VIDEO The Missionary’s Goal – All Christians are Missionaries

The Missionary’s Goal

In our natural life our ambitions change as we grow, but in the Christian life the goal is given at the very beginning, and the beginning and the end are exactly the same, namely, our Lord Himself. We start with Christ and we end with Him— “…till we all come…to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” (Ephesians 4:13), not simply to our own idea of what the Christian life should be. The goal of the missionary is to do God’s will, not to be useful or to win the lost. A missionary is useful and he does win the lost, but that is not his goal. His goal is to do the will of his Lord.

In our Lord’s life, Jerusalem was the place where He reached the culmination of His Father’s will upon the cross, and unless we go there with Jesus we will have no friendship or fellowship with Him. Nothing ever diverted our Lord on His way to Jerusalem. He never hurried through certain villages where He was persecuted, or lingered in others where He was blessed. Neither gratitude nor ingratitude turned our Lord even the slightest degree away from His purpose to go “up to Jerusalem.”

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master” (Matthew 10:24). In other words, the same things that happened to our Lord will happen to us on our way to our “Jerusalem.” There will be works of God exhibited through us, people will get blessed, and one or two will show gratitude while the rest will show total ingratitude, but nothing must divert us from going “up to [our] Jerusalem.”

“…there they crucified Him…” (Luke 23:33). That is what happened when our Lord reached Jerusalem, and that event is the doorway to our salvation. The saints, however, do not end in crucifixion; by the Lord’s grace they end in glory. In the meantime our watchword should be summed up by each of us saying, “I too go ‘up to Jerusalem.’ ”

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The great word of Jesus to His disciples is Abandon. When God has brought us into the relationship of disciples, we have to venture on His word; trust entirely to Him and watch that when He brings us to the venture, we take it.  Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1459 R


All Christians are Missionaries

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Five reasons people leave the church

I’ve talked to, listened to, and read interviews, blogs, and books by dozens of folks who’ve left the Christian faith. I’ve yet to hear a story from anyone who abandoned Christianity based on anything directly related to Christianity – at least the original version, anyway.

The decline of Christianity in America, the popularity of The New Atheists, and the meteoric rise of the “nones” underscore something that’s been true for generations but didn’t matter much until now.

Many expressions of Christianity are fatally flawed.

Many people see Christianity as anti-intellectual, overly simplistic, and easily discredited. For decades, college professors with biases against religion have found Christian freshmen easy targets.

Much of what makes American Christianity so resistible to those outside the faith are things we should have been resisting all along. While many of us have been working hard to make church more interesting, it turns out that fewer people are actually interested.

Here are five reasons people are really leaving the church.

1. We tell people that the Bible is the basis of Christianity

“Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so.”

It’s a line that many who grow up in the church know by heart, and it reflects a problem in modern American Christianity: many of us believe that the Bible is the foundation of our religion.

I recently read a blog post by a former worship leader who left the faith after she read a book “proving” contradictions in the Bible. Apparently, she grew up believing the foundation of our faith is a non-contradicting book.

It’s not. Jesus is.

When our faith stands on anything other than Christ, we put ourselves (and others) in position to fall.

2. They believe suffering disproves the existence of God

Renowned New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman says he lost his faith and embraced atheism because of suffering in the world. And he’s not the only one.

But the foundation of our faith is not a world without suffering. Pain and suffering don’t disprove the existence of God. It only disproves the existence of a god who doesn’t allow pain and suffering.

Whose god is that?

Not ours. Our God promised there would be suffering until he makes all things new.

3. They had a bad church experience

Most bad church experiences are the result of somebody prioritizing a view over a you – something Jesus never did and instructed us not to do either. Self-righteousness and legalism are leftovers of the Old Testament laws, which Jesus replaced through his death on the cross.

Relationships are messy and complicated. But if our actions are rooted in Jesus’ command to love one another (John 13:34), we can prevent many of the experiences that lead people away from his body.

4. We’re bad at making people feel welcome

It wasn’t just his message that made Jesus irresistible. It was Jesus himself. People who were nothing like him, liked him. And Jesus liked people who were nothing like him. Jesus invited unbelieving, misbehaving, troublemaking men and women to follow him and to embrace something new, and they accepted his invitation.

As followers of Jesus, we should be known as people who like people who are nothing like us. When we invite unbelieving, misbehaving troublemakers to join us, they should be intrigued – if  not inclined – to accept our invitation.

5. We made ekklesia (the church) a building

The word “church” should’ve never appeared in our Bibles. It shouldn’t have become part of Christian culture, either. It’s more than a mistranslation. It represents a misdirection.

While the majority of your English Bible is a word-for-word translation from Greek, the term “church” is an exception. The term “church” is not a translation. It’s a substitution. And a misleading one at that.

The term “church” is a derivative of the German term kirche meaning: house of the Lord or temple. This term of German origin was used to interpret, rather than translate, the Greek term ekklesia throughout most of the New Testament.

The Greek term ekklesia is translated as “church” over one hundred times in your English New Testament, but in Acts 19:32 – a passage describing a city in uproar – it’s translated differently.

The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there.”

Ekklesia was not, and is not, a religious term. It does not mean church or house of the Lord. It certainly shouldn’t be associated with a temple. The term was used widely to describe a gathering, assembly, civic gatherings, or an assembly of soldiers. Or as was the case in Acts 19, an assembly of rioting idol manufacturers.

An ekklesia was a gathering of people for a specific purpose. Any specific purpose. It’s not a building. It’s not a physical location. It’s a group of people.

It’s a lot easier to stop showing up at a place than it is to disconnect from a group of people who intimately know, love, and support each other.

If we want people to stop leaving the church – if we want Christianity to be irresistible again to the world – then maybe it’s time to take another look at the movement Jesus started 2,000 years ago.

Andy Stanley is founder and pastor of North Point Ministries. He is host of “Your Move with Andy Stanley” and author of more than 20 books. His new book is “Irresistible: Reclaiming the New that Jesus Unleashed for the World.” Visit his web site at www.AndyStanley.com/Irresistible. Follow him on Twitter (@AndyStanley), Facebook (@AndyStanleyOfficial), and Instagram (@andy_stanley).

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/09/23/five-reasons-people-leave-church.html

All Scripture Is Profitable

2 Timothy 3:14-17

Living in this world is challenging for believers. We are surrounded by temptations and deceptions and need God’s wisdom and guidance to help us navigate with an eternal perspective. The most valuable tool we have in this process is the Bible. Paul boldly declared that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable” (2 Timothy 3:16). So let’s look at the ways our heavenly Father uses His Word in our lives.

For Teaching. Every time we read the Scriptures, God can reveal new truths to us. His Word is filled with commands, principles, and examples that show us who our Father is, what He does, and how He wants us to live.

For Reproof. Scripture is likened to a sword that cuts and reveals (Heb. 4:12). That’s why we sometimes feel convicted when a passage uncovers sins or prompts us to consider what may be hindering our walk with Christ.

For Correction. God’s Word does more than simply convict us. It points out what we should do to turn around and get back on the path of obedience.

For Training in Righteousness. As we read, pray, and meditate on His Word, we slowly absorb the wisdom and knowledge of God so that we can progress in living righteously and obediently.

The end result of this fourfold work of Scripture is that we will become “adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17). And isn’t that what we need? No matter what circumstance, trial, or challenge arises, the truth in God’s Word will help us face it effectively by trusting Him and responding as He desires.

What Do Fig Trees Really Do?

“Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” (James 3:12)

The answer to these rhetorical questions obviously is “No.” A fig tree cannot become an olive tree in one growing season, or in a million of them. Nor can a grapevine evolve into a fig tree, no matter what happens to it (grafts, mutations, chemicals, radiations, anything).

In the very first chapter of the Bible, each kind of plant God created was given the genetic information by its Maker to “reproduce” only its own “kind” of plant, not to diverge into some other kind, although its offspring could develop into many varieties of the parental kind (but even that only within strict limits). The same was true with the animals. Ten times in Genesis 1, God, in five verses, tells us that each created kind of plant and animal was coded to reproduce just its own kind (Genesis 1:11-12, 21, 24-25).

Just in the event that some skeptic might reject Genesis 1 as factual, the same theme is reiterated in the New Testament, not only in our text but in Paul’s great chapter on death and resurrection. “God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed its own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds” (1 Corinthians 15:38-39).

This biblical truth is confirmed by every scientific observation ever made on plants and animals—whether living, dead, or fossilized. No one has ever seen a frog evolve into a prince, or a vine into an olive tree, either in the present or in the fossil record of the past. “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that man should fear before him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). HMM

I believe God, that it shall be as it was told to me

Acts 27:1-26

Acts 27:1-26

For the sake of one good man all on board the vessel were preserved. May the Lord give to us, also, all who are with us. Paul was accompanied by Luke and other believers, there were also with him the courteous centurion, several prisoners, a crew of rough sailors, and a band of fierce soldiers, and God gave him all that sailed with him. We pray that all our family, our fellow church members, our servants, our neighbours, our work people, and even our enemies, may be saved. Are not our hearts large enough to pray for all? May the Lord give us faith to intercede for them, and what a joy it will be if all shall come safely through the tempests of this life to the shores of heaven! Grant it, O Lord! Amen and amen.

 

All that sail with us save, O Lord,

Yea, give us every soul on board;

Parents and children, servants, friends,

To all our fervent prayer extends.

 

Save from the tempests of this life,

From raging sin and Satan’s strife,

Preserve us all by grace divine,

And all the glory shall be thine.

 

Yes, Decisions! Decisions!

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (2 Corinthians 6:1)

I believe there must be great throngs of men and women who keep on assuring themselves that they will “make it” into the kingdom of God by a kind of heavenly osmosis! They have a fond hope that there is a kind of unconscious “leaking through” of their personalities into the walls of the kingdom.

That is a vain hope. No one ever comes to God by an automatic or unconscious process; it does not happen that way at all!

The individual man or woman must make the choice—and on that point we must be dogmatic. We have the Book, the Word of God. We know that God has revealed Himself through the giving of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son. We know that the saving message is the gospel—the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is no way that God can come to us and forgive us and restore us to the position of son or daughter until we consciously let Him! This is an authentic experience of the grace and mercy of God—we have made our decision!

 

Deliverance From Dust And Chaff

“For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.” Amos 9:9

The sifting process is going on still. Wherever we go, we are still being winnowed and sifted. In all countries God’s people are being tried “like as corn is sifted in a sieve.” Sometimes the devil holds the sieve, and tosses us up and down at a great rate, with the earnest desire to get rid of us for ever. Unbelief is not slow to agitate our heart and mind with its restless fears. The world lends a willing hand at the same process, and shakes us to the right and to the left with great vigor. Worst of all, the church, so largely apostate as it is, comes in to give a more furious force to the sifting process.

Well, well! let it go on. Thus is the chaff severed from the wheat. Thus is the wheat delivered from dust and chaff. And how great is the mercy which comes to us in the text, “yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth”! All shall be preserved that is good, true, gracious. Not one of the least of believers shall be lost, neither shall any believer lose anything worth calling a loss. We shall be so kept in the sifting that it shall be a real gain to us through Christ Jesus.

 

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