Missional

Feed the Hungry, Go to Cambodia.

Or Go to any of the other 50 nations that the worlds poorest people live in.

These are the face of hunger, look at these faces , there are 153 million children who go to bed hungry, 16,000 children will die from hunger today, how can you say you do not have the time to save them.

Look at how this child finds dinner, if at all. Imaging your child having to do this. Well too many parents watch their children do this to eat.

There are 162 million people who live in ‘ultra poverty’ on less than 50 cents a day, One billion people live on less than $1 a day. Every day, one child every five second dies from hunger-related causes..

Jesus said this is Him, this is His face you are looking at, hungry, naked, thirsty.

Until you have seen this, looked into their hungry eyes, seen them live in cardboard box, you can not understand this. Until you hold a starving child in you arms you do not know how real this tragedy is.

Go spend 3 or 4 weeks here , or the rest of you life here, Go save the lives of children, Go do what Jesus told His church, followers to do in Matt 25. This experience will change you, the way you understand the gospel, change how you see the world. Change what you think is important in life, how you live, spend money, even eat and dress. It is by seeing and touching this reality, seeing the magnitude of it that makes it real to you, this is what will change what you do with your money, how much you give. You can not understand this suffering tell you touch it, see into the eyes of a hungry child, this is why all Christians must go, and do.

There are more than 300 verse in the bible in which God talks about the poor, that they are nearest to His heart and it’s the responsibility of His people to take care of them. Do you really believe the gospel is that Jesus died so you can be rich, comfortable and fat, while children starve to death? Jesus is calling out to His people to come to Him. Who will answer His call, will You? Go! You will never be the same again.

Part 4

streets KidsRescue Streets Kids in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Figures now reveal that 7 million abandon children live on the streets of Brazilian cities.

The girls are snatched up quickly for sex trafficking or simply turn to prostitution to survive.

And like I said of India, this also is where Jesus would be found if He where on earth today, in fact according to Matt 25, this is where He is right now, waiting for His people to come visit Him, rescue Him, take Him in.

Go spend 3 or 4 weeks here, rescue a child, save them, do what Jesus came to do, Go do what Jesus commission His church, followers to do. This experience will change you, change how you see the world. until you have seen this kind of tragedy you can not understand what so many children have to live like daily.

The first time I saw this atrocity, was face to face with young children living on the streets, doing any thing to eat, my heart was forever changed. I was in the mist of the human litter on the streets along with broken bottles, and discarded newspapers, young children thrown away like trash.

Forty four times God speaks of His people responsibility to take care of the fatherless, and speaks of the penalty for those who do nothing to help them.

So take the time go to Brazil rescue some children, be a father to the fatherless, truly be a follower of Christ, go where He would go, be like Him be found about your fathers business. Can you truly tell me this is not what Jesus wants you to do. Save the life of some children give them a future, show them the gospel is real. Prove your faith is real.

Part 3 in my series

girl IndiaRescue girls from the sex trade, prostitution, in India

This is Asia’s largest sex industry center estimated that over 1.2 million children are believed to be enslaved in prostitution in India.

One truly can not comprehend the depth of this issue from the comfort of your home in the US. Nor can you fulfill Jesus’ commands in Matt 25 with your check book. Everyone should Go spend 3 to 4 weeks in this dark place , look upon the faces of these girls, this is real, one of the greatest human tragedies today.

This experience will change you, change how you see the world and it will show you just how great the need for the Gospel is. It will Change your priorities in life, and what you think is really important. This is what Jesus has sent His followers to change, to take on the cause of the fatherless, the oppressed, the downtrodden. Until you visit a third world county, get out of the wall’s of the America Christian life you can not truly have a world vision of what needs to be done, the depth of suffering and needs in the world today.

This is where Jesus would be found if He where on earth today, in fact according to Matt 25, this is where He is right now, waiting for His people to come visit Him, rescue Him. Jesus said He came to set the captives free, and His followers should be doing just that, if they are truly following Him.

So take the time go to India rescue those in the chains of slavery, children being sold for their bodies. Spend a month putting yourself in harms way to save lives, maybe even staying tell the job is done, tell every child is freed.

Part 2 in my series

Visit The Underground Church in China

Why? To see and experience the biblical church model shown us in the book of Act’s. See the real deal, church like you have never have seen, encounter Christianity as close to the time of Christ you will find on earth.

It will change how you understand and define what church is and what happens when the body meets, taste the church you read about in Act’s and see that it can be done today, need to be done today.

And I do not mean the public government sanctioned church meetings, I mean the underground church, your life is at stake if you get caught church. The one people go to prison for being part of, the one you could be killed for pastoring or hosting one. Every Christian should go and spend 3 to 4 weeks in one , really getting a taste for the life, the church. The one that is changing the face of a nation, creating more true followers of Christ than any other place on earth.

This will give you a new compass for your life, for how to have church, everyone I know who has been, came back a different person, could not return to church the way it is done in America.

business-cards-design-inspiration (206)What is the first thing that men ask each other when they meet? What do you do? A.K.A what is your job title? Even when men introduce themselves to other, write a Bio for something that proclaim their career, job title as to identify whom they are. Hi my name is Paul, I’m a architect. My name is John, I’m a investment banker.

But something most people miss when reading the bible that the Apostle Paul tells us in Acts 18:3 he was a tent maker by trade. But yet Paul never introduces himself as a tent maker, never had that on his business card, that is not who he saw himself as, it was just a way to pay the bills as they say. Paul always saw himself in light of his calling of God, never in the work he did to pay the bills. He introduced himself as “Paul a bondservant of Jesus Christ”, “an apostle”, “ambassador for Christ”, “a prisoner of Jesus”, “separated to the gospel of God” separated from what, the world. That is how, why he could introduced himself to others, it was the focus of his life.business-cards Paul How do you introduce yourself, as you job title, accountant, programmer, salesmen, manager, a bank loan specialist?

How do you introduce yourself to others, who you see yourself as dictates that. Determines the focus of what you live for, you purpose in life. So what is it, what is on your business card, who business are you about. Paul’s was Jesus’, the Kingdom of God, the gospel is whom he work for.

What if Christians truly become a new creation in Christ, bondservants, slaves to Christ, lived out the great commission as there career, vocation, life purpose. Understood like Paul and so many others that we are all missionaries. That the point of our life is the gospel and the proclaiming of it. Not to make money, live in big house’s, drive expensive cars and have iPhones. We do not go to work for the same reasons as the world does, Our Identity is not in our job title, our purpose here on this earth in not our secular careers, jobs we do to pay the bills. What if we took on our identity in Christ, our calling as who we are, and why we are. Introduce ours selves as Dennis, Missionary, Dennis a bondservents, Dennis slave to Christ. Dennis Salve of the Gospel, takes the air out of pride doesn’t? Does not leave room for loftiness, keeps you real, reminds you who’s incharge of your life, who you are really working for.dennismuse 4 cards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s on your business card? Who do you identify your self as?

the-shepherdIs there a Public Speaker claiming to be a Pastor in your pulpit? God showed me this yesterday, that most of those in the pulpit today are not Pastors, not fulfilling the role of a pastor, but simply are speakers. Look at the chart below showing some clips from dictionary definitions of the two.

 

 

Public Speaker

Pastor / Shepherd

A public speaker is a person who makes speaks in a public setting.

The objectives of a public speaker’s presentation can range from simply transmitting information, to motivating people to act, to simply telling a story.

A public speaker is one who is paid for his appearances do to his expertize in his field and subject knowledge and/or simply do to his speaking ability, charisma or persuasive abilities as a speaker.

A Public speaker’s focus is on building large crowds of followers and to promote his program, material’s, organization, services and self to generate sales of his material’s (books. CD’s) and developing even larger audiences to hear him speak.

   

The actual word in the text translated pastor is Shepherd, the role and tasks of a pastor are the same as of a shepherd over sheep, only his duties are over the body of Christ.

He is someone who has a passion for the Church, body of Christ and a passion for seeing the gospel impact every area of their lives.

One who herds, guards, and tends the needs of the people, One who cares for and guides a group of people.

A pastor is one who takes personal responsibility for the life and welfare of the people put in his care. He is willing lay down his life for the lives of his people. The pastor is in the trenches with the people, living life with them, among them to care for, instruct them and protect them. He keeps the wolves (the enemy, false teaching) from coming in and carrying off or leading his sheep astray. He is to feed the flock the Word of God.

He imitates the life of the good Shepherd Jesus, exemplifies Jesus’ description of Himself as a shepherd in John 10:1-16.

A pastor is intimately connected to his flock. The true pastor will follow the perfect example of the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. He knows his flock therefore he knows their needs and can tend to them. He protects them, even at the cost of his own life. He not only feeds, instructs the people with the Word of God. He lives among them, eats with them, washes their feet, heals their wounds, prays with and for them, he knows them by name. If one wonders from the flock, is lost, he goes after them, seeks out his lost sheep to bring them back into the flock, he leaves the 99 to find the one lost sheep. He rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. And this can not be done from the pulpit, like Jesus he must live among, do life with his flock, and a true pastors heart wants to, must do so.

I heard a well known pastor of a large church a while back advise some new young pastors to never make friends with his people, never get personal with them. To hire a staff of people to keep everyone at bay. Never give out your phone number or email address. Never go among your church people, give your sermon and leave. ~ That is not a pastor according to God or the examples in the first church and scripture. It is impossible for a true pastor to be a private man, for he has the burden for his people.

So lets start calling people who, what they really are, lets stop calling a public speaker a pastor. and put them on the speaking circuit and lets get a true biblical Pastor/Shepherd in the pulpits. Someone who will do the job as defied by God, displayed by Jesus.

I feel this might be what is at the core of so much of what is wrong with many churches today, the one in the pulpit is not personally caring for the flock, pastoring. In other words he is NOT doing the job of a Pastor/Shepherd, he is simply a speaker delivering a message to a group of people who he has no real personal connection to.

I think John 10:13 reviles a lot when Jesus says “The hireling (public speaker) flees, because he is a hireling and does not care for the sheep.

hole in our gospelThe Hole In Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision published by Thomas Nelson, is a compelling call to Christ-followers to know and understand the whole gospel, and our obligation to take it to the world. This book is amazing; it is one of best books I have read in a long time. In this book we learn of Richard’s personal story, his rise to not only CEO of World Vision but God’s working in him to know and embrace the whole Gospel. We learn of Richard’s ventures into the world, the world of poverty and need. As he states “Poverty, disease, and squalor had eyes and faces that stared back, I had to see and smell and touch the pain of the poor. We learn “The mission of God is now our mission, and the whole gospel is the good news”. That the Kingdom which Christ spoke of was one in which the poor, sick, grieving, cripples, slaves, widows, orphans, lepers and aliens – the lest of these, were to be lifted up.

This subject is one of my passions, world hunger and ending it, so this was preaching to the Choir for me, but helped fuel my passion for the need and for the church to get, know, embrace the whole gospel and do something with it. This book should be a must read for every Christian, in the pew of every church. A required reading for every pastor. Stearns tells a powerful and compelling story of how God transformed him from one who like most Christians believes the American dream is the gospel, Christianity lived out. To one who was changed by the whole gospel, humbled and broken, giving it all up for Christ and to take the gospel to the world.

What does it look like to live out the gospel, the would gospel. This is what it looks like in this story shared by Richared Stearns in his new book The Hole in our Gospel.

Richared met a pastor of a house church of 83 people while in Cambodia and he asked him his story, how did he come to Christ, and his story is summed up was.

His encounter with Christ began with Christians with World Vision who came to serve the poor, nursing the sick, educating the children and helping increase the food fro the hungry. So compelling was this service that it provoked questions in the mind of the curious man: Why are you here? Why are you helping us? The answer to these questions was the gospel, the good news. And they took me to a pastor who told me all about Jesus. He opened his bible and told me all about Jesus, explained salvation in Christ. And I committed my life to Jesus that day.

When asked, now what about the 83 people who worship with at your house church, how did they come to follow Jesus.

“I was so excited to learn about Jesus, that I had to share this good new with everyone I knew.

Wow there it is, the gospel in action, the great commission fulfilled.

A group of Christians taking the whole gospel va the great commission into the world. They saw Jesus was hungry so they gave Him food; that He was thirsty so they gave Him drink; that He was a stranger so they took Him in; that He was naked so they clothed Him; that He was sick so they visited Him.

Then giving an answer as to why they where doing it, Jesus. And as a result one person comes to faith in Christ, then he immediately goes and shares the gospel with other in the shadow of what the others where doing for them, they also come to faith and then he starts making disciples and a church is born and he is their pastor. That’s the gospel in action.

So let it be said of each Christians life, like Jesus said as you have seen, read, go and do like wise.

ConversationsThe following are some ideas by pastor Jeff Vanderstelt on having gospel conversations with people. I think these are great, a very good starting point.

1.Love Jesus: Our conversation about him will only be genuine if we really love him. Besides, we all talk about the ones we love the most. The reason many of us don’t talk about him is because our affections are not that strong for him.

 

2.Remind Yourself of the Gospel: If you’re affections for Jesus aren’t strong, remember what he did for you…everyday…throughout the day.

3.Experience Ongoing Gospel Transformation: Continue to submit yourself to the truth of the Gospel and walk out ongoing repentance. If you’re not experiencing the Power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16) yourself, you will not believe that the Gospel is powerful enough to save and change others. It is out of the overflow of your heart that your mouth speaks.

4.Pray for Open Doors to Share the Gospel: If you do, you will have opportunities to share the Gospel. Jesus said if you ask according to his will, he will give us what we ask for. I’ve found that I get opportunities to share the Gospel whenever I ask God to open doors to share.

5.Live a life that demands a Gospel explanation (1 Peter 2:11-12): Live the kind of life among unbelievers that can not be explained other than by the Gospel – live a life that demands a Gospel Explanation.

6.Live as Gospel Metaphors: Take time to identify all that is true of Jesus in the Gospel (Advocate, Suffering Servant, Mediator, etc…) and then ask how you might be able to live as these descriptions with your neighbors so that you can display Christ then declare why (i.e. Be an Advocate for others…Serve even when it hurts…Mediate for Reconciliation between neighbors…etc…)

7.Be Prepared to Share (1 Peter 3:15): Do you know the Gospel Story? Can you share the Redemptive plan of God from Genesis to Revelation? Practice articulating it with other believers so you are ready to give an answer when people ask.

8.Ask your friends who are observing your life Questions and LISTEN: Don’t just fill the space with words. Ask questions…then ask more questions…then more…seeking to discovering their deep longings, needs, disappointments, idolatry…looking for Gospel Need, common ground to start on, open doors to walk through…Get to know their Story.

9.Listen to the Holy Spirit: Ask God’s Spirit to show you the deep needs of their hearts AND ask the Holy Spirit to give you the question and words.

10.Pay attention to others Personal Worldview and the Culture’s Worldview: Everyone has a Creation – Fall – Redemption – Restoration Storyline…they just don’t all see Jesus as the Hero of the Story and us as themselves as the Hopeless Culprit. Listen for where their storyline is out of line with the Gospel and what part is in line with it. Then start with the common ground and move to what is out of line with the Gospel from that place. For instance with Environmentalists it generally is: Creation (Mother Earth) – Fall (Humanity) – Redemption (Humanity) – Restoration (Humanity and Mother Earth). The Biblical/Gospel Storyline is: Creation (God) – Fall (Humanity) – Redemption (Jesus Christ) – Restoration (Jesus in and through us And Ultimately Completed by Jesus). So, start with the Fall as the common ground and move from there (you may need to listen to the training to understand this one more fully).

oprahs big giveHow is it that Oprah is fulfilling Acts 2:34-43, James 2:16-15, Mat 25:31-46 and the church is not, why is she is known as the radical giver, the one who rescues the orphans and needy and not the local church. Why is she known for giving away millions and church as only a taker, the one who only wants your money.

Why instead of building super mega Christian entertainment centers and calling it a church, isn’t the church going out into the neighborhoods looking for needs and filling them. Finding the person who needs a wheelchair and buying it for them. Paying for the operation to save the life of a child, clothing the naked children, feeding the starving children, fixing leaky roofs. Giving away new cars to struggling families. Filling up the pantries of the widows. Building orphanages, schools and hospitals.

Fighting AIDS, malaria, and digging wells? Why isn’t the body the largest adopters of orphans? Why is Madonna and Angelina Jolie are seen as the rescuers of orphans, the adoption queens and not the church? We where commanded to take care of the orphans.

It should not be that people go to Oprah as the one hope for the needy, that the people are hoping that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition answers their prayers and comes to their rescue instead of God through the church. The church and God should be the first source of help on peoples minds not Oprah. Churches in the US spend less than 3% of their income on the poor, the needy and missions combined, Oprah gives away about 43% of her salary to the needy.

Oprah and the likes of her should not be fulfilling and getting the glory of Acts 2, James 2 and Mat 25, the church is to be doing that. The world should be crying over what God is doing through His church not watching Oprah and see her fulfilling Act 2 and crying over her and giving her the glory that should be God’s and His church.

The church needs to get back to the business, mission of being the church we see in Acts, doing what Jesus said in Matthew 25.

There is two churches doing it right, one is Cornerstone Community Church pastored by Francis Chan, read his story here.