Archive for the ‘Mission’ Category

Why passion for God must precede our preaching of God.

Posted: September 16, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Mission
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John Piper writes, “Passion for God in worship precedes the offer of God in preaching”. But why? He adds to this statement, “You can’t commend what you don’t cherish.” I believe that he is right. Imagine someone wanting to persuade you of anything they view as valuable. Whether it’s a restaurant, a gym, clothing or anything really, no one is really interested in a uninterested description. If you were to tell me you went to the best burger place with the most nonchalant tone, emotionless facial expression, and dull word choice, I would more than likely not believe you.

When something truly grips your heart you talk about it with a wonderful tone, flowery language, and pull for metaphors and similes to make sure you get your point across.

God is bigger, more majestic, greater and far more indescribable than we make Him out to be. Let’s see the display of his magnitude in the Bible, in the cross, and in our lives and declare it to others in a unbelievably believable way!

My prayer is that they experience something different than what is described of Einstein by Charles Misner

The design of the universe…is very magnificent and shouldn’t be taken for granted. In fact, I believe that is why Einstein had so little use for organized religion, although he strikes me as a very religious man. He must have looked at what the preachers said about God and felt that they were blaspheming. He had seen much more majesty than they had every imagined, and they were just not talking about the real thing. My guess is that he simply felt that religions he’d run across did not have proper respect for the author of the universe.

How would people view the way you talk about the glorious God of the gospel? Would they believe the unbelievable news offered to them? Or would they be so staggered by the fact that God would do the impossible to demonstrate His love for them?

Interview With An Atheist

Posted: July 22, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Mission
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Penn Jillette, of the magician duo Penn and Teller put out a video in which he said

I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me along and keep your religion to yourself—how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?

Here is a video of an interview with an atheist that says something very similar in a very poignant way.

Ramadan 2013: July 9- August 7

Posted: July 3, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Mission, Prayer
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Each year, Muslims around the world participate in a 30-day holy month called Ramadan. Participating in Ramadan, one of Islam’s five pillars (or core requirements), means abstaining from food during the daylight hours. In addition to the fast, Muslims increase their focus on adhering to Islam’s other pillars, including prayer and charity. Ramadan is always the ninth month on the lunar-based Islamic calendar, and this year, it will begin on July 9 and end on August 7.

Ramadan is obviously very important for Muslims, so as people who care about them and their salvation, we should familiarize ourselves with it. Additionally, Ramadan serves as a good time for Christians around the world to focus their prayers on Muslims who are so fervently seeking their god. We would do well to pray that in their seeking, they would find truth – the emptiness of their religion and the fullness of God in Christ.

Let’s also pray for our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who are living and serving among Muslims. As Muslims unite in heightened religious devotion it is not uncommon that they attempt to convert non-Muslims to Islam, and so these 30 days can be especially tense for Christians living in Islamic areas of the world. Pray for their endurance. Also pray for a role reversal – that as Muslims seek to convince and convert, they are convinced and converted after encountering the grace of Jesus in their Christian neighbors.

Here is some recommended reading on Islam and Ramadan, as well as some resources to aid you this month as you pray for Muslims:

This was originally posted on the Secret Church blog. Be sure to check it out for updates and information regarding Secret Church gatherings and the persecuted Church.

How Not to Make Disciples

Posted: June 26, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Discipleship, Mission
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One of the fears that I have in blogging about mission, holiness, the Bible, and discipleship is that I create a platform to think, write, and comment on these different categories but never do anything. I hope and pray that you and I take serious the commands of God given to us in His Word. All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus. No one can override his commands. No one can choose to dismiss his command. No one should disobey His command.

“The God who created the world and sustains it by the power of His Word, has said ‘Go make disciples’. So I wont sit here and make excuses” – Francis Chan

Have you ever seen a video of someone working out and wish you could lift as much as they did? Have you ever watched a clip of someone playing an instrument and wishing that you had the ability to play that smoothly? I have. To be honest, I do that a lot. I watch videos of Navy Seals, boxers, Dave Matthews, vocalist on various shows and they all make me wish I was more like them. Sometimes I am encouraged to be disciplined in areas that I am strong in. Most of the time I end up seeing all the ways that I come up short, especially when it comes to being a Christian.

I have seen people who read their Bible with intensity. They spend hours and hours reading, meditating, memorizing, preaching, teaching, cross-referencing, praying, and so on. I know people who have done amazing things for God. Men who love their wives and children in ways I don’t. I have been on the receiving end of generosity, hospitality, and servanthood. These are all gifts. Gifts for which I am to be thankful and moved by.

The problem is that I do compare myself, as do others whom I have counseled, when other Christians seem to accomplish more for God than I. They sacrifice more nights, they give away more money, and they travel to nations that don’t know Jesus.

I have to remind myself, and others, that Jesus has not commissioned me to be a omni-compotent ambassador for His Name. He has sent me on a mission to make, mature, and mobilize disciples of all nations. He has gifted me, set me in a context, and provided for me a specific way of carrying out that commission. It will look different for every other person in my small group, my Bible study, and church. We are all sent to different work places, neighborhoods, and have burdens for different nations.

Some have the capability to give lavishly, while others give generously within their budget. Some go long-term, while others go for short-term; some can only give and pray. Some have the houses to host a lot of people. Others see the positive effects of building deep with a few.

If you, like me, struggle with the constant comparison…you might want to consider this- God has made you to be uniquely equipped to reach your co-workers, city, and build the church. You have different capacities. You have different burdens. You have ideas that work for you that wouldn’t work for anyone else. In the words of J.D Greear, “Do what you do well to the glory of God. Do what you do well strategically for the mission of God.”

Our salvation does not hinge on our works. Jesus has earned our standing before God based on His obedience to fulfill the perfect requirements of God.  The motivation to see others come to faith should not be motivated by a desire to perform works that make us acceptable to God. Instead, they should be motivated by the work of Jesus, who accepts us as we are, and empowered by the Spirit who sent us. Jesus saves us. Jesus sends us. Jesus sanctifies. Jesus solely gets the glory. Let’s rest in His finished work alone.

“I urge you brother, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of

the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.”
Romans 15:30

David Sitton is one of the guys that God has used to open my eyes and heart to the global need for missionaries. Before being an author and leader, David Sitton served in Papua New Guinea reaching indigenous people that had no gospel witness as a missionary for 32 years. He is now the president of To Every Tribe Ministries and is now mentoring the next generation of frontier missionaries. He recently wrote an article with helpful hints on how to pray effectively for missionaries and wanted to capture the prayer points here. If you know, support, or are a missionary, I would encourage you to pray, or ask to be prayed for in this way.

Spiritual Life:
…That we will take sufficient time to read, reflect and pray
…That we would be protected from dark forces in spiritual realms
…For our spiritual growth and personal renewal
…That we would be encouraged and experience joy in ministry
…That we will be men and women of integrity, reliability, humility, wisdom
and consistency
…That we would maintain a healthy sense of humor

Personal Life:
…That our marital relationships will remain strong
…That the social, emotional and spiritual needs of our children are cared for
…That our basic financial requirements are regularly met
…That we would be protected from physical sickness
…That we will find time for proper sleep, rest and exercise
…That we would be self-disciplined
…That we will experience God’s protection from accidents, crime, terrorists
and dangerous animals

Relationships:
…That we would experience harmonious relationships with other Christians
…That our team would experience unity, love, good communication and patience with one another
…That we would develop intimate friendships with our national brothers
and sisters
…That we will resist temptations toward jealousy, envy, bitterness and pride

Language Proficiency:

…That we would make steady progress in language studies
…That God would give us grace to adapt well to new cultures and customs
…That God would give us clarity, creativity and relevance in preaching
and teaching

Evangelism And Discipleship:
…That we would be fearless and bold to preach Christ and Him crucified
…That we would be lead by the Holy Spirit as to where we go
…That God would give us supernatural discernment and wisdom
…That God would begin preparing hearts in advance for the message
…That God will open a door for His message and that it would spread rapidly
…That God would establish His Church in new regions
…That disciples and church leaders would be fully trained
…That God would raise up national missionaries
…That God would be honored and praised through our ministry

Countries:
…Pray for those in government positions
…For religious freedom
…That we would have favor with government officials
…That we would be granted swift approval in our visa applications

“The one concern of the devil is to keep the saints from prayer.  He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion.  He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.”
~Jonathan Edwards

“The call to reach the nations that have migrated to our neighborhoods is not a call to neglect to send missionaries to Majority World countries where large numbers of unreached peoples exist. We have been told to go and must continue to do so, for the greatest needs for the gospel and church multiplication exist in the non-Western world. However, something is missionally malignant whenever we are willing to make great sacrifices to travel the world to reach a people group but are not willing to walk across the street. The church is foolish to think that it pleases the Lord when we travel to another country to reach a people when representatives of that people group fly past us over the Pacific and land in our airports to settle in our communities, but we make no effort to reach them. In view of this pressure point, the churches and mission agencies that are likely to thrive in the realm of missions are those who integrate their domestic and international strategies and stop operating from the long-standing model that consisted of silos separating the “domestic” and “foreign.” (69-70)  J.D Payne, Pressure Points: 12 Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church

  • Between 1990 and 2010, the more developed countries gained 45 million international immigrants, an increase of 55 percent.
  • Between 1990 and 2010, the migrant population of the less developed countries increased by 13 million (18 percent).
  • Between 2000 and 2010, nine countries gained over one million international migrants: United States (8 million), Spain (4.6 million), Italy (2.3 million), Saudi Arabia (2.2 million), United Kingdom (1.7 million), Canada (1.6 million), Syria (1.3 million), Jordan (1 million), and United Arab Emirates (1 million).
  • By 2010, immigrants comprised 22 percent of the population of Australia, 21.3 percent of Canada, 13.5 percent of the United States, and 10.4 percent of the United Kingdom.
  • The main nationalities granted British citizenship in 2008 were Indian (11,285), Pakistani (9,440), Iraqi (8,895), Somali (7,165), and Zimbabwean (5,710).
  • By 2017, one Canadian in five could be a visible minority race.

J.D also adds…

While it is easy to get lost in the numbers from across the globe, we must remember that each one represents someone created in the image of God in need of salvation or to serve on mission with Him. In light of the work of the Divine Maestro, the church must ask how she should respond in the age of migration. This pressure point creates many challenges and opportunities. Not only has the Lord told us to go into the entire world, but He is also bringing the world to our neighborhoods.

If you would like to read more about how to engage people that have migrated or immigrated to the U.S, I highly recommend you buying his book, Strangers Next Door.