After all our research into international mission agencies, and coming to the conclusion in May 2014 that God was leading us to work with a French denomination or organisation, rather than an international agency, we were finally able to move forwards.
We were pretty sure that God wanted us to spend a year learning French properly, in France. And we were pretty sure that He wanted us to do that at the Les Cèdres Christian language school at Massy, in the South-West suburbs of Paris. So in June 2014 we contacted Les Cèdres and began a discussion about going there to study.
Everything turned out to be very straightforward and we were able to eventually get ourselves booked onto a 12-month intensive course beginning in January 2016, and also fixed up with accommodation in a tiny studio flat 10 minutes walk from the language school.
All of this was very encouraging for us, as it helped to confirm that we were moving forwards in the path God had planned for us. Back in April 2014 we very much felt God was telling us to simply trust Him, to trust Him simply, and stop trying to work it all out for ourselves. Simply trust… trust simply. Thank you, Lord: got it!
In a football team, it is the job of each player to be completely aware of where all the other members of your team are on the pitch.
You have the ball. Should you take it up the field yourself? If you do, and someone comes in to tackle you, will there be any team-members nearby you can pass the ball to? Will they in turn be able to pass it? Or maybe you’d be better to pass the ball right now. How? Forwards, sideways, or backwards (where there might be more of your team)?
We need to be completely aware of all the other members of our team, our local Church: where are they, what direction are they running in?
Who can help me? Who can I pass the ball to? Who needs some help? How can the team succeed (rather than me get my moment of glory)?
We don’t tend to think of Church as Team. We think of leadership teams or welcome teams or tea/coffee teams, but not of Church as Team or Home Group as Team. I think we ought to think about this concept rather more and see how it applies to the local Church.
Like just-baked bread, freshly-made coffee, rich Bolognese sauce for pasta blipping gently on the stove.
Lying in bed in the morning with the smell of bread wafting up the stairs as the bread-maker finishes its cycle, coercing me into getting up.
Inviting, drawing us in, almost irresistible. “I want some of that!”
How can we be just like that, as Christians? Drawing others in, like a fresh aroma?
For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)
We are the aroma of Christ. We don’t need to try to be, we are, says God.
We are the light of the world, says Jesus:
You are the light of the world… let your light shine before others (Matthew 5:14-16)
We just need to believe it and live it. Live as the light, live as the aroma.
While prayer-walking some months ago up on the hill overlooking the valley in which the housing estate God has called us to as a
Church sits… I catch the smell of the vegetation brought to me on the fresh wind. I’m not sure what the plants are, but the smell is pleasant and full of life.
Yes, we are the aroma of Christ. But think how much more widely the aroma spreads when it is carried by the wind of the Holy Spirit.