The show always ended something like this: “Who is that masked man?” “Why, don’t you know? That’s the Lone Ranger!” and the final scene would see The Lone Ranger and Tonto riding away with a hearty “Hi O, Silver, Away!!”

The thing of it is, is, that the Lone Ranger, was not alone. Oh, I know he was supposed to be the only Texas Ranger left after a devastating attack that only our hero survived…but he survived because he was rescued and brought back to health by Tonto. They became inseparable partners, fighting crime and saving people from all kinds of hardship throughout the old west. The idea that the Lone Ranger was a one-man crime fighting super-hero just doesn’t fly…with me anyway.

I have a friend who will often respond to complaints about overwork or frustrations in life with this little rejoinder, “Well, don’t feel like the Lone Ranger.” Meaning, of course, that others have shared in the same challenges, sufferings and frustrations as the one complaining (usually me).

What about you? Are you a “Lone Something”? Pastor? Teacher? Manager? Dad? Mom? Leader?
I’m sure we all feel that way sometimes, but it just isn’t true. How do I know that? Because Jesus says so (I tend to go with Jesus on stuff like this).

From the context of the giving of the Great Commission, Jesus calls his followers to service and then assures them that he is not sending them “out there” on their own. Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV) -  “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.”

Long before that promise was made, the prophet Isaiah passed along this word of the Lord: Isaiah 59:21, “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. 'My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,' says the Lord."

So, just in case you are feeling a little left out or on your own these days, take heart in the promise of God’s presence, in Christ. Sit back and think on that for a while. If you’re a bit full of yourself and believe you can do most things on your own, without help from God or anyone else…please think again. I hate to say it, but I will anyway, you’re wrong. Let Jesus into your planning, programs, preaching…everything.

He’s already there. Promise.

Bruce Stumbo – North American Mission Ministry Lead

It is in his name!

Have you ever noticed? 
The first two letters of God’s name spell… 

Just sayin’, 

Bruce Stumbo – North American Mission Ministry Lead

We need to go

In the past couple months, my whole department has been “all hands on deck!” working through how to best approach the encouragement of the disciple-making mission of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren (CLB) among our congregations. I think the Advent Season is a perfect time to remind all of us that making disciples is one of the highest priorities of the Church. (Why else did Jesus come?) So, the encouragement I have to offer is the model, example, and guidance of Jesus himself. Let’s start with some of the last words of Jesus and finish with some of the first. 

Matthew 28:16-ff (ESV) “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go …” (I’m pretty sure you know the rest). It’s because we know the rest that I can confidently challenge all of us to get to Going. 

God did. And now I’ll go to some of the early words of Jesus: “For God so loved the world that he sent…” 

I KNOW you know the rest of that one. Do you see the pattern? God, in Christ, is all about sending, going, being sent…it’s the mission and work of Jesus Christ. Here’s more, Jesus again, “I have come to seek and to save the lost.” Seeking. Going after people. Indeed, after all creation!  

You may know that North American Mission is committing to working closely with Greg Finke (joining Jesus on His Mission), and others, to develop creative resources for witness and evangelistic outreach which we will use to bring the Gospel, the Best News, to our communities. It’s not that we are inventing something new. The message in this stuff will be as old as the hills; well, at least as old as Jesus’ directive:” ….therefore (go) and make disciples of all nations…” We get to be a part of that.  

I pray that we will all get in on this together, as Jesus guides us. The world really needs Jesus right now. 

No doubt. 

Bruce Stumbo – North American Mission Ministry Lead