Sunday, April 14, 2013

Humbled when they really "believe" what you teach.

"A note from our Dad:"

Dear Life Support Team of Sierra and Sky,
                 Life lesson in Spiritual parenting 101:  Do not challenge your children to follow God’s call in their life, regardless the cost of the assignment, if YOU, as a parent, are not willing to prayerfully obey God’s call in your children’s life when He leads them.”

   For almost 30 years of youth ministry now, I have challenged students to fall in love with Jesus, learn how to understand and obey God’s Word and to discover God’s ministry in your life and obey the Holy Spirit’s prompting in it.  I have deeply meant this every time God has led me to challenge students in this way.  I have seen, literally, hundreds of students respond to this challenge and discover God’s wonderful plan for their life in it.  As a result, I have seen students tested, challenged, blessed and I have seen the multiplying of this challenge explode in others that they eventually lead as well.   But when a  calling like this that Sierra and Sky have responded to, “Go to Kenya, Africa for a month, live and serve with missionary friends there,” finally, I have to REALLY believe all the teachings I have reflected over these years.  They are going without me or their mother there to watch over them.  While they will be staying in the home of our trusted friends, missionaries Chris & Lisa Moore (real4Christ Ministries), they will not have a “chaperone” from home. 

 Sky has long sensed that God may be calling her to vocational missions, and she reflects that this will be a perfect life moment for her in this process.  Just a few days ago, when Sierra and I were looking at flight cost, and I was expressing concern, my daughter quoted her father, “say yes to God’s call, and He will provide the resources!”  I was almost moved to tears as I shook my head in the presence of such faith.  These girls believe these words without any hesitation.  I am in awe when I witness faith like this.

    As Sierra & Sky’s Youth/Missions Pastor, I am not officially endorsing this trip, as we are not sending the usual compliment of chaperone supervision and overall church support.  This type of trip is a stretch on conservative planning.  But as the earthly father of two children of THE Father, I could not support this kind of faith any more strongly.  I hope you will pray for them, AND me in this God assignment too… and give God the glory whatever the result.
  A humbled dad,

Monday, April 1, 2013

Does the Great Commission apply to every believer?

   Missions is evangelism, here, there and to the corners of the earth.  On earth, the goal is not converts, but making disciple makers.  I don't think that we are disciples or becoming a disciple if we do not have as our goal to also BE a disciple maker.  But does this apply to every believer?
   The population in the U.S. represents only 5% of the world population, and 95% of U.S. believers  go to minister with 5% of the world's population, while 5% of believers go to minister to 95% of the world's population, a population that mostly does not know Christ.  In addition, less than 5% of Church resources are sent to support missions to this same 95% lost world, anything more would be of too great a sacrifice.
   The Church must not consider Missions simply as supporting workers overseas or going to another country, Missions must become a missional attitude of using every believer, by every means, to reach every person, everywhere!  Inside the church walls, the neighbors in the shadow of the steeple, the city, state, nation and the world are ALL equally our assignment.  Missions is not something we do, but must be something we are!  Not what every believer supports, but what every believer is.  The Church must transform their thinking to the fact that they exist for the people who are NOT attending their church!  We must become a church for every people and a gospel for every person.  Setting up bases of operation around the world, so the message of Christ hope and grace can impact every culture.
   Missions research estimates that six million new churches are currently needed in and around over two billion non-Christians to effectively reach the nations.  That would mean that 600,000 new missions volunteers sent forth by the Holy Spirit from existing churches on every continent are needed.
   The only way to sustain the level of outreach required to finish the task Christ left for us, is  that every Christian must embrace the vision Jesus set for all of His followers.   Expecting the primarily secular U.S. culture to awaken to this need is no small feat.  Therefore, providing solid opportunities for every believer, young and old to live out their faith, becoming compassionate servants who respect the value and worth of every individual must be the emphasis.  We must reorder our values and priorities.
   The challenge is not new, but Matthew 28:19-20 could be stated... "Believers of Christ, in addition to living your life every day as a disciple and a witness for Jesus Christ, every teenager should participate in an annual mission trip, at least before they finish High School, every college student should participate in a 30 day to year long cross-cultural mission assignment before finishing College; and every Adult should participate in an extended mission trip at least every five years, for life."  If adopted, this would infuse millions of new volunteer missionaries into the task Jesus left for the Church to accomplish.
  Envision it becoming normal in our churches that almost every student serve full-time in domestic or international missions for a summer, semester, or year around age eighteen or nineteen. Interestingly, society is increasingly using the term "gap year" to refer to a student who takes time from university studies for an extended trip or some immersive experience.  Envision parents opening savings accounts at birth that eventually will fund "gap year" mission trips.  Churches budgeting for this as a priority part of their great commission assignment. Imagine a major group of believers who receive a call by God to earn their living by secular means, but for the goal to fund this strategy of missions all of their lives.  Envision a day when most all the adults in the church have, as part of their heritage, a season when they joined Christ on the front lines of kingdom advancement.  Would it change the spiritual climate of my church if almost every adult who taught the Bible, made church decisions, parent teenagers, leaders... all had spent a "gap year" completely immersed in the Great commission ministry of Christ?  All continued to pursue this GO assignment, as though it came from God Himself? Hmm....
   Believers who deeply fall in love with Jesus, quickly turn their attention to those who do not know Him.  We believe, we pray, we grow, we give, we send, and we GO. Exempt from any of these I am not. Are you?