Thursday, February 26, 2009

Go!

Don't be templed to opt out of your own responsibility to leave things behind and press on in obedience to the upward call--or to the outward call to the nations.



Go where God sends, you and go when God sends you. Do what God asks of you: Do it in God's way, do it in God's time, depend upon God's resources, and do it all for God's glory.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Send

Send those whom God ordains to go, just as the early church sent out Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13:2-3). Failure to do this is a fatal link in the Gospel chain of responsibility that Paul describes:



"Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved." 14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, "How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!" 16 But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, "LORD, who has believed our message?" 17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. (Rom 10:13 NLT)





Challenge those around you to take up the mission, adopt an attitude of accountability for the worldwide mission of the church.



And give to support those you send. You pray that God will send out workers; now support those that you send in response to his sending. You pray that God will give them success; now support them with the necessary tools for aggressive work that tends toward success. And care for the whole curch, as the early church did when the Jerusalem church fell on hard times.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pray

Pray that God will send out workers into his harvest, because "The harvest is great, but the workers are few" (Luke 10:2). This is especially true of the Eurasia region, which has such a large percentage of the world's unreached people but still has only 5% of Christian missionaries headed that way.



Pray for those who go:


  1. Pray for the sucess of the gospel. Pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt 6:9ff; see other prayers for successful ministry: Rom 15:30; 2 Cor 1:11; Eph 6:18-20; 1 Thess 5:25; Heb 13:18; 2 Thess 3:1; Col 4:2-3)

  2. Pray for the safety of gospel workers. Pray for Christians workers caught up in the sectarian violence of the Middle East, for the church workers suffering violance in India and elsewhere in Southern Asia.

Girl on purple


Here's the picture I was actually looking for when I stumbled across the "soldier boy" image. This is Janice photoshopped. You can see I was a little kinder to her than I was to myself.

Soldier boy



I was browsing for another picture that I intended to upload, and I came across this old B&W image from my time in Viet Nam--long ago. In case you're interested, I weighed in at about 110 lbs.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Conclusions about Great Commission

The Scriptures root the international Christian mission in the Abrahamic covenant, whose heirs we are.


Two possible responses to the missionary task (1) The rebel's response is to refuse to send and go. The refusal may be veiled in theoretical discussion, greedy refusal to make the sacrifice, or any number of avoidance mechanisms. (2) The saint's response will always be to pray, to send, and even to go.

  1. Pray

  2. Send

  3. Go

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Church and the Great Commission

As the church expanded through evangelism, Paul interpreted the job description and promise given to Abraham in terms of worldwide evangelism. He reminded us all, "The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God" (Gal 3:7 NLT). That means the Abrahamic promise applies to us. This is so, becasue "all of God's promises have been fulfilled in [Jesus Christ] (2 Cor 1:20). And it meant the mandate applies to us.



The Scriptures had looked forward to this time when God would accept Gentiles too, on the basis of their faith. God promised this good news to Abraham long ago, when he said, "All nations will be blessed through you" (Gal 3:8; quoting Gen 12:3). It is through Abraham's descendants that the nations would be blessed (Gen 26:4; 28:14), and such we are (Gal 3:7).



So we must go and send. We must be a blessing to the nations, if we are not to deny ourselves of God's covenantal blessing for obedience. And being a blessing to the lost requires that we bless them by turning each of them from their wicked ways (Acts 3:26)

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Here's something I did just for the fun. I scanned my face then photoshopped with a "plastic" filter.

Abraham & Idols

Scripture says Israel's ancestors served other gods when they lived in Mesopotamia. From that, many have concluded that his father Terah was an idol worshiper, perhaps even a priest or idol seller. Here's a story based on that the reflects the idea that Abraham abandoned those idea for monotheistic worship:


Terah was an idolator. Once he went off somewhere and left Abraham to sell [idols] in his place.... Later, a woman came bearing a container of flour. She said to him, "Here, offer this before [the idols]." He took a stick and broke [the idols] and then put the stick into the hand of the biggest of them. When his father came, he said to him, "What happened to these?" He said to him:... "One [idol] said, 'Let me be the first to eat,' another said, 'No, let me be the first to eat,' then the bigger one took the stick and broke [the others]." [Terah responded], "Why are you mocking me--do these idols know anything?" [Abraham] said, "cannot your ears hear the words coming from your own mouth?" (Genesis Rabba 38:13; cited in James L. Kugel, THE BIBLE AS IT WAS, p. 138)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Jesus came renewing the missions mandate

When Jesus came, he went first to the house of Israel (Matt 10:5f; 15:24). But his ministry didn't focus on the Jewish parochial hopes for worldwide superiority: "You will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples of teh earth" (Exod 19:5 NLT). Rather, he reinvigorated the Jewish promise that they would be a blessing to the nations (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Ps 72:17; see Acts 3:5; Gal 3:8). He did this in two ways:

First, he began fulfilling the Old Testament promise that the nations could come in to Jerusalem and its temple: "My temple will be known as a temple where all nations may pray" (Isa 56:7 NET; quoted in Mark 11:17). "All nations will stream to it" (Isa 2:2 NET). Jesus begin reinvigorating God's goal with respect to Zion was this:

On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the LORD. 2 He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel. 3 O city of God, what glorious things are said of you! Interlude 4 I will count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me-- also Philistia and Tyre, and even distant Ethiopia. They have all become citizens of Jerusalem! 5 Regarding Jerusalem it will be said, "Everyone enjoys the rights of citizenship there." And the Most High will personally bless this city. 6 When the LORD registers the nations, he will say, "They have all become citizens of Jerusalem." Interlude 7 The people will play flutes and sing, "The source of my life springs from Jerusalem!" For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah. A song to be sung to the tune "The Suffering of Affliction." A psalm of Heman the Ezrahite. (Ps 87 NLT)

Second, Jesus sent his disciples out to the nations: "Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt 28:19f NLT).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blessing the Nations (cont.)

As we've seen, throughout the Old Testament, the people of God didn't come through very well on their original mandate to bless the nations (Gen 12:1-3). By the time Jesus came, worldwide Judaism seemed pretty much neutralized as a missionary force.

Some had adopted too much of the accursed lifestyle of the Gentile world to exercise nearly the moral influence they ought to have had on it. In the ancient Near Eastern world, Israel's kings had adopted every god from Baal to Tammuz and had even gone so far as to practice child sacrifice. In the Hellenistic world, Israel allowed Graeco-Roman paganism to make severe inroads--even in Palestine. They ended up worshipping every Zeus, Dick, and Hermes that showed up in the Judean hills.

And much of the "holiness" they did claim was perverted. It could be the legalistic "holiness" of the Pharisees, which obscured the beauty of biblical holiness. It could be sectarian, like the "holiness" of the Qumran community, who escaped the pollution of city life to live in caves on the shores of the Dead Sea. But such a community stood no chance of affecting main street.

But Jesus came renewing the missions mandate. We'll look at that in the next blog posting.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Only 5%?!

Given the huge population of Eurasia, and given how much of the "10-40 Window" it comprises what should we conclude from the fact that only 5% of Christian missionaries work in Eurasia?

Does this indicate a serious gap in our obedience to the Great Commission of Genesis 12:1-3?
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