When the Presence of God Meets the Mission of God


Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Isaiah 55:3b–5 

“I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”


As I read our text today, I’m struck by the phrase “Surely you will summon nations you know not.” How does one summon nations they don’t know? The remainder of the sentence provides some insight: nations you don’t know come running to you because God has endowed you with splendor. These nations are summoned not by declaration or invitation, but through attraction.

There’s something about the people of God that is attractive. That stands out and draws in. Like a light—or a city, as Jesus put it—on a hill in the midst of the darkness.

I’m reminded of a video I stumbled upon a few months ago where a man shares a story about a time he got a haircut. You can watch the full video here, but I’ll provide a summary. At the end of his haircut, he mentioned something about going to church. The barber responded by saying “I wasn’t going to say anything, but I’ve been experiencing bad anxiety about something for the last few weeks. It’s been increasing over time, today it came to a head, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through my workday. But the moment you sat down in my chair the anxiety went away. I feel a real peace now.” Reflecting on the instance, the man who received the haircut jokes about how he wasn’t feeling particularly spiritual or holy in that moment, he was just there to get a haircut. Then he makes a great point: “Sometimes I don’t think we realize what we carry.”

When we talk about the mission of God, we tend to only focus on the command to “go.” This is good and right and biblical. We forget that at the same time “go” is spoken to the church by the Spirit, “come” is spoken to the world outside of it.

Sometimes we may feel hesitant or cautious when it comes to mission because we don’t want to offend people, or we’re not sure how they will respond—the hurt many have experienced from the church has certainly not helped. It’s almost as if we’ve forgotten that human beings were designed for God. God created humanity to enjoy relationship with him. What we offer is good. Who we offer is good. People are not just designed to know God, they’re desperate to.

There is a place for persuasion and apologetics and logic in evangelism. I’m thankful that our faith tradition is supported by philosophy and reason and for the brilliant men and women who have done significant work in these areas. But when it really comes down to it, the best thing we can offer is not a case for God’s existence, but Christ in us. This is evangelism focused on presence. Not our presence, but God’s presence in us.

We began our journey on the Wake-Up Call with one another at the beginning of Isaiah 55, with the invitation to the thirsty. In John 7, Jesus poses a similar invitation but paints a bit of a wider picture for us: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this, he meant the Spirit that those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Jesus tells us, he promises us, that the thirsty become vessels for the river from which they drink. As one of my seminary professors put it, “To participate in God’s mission is to be caught up, filled up, and poured out for the world.”

Later on in John’s gospel (chapters 15 and 16), Jesus tells the disciples the “advocate” is coming, and outlines some of the functions of the Spirit: 

  1. testify about me 
  2. strengthen disciples for the mission 
  3. convince the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment 
  4. guide disciples into all truth. 

After his resurrection in John 20, Jesus tells the disciples “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. . . . Receive the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit, who was sent by Jesus, makes us like Jesus, who was sent by the Father.

It shouldn’t be lost on us that the majority of what Jesus said to his disciples about the Spirit was not about fruit or gifts, but about continuing his mission. Let me be clear, the fruit and gifts of the Spirit are important and vital to the life of the church. But when we only talk about these operations of the Holy Spirit, we can forget the center around which they revolve: the Spirit was sent in order to send.

Knowing what we carry transforms how we see the world around us and how we see ourselves in it. Suddenly, the normal moments of life are infused with the wonder of the greater story to which we belong. Our workplace, our neighborhoods, our favorite restaurants and coffee shops, all become spheres into which we are commissioned, filled with the Holy Spirit. 

So go. Go to work. Go to dinner. Go to the grocery store. And even go get your haircut carrying the very presence of Jesus in you and with you. And “Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”


Come, Holy Spirit. I pray these words today, understanding a little bit more what they mean. Fill me. Send me. Open my eyes and heart to truly see those around me who were designed to know you but do not. Open their ears to hear your invitation “Come.” Draw them to yourself through your presence in your people. Amen.


Inviting the Holy Spirit to guide me, I ask myself these questions:

  1. What do I carry?
  2. Why do I carry it?

For the Awakening,
Anna Grace Legband

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

5 Responses

  1. In my experience, what has been written about the attractional presence of the Holy Spirit within a believer is very true. The Spirit is able to draw folks who possess the in-dwelt Spirit together that cannot be explained any other way. The various gifts and the fruit of the Spirit are the means by which the Spirit’s presence is made manifest also to those outside the kingdom of God. This is why Scriptures tell us that we “clay vessels “ contain the treasure of God.

  2. Endowed With Splendor

    Stir up your awareness
    Of Christ in you.
    Focus your attentiveness
    On His living presence.
    Keep Him always
    In your consciousness
    So that all that you
    Think, say, and do
    Will be led by His Spirit
    Overflowing from within you
    As rivers of rushing water
    Empowered by His liveliness.

    Daily demonstrate the presence of the risen Jesus. Let Him keep your heart always overflowing with the splendor of His presence!

  3. Christ in us is the case for God’s existence.
    God’s existence is why Christ can be in us.
    Everyone sees the evil in the world.
    But are blinded to the GOoD of God.
    Paul calls it the veil.

    Hebrews 10:19-20
    Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,

    But, it is torn wide open, revealing a new way, truth, and life.
    All we have to do is be willing to step through.
    By the way, hold someone’s hand as you go.

    Staying 💪’n Christ
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power

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