Missional

When I was a kid we played a game called Simon Says, I doubt kids today even know it since it not played on a smart phone. How you play it is if the person who’s “it” says, Simon says pat your head, or jump on one leg, or bark like a dog, you have do it, because Simon said to, or your out. That’s what the game is about, if Simon says do something, no matter what it is, you have to do it because you must obey Simon’s commands.

It’s very simple game, but it’s so weird how in the church, Jesus Says is a totally different game. If Jesus says to do something you don’t have to do it, you just have to memorize it, talk about it, have bible studies about it, and that’s it, you don’t have to actually do it.

It doesn’t make any sense, Jesus tells us to Go and make disciples, but yet how many people in the churches are actually making disciples? They’ve memorized the verse, so what, is that what Jesus asked us to do, memorized His commands? Do bible studies on what it would be like to do it?

If you told your daughter or son to go clean their room, they wouldn’t come back to you two hours latter and go, I’ve memorize what you said. You said “go clean your room”…….. and I can say it in Greek too. And my friends are going to come over and where going to have a study on what it would look like if I clean my room. Tomorrow I’m going to start a discussion group on the theology of what you said, theorize as to if you really meant “I” should do it, what exactly you meant by clean, and and is descriptive of prescriptive.

Your kids know better than that, and so why do we think we’re  going to come before The Judge one day, before the one we say is our Lord. Stand before Jesus and quote everything that He said, talk about how much you know, and Jesus will say “well done good and faithful servant”? Really!

Note the key word in His statement is “done“, its a action, a verb, meaning you have completed a task you where given to do. The only way you can hear well done is if you do what Jesus said to do.

It’s just black and white stuff, if I just started with scripture, pick up the bible and read it, and believe it, here’s what I would do. I’d start making disciples!

I would Not just memorize it, do a bible study on what it would be like to do it, read two dozen books on the theology of it, argue whether or not it was for then only or for today, or is it’s descriptive or prescriptive. That’s not what I would do, I would say, Yes Lord Jesus and start making disciples.

If I just start with scripture, say here’s what it says, then I would get up every morning and say this is my job today, to make disciples of Jesus, and go do it.

I would just Go and make disciples……… baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Jesus has commanded. (Matthew 28:19-20)

And when you combined that with Jesus saying:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23

Jesus’ very words to us are if you love Me you will do as I say, and He said, Go and make disciples. So ether we love and obey, or don’t and make excuses. that’s are only two choices.

I want to be simple guy, be black and white, an authentic follower of Jesus. Just pick up my bible daily, read it, believe it, believe its for me, for today, and do it. That simple, that black and white.

See part two: Jesus Says, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Word on keyboard

These are three key things I now ask about a church, three questions I ask about a church, and  require of a church before I would be part of it.

I ask these three questions about a church…..

1. How many churches has the church planted?

2. How many missionaries have they sent out?

3. How many baptisms do they do a week?

What I am look to learn, find out, is the church actively fulfilling the great commission, about Equipping and Sending, that is Making Disciples and Going into the world and Baptizing people. ( Matthew 28:19-20 , Mark 16:15 )

Jesus said, “Go and make disciples.” “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”, so then as followers of Jesus, as the church we want people to become both disciples of Jesus and to Go and make disciples for Jesus. That is what the church is for, to make disciples, to equip them to be disciples of Jesus, and to go into the world and make disciples of Jesus. That is what Jesus did with the twelve disciples, He equipped them, then sent them to do the same thing.

If a church has been around for more than tow or three years should have a list of churches it has planed, missionaries they have sent out. A church that has been around 10, 20 or 30 years that has not planted a church is a dead church. Any church that’s not equipping, sending, and planting churches is not taking Jesus, nor the great commission seriously. It’s not doing its job to equip and send out.

Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa got it right, it is one of the few church in the last four decades that got it, when I was left there in the late 80’s Calvary had planted over 2,000 church around the world. Chuck Smith understood its all about teaching the word (verse by verse), equipping the body and sending them out to reach the lost of the world, planting churches.

If you entered ministry you where expect to Go, no one was to be on staff from more than three years, after that you where expected to Go and plant a church. I went out from Calvary as a missionary with YWAM.

So I have returned to my roots so to say, to the root of Jesus’ mission for His people, His church, to Go, to Go preach the gospel, to make disciples and to baptize, every nation. Every church should be doing that, must be doing that, the church’s  very commission by Jesus was all about Going, Making all about Multiplying.

The gospel should so compel us that we are never satisfied to attend the same church every Sunday year after year and set on our pews. As a pastor you should never be satisfied with one church, growing in numbers of pew warmer, people who keep coming year after year to just sit there and admire you. Or with growth coming from transplants from other church, no one getting saved, just other church goers switching brands. You should burn to have a line of people to be baptized every Sunday, see the gospel go forth and soles get saved. That every Sunday there are names to be read of those who are Going, being sent out as missionaries and church planters.

Jesus was passionate about Going, spreading the gospel and so I’m going to be passionate about Going, taking the gospel to the world. And I want to fellowship with those who have the same passion as Jesus. Be part of a church that has the same passion. It was Jesus’ last words on earth.

If the word is being preached and the gospel being proclaimed then naturally the people will be Going into the world, people will be getting saved and therefore churches are being planted.

So now when I meet a pastor, or talk to others I ask, How may churches has your church planting? How many missionaries has it sent out? How many baptisms do they do a week? If the answer is none, my next question is Why Not?

And honestly the way I feel these days is that any church that is not doing those three things should stop calling it self a church, perhaps call it a Christian entertainment center, or Christian Community center, but certainly not a church.

Any church that is not “making disciples of all nations, baptizing them”, “Going into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”  why would any follower of Jesus want to be part of it?

chan_and_platt

Francis Chan, my favorite pastor and David Platt, (in my top 10)  have been teaming up on a new venture to help followers of Jesus to fulfill the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations, ….” (Matt. 28:18-20).

You can see their new Multiply Website with resources to help us make disciples.

The free and downloadable Multiply Material will be contain a 24-session discipleship experience where one person helps another understand what it means to follow Jesus, study Scripture, and be the church.

And there will be a Multiply Gathering that is a free, once-a-year webcast with Chan and Platt, where followers of Christ can gather and encourage one another in the disciple-making process.

You can register for the Free gathering here. The first two online events in 2012 will be on Friday, November 9 (7-10 PM, CST), and Saturday, November 10 (6-9 PM, PST).

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Unless we make a shift in our thinking, many Christians will continue to look at missions as a sub-division of the church, or as a special “calling” for a “special group of people”. I spent three years on “the mission field”, I went to “be missionary” with YWAM. While I was in YWAM, I did not think much about doing “missions,” since I lived my daily life focused on what God wanted me to do. I did not start my day focused on being a missionary, but rather doing the task set before me that God had given our mission base to do. My everyday routine was doing work for God and for the Kingdom of God. And set out to look for and take advantage of every opportunity that came my way to preach the gospel, rescue a child off the streets, out of prostitution, out of drugs. Counsel someone hurting. Distribute food to those in need. Hold a bible study. Pray for someone. It was just life, normal everyday life with God for Christ for me.

Missions should be just that, being part of God’s plan, just a normal everyday way of living. He desires each and every person to be involved in His mission. What is God’s mission?

The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed
; ” Luke 4:18

and “For the son of man came to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 10:19). That’s why He came and that’s what He wants each of us to be a part of. Jesus told us to do the same thing, to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). We are also told to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19).

And I set out to do all of that every single day in YWAM, that was my daily to do list, and it still should be today.

How do I disciple a nation, one person at a time if need be. I do not know if I will ever preach the gospel to an entire nation (I sure want to), but I can preach the gospel to a neighbor, a waitress, a store clerk or a co-worker, a room full of people or even crowed street corner.

So what is missions? It is personally being involved in what is on God’s heart: seeking and saving that which is lost. And that is a full time job, a title we all can put on our card, resumes. Every one who claims to be a Christian is to be a missionary, full time missionary.

11-21-10

I was reminded today of the words of Jesus “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” that is so often quoted. But if you read the entire verse, and the two before it, that are the complete statement of Jesus. I think we might just learn that His statement “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” does not mean what everyone thinks it does.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mat 28:17-20

His words I am with you always seem to be linked to going, doing all the tings He mentions before those those famous words, that is what is known as the great commission. (more…)

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True Biblical entrepreneurship is about starting a business not for the sake of profit but rather for the sake of the gospel. About helping out the disenfranchised, the poor and the needy, building up the Kingdom of God and the lives of other, not your personal wealth.

I just saw a great example of this in action on a TV show on food. And even though it is not being done by a Christian but rather a non-Christian it is a prime example of how to do a marketplace ministry. It is not proclaiming the gospel, but it is for the good of others. Saving the poor and needy, giving to others instead of taking from them. (more…)

6-2910Question that most people ask themselves is “What do I want to do with my life?” “What is my purpose?” “What is God’s will for my life?”, some of us seem to be asking that question year after year. It seems like the majority of people I talk with are seeking the answer to some form of those questions.

I think most of the time we answer those questions ether tied to the past, if I would have…I would be doing this… having this life. If only I would have done…….. I could be doing…! Or we make it futuristic, well if this happens….when I get……I will have the life I want. If God will……….then I will……….! If God would just speak! So until then we stand there like deer in headlight, dead in our tracks.

I read something today that opened my eyes, give me a possible answer, or at lest something to think about. “Just start creating life/purpose right now, right where you are with what you have and know, our life can only happen in the present moment, not tomorrow or in the next month”.

Maybe shifting our focus from thinking about what we don’t know to what we do know, that will enable us to real purpose right now and answer our questions above.

Having said that, in the specific question, “What is God’s will for me?” So many people do no ministry because they are waiting to find out God’s will.

The best way to know God’s will, is by doing what you know to do, so start doing what God has already told every follower of Christ is His will for your life, the calling of every follower is in scripture.

Like start with Mark 16:15, “And He said unto them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” So start today, right now sharing the gospel, with whom, with everyone you meet during the day, there is your answer. You do not need to wait for anything more, no sign from above, no training needed, because Jesus said He would give you what to say even, Mark 13:11.

More of God’s will for you…… Matthew 28:16-20, start making disciples, so start discipling someone, find someone to pour your life into, the life of Christ into. Start teaching the word of God to others, start with your family if you are married.

Next, starting doing Matthew 25:31-46 today, go feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, cloth the naked, visit and pray for the sick, take in a stranger in need. That is a full day, full day of purpose right there, and those are God’s will for you, your life.

Putting everything together

  1. Preach the Gospel to everyone you meet daily.
  2. Be discipling others.
  3. Be teaching the word of God to others.
  4. Be feeding the hungry.
  5. Giving drink, water to the thirsty.
  6. Clothing the naked.
  7. visiting and praying for the sick.
  8. Take in a stranger in need.

By the way living like that is also being missional.

Mother Teresa said “If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.” and all of us can do that, if only that.

So if you are looking for the answer to “What do I want to do with my life” “What is God’s will for my life”, the above just might be the answer, the place to start anyway. Something to think about anyway.

4-20-10I was saddened to learn on Monday as I listen to Francis Chan message from Sunday that he was leaving his church. But only saddened for selfish reasons, Francis is my favorite pastor today and look forward to his podcast every week. I was not surprised at his leaving, because I could tell it was coming, he had been restless in the Lord for about a year now. I was obvious the Lord was prepping him, calling him to move on to a new work.

He will finish out the next two months at his church, then he will leave to go to Asia to serve in ministry, then return to the US to start a new church, most likely he said LA, but still waiting for the Lord to confirm the ware. He is just simply steeping out in faith and take one step at a time as the Lord leads.

He said, “I’m not called to be an awesome mega church pastor, but am called to be a picture of Christ.” He takes inspiration from the story of Vaughan, a youth pastor whose trips to impoverished villages are described by youth as “the closest thing I’ve every experienced to walking with Jesus”. He realized, “my life does not look like Jesus. I can rationalize and justify it, but…”

Chan was a convicting speaker, not least because he was actively living out his message. He is sacrificing the fame, fortune and safety of suburban mega church ministry to follow Jesus. He “wants to go back” to a childlike faith. “If I read the Bible for the first time, I would never conclude I needed to pray some prayer, but I would conclude I need to follow Jesus. If I read the Bible on a desert island, I’d never decide I needed to start a Sunday service, my priority would be discipleship.

In his message to his church announcing his leaving he invited everyone there and hearing his message to join him. Not to come with him into his new calling, but to live a life of faith. To seek out what the Lord would have them do and join the Holy Spirit in the work He has from them. To go on the great adventure with the Holy Spirit, join Jesus in what He is doing.

Here is a video interview with him about it:

Francis Chan is stepping out in faith… from Catalyst on Vimeo.

You can download his message to his church here:

It is message on 4-18-10 – Francis Chan – Surrender

041210I listen to a reading of a sermon preached by C H Spurgeon from April 27, 1856, over a 150 years ago called ‘Gospel Missions’, in today church lingo it could have been called ‘Gospel Centered Church’ or ‘Missional Church’. It could have, it should be given in the church today. Here we have a sermon on what is at the heart of being a missional church given 150 years ago.

Amazingly Spurgeon hits the key points about what the church is lacking today.


Things he says is missing in the church:

First, We have not apostolic men.
Second, They do not set about their work in an apostolic style.
Third, We do not have apostolic churches.
Fourth, We have not the apostolic influence of the Holy Spirit in the measure that the first church had.

“We have few Apostolic men in these times, preachers of God’s truth.”

“We have not men with Apostolic zeal like Paul, His zeal was so earnest, and so burning. Whether he did eat, or drink, or whatsoever he did, he did all for the glory of his God; he never wasted an hour.”

He went on to say:

“We lack men filled with the Holy Spirit of fire, we have not men with apostolic zeal. Men like Paul who preached the word everywhere, who say “Wow unto me if I preach not the gospel.” You had a convection when you saw him, that he was a man who felt he had a work to do. And must do it and could not contain himself unless he did do it.”

“Oh! if you could have seen Paul preach you would not have gone away as you do today with half a convection that we (pastors) do not mean what we say. I seldom hear a solitary sermon that comes up to the mark in earnest deep passionate longing for the souls of men.”

I gave a big AMEN to all that, and I really loved this:

“Oh had you seen an apostolic church, what a different thing it would have appeared to one of our churches. As different as light and dark. Where is our prayerfulness? Oh, if we prayed as deeply and as earnestly as they did we would have as much success. They broke bread from house to house, they ate their meat with singleness of heart giving glory to God. There was not a member of the church who was half hearted. They gave their heart solely to God.”

Just a few quotes from the sermon, all pastors, all Christians should hear this sermon, it will fire you up if their is even a smoldering amber of the Holy Spirit in you.

Download the sermon here (mp3 22.4 mb).

341A great example of living missional I know of is Jaeson Ma, a pastor at large in LA. He lives his life on mission, he does what others talk and blog about doing. He is living out the mission of Jesus.

Every day Jaeson does acts of love for stranger and people he knows alike. Things like buys a meal for a homeless person, pay for a motel room for them. Buys a tank of gas for some in need. He prays for the sick, blind and deaf, and they are healed. Gives clothing to the needy. And with everyone of them he shares the gospel. He feeds the hungry, cloths the naked, take in the stranger, give sight to the blind.

Every day he shares the gospel with others, on the streets, in a restaurant, or from the stage of an event. Last year he was part of an out reach in Indonesia that drew over 35,000 people a night, that is unsaved people in the most populated Muslim country in the world. He preaches the gospel

He plants churches, he has planted over 200 churches in the Us and in Asia such as South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Indonesia.

He travels to Asia monthly, places like China, S Korea, Indonesia, he goes and plants churches, preaches the gospel, holds massive revival, he teaches in churches. As he puts it he lives in two time zones, California and Asia. He goes into the world with the gospel.

He is also a artist, he writes and sings, so he takes the word of God to others in both song and words (preaching). As well as he just produced a movie (1040) about Christianity in the New Asia. About what God is doing in Asia, Jaeson both performs in the movie.

Jaeson has been an encouragement to me in my walk, to live Missionally, he inspired me with his 365 Days of Love, to do like wise myself this year. He is truly one who lives Missionally, on mission, he does not not talk about doing it, he is doing it. Read his blog here.