Tuesday, July 28, 2009


"After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go." Luke 10:1 (NIV)

In this verse Jesus hints to why he had appointed and sent out the seventy-two. His purpose was for them to prepare for his arrival to those particular towns and villages he was about to go. They were to go ahead of Jesus and get things ready for his arrival in order so that when Jesus did arrive he would be wholeheartedly received by the people. You see Jesus had a plan. He knew exactly where he was going. He wasn't flying this mission by the seat of his paints or trying to figure it out as went along. He knew exactly what he was doing and how he would get it done.

Even in the book of Acts we see the Apostle Paul had a plan for where he was wanting to go on his missionary journey. In Acts 16:6-10 we see two very important principles that Paul used in determining where he was to go on this Divine mission,

"Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phryia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them."

From this passage we first see that Paul had intended and was actively trying to preach in the province of Asia and was trying to enter the boarder of Mysia. Why? Because that was the plan! They had planned to go there and had every intention to go and preach the good news. They had a plan and they were trying to follow that plan. I believe that Paul felt it was important to have a plan to execute and that he had thought through exactly where he felt God wanted him to go on this mission. He wasn't leaving the fulfillment of God's mission, to make disciples of all nations, to chance. He planned on where to go and what to do and he was going to execute that plan.

But then we see a second important principle that Paul used in fulfilling the mission. That principle was that all his plans and strategies were subject to change based upon the leading of the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit that prevented him from going into Asia and into Mysia! Why? Because God had a different plan for Paul to obey. He wanted him to go into Macedonia to preach to those people there. And Paul was obedient. As a result a church in Thessalonica was established, a jailer along with his entire household were saved and a woman, Lydia, opened her home for the church to meet. Paul followed the leading of the Holy Spirit because he had a clear understanding that he was not a slave to his plans but he was a servant of God.

From this I see three important things that those of us who are serious about being on mission with Christ need to implement:

  1. We must have a plan on how we intend to penetrate and reach our mission field. We need to know where the people are at. We need to have a plan on what neighborhood we are going to reach into first and then second and then third.
  2. Having a plan is not enough. We also need to have a resolve to implement and execute that plan. There has to be action applied to our plans.
  3. We must remember that all our plans are up for change based upon the leadership of the Holy Spirit. We must remember that we don't serve our plans. Our plans are just a tool for us to serve God. If the Holy Spirit comes and closes the doors for us to implement a part of our strategy we then need to be ready to listen and follow the Holy Spirits leading. The only reason why God would close the door to implementing our plan is because he wants to redirect our attention and move in a different way.

Do you have a plan to penetrate your mission field? Do you know who you are going to go after first, second and then third? Are you staying in close communion with God so that if the Holy Spirit wanted to redirect your plans you would be able to follow?

Folks it is time for us to get serious about putting together a comprehensive strategic plan to reach the Harvest Mission Fields that Christ has placed us in and we need to maintain a strong and intimate connection with Christ so that we can follow when the Holy Spirit wants to redirect us.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


"After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go." Luke 10:1 (NIV)

I don't know how many times in my life I got excited about doing something and then charged forward with the attitude that I was going to accomplish this goal regardless if anybody came with me or not. To many to count. I was going to make it happen, no, I was going to force it to happen. But then, just as I got into the thick of things, when things got really tough and even dicey, I'd loose heart, get discouraged and soon drop out and quit. I'm sure I am not alone in this. I am sure that most of us can recall a time or two where that was a description of you. But isn't comforting to know that Jesus has made preparations to encourage us who are on mission with him when we go through difficult times? Isn't nice to know that Jesus' strategy included an encouragement component to keep his missionaries (us) on track?

Did you notice in that verse above that Jesus appointed 72 other people and teamed them up two be two. Why? What would be the reason for sending them out two by two? If you sent them out individually you could cover twice as much territory. The only possible reason for this pairing is to provide support for one another. Listen to what the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

From this verse we can see Jesus' wisdom in sending the 72 out in teams. He knew that there would be far more success with teams than if they went out on their own. Teams would provide assistance, encouragement, protection and strength. None of this would be available if a person was pursuing Christ's mission alone. Knowing these benefits Jesus made teams part of his strategy. All throughout the book of Acts we see the same pattern of teams being used with the apostles. Whether it was Paul and Barnabas or Peter and John we see them doing the work together and pursuing Christ's mission in teams.

For those of us in the 21 Century we can learn a very important lesson! As we go out to fulfill and pursue this God given mission we need to make sure that we don't try to do it alone but we have surrounded ourselves with other like-mind believers who have the same passion for Christ's mission as our own. That when we go out to seek the lost we don't do it alone but we do it with others who will watch our backs.

Who are you teaming up with? Are you trying to do the mission Christ has laid on your heart all alone and find yourself getting discouraged? Who are those believers in your life that would form a good team?

Let's learn from Christs example. Let's follow Christ's instructions! Let's find others that we can team up with.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


"Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19:9,10 (NIV)

So what exactly is this mission that Jesus was sent on by the Father? What exactly was Jesus suppose to do? In the story of Zacchaeus we get the clearest and most concise job description of Jesus' mission straight from Jesus himself. It has two parts. First is to "SEEK" and second is to "SAVE" that which was lost. Seeking and saving the lost. That was it in a nut shell. It's not a long and complicated mission statement and it's pretty easy to understand and follow.

Let's take a look at the first part of seeking the lost. As a person begins to strategically contemplate this action the first question one might ask is: Who are the lost? The answer: The lost is everyone! Everyone who has ever been born, lived and died other than Jesus have been spiritually lost. All that Jesus had to do was close his eyes and then open them quickly and the first person he saw would be a lost person. The second person he would see would also be a lost person including the third, fourth and on down to everyone else he saw. There's not much seeking involved when everyone is lost. So was Jesus' mission intended to seek and to save every lost person or only specific lost people? To answer that question one must understand the purpose of the seeking. What is purpose behind the seeking? It is found in the second part of the Christ's mission statement and that was to save the lost. Now, is Jesus going to save every single lost person who has ever lived or are there going to be some who are saved and some who will remain in their sinful plight? Well scripture is real clear on this subject. God has made it abundantly clear that a few lost people will be saved while the majority are going to receive eternal damnation. Jesus uses such visual word pictures as, "Wide is the road that leads to destruction and many go that way, while narrow is the road that leads to life and few find it." So Jesus is not going to save everyone but only a few. So this is not a seeking of all lost people and saving them but a seeking of those particular lost people who have been prepared (by the Holy Spirit) and are ready for salvation.

Now this is going to require some effort, some understanding and some observation in order to do this task. In order to seek after particular lost people who are prepared to be saved one must know what he is looking for. One must be able to understand and recognize the signs that indicate if a person is prepared and ready for salvation or not. So are there signs that one can observe that would indicate if a lost person is prepared and ready for salvation? If so what would Jesus look for in a person who is ready? With the story of Zacchaeus we can see three particular signs that indicated to Jesus that he was ready and prepared.

First, Zacchaus showed an extraordinary amount of desire in Godly things. When the word got out that Jesus was going to pass through Jericho the crowd quickly responded and came out to see him. This was not unusual. Jesus seemed to attract a crowd in many of the places where he went. Zacchaeus also wanted to see Jesus but his desire far outweighed those that were part of the crowd. Zacchaeus was a short man and because the large crowd he was unable to see Jesus. Now Zacchaeus demonstrated his greater desire to see Jesus from the rest of the crowd when he decided that he was not going to remain as part of the crowd and only get a glimpse of Jesus but instead he took the initiative and ran on ahead of the crowd and climb up into a tree in order to get a much better view of Jesus as he passed by. Nobody else is recorded to have taken that initiative. The rest of the people were content to stay in the crowd. Others may have gotten discouraged by the large crowds and gone home. But not Zacchaeus! He had an uncontrollable compulsion to see Jesus and he demonstrated a level of faith that others did not have by running ahead of the crowd and climbing up into that tree.

I think that this caught Jesus' attention. Here Jesus is walking down the street and seeing a grown man, the Chief Tax Collector, up in a tree waiting to see him. Now we need to remind ourselves why Jesus is here? Jesus has come to seek the lost who are prepared to be saved! As Jesus sees this grown man up in the tree he may have thought to himself, "Look at what this man is willing to do in order to see me. Maybe, he is one of the lost who is prepared to be saved. Let me find out by asking him to take me to his house." I think that when Jesus asked Zacchaeus to come down and take him to his house he was testing Zacchaeus to see if he possibly was one of the lost people whom the Spirit had prepare.

This leads to the next sign that Zacchaeus demonstrated. Zacchaeus was willing to accept Jesus' invitation to come to his house. He could have declined the invitation. He could have made excuses why he would be unable to accommodate him. He could have climbed down out of that tree and ran off and hide from Jesus. But he didn't. Instead, he hurried down that tree and welcomed Jesus gladly. Zacchaeus was more than willing to have Jesus come over to his house. He was thrilled that Jesus would want to spend time with him. There was no hesitation on Zacchaeus' part whatsoever. He jumped at the opportunity. What Jesus was doing was offering Zacchaeus an opportunity to explore his spiritual life more closely and watch and see how he would respond. When Zacchaeus responded with great enthusiasm Jesus had another piece of evidence that he needed that showed Zacchaeus might be one of those lost people whom the Holy Spirit had prepared.

Then finally we see the crowd beginning to criticize Jesus for going over to his Zacchaeus house. They said, "He gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." What the crowd failed to understand was that from God's perspective they all were sinners. But how would Zacchaeus react to all these negative comments? Would he get angry? Would he retaliate? But what we see is that how Zacchaeus responded gave the finally proof, to Jesus, that he truly was one of those prepared lost sinners that he came to save. Even as all the negative and critical statements came from the crowd Zacchaeus didn't try to justify his past behavior nor did he try to condone it. He just started confessing and repenting. He admitted that he had stolen and was willing to pay back everything plus four times more. In addition he said that he was willing to give half of his possessions to the poor. Jesus never asked him to do any of those things. Those were Zacchaeus' ideas! Why? Because he was experiencing a changed heart. He was repenting from his lifestyle of sin. As Jesus saw this happening he became convinced that Zacchaeus was indeed one of those whom Jesus came to save. Listen to what Jesus says, "For salvation has come to this house ..."

So what does this mean to us who are Ordinary Christians of Christ pursuing the same mission that
Christ initiated? What can we learn from this example that will help us to fulfill the mission that Jesus handed over to us? First, our job, like that of Jesus, is to sort through people. As Ordinary Christians we are looking not just for lost people. They are everywhere. We are looking specifically for those lost people that God has prepared and are ready to be saved. We accomplish this by looking for signs that will indicate a person is ready. Like Jesus, we are looking for individuals who are demonstrating a higher than normal amount of interest in spiritual things. Who are the ones we see climbing the trees to see Jesus? Then we are to offer them an opportunity to learn more about God and Christ just like Jesus offered Zacchaeus an opportunity for him to come to his house. How do they respond? Do they show genuine excitement about this opportunity or do they find excuses why they can't participate. And finally, we talk about their sinful condition and their willingness to allow Christ to forgive them of their sin and watch to see how they respond. Do they repent from their sinful condition or do they try to rationalize them? When we find those with a truly repentant heart then we have found those whom God has prepared. So offer them salvation and lead them to Jesus.

Like Jesus we are here to seek and to save those that are lost. We are here to find those lost people who are prepared, by God and introduce them to Christ.

Are you an Ordinary Christian needing some encouragement, some empowerment or equipping to better pursue the mission that God has given to us?  Are you wanting to live a missional life but just not sure how to go about it?  Then I want to invite you to join me at THE ORDINARY CHRISTIAN!  The Ordinary Christian exists to empower, encourage and equip ordinary christians to live a missional life that shine the Light of Christ back into this dark world.  You can join us at:

Take Care & God Bless

Monday, July 6, 2009

Insights On Christ's Mission

In the Gospel of John chapter twenty verses twenty-one through twenty-two it says,

"Then Jesus said to them again, 'Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.' And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said
to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they
are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any,
they are retained."

This is really an amazing thing. Here we see the entire God-Head: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all completely involved in this Divine Mission. It is God the Father who is the originator of this mission. It is a mission that flows from the very heart of God. It is not some human idea or concept but one that came from God himself from the very foundations of the earth.

But then we also see Jesus, the Son of God, as the implementor of this mission. The Father entrusted this mission into no other hands but that of his own Son. He did not entrust it to angels or anyone else but he gave it to the only perfectly qualified to get it started in the right direction. He gives it to none other than His very own Son. For there was a part that Jesus needed to play in the fulfillment of the mission that no one else could do. He alone could become the perfect sacrifice, the redemption, that buys back the souls of those whom God loves from the chains of sin. He was to offer up his own life and shed his own blood so that atonement for sin could be made and the perfect law of God would be satisfied. Jesus began the movement. He gathered a few disciples taught them what they needed to know and exemplified how this mission was to be carried out.

And then we see the Holy Spirit being given. Without the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the ordinary christian this mission would be an impossible task to fulfill but in Acts chapter one starting with verse four we read,

"And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, 'which,' He said,'you have heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shallbe baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now ... But you
shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and
you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea
and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

It is through the working of the Holy Spirit that the power that is needed to fulfill the mission is provided. Yes, the entire Godhead had a vested interest in the success and completion of this mission.

As amazing as it is to see the entire Godhead at play in this mission it is also equally humbling to think that God has allowed us, those of us who are his followers, to also play a vital role in this mission. Jesus said,

"As the Father has sent me, so send I you." 

 That's what Jesus said. Jesus received his instruction for carrying out his part of the mission straight from the Father but now he hands the fulfillment of this mission off to us who are his disciples. He gives this mission to ordinary christians.  He didn't have to do that! He didn't have to make us part of this redemption story but He did. It was from his good pleasure and for his glory that he has done so. As Ordinary Christians the fulfillment of this mission should be our purpose, focus and priority in life! Our only reason for existence in this life is to see this mission fulfilled. If we live for money, for personal success, for fame or for any other reason we have missed our reason and purpose for living. The only reason why God has left us here on earth after our salvation is for us to carry out this mission for His praise and His glory. All the rest of life should be viewed through this lens. It should color all the rest of our activities in life. It should not be one of the things that we do in life but everything we do in life, in some way, should help us fulfill this God given mission and that we bring praise and glory to God our Father and our Lord Jesus through accomplishing of it.

What will you do? What will be your mission in life? Are you ready as an ordinary christian to surrender your dreams, priorities and and vision to that of God and to his mission that He has already given us?

As you begin to live a missional life that brings glory to God I would like to encourage you.  I invite you to join me on a Facebook Page that I created called THE ORDINARY CHRISTIAN. The Ordinary Christians is designed to empower, encourage and equip ordinary christians to live a missional life that shines the Light of Christ back into this dark world.  Come and join us.  You can find it at: