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Showing posts from February, 2010

DROP THE DEBT

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Ten years ago, Bono from the band U2 was an active voice in Jubilee 2000, an international coalition movement that called for cancellation of third world debt.  For many poor countries, the interest payments alone would keep them in debt for decades to come.  Instead of money being used within the countries to provide education, healthcare and infra-structure, the monies were paying being paid out endlessly to rich nations that had loaned them large sums. 
Bono and other advocates convinced rich countries to forgive the debts so the money could be better spent on the poor.  The effort he was involved in was called ‘Jubilee’ after the 50th year celebration God describes for His people in Deuteronomy.  This was a time when all slaves would be set free, the land would be untilled for a year and land would return to its former owners.
Bono used his success as an entertainer to advocate on behalf of the poor.  In your setting, how do you use your connections to help the poor?
Here is God’s p…

TRAVELLING LIGHT

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Jesus calls us to travel through this life as his chosen messengers and to move from place to place on a mission.But let’s not overburden ourselves with the mechanics of how it will all happen.Let’s take what we have in hand and start here.
 Matthew 10:(The Message)9-10 "Don't think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don't need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.11" When you enter a town or village, don't insist on staying in a luxury inn. Get a modest place with some modest people, and be content there until you leave.
Why would Jesus tell them to travel light?God wants us to learn to depend more on His ability in us than on having the right equipment, the right building or the right resources.
We can easily get bogged down in big productions when God wants to use simple acts and personal messages to reach the world.
More people encounter Jesus through an aut…

GOING STARTS HERE

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When you decide to go anywhere, the place of decision is your starting point.Where are you now?That is where God wants you to start.
Matthew 10: (The Message)5-8 Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:   "Don't begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.
When we recognize that we are ‘chosen by God’ we are empowered to take risks with the people closest to us.Jesus sent the twelve first to ‘The lost sheep of Israel’, the people of their own religion and culture who were struggling and estranged from God.
As they went, they were going with complete authorization to act with Jesus in the presence of chaos and brokenness.They were not trying to…

RECRUITED TO GOD'S TEAM

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Many times in our lives we have longed to journey alongside our heroes or serve some noble cause that we may not have the qualifications for.
Imagine the Junior High kid shooting hoops in the schoolyard being scouted and drafted to NBA.
Imagine the world-class rock band overhearing you singing in the shower and inviting you to come on the road with them.
What do you dream about being summoned to do?
The gospels tell us Jesus hand-picked twelve unlikely candidates to mentor and deploy in God’s mission to the world.They were among the crowd of people following Jesus and listening to his teaching.He picked the fishermen, a taxman and assorted laborers to bring God’s message to the world.He did not select any teachers, rabbis or high officials.No-one was a celebrity.
It was ‘no little thing’ to have Jesus the celebrity rabbi asking them to work with him.They must have realized some degree of honor to be valued in this way.
The call of Christ in each of our lives is no less honorable.The God of …

FARMING WITH GOD

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Luke 10:1 Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. 2 And He was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

Jesus organized the 70 to go as advance teams because He anticipated a harvest.35 fields needed to be assessed and prepared for his ministry of gathering people into the Kingdom of God.As he created an understanding of his mission, he talked about looking at fields ready to be harvested.
Everyone knew what that meant.Harvesting was an act of recognition and responsive labor.There is a time when grain is ripened and the heads appear white.They knew that you had to cut down the grain and gather it in sheaves.Single stalks gathered together in sheaves.It was an act of recognizing that a particular field was ready and moving collectively as a team to gather in the harvest.

LIVE TOGETHER OR DIE ALONE

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Jack Shepherd on LOST said "We can live together or die alone."  That can also be said of life in God's Kingdom.




Jesus sends the Seventy out in pairs, a pattern later followed by Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas, Barnabas and Mark, and other early missionaries. It's not that missionaries should never go alone, but travelling in pairs is safer, provides more encouragement, and uses the spiritual gifts of the pair rather than just a single missioner.Even today, churches begun by a team of two church planters or more have a greater chance of success, and probably can grow to a larger size more quickly. It's tough and can be very discouraging being a solo church planter -- or missionary.[i]
While Jesus first calls you as an individual, his goal is to establish you as a team player.Throughout the history of Israel and the Church, great individuals are raised up to accomplish godly work.But, even the loneliest prophet finds themselves called into supportive relationship…

HAND PICKED FOR MISSION

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There was design and relevance to the way Jesus organized his mission.  When he chose 12 disciples, he may have been thinking symbolically of the 12 tribes of Israel.
When he appointed these 70, he may have been thinking about symmetry.  There were 70 elders in Israel.  The Sanhedrin consisted of 70 members.  There were 70 nations in existence at this time in the world.  His harvest would include the entire earth but had to be reached a field at a time.

Luke 10:1 Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. 2 And He was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
Jesus’ mission attracted many followers, but he was intentional in his choice of team-mates.  He did not post an ad to see who would show up to help, but went directly to individuals inviting them to be part of his ‘lear…

PROBLEM SOLVING

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“Meow!  Meow!  Who will help me neow?” said the cat.“I’ve climbed this tall tree.  Who will get me deown?”
A cat stuck in a tree gives us an example of a need that requires human intervention.  How do people get in place to respond to a need? 
1.Self-motivated without consultation
-Someone sees what they think needs doing and commence doing it.  -They enter the yard, climb the tree, retrieve the cat and knock on the door of the house to deliver the cat.-Without consultation, the climber never took into account that the cat might not be from that house.  The residents may or may not know who owns the cat, but at least the cat is rescued.
2.Self-motivated with consultation
-After seeing what they think needs to be done, the person consults with those authorized to make decisions and proceed to task.-They first knock on the doors nearest the tree to determine if anyone knows whose cat it is.-Then a decision is made on the best way to deliver the cat.  -The helpful person may or not be the tr…

SEEING WHAT YOU NEED

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Matthew 20:29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"  31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"  32 Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.  33 "Lord," they answered, "we want our sight."  34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Instead of asking him for money or an autograph, they asked Jesus for vision.  Jesus could already see what they needed and could have easily given them their answer, but He asks them to identify their greatest need.
They needed to see.  The first thing their healed eyes saw was Jesus and they immediately got up to follow Him. 
Our greatest n…

PRAYING LOUDER THAN THE PUT-DOWNS

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Matthew 20:29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" 32 Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. 33 "Lord," they answered, "we want our sight." 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

When the crowd heard and saw these blind beggars shout out to Jesus, they tried to silence them.There’s something about a religious crowd that keeps the focus on themselves and their advantaged position travelling near Jesus.
Have you heard the put-downs of religious people who point out why you don’t belong to their merry band of travellers?
Have…

PRAYING IN THE ABSENCE OF VISION

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E.S.L. classes are held to teach people English as a 2nd language.As people come from another language group and enter ours, they enrol in ESL classes to increase their ability to communicate and function in an English speaking nation.Without this, they are only able to share their thoughts, enjoy company and get answers from their members of their own language group.
When we enter the Kingdom of God, we learn to pray.If we are going to be effective communicators in God’s Kingdom, we need to learn about prayer as a way of communicating; Prayer as a second language.
Matthew 20:29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" 32 Jesus stopped and called them. "What d…

BEGGARS CAN BE CHOOSERS

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Matthew 20:29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" 32 Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. 33 "Lord," they answered, "we want our sight." 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
What can we learn about praying from these two blind men?
The old saying goes that ‘beggars can’t be choosers’.That means that if you are disadvantaged, you don’t have a choice but to accept what you get.Only privileged people can be selective with their choices.
In the case of the two blind men, they were quite literally beggars.This story happen…