Tag Archives: mission

Having Eyes to See – Part 2

Last week we talked about opening our eyes to see windows of opportunity to share the gospel. This week is Part 2 to that blog post as we learn how Jesus and the apostles chose to walk through those doors opportunity presented to them.

See in Acts 3, shortly after Peter and John heal this beggar, they continue to use that opportunity to share the gospel with courage as the crowds approached to see what was going on after the beggar was miraculously healed.

Sometimes for us, the most difficult things could be knowing what to do when you finally see an opportunity you may have been praying for.

Walk Through Doors of Opportunity

1. Break the “us-and-them” mentality.

Concerning Acts Chapter 3, Peter and John could have done anything to avoid this situation with this expected beggar, but they didn’t avoid him. They stepped into this man’s life. Every human being deserves the dignity to be engaged. and more importantly, the opportunity to see the church at work in loving in extraordinary ways.

I had to break through my ‘us and them’ mentality the other day as I passed a beggar on the street.  Immediately there seems to be that feeling you get and all that self-talk about why, how, and for what purpose is this person here asking for money, food, gas…. I think we all know what I’m talking about. There are so many different reasons why our minds race during this moment of questioning; I would even argue that this feeling is not necessarily a ‘Christian’ self talk. You know… ‘do I roll my window down to say hi’… ‘well that’s stupid’… ‘do I ask what they will use the cash on?’… ‘nope’, …’can I ask them about Jesus in 22sec before the light turn green’?… ‘impossible’. So…. what do you do?

What I do was sorta weird. I pass her, with all those knee jerk responses in my mind, I drive away. It wasn’t really till a few miles out that I really felt conviction and knew that I could not justify my way out of this. I need to preach Christ to her and give her food. I have to confess that I have been jaded and therefore I have not always listened to the Spirit as He asks me to respond.

So, and this point I felt quite compelled at this moment to stop, get her food and get her permission to talk about Jesus. The truth is, is that there is no ‘us-and-them’. That idea of this feeling is the root sin of class and racial divide and needs to be quenched by God’s love. Believe me, none of are as special as we may think.

Anyway, there was no real profoundness about it at all. God does the saving, we just obey and go into the world to preach good news.

2. Listen like a friend

I’m convinced that most people don’t just want someone to be courteous and friendly. People want friends.

When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, you can just imagine His level of engagement as He meets with her at a place that Jews and Samaritans would not normally cross paths. (John 4:5-32)

If you ask someone how they are doing, mean it. Don’t just ask then walk off. You never know whether this conversation may have content and value that could greatly affect your life.

Be vulnerable, listen, respond and interact with people that is categorized by authentic engagement.

3. Give hope for a future

Jesus or the apostles did not excuse sin, instead they practiced mission living by offering compassion –into-repentance. Through relationship we can best understand how we can assist in need, pray, and walk with people through their sin as well as our own.

When Jesus visited the woman at the well, He didn’t just leave her hanging after bringing up her obvious sin and brokenness. He let her know that there will be a time when people would worship in Spirit and in truth. That even as she was hopeless without Him, that He is the living water, and without Him she would dry up.

Do we leave hopeless those we are helping? It’s like when mission trips and service projects are done with no end to the means. The greatest gift we could ever offer those is the love of God by letting them know of a Savior in the midst of our and their wretchedness. Don’t just string people along. There should be a genuine concern for one’s well being, and ultimately one’s soul.

4. Contextually convey the Gospel

Sometimes we get tied up in method when most of the time you will get to share the gospel in ways that are directly associated within all the normal rhythms of your daily life.

The most prominent questions I get from stay-at-homes mothers is how do they live this out when their around only their children 24 / 7? My response is this. “Be the most loving mother and fill your children with faithfulness by allowing the grace of God to be most evident in your life. Then as you mess it up, share the Gospel of grace”.

Contextually sharing the gospel doesn’t mean getting cool hipster clothes and always drinking coffee while reading some dead theologian. It means being faithful to open your eyes to see the broken world around you and then approaching it knowing the Gospel can really break any chain of bondage, sin and death. That is how strong the cross is, and I believe with every fiber of my being.

Conclusion

What we learn in Acts Chapter 3 is that God has empowered His people to be witnesses preach and live ‘Jesus’ to the whole world with courage and boldness in the midst of persecution and even death.  At the name of Christ, there is authority when represented with clear concise belief and true faith in Jesus Christ; the way the truth and the life.

Can we put gospel lenses on? Can we view the world through the vision of the Word of God and see lives change? Can we see the pain and heartache? How can we play a role in this process? Through Christ and His redemptive work, we can see the love of Christ for broken sinners evident everywhere we look if we just open our eyes.

In this case (Acts 3) we have a crippled man, probably most of his known life, raised up again to walk. Imagine your whole life (and you may very well have experienced this or take care of one who has physically experienced this) completely unable to do anything without the help of another. Your usual story is brokenness, disappointment and pity. There were probably times, many, where the expectation was higher than what you could accomplish. And walking into the temple would have been something to want to be included in…This man is in need of a doctor, outside help to have the power to do anything. He needs a savior.

This is like us, but more extreme. The bible says we are dead in our sin. Dead. And through the life, death and resurrection of Christ, if we believe in him we can walk in newness of life. In the same way we must be brought back to life again by the cross and the awakening of the Holy Spirit.

Thankfully I am alive in Christ. Do you have Jesus today? Are you dead in your sin. If you do not know Jesus, are than you need of Christ and His accomplished work. Repent, be saved, and walk in newness of life.

Honoring Our Inheritance

An inheritance is something to take very seriously. When it is available and given through family or a loved one, it is to be honored and well taken care of. If we take a quick glimpse at the book of Joshua, we see a book that is the promise kept by God to Moses that they would inherit the land and possess it. Essentially, this is a book on victory and God’s faithfulness to Israel, and a charge to honor the LORD with this inheritance of grace. Lets take a look of the Book of Joshua.

As a walk-through Joshua is broken up into 4 major parts

  1. Crossing into the land

    1. We have to understand that this was a very joyous time for the Israelites. They have been wondering the desert and they have finally found the lands that they have been so eager to see. Now they are here. The promise made to Moses is very real and the promise from the LORD about the land has been kept.

    2. It was important for people to remember the things God did for them so that they would never forget the faithfulness of God during times of struggle and hardship. See God told Joshua to remember this moment and to tell their children of this.

  2. Taking the land.

    1. Israel was commanded to conquer and take the land that the Lord had given to them. This was unique moment for the history of Israel. This pattern of claiming what is ours is repeated for us even in the New Testament as to knowing whose and who we are in Christ.

  3. Dividing the land.

    1. Once the land was taken into their hands it was now time to divide the land among the people in Israel. They now had an inheritance when they did not have one before. What will they do with it? If you look at history, not all the tribes kept their promise. If we look to Christ, He was the perfect promise keeper.

  4. Serving the Lord in the land.

    1. Joshua 23:6-8 (ESV)

Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, 7 that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them, 8 but you shall cling to the Lord your God just as you have done to this day.

    1. This scripture is a similar parallel scripture to Matt 28:18-20 and & Hebrews 3:12-14. This is a call to obedience and remembrance to what God has done.

    2. Joshua is given a charge similar to one he was given. The last portion of Joshua is an ending in Joshua’s life where he asked them again to make a declaration again; that the Lord is who they will choose to serve today.

What’s The Big Idea?

How are we honoring our inheritance?

Jesus is our brother and scripture says in Romans 8:17 that not only has given us authority but are co heirs with Him! We share in this inheritance, which means we must OWN it and stop acting like bad tenants renting a home that is not ours. This is an idea we must now own for our families and our church that we have an inheritance in Christ that we must take very seriously. This is means we must serve Jesus by responding faithfully to the great commission.

What do we do with this inheritance?

Jesus has given us the ultimate inheritance and possession, Jesus is the greater Joshua.

Our inheritance is Christ and the hope He has given us is life.

We now stand in the greatest season yet of God’s redemptive history. Christ, the greatest promise has already come and now we have the responsibility to carry out the call and mission to reach the world for Him.

Here are some practical solutions

Let us as households and churches to make Jesus known, and walk in obedience by honoring the inheritance of the great harvest, and heirs in His kingdom.

  • Have you decided on your household purpose?
  • Are you praying daily?
  • Is your home open to people?
  • Do you see your neighborhood as a mission field?
  • Do you see your work as a mission field?
  • What are your circles of influences?
  • Does your family seek to help in service projects on your own? Food banks, taking up a church ministry, passing out food etc.

We will win many times as Israel did, w will also lose and fail many times. We must continue to declare whose and who we are in Christ and remember and live out the promise given to us through Christ.

We must be ready to give Gospel demonstration, AND NOT ONLY gospel proclamation.

Remember that God uses families, especially weak ones to do His work!

This is an expert from a sermon preached on 11/25/13

Disciples On Mission

Were you ever involved in door to door outreach? I know for a lot of us that happened to grow up in the church during the 80’s and 90’s, it was customary to go knock on doors to get the bible thumpin’ notch on your good person church belt. And if you weren’t involved in the church during that time, you probably remember at least having your door knocked and hiding as quietly as possible so they would feel compelled to finally stop knocking. Unfortunately, that particular method was not that effective, and even though many did it with sincerity, they probably weren’t successful in building bridges with the people they were hoping to reach. We as the church can no longer rely on methods or mere trends to draw the numbers; we must rely on the power of the Gospel, the transformation of the Holy Spirit’s work, and to join our King Jesus on mission.

Mission

There are often barriers between those who are being pursued and the party pursuing. And it is critical that find those barriers and pray for breakthroughs in the power of the Holy Spirit. There are so many methods and systems that really do work in penetrating a people group and/or person with the message of Jesus Christ in ways they can understand, but we are not here to talk on method, but on principle of how we can be on mission together, both with God and with each other.

We see a pattern in scripture of the things that are important to God. We see that His glory, His people, and His creation are all important to Him and His story (See Table)1 . As I mentioned earlier in the ‘Giving Jesus Everything‘ post, we mentioned this concept of the kabod doxa of God, and following Him is costly just as it says in Matthew 16:24, and even though sin has obscured things (1 Cor. 13:12), His glory is to be observed, honored, and worshiped (1 Cor. 2:7-14). Sin has alienated His people, yet through the power of the cross He has reconciled us to Himself, and is calling us His people to live in peace and unity, as displayed well in 1 Thessalonians 1:5-9. And lastly, His creation is important to Him, humans, animals and everything He made including trees, lakes, and oceans. In Job 38 we see creation as a display of His wisdom and power. Even His creation felt the earthquake of sin for we see in Romans 8:19-22, Paul speaks of creation under the curse of sin. We are here to be ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:17-21) and co-regents for God. Whatever that looks like, and whoever it reaches, God’s glory must be known and seen, and we need to be excited to be involved in work of God on this planet. It is clear in Matthew 25:31-46 that we are to take this mission seriously. “To be on mission with God is to respond to the high calling to participate with Him on His mission in His story”.2

And if you notice, there is an organic nature to this understanding of image, worship community and mission. You see, we must be an image-bearing community of worshipers on mission!

Memorize This Scripture

Psalms 96:1-3 (ESV)

“Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!”

Group Discussion Starters

  • As leaders, do we notice if we are being ambassadors of reconciliation in our local city community?
  • How do all aspects of a disciple work together?
  • Take about 15 minutes to study. Pick one passage below and give insights relating to mission.
    • 2 Kings 17:25-28
    • Jonah 3:1-10
    • Luke 10:1-24
    • Luke 24:44-49
    • Acts 1:1-11

Things to Do on Your Own

Spiritual Discipline

  • This discipline will be multifaceted; it will include scripture reading, prayer and solitude.
    • Go to a high place in your city, or a location that you can be in a quiet space yet see a lot of buildings far-off that represent your city.
    • Read Isaiah 6:1-8 very slowly
    • Pray that you are able to have a heart like Christ to see the lost saved
    • After praying, wait, stay silent for at least 15 minutes, and rest in His presence.

Personal Study

  • Read Acts Chapter 9
    • What does this passage teach you?
    • How does this passage display a Trinitarian theology?
    • How does this passage reveal Jesus’ heart for His church?

Action Points

  • Choose a location in your city that you know well, this can be bar, game center, recreation center, gym etc. Get to know people, build relationship, and bring someone along that loves Jesus so you can make this place your new mission field. Take mental note of trends, laughter and influential people, and find ways to image God to this new mission field.

Table

Disciple on Mission

What’s Important to God?

Sin’s Distortion

God’s Mission

God’s Glory

Obscured

Observed

God’s People

Alienated

Reconciled

God’s Creation

Fruitless

Stewarded

FOOTNOTES


  1. Disciple, Clem, p.153-168 

  2. Disciple, Clem, p.168