Tuesday, April 30, 2013

PIONEER LESSON #4 - INDEPENDENT BUT NOT DISCONNECTED


There is a difference between an entrepreneurial leader like Gideon and a passive-aggressive team player like Judas Iscariot. Both men had to act independently but with a team behind them empowering the mission.


Gideon heard from God that the battle would be fought without weapons by a small band of men. While many would think Gideon was a foolish risk-taker, there were 300 men who were willing to die trying alongside him. Gideon was highly committed to accomplishing God’s purposes and acted in faith.

Judas Iscariot acted out of fear and disillusionment. He reacted to the God he could not comprehend. He saw the fearless abandon of his leader Jesus and could not risk the rejection and persecution. Judas found a new team of supporters and worked quietly behind the scenes to return religion to business as usual-- a safer, predictable system that he could live in.

Gideon’s independence was a willingness to give his life even if the majority were not able to enter the battle. Judas’ independence was based on finding a way to survive and avoid a revolution.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

PIONEER LESSON #3 - RELATIONAL INTELLIGENCE


(Before reading this, have you read http://revkevinrogers.blogspot.ca/2013/04/door-to-door-jesus_18.html ? The references to Marshall Ruthven will make more sense if you do.)

_______________________________



If God calls you to work with people, you will need relational intelligence. You must have the desire and willingness to serve people and win their favor. If God wants you to act like an angry junkyard dog, He will call you to reach junkyard dogs.

Jesus defined the best leaders as the ones with the greatest capacity to serve the most. The best leaders in God’s Kingdom do not hide behind an entourage. They frequently wander into being helpful in the quietest of ways. 


They are not above stacking chairs, stuffing envelopes or plunging toilets. They will stop to boost your dead battery and give you time when they’ve already give a full day to serve others.

Marshall Ruthven was a genius at gently winning strangers to his message. At 85 years old he was still able to knock on a stranger’s door and end up praying for them. I don’t know many people with that kind of relational intelligence.

How connected do you have to be to plant 37 churches without being paid? After establishing a new church, Marshall Ruthven was connected enough to have pastors come to lead the new churches.





Wednesday, April 24, 2013

PIONEER LESSON #2 - NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION

(Before reading this, have you read http://revkevinrogers.blogspot.ca/2013/04/door-to-door-jesus_18.html ? The references to Marshall Ruthven will make more sense if you do.)

_______________________________


Plato said ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. As part of our original design, we are imprinted with creative impulses. We are in the imago Dei (image of God). 




We are meant to take responsibility and create ways to act out God’s best impulses for Creation.

If you simply take what you already have and look at what is needed, you have the starting point of creativity.

Marshall Ruthven took his skills and resources as a machinist and built a portable church. He knew he was supposed to go tell people about Jesus and that need was directional for inventing a plan.

When he was too old to drive and live in a plywood trailer, he returned to the thing he most needed to do. He found new ways to get door-to-door and kept the idea moving forward.

When you are a compassion entrepreneur, you constantly adapt to live within your calling. It does not depend on pay cheques, funding or perfect opportunities. Entrepreneurs will always take new risks for their cause.



Sunday, April 21, 2013

PIONEER LESSON #1 - CAPTURED BY GOD

(Before reading this, have you read http://revkevinrogers.blogspot.ca/2013/04/door-to-door-jesus_18.html ? The references to Marshall Ruthven will make more sense if you do.)

_______________________________

Marshall Ruthven was a rich, young ruler; a successful machinist who responded to God’s call to give his life in service. Why else would a person leave a career that could have made him into a wealthy man?



Not everyone who responds to God’s call starts off so well. The apostle said that God most often chooses weak, ignorant, unqualified people to reveal God’s glory. Perhaps a low station in life is an easier starting point than having worth and identity already established in your skills and performance.

Those who attempt great things with God may or may not have all the right stuff to qualify for success. God’s risk-takers have been captured by Him and cannot think of anything better to do with their lives.

They take the Great Commission and instructions of Jesus to heart and are moved to go to a people and a place as communicators of the Kingdom.

How have you been captured by God? What obstacles stand in the way of your calling?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

DOOR TO DOOR JESUS


Are you called to be a compassion entrepreneur? Do you have ideas and impulses to  help people? I want to share some wisdom for entrepreneurs that will help you respond to your calling.

First, let me share a story of a man who inspired me.

‘Last night while you slept, I heard you speaking in tongues.’  These were the words of my eighty-five year old roommate Marshall Ruthven.  It was not the first time I had spoken in tongues.  But it was the first time I became aware of speaking in tongues while I slept.   

Marshall was my roommate for two weeks in 1987.  He came to Markham Pentecostal Church and asked the senior pastor Dean Skinner if he could go visiting door-to-door throughout the neighborhood.

As a ‘twenty-something’ single youth pastor, I was in my second year of ministry and still figuring out how to serve God faithfully as a pastor.   God had been dealing with me in those days to help me overcome my fear of failure and need for approval.  I wanted to serve God with all my heart but was having difficulty figuring out church life.

 So God sent an old man to share meals and sleep in the bed on the other side of the room.  I discovered that old men sound differently when they sleep.  While younger people breathe slow and deep, he sipped the air gently like hot tea.  

Somehow, he was awake in the night and heard a skinny preacher kid praying in tongues.  I didn’t know that I was that spiritual, considering that I was single, full of hormones and socially insecure. 

Here was an original Pentecostal pioneer noting that ‘I had it’.  My two weeks with Marshall taught me much about trusting God and not paying attention to the accolades of my peers.

During his twenties, Marshall became a follower of Jesus.  He left his successful business career as a machinist and responded to God’s call in his life to plant churches. 

First, he built a trailer that he could haul behind a truck.  The trailer was a portable church on wheels constructed of plywood and included his family living quarters.

When he pulled into a town that lacked a Pentecostal church, he would seek permission to park his trailer.  Then he would unfold the trailer to reveal a modest church building on wheels.

Next, he would go door-to-door in the community introducing himself.  He would tell people about Jesus until some of them believed.  With a handful of new believers he would start a church.  When he felt it was time to move on, he would secure a pastor to move into the community and the church would find a new place to meet.  Marshall and his family would pack up the trailer and go find another town needing a new church.

He planted 37 churches throughout Western Canada and the Western States.  He never collected a pay cheque.  He had even been a missionary to the Doukhobors, Russian immigrants who had settled communally in Canada. 

They did not believe in government interference in their lives and protested in unusual ways.  They were pacifists who took off all their clothes to note their disagreement with government policies. Marshall held services for the Doukhobors where some of them showed up naked.

Eventually, Marshall and his wife lived in Shepherd’s Village, a retirement community in the Toronto area.  He never truly retired and that is why we had him in Markham for a couple weeks.

All of his adult Christian life, he had gone door-to-door every day.  An average day would cover 150 homes.  When someone answered the door, they were met by a white-haired, small-framed gentleman in a black suit.

“Hello, my name is Marshall Ruthven and I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness.  I’m a retired preacher visiting your neighborhood and I wonder if I could speak with you for a few minutes.”

He did this every day.  It always led to praying with a half-dozen people and some began a relationship with Jesus.  The sight of Marshall at your door was charming, disarming and intriguing.

He was a simple man who came to visit with one suit of clothes.  All he asked the pastor for was a bed to sleep in, a meal and the opportunity to bring along anyone who wanted to learn about evangelism.   We were not the only church to take him in.  Or perhaps we were ‘taken in’ by the sight of a real-life pioneer… a genuine compassion entrepreneur. He passed away in 1994.


Monday, April 15, 2013

COMPASSION ENTREPRENEURS


In business, a self-starter who launches a new company is called an entrepreneur. They are pioneers who build and manage organizations often at considerable risk and show great initiative.



Entrepreneurs are the initiators of new products and services. They are the people who prefer to work independently instead of answering to a boss.

The Kingdom of God has its share of entrepreneurs. A quick survey of Scripture reveals a long list of people who took great risk and changed history with their willingness to do something new.

Abram left his homeland to find an undisclosed location God was giving him.

Noah built an ark in a place without a lake.

Moses left shepherding to become a national leader.

Nehemiah left his job as a personal assistant to rebuild a city.

Jesus left carpentry to become a travelling teacher.

Paul left his religious post to become a Christ follower and missionary to the Gentiles.

The early church entered into intentional community living and became an effective social agency for change.

In every case, God’s compassion entrepreneurs are people who get a better idea and take the risk of doing something new and untried. What are you called to leave in response to God’s call?

In one sense, we are called to become compassion entrepreneurs or at least to join in helping others to do so. Consider the Great Commission Jesus gave to us.



Matthew 28:
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


Disciples get permission (authority) from Jesus. They go to unknown places at great risk and expense to lead others into God’s Kingdom. They are secure in knowing that God goes with them until the end of time.

Blog Archive