For our third week of DTS we sent the team off to Norway to join the Circuit Riders for a week of revival training and evangelistic outreach. Taryn and I were involved with the Circuit Riders training camp in Harpenden (‘London’) in 2012, and it was a life-changing experience (you can read my accounts here, here, here, here, here and here).
They had an amazing time:
And that video doesn’t even begin to go into the testimonies of our team getting filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit, souls being saved on the streets of Norway, and the heavens opening to reveal the glorious beauty of the Northern Lights.
The next morning we talked about CULTURE: about being from different cultures, and the missionary principle of cultural adaptation (cf. 1 Cor. 9:19-23), and what it might look like for us to have a Kingdom Culture (Unoffendable Heart, Culture of Faith, Culture of Honour, Radical Servanthood, Joy-filled Repentance).
I then spent some time unpacking the heart and vision behind some of the things we’ll be doing: Evangelism, Pioneering Simple (Multiplying!) Discipleship, Worship & Prayer.
On Evangelism: How God took me from handing out mustard seeds to effectively sharing the simple gospel.
What we want to see on our scheduled evangelism times: the gospel shared, souls saved, people developing their evangelistic muscle, starting from where they’re at, but stepping out their comfort zone, and creatively dreaming with the Holy Spirit about how to do this even more effectively. (I touched on why we count).
On Simple Discipleship: The revelation that multiplication is ultimately more effective than anointed addition. If there were one super-evangelist, able to lead one thousand people to the Lord every day, then after one thousand years (supposing he lived that long), he would still not have reached a billion people. But if two people were to faithfully commit to simple (even ineffective) evangelism and discipleship, and every year were to each lead only one person to the Lord — but were to train them to do the same! — then their number would double each year. It would be twenty-four years before their numbers compared to the super-evangelist — but if they continued at that same rate for just ten more years after that, their number would exceed that of the entire world’s population! So the Great Commission can be finished in a generation — if only every Christian is involved in the work of simple evangelism and discipleship!
The story of how we’ve got to where we’ve got to with our attempts to start a house church movement.
And my ‘single-handed’ discipleship course running through the basics of simple Christianity.
For the third consecutive year, we invited Shephen Mbewe to kickstart our R&R DTS with his inimitable passionate call to be involved in the Mission of God to reach the nations. Here are some of the nuggets that I scribbled down in my notebook:
“I’m passionate about mission because it’s the central theme of the Scriptures.”
“We’re going to find out what the purpose of life is, and what you’re supposed to be doing.”
“Feel free to disagree!–but if you disagree then please can you still be my friend?”
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
“What a privilege that God is calling us to be part of a plan that He has had from the beginning of time!”
John 4:4 “Now Jesus had to go through Samaria.” Why did he ‘have to’? Because of His cross-cultural missionary mandate!
The Living God is a Missionary God.
“We have to stand for the truth of who Jesus is!
That’s what we’re called to declare//
that’s what we’re called to share!”
A missionary God// with a missionary vision//
creates a missionary church// sends it on a missionary expedition.
“If the church doesn’t go out in mission, then the four walls of its building will become its tomb!”
The danger of ethnocentrism == racism.
“One of the things God wants to do this week and in this DTS is to enlarge your heart for the nations.”
Asuza Street Revival and God’s sense of humour — using a half-blind black man called ‘Will Seymour’ (ie. See-More) to bring revival to a racist society dominated by white people.
There’s no way you can say ‘I believe in God,
but mission is not for me’ — #thatsacontradiction
There’s no way you can say ‘I am passionate about Jesus,
but I don’t care about the nations’ — #thatsacontradiction
There’s no way you can say ‘I’m filled with the Spirit,
and I speak in a thousand tongues‘ — #thatsacontradiction
Genesis 12:1-3: Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
2 And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
3 And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Genesis 12:1-3 is
the spine of Scripture//
the backbone of the Bible.
Don’t reduce God to a small idol who is only concerned for ‘you’, ‘me’ and ‘I’.
Do our worship songs reflect God’s heart for the nations? Or are all our songs individualistic, self-centred, ‘me’ songs?
(“That’s why they were called ‘hymns’ — because they were focussed on Him!”)
“The time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see My glory.” (Isaiah 66:18)
“Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples.” (1 Chronicles 16:24)
“All the nations will be gathered before Him…” (Matthew 25:32)
God repeats His promise and purposes:
Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 22:15-18
Genesis 26:3-5; Genesis 28:12-15
cf. Galatians 3:5-8, Acts 3:25-26, Hebrews 6:13-20
“Deal with your bitterness and then you will hear God’s voice much more clearly.”
Story of purchasing YWAM property:
“It’s not what we have in our pockets–it’s what we have in our hearts!”
“When you connect your heart to Genesis 12, you are connecting yourself to a powerful force! Something greater than anything else you could imagine!”
Go through OT looking at all the foreign tribes and individuals that are blessed:
– Abram’s interactions with different tribes
– Joseph and the Egyptians
– Naomi is a blessing to Moabite women
– David to Philistines
– Solomon to Queen of the South
– Elijah to Sidonian widow
– Elisha to Naaman, a Syrian
– Jonah to Ninevah (Assyrians)
– Daniel to Babylonians
– all major prophets had prophetic words for Gentile nations
NT: Paul sees an UNBREAKABLE connection between Abrahamic covenant and gospel faith (Galatians 3)
Revelation 5:9-10, 7:9, 10:11, 11:9, 13:7
“every tribe and tongue and people and nation”
(Rev. 7:9 “a great multitude which no man could number” — not even Cantor?)
“The only thing we can take with us to heaven is other people.” 1 Thess. 2:19-20
Praying at 10:02am for more workers for the harvest field (cf. Luke 10:2).
Did Jesus understand the significance of the Abrahamic covenant? Yes!
John 8:56 “Abraham saw My day…”
What does this mean?
Genesis 22: Abraham offers Isaac.
– God’s provision of a substitutionary sacrifice
– the voluntary self-sacrifice of a beloved son
(How old was Isaac? Perhaps as old as 37! cf. Gen. 23:1. Certainly old enough to carry a substantial load of firewood 22:6, so old enough to resist the 100+ yr-old Abraham. Note that ‘lad’ 22:5 can mean a teenager just as much as a child, and anyway might simply be affectionate.)
NB: Mount Moriah was in the same region as Golgotha.
‘Time does not permit me…’ (cf. Hebrews 11:32)
Schindler’s List: “I could have done more”.
Sam cannot carry the ring, for only Frodo can be the ring-bearer. But Sam can carry Frodo.
In the same way:
We cannot take salvation to the world — only Jesus can bring salvation! But we can take Jesus to the world.
Jesus’ passion for the nations reflected in His driving the money-changers out of the temple: ‘a house of prayer — FOR ALL THE NATIONS!’ (Isaiah 56:7)
Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15, Luke 19:45, John 2:13
‘Zeal for your house has consumed me’ (Ps. 69:9)
Jesus gets angry when we forget our missionary mandate.
John 4:35 ‘ripe for harvest’ — Jesus is speaking about the Samaritans.
But most Jews would have seen the Samaritans as weeds, not as harvest! (cf. Luke 9:54 — disciples wanted to call fire from heaven down upon Samaritans)
Jesus highlights Gentile faith:
Matthew 8:10 centurion
Matthew 15:28 Canaanite woman
Luke 17:18 thankful Samaritan leper
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot
(‘suffered gladly the loss of their possessions’ Hebrews 10:34)
Testimony: A DTS trainee on outreach, interrupted a funeral to pray for the dead. Prayed and prayed — nothing happened. Prayed again — still nothing. “The dead body didn’t rise from the dead — but the village experienced a spiritual resurrection!” Up to that point no-one had been interested in the gospel. After that, the meetings were packed full as people sought to discover what these young people believed that they would have the courage to interrupt a funeral!
The key of promises can unlock any door. (Pilgrim’s Progress).
Matthew 28:18-20. The Great Commission commands us to go–it doesn’t say anything about coming back!
“To obey is better than sacrifice”.
Not only does God prefer our obedience to our sacrifices, but the privilege, joy and rewards of obedience are greater than the cost of anything that we might have to sacrifice.
Rose: “I didn’t realize that the world isn’t going to end until every people group is reached.”
If there were ten people in the world,
just one would be a Great Commission Christian (A),
two would be nominal Christians (B),
four would have access to the gospel but have not yet responded (C),
and three would not have any access to the gospel (D).
D need cross-cultural mission; C need evangelism; B need revival; A need training and equipping.