Entries tagged with “Great Commission”.


I want more stuff, I want stuff until my closets are overflowing with junk I don’t need or want anymore.

Ok maybe not, I don’t really like junk and always ask for and want practical gifts for Christmas and my birthday. I’ve been more excited about getting a window fan, pillow, and socks for my birthday than some new or hip gadget I don’t have a use for!

I know I’m weird, most people want more, bigger and better, everyone wants to keep up with their neighbors (even if they aren’t named Jones). Is it wrong to want stuff?

It all depends on your perspective according to this week’s message at church: My Life: My Stuff.

Chris used the sad but true stories of parents who get caught up in Little League games and forget about the true meaning of the games. He also told the story from Matthew 9:18-26, in which a Jewish ruler comes to Jesus because his daughter had died. In verse 24 Jesus says that the girl is not dead but only sleeping. This was to illustrate how God’s perspective is different than ours.

He also used this well-known passage:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

I found this message to be right on the spot and something I needed to be reminded of. While the main thrust of the message could be pointed towards worldly materialism on the broad scale, it comes back home when we start looking at the little things we place between ourselves and God.

As one of the series theme verses says:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark 12:30

This week’s program summary says:

This week, we have begun to see that God being in our lives requires us to recognize that all that is in our possession is His. This is a difficult thing for us to grasp. But, as we follow Him and trust Him, we learn to hold on to things loosely.

This week’s journal questions are:

  • What things are nearest and dearest to your heart?
  • What things do you hold tightly to the most? Why?
  • What things are easier to release to God? Why?
  • What does it look like to “Seek the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33)?
  • What do your possessions have to do with the Great Commission? (Matthew 28:19-20)
  • Write a prayer to God about your desire to have a heart that is more like His.
  • Write about what you have learned about God and yourself this week.
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The most important commandment is this… Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.  The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.  Mark 12:29-31 NIV

Do you see non-Christians as objects to be converted or marks for your judgement and disdain? What does that say about your heart and your “love” for your neighbor? Do you think non-Christians or new believers would feel comfortable at your church or Christian function?

These were some of the questions presented Sunday at the beginning of a new series.  This was another impacting message as the pastor shared with us four experiences that changed his life and ministry focus.

I can relate to his experiences and have hopefully been able to remove many of the bad ideas and ministry styles from my life.  I’m sure I still slip and make mistakes that push people away from the church, but I try!

One experience was when a college student he was working at Arby’s with a bunch of teenagers who always talked about their party lifestyle, which included porn, alcohol and more.  He said he would judge and always be looking for ways to interject God and his Christian morals.  One day he had a revelation and started seeing them as peers and friends, inviting them over to his house, learning their interests, etc.  Eventually he said many of them came to know Christ.

I too have had moments where I was more worried about trying to “push” Christ and my values onto someone who really just needed a friend and some love.  I have seen the power of being a friend and sharing love not condemnation onto other people.  My memories of this are mostly from high school, where I know several people who were really hurt by condemning Christians.

Another experience was working with Youth for Christ.  During this focused outreach and ministry to non-Christian youth he came to realize that there was a huge cultural gap between Christians and non-Christians. When the kids became Christians they would try to enter the Christian culture and weren’t successful in making the transition or were pushed out by the cliquish-ness of it.

I would generally agree with this point because it is always hard to switch groups or try to break into a clique.  But I do think we have a higher calling to ensure that we aren’t exclusive in our Christian culture.  We should engage in culture and be able to relate to some degree with it.  We should also welcome with open arms anyone who wants to be a part of the body of Christ. 

Is there a difference between youth group and student ministries? Not necessarily, but grammatically the youth group is closed while a ministry is more open.  So it could be a subtle difference but may have a lasting impact. 

There were more examples but this is a good place to stop. 

This series also includes daily journaling opportunities. This week’s prompts are:

  • What things are nearest and dearest to your heart?
  • What things do you think are nearest and dearest to the heart of God?
  • What obstacles exist in your life that keep you from fully focusing on God?
  • How can you more fully live out the Great Commandment (Mark 12:29-31)?
  • How can your more fully live out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20)?
  • Write a prayer to God about your desire to have a heart that is more like His.
  • Write about what you have learned about God and yourself this week.

 

 

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As mentioned before Christy and I are taking a course called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (local link). Here are some insights from the reading:

This verse came up in almost all the reading as the proclamation of God’s plan: Genesis 12:1-3
1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

As seeds of Abraham through faith in Jesus Christ, the only way the earth’s family will be blessed is we go to them with the gospel.

God calls us to:
1) Proclaim His plan to the nations (Gen 12:1-3);
2) Participate in His priesthood as agents of blessing to all the nations (Exodus 19:4-6); and
3) to prove His purpose to bless all the nations (Psalm 67)

Finally, we don’t have to proof text the Bible to prove God’s purpose of evangelization. The Bible:
1) Gives us the mandate for world evangelization. Jesus came to the nation of Israel but proclaimed something bigger with the Great Commission.
2) Provides the message for world evangelization. The Gospel is presented as one Gospel but is diverse enough to be understood by all. We have to engage in a struggle to relate the given gospel (Bible) to any situation.
3) Is a model for world evangelization. Not necessarily the Old Testament wars that the Crusades tried, but provides a model of love and humbly seeking to empty themselves of all but their personal authenticity, in order to become servants of others (Lausanne Covenant). Christ came in the flesh and became part of our culture.
4) Power for world evangelization. “Preaching the Gospel, far from being unnecessary, is indispensable. It is the God-appointed means by which the prince of darkness is defeated and the light comes streaming into people’s hearts. There is power in God’s gospel – His power for salvation” Makes me think of the hymn, “Power, power, wonder working power.”

I like how John Stott finishes his article: “Let us not consume all our energies arguing about the Word of God; let’s start using it. It will prove its divine origin by its divine power. Let’s let it loose in the world! If only every Christian missionary and evangelist proclaimed the biblical gospel with faithfulness and sensitivity, and every Christian preacher were a faithful expositor of God’s Word! Then God would display His saving power. ”
“Lets heed its summons, grasp its message, follow its directions, and trust its power.

This week’s articles are:
John Stott. The Living God is a Missionary God. Taken from You Can Tell the World. 1979. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA.
Walter Kaiser, Jr. Israel’s Missionary Call. Adapted from a presentation at Trinity Evangelical Divinty School, Ill, May 14, 1981.
Stanley Ellisen. Everyone’s Question: What is God Trying to Do? from Biography of a Great Planet. Chapter 2, 1975. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois.
John Stott. The Bible in World Evangelization. Adapted from a presentation at the Consultation on World Evangelization at Pattaya, Thailand in June 1980.

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