January 08, 2023 | Be On Mission
    This is a year-long study of the entire New Testament beyond the four Gospels, which is separately available as a year-long study of the Life of Jesus. After Jesus died and rose, but before He ascended, He gave His followers the Great Commission:
    18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
    The Book of Acts is the history of how the early Christians carried out that commission, that is, how they were “on mission.” This study examines that historical record, along with the Epistles (letters) and the Book of Revelation that accompany it. When the Book of Acts features a person or place or theme, we will pause to look at those writings. When Peter makes a speech that launches the Christian movement (Week 2), we will explore the books of 1 & 2 Peter (Weeks 3 & 4). When Paul does ministry in Philippi (Week 21), we will pause to study the book of Philippians for the next four days.
    Call it a “chrono-geo-bio-logical” flow, following the chronology of Acts, then diverting to the biographical people or geographical places or thematic topics mentioned. Hopefully, this will encourage the person doing the study to more fully engage with the Scripture in its context. There is great value in reading the New Testament books straight through, or in the order in which they were written. This study takes a more thematic approach, reading the epistles of the faces and places encountered in the book of Acts, where possible.
    There are several components to this year-long exploration into Jesus’ mission:
    1. Daily Scripture Readings – Actually, they are five days a week. Consider reading each weekday to anchor your day in Scripture.
    2. Daily Devotions – These are written by me and correlate with the daily readings to help you think more deeply about what you are reading.
    3. Daily Poems – These are written by my sister-in-law, Rev. Dr. Martha FrizLanger. They will help you imagine the New Testament through poetry.
    4. Weekly Studies – These studies, written by my colleague Rev. Dr. Ben Greenbaum and others, are great tools for small groups and classes.
    5. Weekly Sermons – If you cannot attend worship with us in person, you can always view them here:
      watch sermons
    6. Weekly Podcasts – Ben and I and some special guests will spend some time each week dialoguing about that week’s readings. Catch these here:
      listen to podcasts
    As with the “Life of Jesus” study, throughout my devotions for the “Be on Mission” study, I use capital letters when referring to Jesus: Son, King, Messiah, His, He, Him, etc.  This sets Jesus apart from other mere humans. An exception is when talking about his relationships (e.g. “Mary’s son”). I do the same for references to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. The hope is that we are all drawn to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in this study as One who is Holy, yet approachable through His kindness and salvation. All Scripture references are NIV unless otherwise noted.
    It is my prayer that you will be motivated to “live out” the New Testament way of life. It is my hope that you will “Be on Mission!”
    Enjoy the journey!
    Rev. Mark A. Ellcessor
    Senior Pastor, Fishers United Methodist Church