Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

John Chandler on The Good News

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. John’s local city newspaper is the Austin American-Statesman. Here is John Chandler on the Good News.

THE GOOD NEWS
The question of Good News is an acknowledgement that not all is well. It is a question of longing, of ache, that in all of the brokenness, we might grab hold of something better. It is a question of whether faith, hope, and love exist, and whether or not longing for them is worth the trouble.

I say it is.

Good news begins with a grasp of faith, peering backward and trusting that a loving God has been at work in the world. It means going back to the beginning and affirming that this God of love sang this world into being. GK Chesterton wrote: “the whole difference between construction and creation – is that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.”1 We begin by understanding that a loving God put this world into motion, put breath into our lungs.

But with that, we hold the tension that this good creation of a loving God isn’t working as it should. Somewhere along the way, things went wrong. Just as we trust that a loving God created all, we also hope that this loving God is not finished. And God is not finished. God is repairing. God is re-creating. God is restoring. We look forward to the time when this work will be complete. All will be made new. A new heaven and a new earth will come together, and God will once again dwell among the people.2

We look back with faith, and forward with hope. But in the present, we look for God’s presence. God’s love is not limited to the creative work of the past, or in promises of what is to come. God’s hands are all over creation and the role of the church is to participate with God as a loving presence in the world – to put Good News on display. We see how sin has corrupted both individuals and the structures of society; each of us is a broken reflection of who God made us to be, as is the space that exists between us.

But even in that broken state, God invites us to partner in this grand project of repair. We repent that we have turned away from God. We labor to restore broken souls and relationships to what God intended for humanity. We lovingly announce God’s ongoing work in the world. We work for justice to mend the tattered fabric of our cultures.

1As quoted by Cornelius Plantinga in Engaging God’s World, page 22.
2Revelation 20:3

John Chandler is a husband, a father of three, and the pastor of Austin Mustard Seed, a church start-up in Austin. He helps pay the bills as a freelance designer and blogs at Some Strange Ideas. He is a graduate of Mars Hill Grad School and Hope International University, but he still thinks some of the most important theology he ever learned came from Dr. Seuss.


12 Responses to John Chandler on The Good News

  1. Danny says:

    John//
    I needed this today. As a church planter boresighted on a launch date I need to be constantly reminded of the present.

    Thank you.

    “We look back with faith, and forward with hope. But in the present, we look for God’s presence.” This gives me perspective for today.

  2. jrwoodward says:

    John,

    I love how you were able to paint a picture of the good news on such a huge canvas with so few words. Your perspective was broad, reaching back before creation all the way until new creation and from the need for individual as well as societal repair. Yet with this broadness you were able to have a strong focus on what God is doing in the present and remind us that faith, hope and love are vital ingredients to behold the good news. Thanks for your entry.

  3. Danny,
    Thanks. You’re not alone…I typed the words, but I need to be reminded all the time too!

    JR,
    Thanks…I believe we have to live in the present in light of God’s works in both past and future, so it was a challenge to pack all that in. Glad to know that I was able to compact all the ideas in a way that made sense as you read it.

  4. len says:

    You reminded me of my favorite quote on mission from Jean Vanier: “The mission of a community is to give life to others, that is to say, to transmit new hope and new meaning to them. Mission is revealing to others their fundamental beauty, value and importance in the universe, their capacity to love, to grow and to do beautiful things and to meet God. Mission is transmitting to people a new inner freedom and hope; it is unlocking the doors of their being so that new energies can flow; it is taking away from their shoulders the terrible yoke of guilt and fear. To give life to people is to reveal to them that they are loved just as they are by God, with the mixture of good and evil, light and darkness that is in them; that the stone in front of their tomb in which all the dirt of their lives has been hidden can be rolled away. They are forgiven; they can live in freedom.” Community and Growth

  5. Len,
    A fantastic quote…thanks for sharing it. You remind me that Jean Vanier is someone I have wanted to read, but haven’t…and should!

  6. jrwoodward says:

    Len and John,

    That means I am probably going to get a “good book” email with a Jean Vanier title. I am waiting to see which of his books you first John, cause I’m sure it will pop up in my emial the next couple of weeks. I enjoy seeing what you are reading.

  7. jrwoodward says:

    Len and John,

    That means I am probably going to get a “good book” email with a Jean Vanier title. I am waiting to see which of his books you first John, cause I’m sure it will pop up in my email the next couple of weeks. I enjoy seeing what you are reading.

  8. JR…I think you mean GoodReads? :)

    It will probably be more than a few weeks though…I’ve kind of unofficially committed myself to reading a chunk of the 50 unread books on my shelf before buying more!

  9. len says:

    I like that “unofficially committed” translated from the Latin is “my wife will kill me if I buy more books”..

  10. sonja says:

    John,
    I like the framework u created through this.sonja

  11. Pingback: Sharing the Good News. « Godspace

  12. Scott Olson says:

    You are a great picture painter… thanks for the thoughts!

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