Monday, June 1, 2009

Missions Minus The Madness - More Off The Cuff Musings

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…" ~Jesus, Matthew 28:19

For lack of a better title here, that's basically all I could come up with in a pinch, but when you think 'bout it is kind of maddening when we who claim to be righteous.. insist upon doing things our own way in the Name of Jesus. Wonder how it makes the Lord feel. He is so patient huh.

Ok, so what's your missionary method like? Shouldn't we Christians (who are all called to do missionary work ..I mean in a broader sense of that term..) follow Bible methods in order to see Bible results? I think we should and listen; I sadly have gone along with bogus church methods and programs before that were not biblical. I guess I trusted the people pushing em.

I indeed still have a whole lot to learn, but one thing that is really cool about getting a bit older is that through a process of trial, error, prayer, listening and elimination we have learned some things that simply don't work.

Here is the method that the greatest Missionary, Jesus Christ, gave to you and to me—and it's still good for our day. He said, "All authority has been given to Me… Go therefore.." (Matt. 28:18-19). Sounds pretty proactive.

Think about it. He has the authority. Christian, from the moment Eve's teeth sunk into that particular fruit independent of all authority, world missions has been a main priority on Christ's heart, but you were in his mind long before that. Now He wants you to be a part of the joy and blessing involved with missions done in His way.. so pray!

Jesus Christ never commanded you and me to, "Go and save souls" (because the salvation of someone's soul is solely the supernatural work of God), but Jesus did authoritatively say, "Go . . . make disciples of all the nations…" Yup, that's His method! Sounds like a more cross cultural relational type of evangelism and an on-going friendship are included in this rather than mere place a tract in the crack, or hit and run rudely Bible thumping the strangers on the head type.

Yet think about it for a minute, you and I cannot go make disciples unless you and I are first real disciples ourselves. We've got to be committed and spiritual in Christ. It calls for maturing, growing, learning and pursuing Him daily.

Do you remember when Christ's disciples returned from their very first missionary outreach? Man, they were totally ampted, overflowing with joy and exuberance because even the demons were subject to them out there on the field they simply obeyed. That's how we can be too.

But Christ Who exampled a tight loving relationship with the Father said to them, in effect, "Hey gang, don't rejoice in apparent successful missionary service so much—the greater secret of inner joy is that you have a right relationship with the Father that's totally honest, transparent and full-on intimate and that your eternal home is up there in Heaven!"

I love how Christ's statements in the Bible are often connected with His candid, vertical communication of Friendship and adoration with His Father ..which also taught His disciples who hung with Him.

Listen to Him; Jesus "said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.' In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, 'I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth...'" (Lk. 10:18--21). Sounds to me like Jesus Christ really believed that people could end up in a place called Heaven when they were in right relationship with God. It's true but bein' good doesn't get you in!

Today just like in yesteryear, the missionary's great essential is to fully trust the Lord and by God's power, remain true in his or her friendship of obedience with the Lord Himself ..and then with their own unique calling too ..that God has placed on their life. Yup, realizing that truth and grace are so important—our one and only horizontal task and purpose is to disciple men and women to Christ but not for our personal gain or aggrandizement.. but for His glory. What a blessing that kind of ministry will be for the recipients as well! The fall-out of it goes good for everyone around! It goes bad on no one except Mr Lu-Cifer.

Remember that there is a quasi kind of passion for souls that does not come from God, but from our own desire to make converts to our own point of view. We have no time for selfish ambition or willfulness in missions. It ain't about converting people to us or to our denomination, or to our church movement, or our doctrinal persuasion on periphery issues, or to our own missionary methods for fund raising or volunteer raising etc. It's never been about all that jive! Why nurture mixed motives, your own dream, or be self-seeking in something that was intended never to be like that?

A lot of people are involved in Christian enterprises today both domestically and internationally, merely for what they can get out of it. It's so wrong! It selfishly opportunistic with a veneer of simulated righteousness pasted on top. Hey if that is you… STOP THAT! Don't give the Gospel a bad name. Yes, if that is you, then I say get all that weirdness out of your heart today. Live to give and to serve in obedience. Put Christ first and do His will His way and with His timing! Make disciples being sensitive to the Spirit and to others needs!

We must do what we can when it is God's will.. when His leading is there. Never hurts to check back with Him to corroborate what exactly He wants done. We've gotta be ready to minister the Word in season and out of season (if you haven't noticed yet, it's out of season here in America now..) without beating em down. Too many so called Christians have hurt other people deeply in the name of witnessing ..doing God's will their own way or at the wrong time. It simply does not advance the Cause! Maintaining a right spirit.. a right attitude, work ethic, motives, thought life, a pure-hearted sincere passion, clear hearing, a selfless demeanor's all so vital in every missions endeavor!

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." —Edmund Burke

"Old-fashioned, Spirit-filled, Christ-honoring, sin-hating, soul-winning, Bible-preaching. It is the hope of the church. It is the hope of the nation. It is the hope of the world." —Jack Hyles

So when you make disciples in home missions or overseas, does than mean we no longer need to pray for sinners.. that we no longer need to go witness to strangers who are lost.. that we no longer need to spontaneously share our testimony-story or say ..reap sinners right there on the spot? No.. don't mean that!

Those elements are all to be included, but the real process of being used of God ..the missionary method of God I am talking about involves far more than merely those things. People are to matter to us "B.C." (before they met Christ and were born of the Spirit..) and also after they come to Jesus too, 'cuz they still hugely matter to God Himself! When I read my Bible it almost seems like the process of winning people and discipline people are one friendly family matter.. cuz they never cease (you too) to matter! It's comes off so natural and easy and yet it's so supernatural.

What is important to Him, has got to become important to us.. and stay that way! Others can be indifferent; not us for a minute. We must show we genuinely care! God has been so faithful and kind over the years to show His love to sinners just like to you and me. We must remember that ..remember all He has done in the past.. and choose to be grateful. That stuff helps to make us effective!

"I believe that if there is one thing which pierces the Master's heart with unutterable grief, it is not the world's iniquity, but the Church's indifferences." —F.B. Meyer

"It is the only happy life to live for the salvation of souls." —D. L. Moody

Soul winning is not to be about man's method or strength at all; it is about taking heed to an authoritative command to make disciples of all nations! We are supposed to go fishing for souls as we closely follow the greatest Fisher of men and apply His methods daily. And we are to continue witnessing with His power ..not leading Him but visa versa.. when our churches grow huge and when our churches decrease in attendance due to proper Bible ministry. Times and methods change, truth doesn't. It's time to employ exactly the right bait for our day. Let's dust off the tools of the trade, using the pole again.. the net, the best lures, wise tact and even expect to see the Spirit do His great work through us as we pull towards to boat ..unto God's praise and glory!

Beloved Christian brothers are sisters, you and I really have all eternity to fellowship together and to even quibble and vigorously debate about the fine points of Christology, Calvinism, soteriology, eschatology and the even preterism if you really want to. Wer'e in one loving family with one faith. We have all eternity to rejoice together and to celebrate the victories that Jesus gave us in this life, but we only have a few hours so to speak ..before sunset is upon us. You know, a few moments to go tell and win unbelievers to a saving faith in Christ. Let's go for it like there's no tomorrow. We don't know if there will be ..for everyone.

Why else are we here? We so blessed! And everything that we do as Christians down here, we can do much better up there in Heaven (i.e., worship, pray, fellowship, study truth, commune with Him together, listen to great speakers and kickin' music) ..except make disciples His way. We can't do that up there. There won't even be a need for that.

Are you a real Christian today? Not sure? Please make sure.
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