In the process of coming up with our new name, Novo (read more about it here), we started with looking at who we are—the things that characterize this band of missionaries. We came up with words like… Creative. Determined. Innovative. In the end we identified a few distinctives that we feel define Novo staff. The first of those is that we are disciples; deeply committed to knowing and following Jesus.
In the next couple of weeks, we’ll hear how some of our staff see these distinctives lived out in their ministry lives. Today, Abigail Liu, InnerCHANGE staff in Los Angeles, California, shares her perspective on Novo’s first calling as disciples of Christ:
These days, one of the most life-giving spiritual disciplines I have is spending 20 minutes in stillness a few times a week. Not silence—because I live in the middle of the city. In this stillness, I do not accomplish anything. I seek to quiet my heart and mind so I can be present to the truth that God is present. This is not always an easy practice, but it is something I have felt God inviting me more deeply into the past few years. The life into which Jesus invites us is not easy. In fact, sometimes following God means more suffering, more sacrifice, and more sorrow. But disciples know that it’s worth it—because we get to be close to the One who is Love.
“At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you going to leave, too?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life. We believe them, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” John 6.66–68, NLT
Simon Peter speaks for all of us at Novo when he says, “You alone have the words that give eternal life.” When we taste of Living Water, no other water will compare.
We are called to be disciples who make disciples, and so we must be followers of Jesus ourselves, paying attention daily to what God is doing in our own lives.
Daily attention to God means listening for what God is doing, becoming more attuned to God’s heart, and asking how God wants us to spend our hours and days. At Novo, we long to be people who consistently say “yes” to God, no matter what. This “yes” may be
- a seemingly simple act of obedience with no obvious result,
- stepping out in courage to pray for healing or speak truth or tell a story about Jesus,
- letting go of meaningful things so our hands are open for what is coming,
- or divine encounters with large ripple effects.
This is discipleship. We believe this is a central part of our call as missionaries—to be grounded in relationship with God, so that our actions come from a centeredness in who God is and who we are.
Daisy (name changed) is in sixth grade, and she’s been part of the girls’ Discovery Bible Study that a teammate and I have led together for over a year. These weekly Bible Studies have been accompanied by six years of innumerable interactions and conversations, affirming the ways in which Daisy is allowing God to transform and love her. This is discipling—coming alongside someone and being part of their journey toward and with God. A few weeks ago at the beginning of our Bible Study, Daisy asked if we remembered telling her that God is always listening, and excitedly shared that she prayed and asked God for something specific; it was clearly answered, proving to her that God heard her. We have talked about prayer and prayed together many times, and Daisy is learning to live out what it means to know and follow Jesus for herself. Even as we are on the journey with God, we witness the ways that Daisy is on the journey with God, and we are encouraged toward deeper intimacy and joy.
As creative missionaries, we listen to Holy Spirit and partner with the ways God is at work in our contexts and relationships. We have the privilege of watching God at work, as God brings those we love to new and renewed life, in ways that often surprise and challenge us. As we partner with and follow God, we are made new and become more fully the people who God created us to be. Our willingness to be transformed in the quiet place with God translates into being invited to participate in a myriad of ways as God is at work in the world, making all things new.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Abigail Liu has been part of InnerCHANGE for over 13 years, and currently enjoys living in a majority Latino immigrant neighborhood with her husband, Johnny. Abigail is excited about her new role leading a care team for InnerCHANGE—seeing missionaries healthy and thriving in who they are and in relationship with God and others.