Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt 

Read Acts 4:23-31

As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God.

More thoughts for meditation

The first thing Peter and John did when they were released from custody was to return to their partners in faith, give a report of what had happened, and then pray together. The Holy Spirit answered, shaking the room they were in, and giving them the courage and direction they needed.

In order to stay on mission, we need to return to our comrades too, not only for our sake, but for theirs as well. The following-Christ mission we are on is hard! There are plenty of things to cause us to question our initial passion, to make us feel like fools, to tempt us to think we can’t make a difference, so why try so hard.

In A Failure of Nerve, Edwin Friedman describes what happens when we stop returning, reporting, and praying:

“A major difficulty in sustaining one’s mission is that others who start out with the same enthusiasm will come to lose their nerve. Mutiny and sabotage come not from enemies who opposed the initial idea, but rather from colleagues whose will was sapped by unexpected hardships along the way.”

Suggestions for action

Think of a partner whose “will was sapped by unexpected hardships along the way.” Pray for them. Perhaps you feel you are losing your nerve for mission too, because of disappointment, fear, or the daily grind. Pray alongside Peter, John, and their friends:

And now, O Lord, hear the threats,
and give us, your servants,
great boldness in preaching your word.
Stretch out your hand with healing power;
may miraculous signs and wonders be done
through the name of your holy servant
Jesus.

Want a little lesson on Friedman’s systems perspective on leadership? Here’s a video

Tomorrow is Hudson Taylor Day. Enjoy this creative and controversial missionary to China at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.