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Archive for the ‘foreign missions’ Category

Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. – Ezekiel 37:4

God can call us to prophesy, to speak, to call out, to tear down, or to simply say something.  He can even call us to call out to dry bones.

Yet, the Lord can also just pose a question like He did with Ezekiel in the previous verse.

Can these dry bones live?

If we believe, then our belief should be so solid that we answer God with assured confidence.  We can stand tall and speak boldly.  We should at least know that the Lord knows and let our confidence be in Him.

There are communities full of dry bones.  Classrooms are filled with dry bones.  Coffee houses are occupied by dry bones.  Prison cells hold dry bones captive.  Office cubicles host dry bones from nine to five.  Even church pews have dry bones dressed to impressed Sunday after Sunday.

We have to speak up and speak out.  We are called upon to speak so that those dry bones can have life.

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Every opportunity that we get to speak to or serve others is an opportunity to heighten and extend our reach to others.  Such opportunities equal open season for us to act as extensions of God’s grace and love, even His forgiveness and mercy.  We could serve as instruments in the Master’s hands.  We could simply reach someone else for Christ.

I say no to that.

It is not that simple.  We have to expand our evangelism.  We have to maximize our missions.  We have to increase our impact.

Look in Acts.  Barnabas mentored and partnered with Paul.  They took John Mark along with them on their missionary journey.  Later, Paul and Silas took along Timothy.  Somewhere in there, Luke his way into the text, too.

What do I mean?

Add an element of engagement to your ministry.  Engage youth in a mentoring and training program, even rites of passage.  Prepare youth for college withal rigorous teaching based on sound biblical principles and include a summer intensive tied to. community outreach and service.  Mandate scholarship recipients serve as summer interns with vacation Bible school or other church ministries, even working with the church administration.

Read Titus chapter 2 again.  It’s about how we engage youth through our churches and communities.  We, the pastor, the men, and the women, are to serve as a “pattern of good works.” We need to engage others in every effort that we make.

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Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. – Jonah 3:10

God can have a change of heart.

Just ask Jonah.  He found out all too well how God could swiftly shift from fury and anger to mercy and forgiveness.  He learned a real life lesson on how much God rewards repentance.

God had it in for Nineveh.  He was set on destroying the city and its people, but he sent a man of God to deliver His Word and reached their hearts.

If God can have a change of heart for repentant people, can you?

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Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. – Jonah 3:10

God can have a change of heart.

Just ask Jonah.  He found out all too well how God could swiftly shift from fury and anger to mercy and forgiveness.  He learned a real life lesson on how much God rewards repentance.

God had it in for Nineveh.  He was set on destroying the city and its people, but he sent a man of God to deliver His Word and reached their hearts.

If God can have a change of heart for repentant people, can you?

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“Don’t ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Howard Thurman (Christian clergyman, author, and activist)

Analyze where the Christian church stands today.  Take an honest look at the standing of one of the most treasured institutions of society.  Make an earnest appraisal of the modern church.  See where the church stands today.

For far too long, in the eyes of many, the church has remained in isolation.  In the opinion of some, the church has appeared inactive, almost docile, dormant and dulled, if not deadened.  Others have said that the church has simply dwindled into a state of sheer ineffectiveness.

George Barna has studied and evaluated the church for years.  Henry Blackaby has shared some insights and findings as well.  John Maxwell has offered multiple volumes on Christian leadership.  Rick Warren weighed in with The Purpose Driven Church.  There is no shortage of Christian perspectives of what the church is not and where the church has fallen short.

Don’t disregard the Reformation or the Great Awakening.  Don’t toss aside the Progressives or the Abolitionists.  Do not forsake the social activism of Prohibition and the Salvation Army, YMCA, and YWCA.  Don’t forget how Christians fought Darwinism and the teaching of evolutionism in the U.S. school system.  Forget not Azusa Street and the likes of Oral Roberts or Billy Graham.  Do not frown upon the church’s role in the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-war protests, and the pro-life debates.  Consider all of the church’s storied past.

Recall that the church has been called to be more than a building.  The church has a calling as the body of Christ.  Look at Luis Palau, Chuck Colson and Prison Fellowship, and the countless missionaries and ministries that exist today.  See how many are fed, clothed, sheltered and ministered to through street ministries and storefronts alike.  See the church playing an active role in society.

Do not grapple with public opinion.  Do not spend hour upon hour debating with the church’s critics.  Stand proudly and boldly to be counted among the many who diligently serve the Lord by doing all that they can with what little they have for “the least of these.”



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 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen. – Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)

The Great Commission gives us the disciple-making formula.  We have been referencing it for years.  We have used it for our mantra in evangelizing the entire world, putting much of our focus on the going and baptizing with regards to all nations and unto the end of the world. 

What about the teaching part?

. . . and teach all nations. . .
. . . Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. . .

Our discipleship process should make a difference.  It should make a difference in the people who are discipled by us.  It should make a difference in them as they become fishers of men.  It should make a difference in them to the point where they make a difference in the world around them.  We, as the body of Christ, are to develop difference makers.

Get ideas and insights on how to develop difference makers:
We need today’s Christian to be able to sort through the muck and the mire.  We need Christians who will know what is truth and what is false, calling out the false prophets and standing for the truth.  We need Christians who are not blinded by the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, MTV and other fantasies.  We need people who will stand upright as the world goes astray, working in this ministry of reconciliation.  We need Christians to serve as Christ’s army.
Read the likes of J.C. Ryle, Francis Chan, Oswald Chambers, Watchman Nee, William Wilberforce, and William Carey.  Try to get a hold of the works of Hudson Taylor, Richard Allen, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Al Sharpton.  Look into men like William Tyndale, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and John Bunyan.  Let the words of these men sink into your heart, mind and soul.  See how they made a difference.  See how others taught and trained them.  See how you can develop others to make a difference.

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“We have to take initiative where we are, not where we have not yet been.” – Oswald Chambers

Imagine helping everyone else except for those whom you love.  You offer strangers and others more than your own children and loved ones, even your closest friends.  That would sound sort of strange, right? That would make you seem like some sort of hypocrite.

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. – Matthew 26:11 (NLT)

We need to stop overlooking the needs that go unaddressed right around us daily instead of seeking to go off to some distant land and do the same good that we never ever attempted at home.  We should go abroad and carry the Good News of Jesus Christ.  That is certainly the truth.  However, we do not need to leave needs unmet right at our own doorstep.

What was it that James said about true religion?

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. – James 1:27 (KJV)

We need to start right where we are.  We need to start doing good works right where we live every single day.  We need to do our part to keep things in order right where we live.  Our works should start with what we have done on our home turf.  Then, as we build up those around us by equipping and empowering them, we can branch out from there.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” – Acts 1:4 (NIV)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Acts 1:8 (NIV)

Until the Lord directs you, don’t leave where you are today.  Get busy doing His work with His Word right there.  Stay on task.  Once He has developed you, He will direct you.  When He has readied you for branching out, He will tap you for further service.  He wants you working on His good works in His name.  Your best bet is to start where He has planted you.  He has put you here for a reason.

You may not be able to go to the ends of the world and do every good work, but you have somewhere to start.  You something to offer.  You can get started right here.  You can grow as you do good.  Let doing good works do you some good, too.  Let it be right where you are today.

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