Monday, February 23, 2015

Missionaries, what, who, why, when, and how does that work?

 
Missions and Missionaries
 
 
Why do we call ourselves missionaries on a mission field?  Well, because we are all called to go out and spread the Gospel, to share our heart, to reach the lost and unlost, to bring fellowship to those that have left the traditional ways of worship and help bring them into fellowship with HIM.  For us, being called to the No Walls Ministry isn't something we take lightly, it is something we have learned to live.  We have always tried to be Christ in Action Meeting People where they're at in order for people to see us as that walking Word of God.  When we decided we were to go on the road, it was amazing to us how many Christ followers are out here, but it's even more surprising how many are not attending services because it's tough to go into a church the first time and only time.  For us, it's tough to know the Pastor, what is his heart- really his heart for Jesus.  His heart and walk for Jesus determines his teachings.  If he is worldly, his sermons and teachings will be so.  If he is passionate about Jesus, so will his teachings and sermons.  If he is there because it's a job for now or it was a job that paid well and still determines to live a life outside and not inside the will of God, it will show.  I want to find those passionate people that want to live for Jesus and are not afraid to live.  I want to find those people that are on the fray, that feel like they have been cast aside. Many times, Steve is the one that goes out and talks, and I was getting upset cause I thought, Man he talks with anyone!"  Well so did Jesus and the disciples.  But Steve calls me out to pray and listen and I am learning to be okay with that.   
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Henry Blackaby said "No Christian need live without a keen sense of purpose.  And no believer need give up on finding daily closeness with God.  But how do we open ourselves to the intimacy with God so evident in His friendship with Abraham? How can we experience more?" He wrote "Experiencing God" and "Created to Be God's Friend, how God shapes those he loves."
 
'Actions speak louder than words, AMEN?'
 
 
The Spirit of God does not just turn up like the congregation on Sundays. He does not wait until we have prepared for His visit with suitable songs. We do not pray for God to be there, because He is there – always. He is fully there! He would never make His redeeming work depend on our emotional state, which goes up and down like an elevator in the Empire State building, one moment on the ground floor and the next in the clouds. God’s sun never sets. The Spirit of God does not withdraw or retract, evaporate, diminish, or leak away. He abides. God has not covenanted to be with us sometimes, but at all times. Even today. God bless you. REINHARD BONNKE

  
John 4:34-36New King James Version (NKJV)
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.
 
Individuals seeking to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and submit to discipleship may want to visit a local church or consult with a pastor or minister. If they have not repented from the sin inherited from the first man, Adam; unbelievers can pray this simple, but sincere prayer to receive salvation: "Father God, I admit to you that I am a sinner. But I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He shed His blood at Calvary's Cross to redeem all mankind from sin. I repent of all my sins and ask that You forgive me and make Jesus Christ my personal Lord and Savior. Fill me with the gift of Your Holy Spirit, that I may have the power to live a sinless life in Christ. Amen." Those who pray sincerely are immediately received into the grace of God, cleansed from all sin, and accepted into the Body of Christ. Church membership is important to maintaining salvation. Bible studies on Christian discipleship will provide a much needed foundation for a newly born again believer upon which to build a life of liberty and freedom that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

 
A missions trip can have many different objectives and can be approached in many different ways. We see a broad range of examples from the Bible. In the Old Testament, many consider that Abraham took a missionary journey by setting out to an unknown country following God's directive. God also sent prophets and priests to cities and people groups to teach others about Him and His ways. From the beginning, the Lord has been concerned for all people and He has chosen to use people to share this concern. When the Messiah arrives in the New Testament, Christian missionaries are conceptualized. Jesus sent His disciples out in groups to take the specific message of the gospel forward. As when a drop upon the waters sends out rippled waves, so the gospel message was to spread out in all directions, changing individual lives and impacting the world. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the disciples had an even greater hope to share with the world: the hope of resurrection for all who would believe. In the letters of the Apostle Paul, we see that men and women were sent forward not only with this message but for additional reasons, as well. Cross cultural financial sharing, encouragement, and church planting were all objectives of the new Christian faith. To discover more about what the Bible has to say about missions, be sure and check out these Bible resources.

The objectives of missions have not changed, although the methods have seen many variations over the years. With travel expediency and technology, Christian missionaries reaching out to churches and those in need has opened an entire new way of interacting. And, missions has become a ministry that most anyone at any age can take part in. The opportunities to meet and support Christian people groups in other countries are endless. And, there are still people groups that need to hear the salvation message of Jesus Christ. There are languages that have not yet been written, meaning that there are still cultures that do not have the Word of God available in their native tongues. There are established churches that need additional resources for training up disciples, and there is wide spread persecution of Christianity. Those who suffer daily persecution are always in need of encouragement from their brothers and sisters from around the world. The need is great, and God has opened the doors of blessings, meeting needs at a greater rate than ever before. "Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations" (1 Chronicles 16:23-24). These are truly amazing times in which to live and to take part in a missionary journey.

As servants of Christ seek to serve Him and love all of His children through mission trips, there has truly been a global impact for Christ. Churches have been built, children have been fed, homes have been repaired, and lives have been changed for the better. Christian missionaries may go into an under-developed country and live among the people, dedicating their lives to building a foundation of the Faith. Short-term trips are often directed at providing aid or taking a gift, giving both the givers and the receivers the opportunity to learn more about each other and experience the Spirit of God in new and exciting ways. Not only are there physical results, but there are spiritual and emotional outcomes, as well. When we are challenged to love and share with people who are from completely different cultures, we have our eyes opened to what God is doing in and through people who are different from us. Minds will be opened to see that God and his infinite ways are more vast, yet more understandable, evoking an incredible spiritual enlightenment. All of this can be accomplished in a simple missionary journey, by taking a step out of comfort and into the exciting adventures of God.
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
This is taken from Charisma Magazine:
In much of the church, the words "missions" and "missionary" have been used to refer to a select group of people who were being sent to foreign lands to take the gospel to unreached people. In recent years these words, along with the term "missional," have come to describe a needed shift in both our purpose and our paradigm for ministry.
Missional living in Christianity is often described as "the adoption of the posture, thinking, behaviors and practices of a missionary in order to engage others with the gospel message." Dictionary.com defines mission as an "important goal or purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction; a calling or vocation, a sending or being sent for some duty or purpose."
My search for the word "sent" in the New Testament produced more than 198 references. Most referred to our God as one who sends: John the Baptist, Jesus, the disciples, the Holy Spirit, the church.
Missiologist David Bosch writes: "Mission was understood as being derived from the very nature of God ... Father, Son and Holy Spirit sending the church into the world ... a movement from God to the world; the church is viewed as an instrument for that mission. ... There is a church because there is a mission, not vice versa" (Sentness: Six Postures Of Missional Christians by Kim Hammond and Darren Cronshaw, IVP Books).
Our God is a missionary God motivated by love for the world.
Our theme for 2015 is "Sent." Our desire is that we will collectively commit ourselves as The Foursquare Church to be a sent people, reflecting the Incarnate One, God with us. 
Sentness defines current reality in this manner: "There are two competing postures for the people of God today: a church of consumers, demanding goods and services, and a church of missionaries, sent and sending into the world. These compete for the minds of Christians."
As we begin this new year, I hope you will join me in in the following prayer:
Father, search our hearts and ways. Realign our thinking, lifestyles and service to be about what You are already actively doing in our world. May we be missionaries of Your gospel, whether You send us across the street or across the ocean. Jesus, in our going may we truly be with people as You were, embodying and proclaiming the good news of grace and love for all.

How You Can Pray

In what ways can you focus your actions to be more mission-oriented? Meditate on what being "sent" means to you in your church, and ask God to give you an open spirit and a willing heart in the coming year. 
Reprinted with permission from The Foursquare Church. Tammy Dunahoo is the vice president of U.S. operations and general supervisor for The Foursquare Church.
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is also taken from Charisma Mag.
 
When God Calls You to Ministry
The 1970s were a decade of significant breakthrough in my personal relationship with God. As a young wife and mother who had been saved at age 9, I found myself hungry for God, His presence, His voice, and the personal knowledge of Him that produces intimacy.
The decade had brought brokenness and blessing, but as I approached the threshold of the 1980s the Holy Spirit began to address deeper issues related to my perception of abundant Christian living. I found myself faced with a deep inner struggle over a call to public ministry.
During a day of prayer and fasting I sought God's will. I was happy in the shadows and shunned the limelight. Tenaciously I clung to the security and comfort of the background, but God wanted to take me to a new place in Him.
I could identify with Moses and his burning bush experience (see Ex. 3:1-4) as God worked to expand my understanding of relationship and obedience.
Moses pleaded: "But I'm not the person for a job like that. O Lord, I'm just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I'm not now!" (See Ex. 3:11; 4:10.)
Even with God's encouragement and promise of faithful help, he still cried, "Lord, please! Send someone else!" (See Ex. 4:11-13.) I understood.
Then Exodus 4:14 arrested my attention: "Then the Lord became angry" (The Living Bible). The New King James Version reads, "So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses."
In the fear of the Lord I wept bitterly and repented. I did not want His anger, only His mercies! The challenge was to arise from the back side of the desert that had become the place of intimacy.
God was changing the format. From the joy of private relationship, a call was sounding out for public duty, and God was looking for only one answer: yes, Lord.
Before the day was over, the Holy Spirit had given me a new assignment--to begin teaching interdenominational Bible studies in our area, something I had never done. Throughout the next six years of committed obedience, my life was forever changed. And it was particularly the study of the book of James that activated this transformation.
A Book of Blessing My perception of this short book was simply that it was a hard teaching, nothing to entice me to embrace the message--a book that spoke mostly of what needed to be taken away. But because this had been selected for our course of study, I had to confront the truth James held. I was the appointed teacher!

As I prayed for God's help, something happened. The Holy Spirit brought this illumination: "You are looking at the book of James all wrong, seeing only what is to be taken away or overcome. Look again, for this book is about what I, as your heavenly Father, am waiting to give to you and any who will receive."
This comment changed my attitude toward the study, my personal ability to learn, my desire for change and my aptitude for blessing. Also, it changed my prayers, and one seemed to rise above all the others: "Lord, increase my capacity to receive good things from You!"
Each chapter in the book of James defines specific blessings God has for us. Each chapter also identifies the ploys of Satan and self that can separate us from the blessings.
But it also offers us encouragement to "Count it all joy when [we] fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of [our] faith produces patience" (James 1:2-3, NKJV). We may look at the trials that arise through everyday circumstances and feel overwhelmed.
But God sees His gift of joy, which is released as we endure and prevail. While we are often thinking about how hard some of the conditions and circumstances of life are, God, in His wisdom, is seeing the value of these situations.
God knows we need His wisdom to see the value, too. And He is willing to fill this need "liberally and without reproach" (James 1:5). In other words, He doesn't remind us of our own unworthiness or ineptness concerning victorious living just so we can feel bad about ourselves. Instead, He lovingly calls us to come up higher.
He waits to lift us out of the mire of our own devastation to the grandeur of His excellence. He waits for us to move past our lack of wisdom into the provision of His wisdom, simply by asking for it. He wants us to refuse to be hampered by the feebleness of intellectualism or human speculation. God's wisdom opens the eyes of our understanding, securing our faith and thrusting us into the safety of His holy purposes.
Through this process of exchange--asking for godly wisdom so that we can lay hold of understanding-- we will find ourselves needing to move past a dependence on understanding itself. There is a place in God where even the desire for answers to our questions does not rule.
As we confront trials and tests, calling on God for His wisdom, the enemy will inevitably tempt us. James challenges us to persistently resist not only Satan, but also the roots of evil that lie within our own hearts; for "the heart is deceitful...and desperately wicked" (Jer. 17:9). He speaks of a reward for those who overcome:
"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:12).
Doers of the Word The approval of God and a crown of life are given to those who persevere. This is the gift of God, and it includes the privilege of abundant living now. Yet, to receive the reward, the motives of our hearts must be confronted by the truth of God's Word.
The temptation is to believe that God's Word steals away our liberties, when actually just the opposite is true. What God offers is the wonder of divine blessing to anyone "who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work" (James 1:25).
God is waiting to bless us. However, we must answer a question: "Are we willing to receive according to the conditions He has chosen?" We cannot simply read or listen to God's Word and think that is enough; we must be doers, also.
Our salvation is the gift of God in all its majestic facets of grace for daily Christian living. It will propel us toward high-level obedience while steadily increasing our capacity to receive more from God. It is not necessarily a life of ease, but it is a life of glory.
I encourage all believers who want the abundant Christian life to read the book of James to discover what God is offering to give. Pray that your heart will be increased in its capacity to receive good things from the Father, for every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17). Become a blessed recipient continually. It is His delight for every child of His.

Barbara James is co-director, along with her husband, Bane, of the Joysprings Foundation and World Intercession Network in Franklin Springs, GA

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I had refrained from preaching/teaching the last few posts because of several reasons.  One of them, we were in places that preaching/teaching was spiritually difficult and though that is not a good reason it is the only one that works right now. 

God can take us to the fire of affliction to see how tough we really are and sometimes we think we are really tough, but when we go into the furnace, we get refined and stronger.  It's been a tough few weeks but we are stronger because of it and committed to see what God's love does and who we can reach for HIM.  We are ministry minded, focused and ready for whatever gets thrown at us.  We are not sure where the road leads but we know the Leader.  We will go wherever He instructs us as "we in the way we should go". 

Our hope is you see Jesus face to face, you know what your call and purpose are, you let go of the past to reach the future and you see yourself as God's creation- beautiful, strong, courageous, tough, loving and prepared through the Word of God so you can do what you have been called to do. 

 

Love like no other!

John 10:27 Jesus says "My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me". What happened in our country that we have be...