeavouring to excel in that area. It can be remarkably useful and also remarkably off-putting to others. As well as that, however, in time past I have placed a great deal of pressure on myself during and after the activity.

It’s not unusual for me to be heavily morose afterwards and needing to be left on my own to recover from that activity. Go ahead, say it, “That’s weird, CD.” It was the way it was for me for a long time. In some ways it worked, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a way of engaging with the things you love and look to use for the benefit of others.

One massive thing that has changed for me in recent years is a more considered approach to the whole process. My favourite time in that process continues to be the preparation stages. What I am learning to appreciate all the more is how important God wants me to see the need to rest in Him throughout the entire process, not just the preparation. That is something that helps me truly endeavour to trust God all the more through everything.

What that has also made me aware of is how great it is feeling I was faithful to the mission. Doing what needed to be done in the way it should have been done and leaving it there. Leaving it with God, who after all initiated the mission, so is more than able to see that mission accomplished for His honour and glory. It’s really just to enjoy the privilege of playing a role in that process.

It doesn’t negate the benefits of reflection and reviewing things. It just saves those around me the time having to deal with the hours of me being morose. The bigger picture is as well it keeps the focus on what matters – the mission.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Word in Action 

I love God. 

I really do. It’s the reason why I live and move and have such verve for doing my best. Among the countless reasons for loving Him is His unerring habit of speaking and then when He speaks, what He says happens. I love it. 

At the start of this year, I spoke to a few people who shared what they wanted to achieve in the year and I shared what I wanted as well. It’s easy to talk, but it’s a beautiful thing when the word becomes action. It’s not about a massive splash and everything being done perfectly first time, but it is a clear indication that what was planted within that honours God by blessing others moves from thoughts to manifest in the natural, physical, real world. 

I recently was privileged to witness a friend’s first steps into manifesting and I was so excited I couldn’t contain my joy. Not that the task is over and everything is perfect, but that critical first step was taken – the intentional first step in the journey to realising the Word. It’s so exciting to witness it, especially knowing that if it is of God, whatever challenges that may be faced will only prove to be the fuel that motors the Word being realised all the more. 

Witnessing these developments is hugely encouraging to me. It lifts my faith to know that His Word will not return to Him void. It will accomplish the purpose for which it was sent. A purpose to bless and show the brilliance of our glorious God to the world! 

It’s a good reason to live. It’s a good reason to do the best. It’s a great reason to simply declare:

I love God. 

(Photo: Unsplash) 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

My Word

Back in the day, I loved the commentary styles of the likes of David Coleman, Brian Moore, Barry Davies and John Motson. If you’re not interested in sport and English commentary on the variety of sport then this won’t mean much to you, but it meant heaps to me for years. Apparently there was some large global multi-sport experience that took place recently, but I was not that interested in any aspect of it. I didn’t watch any of the events and the results mattered very little to me. The event itself, though, reminded me of the 1980’s into the early 1990’s when I paid more attention to the competition and it was the commentary that had me hooked. In and amongst the excitement the commentators would bring to the action I can hear ringing in my ears the distinguished and considered phrases used to describe the elation and exhilaration of key moments in the competition. One phrase that was distinct and expressed exclamation brilliantly was the simple phrase, ‘My word’. It was so sweet hearing that phrase to convey the heightened level of attention to that which the commentator beheld. 

Decades later and the phrase has added meaning and value to me. It says something of my ambition in doing and saying. It says something about my desire to be an ever more effective and excellent communicator carrying across Christ in any setting I am in. It says something about the joy I have in cherishing the value of what emits from me when inspired by God in spoken or written form. It says something about the legacy in the hearts and minds of others when they recall experiences with me. Others have their music, their craft, their culinary delights, their mesmerising dance, their awe-inspiring architecture, their compassion for children, their ability to create communal facilities that enhances life for others. I dedicate my life again to employing the greatest gift God has given me. It’s for the benefit of others and for the glory of His Name. It may not mean much to some, but it will mean life for others. I dedicated my life to joyfully use that gloriously simple phrase. 

My word. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

A Word of Advice – A Jesus Vision

A very good friend celebrates his birthday today. He turns an age that is relatively familiar to me and in as much as there are better qualified folks to give advice, I got to thinking what advice I would share with my good friend to help him enjoy the day and enjoy this stage of his life.

The big piece of advice that emerged, though, was the importance of setting a big vision in front of you. I got married at the age of 25 and at the time we were involved in a number of exciting projects. Those projects were a lot about the vision of others. There was little in the way of a vision for how life in Christ would look like for me and my new life as a married man. I put that to the side to look at the vision of others and learnt a lot from serving under others. The neglect of the personal vision – recognising more who I am in Christ and what He calls me to be – had some negative consequences later on. So a big piece of advice growing up is to appreciate in serving others and loving people in the context of church life and community engagement, having an ever growing vision of who you are in Christ is very important.

That vision will excite and inspire you at times. What I particularly appreciate is how reassuring and consoling it can be in times of confusion, uncertainty, rejection and seeming defeat. I read in Acts of a time where the apostle Paul received encouragement from Jesus whilst in prison that his mission would continue and go on to give God glory even in the challenging circumstances. That degree of engagement with Jesus is not exclusive to Paul and can prove to be a source of great encouragement. That is sourced in a developing relationship between Paul and Jesus where Paul grows in knowing his call and identity in Christ.

That is something I would encourage and advise strongly. It will help considerably to avoid the numerous well meaning demands that seek to drain you of time and energy. It is not going to make everyone happy that’s for sure and some will be upset by your life in the light of that discernment, but it works out better for your growth in doing and being everything pleasing to God.

For His Name’s Sake
Shalom
C. L. J. Dryden

What Was The Way Is Not Always The Way

This journey with Jesus has some very interesting stopping points. For me, the challenge is to distinguish between Jesus and what is just tradition that has served its purpose but is no longer fit for function in helping relationship with Jesus.

I grew up in a Christian background in which there were plenty of positive aspects that helped understand God and the importance of His Word. What came as ironic, then, were a number of practices and unspoken conventions that were held previously by some but were not to be found in scripture and often clashed with the character of Christ and His mission. They were not the sort to get me to repudiate them, but it certainly highlighted the need to be careful and honest about claims that can be made against the reality experienced. It also challenged me to look again at the Word on its own merits rather than just through an organisational lens.

That approach has done a lot to help me realise my own pride and pompous approach to others and how damaging that was. That approach made me more eager to view Jesus as He is in scripture and now that was faithful to how He expressed Himself. That still calls for time to reflect on practice and genuinely consider how they measure to what God expects and expresses.

I am grateful for the brothers and sisters who continue to help me tremendously with the thinking and application in those areas.

For His Name’s Sake
Shalom
C. L. J. Dryden