Monthly Archives: January 2015
“The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.” Mark 13:10 “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” Matthew 28:19
We all are to be going proclaimers of Christ. We are all goers. We go all kinds of places everyday, and hopefully we are testifying that Jesus is worthy of our trust and obedience.
But not everyone can go to the nations (the ends of the earth – Acts 1:8) all of the time, though we all have a part to play. Everyone of us can pray and mobilize so others can go. “Go, send or disobey!” says John Piper. There are no other options. So what part are you playing as a part of God’s strategy that is the church local?
I have been doing some praying and thinking and did some brainstorming with the staff this past week to develop a strategy that will challenge every single person to give something to send others on mission in 2015.
When we read the Bible it is easy to miss how God’s people were led by God, because God leads in many and various ways. But it does not mean there was no strategy to accomplish God’s plan. To build the ark, there was a strategy. To conquer Jericho, there was a strategy. To build the temple, there was a strategy. To rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, Nehemiah had a strategy. To financially assist the saints in Jerusalem, Paul had a strategy. God wants us to be a part of His Universal Church to get the gospel to all the nations, but what is our strategy for accomplishing His plan?
Here is one way to be a part of God’s plan in 2015. We are calling it “15 for 15 missions challenge”. We are going to ask every single person to join us by committing to give at least $15 a month for 2015.
As an example, Lacey and I will give at least $30 a month together. Of course, if someone wants to give more or give it all in one month, that is great too. What we are trying to accomplish is to get everyone to participate in being a sending church. We can all give up three lattes or a few value meals a week for the sake of the gospel – right?
What if just 200 people committed to give $15 a month for the rest of 2015? That would be $36,000. In 2014 our total missions giving was just over $27,000. That would be a 25% increase for 2015.
I ask you to join me in praying that Eagle Heights would take this seriously and that we would continue to grow in our missions support as a going and sending people. I ask also that you would encourage people in your sphere of influence to embrace the “15 for 15 missions challenge”.
I hope God uses Eagle Heights Missions Month to teach and challenge us about praying, giving and going. I pray also we would celebrate what God is doing through us as we give more and send more for the glory of God among the nations. In 2008 we gave approximately $7000 to missions. We have grown a lot, but we can do more. I hope our faith family will get behind this. Will you join us?
In Mark 13 Jesus:
- Predicts the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple (V. 2)
- Prepares His followers for hard times (VV. 5-23)
- Promises that He will make a cosmic return (VV. 24-27)
- Pleads with us to be ready for hard times and His return (VV. 28-37).
While Jesus was teaching His disciples about a local and near-future event in Mark 13:1-23, He was also preparing later followers for difficult times. We all will face disaster in this life, whether it is personal or by way of other relationships, tough times are coming our way (John 16:33).
What can been done to prepare for the return of Christ and such difficult times? How does a Christian get ready for a disaster; a doomsday scenario?
In Mark 13:33, 34, 35 and 37, Jesus commands us to “be alert!.” Just always be ready. We must pay attention. Below are some “dos” and “don’ts” that will help followers of Christ prep for hard times.
- Don’t be misled by false saviors (vv 5-6, 21-22). How many times since Jesus walked on earth has someone abused a crisis to take advantage of people? Evil people love to take advantage of disaster victims. When a large storm hits an area, you can be sure that scam-artists will be out trying to take advantage of desperate, unsuspecting people. The way to protect from being misled is by knowing the Bible well, and by committing our lives to a body of believers we can trust to help us in tough times.
- Do learn to recognize the return of Jesus is imminently close (vv 28-29). Whether by death or by the second coming of Christ, we are closer now than since He came the first time. The latter statement is a “duh” kind-of statement, but we need to constantly be reminding ourselves of this fact so that we will live with urgent readiness.
- Don’t be frightened (v 7). It is human to be afraid, it’s not okay to be enslaved and driven by fear.
- Do believe the promises of Jesus (v 31). Just as we can read history and see that Jesus was right about the destruction of the temple, so we also know that Jesus has never failed to fulfill a promise.
- Don’t be caught off guard (v 9). The best way to navigate hard times is to prepare for them long before they are encountered. We must have a prepared theology of disaster and suffering because when difficulty comes, it is not the ideal time for a theological discourse on why bad things happen and how God can use evil for good (Romans 8:28). We need to have our convictions about these things lined out long before we need to apply them. It’s not a good idea to wait until the day you die to get all your legal matters in order, and neither should a person wait until life comes unraveled to figure out whether they really believe God is good.
- Men must lead and protect their homes with urgency! Where did I get that from Mark 13? Chapter 13 is the judgment and result of chapter 12. What does chapter 12 teach us? It teaches us that the Jewish leaders wanted to be in control instead of trusting and obeying God, which is why they fought Jesus every step of the way to the cross. People suffer when unrighteous leaders lead! Men are the leaders of their homes and we must determine to be the Godly husbands and fathers that God commanded them to be (Genesis 2:15-18; Ephesians 5:21-6:4)
- Don’t be flaky (v 13). We live in a world in which a lot of people are “stressed” and “under pressure”, and some of it is real. Unfortunately, many use it as an excuse not to honor their word and commitments. Difficulty is a part of life in a broken world, so to endure in our discipleship to Jesus and our personal relationships to others, we have to preach to ourselves the gospel of Jesus and remind ourselves that our perseverance will be worth it (Mark 10:30).
- Don’t try to guess the day or the hour, and be aware of people who do. Three times (VV. 32, 33, 35) Jesus declares that no one knows the day or the hour. It appears a whole lot of people (mainly best-selling authors) missed those verses. Many would be better off if they quit trying to guess the times and started making the most of the fleeting time they have.
- Do be prepared – always! If we don’t know the precise time for life disasters or the return of Jesus, then we need to live prepared all the time. If we are living for Christ through the little disasters, we will be ready for the ultimate event; whenever it is and whatever it looks like. “Vigilance, not calculation is required.” William Lane
- Do love the gospel. For those who trust and love the suffering Messiah, the Son of God, the gospel is good news about bad news. With the gospel there is always hope (Mark 13:13).
By default we all are an accumulation of our life experiences.
We are who we are because of who we know, what we have read and what we have experienced and feel, and to varying degrees this is the result of choices we have made – both good and bad.
We all are very different and complicated people and we shouldn’t be surprised we struggle with ourselves, others and God.
But we cannot let our cumulative identity define us and rule us.
The beauty of the gospel is that who we are by default is not the defining piece.
The Bible says that we all are uniquely made and have creator, imputed worth (Genesis 5:1). Even more, when we trust in the gospel of Jesus, we become righteous, adopted children of God. It is an absolute fact.
But therein lies the challenge. We have to continue to believe what we have already believed. We have to believe that we are not defined by our circumstantial experiences. We have to submit to the authority of the God-declared reality.
If we have turned from trusting our own way to believing in Jesus’ way, we are righteous, loved and new (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21; Romans 8).
This is the defining piece.
We will either believe God or believe the world and ourselves. By God’s grace, it’s your choice.