Posts Tagged ‘Mission’

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?

Conversations w/ David Platt

Posted: August 6, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Uncategorized
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Radical has been posting individual videos of David Platt answering some questions regarding his book Radical, disciple-making, the local church, and global missions that will lead to a simulcast August 14th. The simulcast is going to be a teaching/QnA on his newest book Follow Me. 

All 11 videos in this conversation are numbered below, and they correspond to the following questions:

  1. Three years after Radical, what has been encouraging and what has been concerning about responses to the book?
  2. What is the role of the church in following Christ?
  3. How does living radically fit with the normal Christian life?
  4. What does living radically look like for David Platt?
  5. What’s the difference between God’s commands and His individual callings?
  6. How is radical devotion to Christ different from religious legalism?
  7. How does caring for the poor fit with the church’s primary task of making disciples?
  8. Should we lead people in a ‘sinner’s prayer’?
  9. What led you to write Follow Me and why do you see it as more foundational thanRadical?
  10. What are some cultural misunderstandings about follow Christ addressed in Follow Me?
  11. What should we expect from the Follow Me simulcast?

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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.

This April, I was able to attend The Gospel Coalitions national conference. There were a lot of people I was looking forward to listening to, and many I did not know but had heard a lot about. The talks I was looking forward to didn’t upset. The speakers I didn’t know blew me away. I was able to build with the guys I went with. I was able to hear one of them begin his journey to South Asia and is currently in country. This was a highlight for me this year.

This conference was a refreshing, convicting, encouraging, and theologically rich. The books were discounted (always a good time to buy) and the schedule was stacked. I am glad that they now have audio available. There were so many workshops, talks, and panels I wish I could have been in. This is one of the many times I wish I had more than one body, or the ability to have my mind in two place at once.

The pre-conference was on global missions, the conference was about following Jesus on mission in the Gospel of Luke, and the post-conference was on work and vocation. I hope you are encouraged by it.

Here were some of the most personally encouraging ones:

The heart of God in the call to proclaim: Our goal to please him, by John Piper

Why the Great Commission is Great: Reaching more and more people, by David Platt

Being an Ambassador for Christ: Ministry of Reconciliation,by Mack Stiles

Contextualization and the Gospel delivered to all of God’s People, by Zane Pratt

How to create a Sending Culture in your Church, by J.D Greear

The last couple of days, I wrote a four part series on what it means to follow Jesus. It is by no means exhaustive, but I hope you were encouraged by it. If you would like to review that you can see the intro, part 1, part 2, and part 3 before this.

One of the questions I find myself asking God is, what work still needs to be done and how can I join you? The answer is by no means unique or hyper-spiritual. It is simple- make disciples of all nations. To make disciples is a two-fold project that involves making disciples and maturing disciples. It would be a false dichotomy and a misunderstanding of the great commission to pit these two important components against each other.

How are we supposed to reach the ends of the earth? Well, some of us are called to follow Jesus by leaving our careers, leaving our homes, and going to a place where there is no church or Christian witness. Others are called to leverage their business by creating access in places that are closed and restricted to missionaries. Regardless of what we do, or how we accomplish the mission, the scope of the nations is to be carried by every Christian and every local church.

How do we, who are here in the US, fulfill the global scope of missions? First, lets define what nations meant in the great commission. “All Nations” (panta ta ethne) can be translated into all ethno-linguistic people groups. There are 196 geo-political nations which is not what was meant by Jesus when He said “all nations”. There are 16,590 different people groups with their own ethnic background and their own language. 7,163 are still unreached which means that there is less that 2% of a Christian presence in their population. 3,400 of which are not being engaged (no one is making an effort to reach them). I see Jesus speaking of nations in the second form, and not in the geo-political sense.

With 7,163 people groups still to be reached, what can we do? My prayer is that the command to make disciples and the global reality will open our eyes and mobilize us to mission. I am praying that some of you reading this would go, and that others would engage the unengaged and unreached here. I am praying that all would have a global mindset.

Many have said that the reason that they don’t go overseas is because there are many who need to be evangelized here. The problem is most of them either miss the global scope of our witness, or they don’t evangelize at all. You see, the nations are here and there is a lot that we can do for the global purposes of God. There are many international students, immigrants, and refugees here in the US. Look at these numbers here :

India has 2,533 unreached people groups living among them.China comes in second with 516- that is a significant drop from first and second. I wonder if you all would know what nation comes in third place? It is, amazingly, the United States. There are 381 unreached people groups here. Walk around and think nations and see if you don’t begin to realize that the great commission is within our grasp. From college students, to business men and women, neighbors and bazaars the nations are at our doorstep, in our backyard and within the range of our local churches.

I am unable to go to the nations…at least for now. My wife and I are praying about going in the future and when that would be. But there is still so much that could be done from here. I would encourage you to get a copy of Operation World and begin praying for the nations. I have also put an app on my blog with an unreached people of the day, stats, geography, and ways to pray for them. If you have an Ipod, Ipad, or Iphone,  there is an app called the Unreached People of the Day that you could download for free.

But why do this? We do this because Jesus is worthy. We do this because Jesus is to be glorified and made much of by every people group on the face of the earth. We do this for the sake of people. We do this because there is an eternal reality of heaven and hell. We do this because we want to see the lamb receive the reward of his sufferings.

Here are some questions I would like for you to consider:

1) How could I leverage my time, money, and career to reach the nations for Jesus?

2) Where are there opportunities for me to engage with different people?

3) How can I mobilize members of my church to go here or go there?