Monday, February 06, 2012

Citizen of the Kingdom

Matthew 5 – The Beatitudes

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth
Blessed are those who thirst and hunger for righteousness, for they will be filled
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

                I attended a couple sessions of a mission conference entitled, World Madate West, this past weekend at All Peoples Church in San Diego. I was invited by a friend from school who thought I would be interested because I had a heart for missions. I don’t remember having a specific conversation with her about my passion for missions, but it is true. My thoughts frequently rest on people around the world from my time spent building relationships with people in Basque Country, Uganda, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. I have always had a dream to be on the mission field on a global level. Initially, I thought that medicine would be my door into different areas of “unreached people groups,” a term that I picked up during my Perspectives on the World Christian Movement class a few years ago. An unreached people is a people group which has no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to finish evangelizing their community without further outside/cross-cultural assistance (kind of technical, I know).

                The Great Commission, found in Matthew 28:19 says, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus had just finished telling his disciples that, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” He has the authority to send us out into the nations, for his cause, to share the gospel message of this new life in Him. My faith extends far beyond my own heart, my community of friends, or even the church I attend. It is a global faith that extends to the nations.

                I was reminded of this over the weekend while listening to the testimonies of two faithful missionaries, Jimmy Seibert and Jim Yost. Both focused on a message of obedience to the purposes of God in daily life. Both had wild, awe-inspiring experiences that came about because of this daily obedience to God. Jim Yost has worked in Indonesia for years and has started various ministries among various groups of people: youth, prison inmates, prostitutes, gang members, etc. He goes out with his church members to the places where people are and builds churches from a handful of initial disciples (sound familiar?). He doesn’t wait for people to come into his church for them to hear the gospel message. He shared from Luke 10, “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. He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few…’” People all over our neighborhoods, cities and world are ready to hear the gospel. The Lord has supernaturally prepared their hearts to receive him, but the workers are few. Unfortunately, we aren’t going out to the places where people are to tell them about Jesus and disciple them.

                Story after story Jim shared, gave testimony to Jesus’ words. He believes that 1 in every 5 people that pass him on the street in Papua, Indonesia are ready to hear the gospel and believe. He shared of a prison ministry where they trained up leaders to disciple other inmates, which completely transformed the atmosphere of the prison. In fact, one of the inmates prayed over another inmate who had broken his leg out in the courtyard and the man’s leg was healed. Word spread of the prisoner’s healing touch and prayers and people from churches around the community, Muslims included, began bringing their sick to this prisoner to pray over. Doesn’t this sound like Jesus? He went out into the streets and met people where they were at. He used the most unlikely to carry out his purposes.

                As I read the Beatitudes this morning, I see more examples of this upside-down faith…blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the list goes on, and goes to show that the humble, broken and those seeking after the Lord will find what they are looking for. It ends with blessed are those persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…how am I a participant of the kingdom of heaven? Who am I talking to Jesus about? Am I obeying him daily; looking for ways to be involved in his purposes? Am I strategically, looking for ways to go out and minister to others? The Holy Spirit is definitely moving in my heart, helping me to catch a vision for the next steps of the day, week,’s a pretty simple message. No need to over-think our faith. It’s about living in obedience to God and in doing so, sharing the gospel message of new life in him; discipling others into this kingdom life. Where is your mission field today?

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