How you deal with failure will have a lot to do with how well you join Christ on His mission! Watch this video and be encouraged!
Why is the Great Commission so important that it should become our driving desire in life? That's what this short video is intended to share. Watch it and share your thoughts about it.
As we are out in the spiritual harvest fields sharing Jesus and the Gospel with others, different people will give us different responses! Do you know what actions you should take based upon the response you get from the different people you share Christ with?
In this video you are going to learn some possible different actions you can take when people give you different responses to your offer of receiving Christ and your invitation to begin a discipleship process with them. It is a flow chart to help you know what to do and what to say!
" Yes, He (God) has humbled me and shown me what I am, revealing Himself as a present, a very present help in times of trouble. And though He does not deprive me of feeling in my trial, He enables me to sing, 'Yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation ... Now I am happy in my Saviour's love. I can thank Him for all, even the most painful experiences of the past, and trust Him without fear for all that is to come." Hudson Taylor
In this video I am going to share 3 things you can expect from God when you decided to join Him on His mission! They are taken from the above quote of Hudson Taylor and is verified with scripture. THEY WILL BE CHALLENGING TO HEAR AND ACCEPT! But they will also, once made part of your life, prepare you for whatever assignment the Lord sees fit to give you as part of His mission.
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Have you ever thought that there are times when the sight of Christ might bring fear into your life? Even for those who have intentionally decided to join Christ on His mission can have times when seeing Jesus brings fear into their lives.
What this video and hear a true story from the Word of Christ when the sight of Jesus brought fear into the lives of his disciples
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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NAS)
In this short but powerful verse we are given specific instructions on how to allow God to guide our lives! The Bible tells us: What To Do; What Not To Do; and To Claim A Promise! In other words there are three conditions (what to do and what not to do) that when fulfilled, God will keep His promise.
FIRST CONDITION: What To Do!
TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART!
In other words, we are to have faith in God. Trust is just another way of saying Faith! Throughout scripture, expressing faith in God is always essential to seeing God work in and through our lives. The Bible even says that faith is essential in pleasing God.
"Without faith it is impossible to please God" Hebrews 11:6
You have to have faith in God! You have to be trusting in God to work in you, through you and in the circumstances you find yourself in. ARE YOU TRUSTING GOD?
But we're not only to trust Him! We are to trust Him with all our hearts. Not some of our heart, not part of our heart but ALL of our heart. When it comes to trusting in God there should be absolutely no doubt or concern whatsoever. Our full trust and confidence in Him is what God expects of us, if we are expecting him to keep His promise!
SECOND CONDITIONS: What Not To Do!
DON'T RELY ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING!
This verse is very clear that we are not to lean or stand ourselves up on our own abilities to reason things out. Often, when God tells us what to do, it won't make a bit of sense.
I don't think it made much sense to Moses when the Children of Israel needed water and God told him to hit the rock with his staff! And then on a different occasion God tells him to speak to the rock to get water. Are you serious? Hit and speak to a rock! That doesn't make sense.
I don't think it made a bit of sense to Jesus' disciples when Jesus told them to feed 5,000 men plus women and children with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes! And if I was Peter it would have made no sense to me at all for Jesus to tell me to go out to a lake, grab a fish, open its mouth and there inside find money and then go pay the temple tax. Really! Feeding a large group of people with just a little bit of fun and finding money in the mouth of a fish to pay my taxes, just doesn't make sense!
But for God it isn't a requirement for it to make sense to us on how these crazy things that He tell us to do work out! We Don't Need To Understand!
The only requirement that God expects is obedience. Obedience is Jesus' LOVE LANGUAGE.
Jesus speaking, "If you love me keep my commandments." John 15:10
THIRD CONDITION: What To Do!
IN ALL YOUR LIFE MAKE GOD KNOWN!
Throughout you entire life there is always one common denominator! What is it?
It was God who fashioned you, formed you, saved you and maintains you. Without God and Christ we would be helplessly and hopelessly drowning in our sea of sin! God has loved us with an everlasting love. There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God! NOTHING!
So, why shouldn't we in all our ways acknowledge God? Why shouldn't we make Him known to the whole world? How can we help but speak of the great and mighty things that God has done in the past and in our own lives.
When we are acknowledging God in all our ways, we are shining the Light of Christ brightly in our part of this dark world! We are making this world a brighter place to live.
THE ONE PROMISE: What God Will Do For Us!
HE WILL GUIDE US AND DIRECT US!
After all, why wouldn't God direct us and lead us if we are putting our faith in him, making Him known to all the world and not leaning on our own understanding? Of course He will!
You fulfill those conditions and you can take this promise that God has made to you, to the bank and cash it in.
THAT'S PROMISE THAT GOD WILL HONOR AND KEEP!
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There are a few things written in the Bible that Christ says are "MUST" things that need to get done! Today's post talks about one of those things that Jesus says is a must for him and for us.
Watch and be challenged to make sure your priorities include this one "MUST" thing!
Worry is one of the biggest barriers that keep Christians from joining Christ on His mission. And that worry can involve many different things.
They Worry About Saying The Wrong Things:
Some Christians feel that they just don't know enough about their Christian faith to share the Gospel with others, and as such, they could easily say something that is wrong. The good news is that the Gospel is not complicated and doesn't require you to be a rocket scientist to do it. With some very basic and quick training you can both thoroughly understand the Gospel and share it with others. THIS IS A WORRY THAT IS EASILY REMEDIED!
They Worry About Not Having The Right Answers To Peoples Questions:
When you share Jesus with others, will they have questions? Absolutely! But don't allow the worry of not having the right answer keep you from sharing Jesus with others.
There's a true story in the Bible, after Jesus had healed a man from being blind from birth, that the religious leaders (who didn't like Jesus) decided they needed to question the man who had been healed. Take a moment and read about how this man responded to comments about Jesus that he had no answers for:
"A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. 'Give glory to God,' they said. 'We know this man is a sinner.' He replied, 'Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" Luke 9
You can read the whole story in the Gospel of John, chapter 9. But did you see how the man responded to the comments he had no knowledge of? This man should serve as an example to the rest of us, on how we should respond to people who have questions, sincere or insincere questions! That response should simply be:
"That is something I don't have an answer for but I will search to find the answer for you, but for now let me share with you what I do know!"
Then you share with them what Jesus has done for you since placing your faith in Him. You don't need to have all the answers to everyones questions concerning God and Jesus! You can always go find those answers. But you should use their questions to share more of our story of coming to faith in Christ. People can argue about theology but no one can argue about your testimony in Christ! They may not believe it but they can't argue against it.
They Worry About The Type Of People God Will Have Them Go To:
That's the worry that Jonah had when God called him to go prophecy against the Great city of Nineveh. He didn't like them and he wanted to full unbridle wrath of God to fall on them. His biggest worry was that they would hear his message and the repent and if God saw their repentance, Jonah knew that God would forgive them.
There might be some people you just don't like, you don't care for and you could care less if they came to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. If so, then you have an sinful attitude problem. You need to be so convicted in your heart by the Lord that those whom you care the least for are those that want to come to know Jesus. You need to spend so much time in the presence of the Lord that his desires for these people become your desires as well.
And list of worries can go on and on.
Philippians 4:6 gives us one powerful practice to help alleviate the anxiety that keeps us from joining Christ on His mission.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
What's that one "Best Practice" for ridding yourself from the worry and anxiety that plagues your heart. IT'S PRAYER! When we pray God sends His peace into our lives to do two things:
- Guard Our Hearts: God's peace will alleviate the emotional pain and suffering that joining Christ on His mission might give you. From my experiences, God actually changes the emotional pain into emotional pleasure, as I join Christ on His mission.
- Guard Our Minds: God's peace will also remove the confusions of our thinking and replace it with the Mind of Christ that gives us clear understanding.
So, if you are worried about joining Christ on His mission I suggest you just STOP IT and start PRAYING ABOUT IT. You know it's God's will for you to join Him on His mission, so just take the time in prayer to receive God's peace and His transformation and then just go join Him and see the great things that God will do in and through you.
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While there are other things that will determine how you portray Christ to others, I believe this video will share with you one of, if not the most, factor in how people see Christ in you. To learn more about how to shine the Light of Christ brightly in your part of this dark world, check out this powerful book on living a powerful missional life:
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While doing a study of the Gospel of what Jesus actually did to ignite a powerful disciple making movement I found this very important Bible verse.
"Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him." Matthew 4:23-25
Watch this video to learn more about the 3 things Jesus did to ignite a disciple making movement and how to apply them for today.
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Did you know that this year, 2018, the world will be celebrating both April Fools Day and The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (Easter)! That's right they both fall on the same day this year.
The irony of these two events falling on the same date cannot be overstated! On the one hand you have a world that says death cannot be cheated, cannot be avoided and is final. While on the other hand you have the Christians Biblical belief that Jesus Christ did die on the cross, was buried in a tomb and on the third day came back to life again. April 1, 2018 is a date where these two completely world views will collide and are in total opposition to each other.
One world view says that to be raised from the dead, after being dead for three days, is totally impossible, while the other says it is not only possible but actually did happen and has tremendous ramifications for all the rest of us who have ever been born throughout world history.
The world believes it is totally impossible because that's all the world has ever known. Every single person who has ever lived has died and every single person who has died for 3 days or longer has stayed dead, accept for those crazy claims of the Bible of Jesus and those he supposedly raised from the dead. All of life's experiences demands, for those in the world, that the claims of Christ's resurrection is a fairy tale and cannot be trusted. They believe that Christians hold to a "Blind Faith" which is unreason or irrational.
But for those of us who are Followers of Christ and do believe in Christ's Resurrection from the dead our faith is far from that "Blind Faith"! No! Instead, it is a faith based upon "Evidence Beyond Reasonable Doubt".
Yes, the belief in Jesus death, burial and resurrection is based upon eye witness evidence that's reasonable. There are people, who lived during the time of Christ's resurrection, who have claim and gone on record to have seen Jesus after his crucification alive and well. They made it very clear their experience wasn't some kind of hallucination. They claimed to have walked with him, talked him, ate with him and touched him. They claimed it to be a life altering experience that took them from fear, including the fear of death, to a life filled with boldness regardless of the life circumstance that was confronting them.
Who were these eye witness? The Bible clearly shares the identity of those eye witnesses. They weren't trying to stay in the shadows. They were open and upfront for everyone to hear. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 reveals who they are:
"3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, [b]and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."
Who were these eye witnesses?
First, there is the 500 who saw him! He doesn't specifically list their names because there are just to many to list. But he does say that most were still alive to the very date of the writing. Why indicate that most were still alive? Because, Paul was challenging them to go to Palestine and check it out for themselves. They could go around and ask if anyone had seen Christ resurrected and the chances were that they'd still find many who would say, "I did"!
But among those 500 we know that they would have included the women who gone to the tomb and found it empty and then saw Jesus alive. In Luke 24:10 we read,
"Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, .."
Here we see 3 specific names of women identified who saw the resurrection of Christ. They were Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James but there were also other women there as well.
Second, Jesus showed himself to the apostles and James, Jesus' half brother. Many in the world believe that the Apostle would have lied about Jesus resurrection. They believe that the apostles knew that Jesus was dead but wanted to keep the movement alive and therefore fabricated the story of His resurrection.
But is that really logical. Would someone really lie about something they knew to be a lie? Yes, if they had something to gain like: power, prestige or money. But the apostle got none of those things. As a matter of fact they lived like poor people and eventually were beaten and killed for their testimony of seeing Jesus alive. They gained nothing if it was a lie.
Surely at least one of them upon the sentence of death would have recanted their testimony if it had been a lie! But not one ever recanted or changed their story but instead every apostle lived and died in the most horrible way because of their refusal to recant their story. They were to die for their testimony of Christ's resurrection. Why would anybody do that unless they knew it to be the truth!
Next, there was the eye witness account of the Apostle Paul. Paul wasn't part of the original apostles as a matter of fact he was a Christian hater who wanted nothing more than to arrest and kill all who claimed to be a Follower of Christ and testified of His resurrection. For awhile there, that was his total life's mission.
But something happened that changed Paul! He went from being a Christian hater and killer to the greatest Christian missionary ever! He ended up with a new life's mission! Instead of putting Christians into prison, he made it his life's ambition to make as many people Christians as possible by believing in Christ's death, burial and resurrection.
What made the change? How did Paul go from being a Christian hater to a Christian maker? Paul's very own testimony gives us the answer. We find Paul's answer in Acts 26 where he states clearly why he is now a follower of Christ. He says it is because while on the road to Damascus that Jesus appeared to him and spoke to him. It was the resurrected Jesus speaking to him that changed him. That was his life changing experience.
Now as I contemplate these eye witnesses I am forced to evaluate how credible they are about what they confess. And I have come to the following conclusion! They are ALL extremely reliable! Why:
- Because the original apostles gained nothing in this world and lost everything including their lives for their testimony that they saw the resurrected Christ. It is unreasonable to believe that someone would maintain a lie when all they got was pain, suffering and death. It is even more harder to believe all the apostle would maintain that lie under such circumstances. And yet, that's exactly what happened: every single one of them maintained their testimony and never recanted. They all died for their testimony for seeing Christ resurrected. That makes them very compelling and credible witnesses.
- Because Paul himself said that his life change was a direct result of his encounter with the resurrected Christ. He stopped being a Christian hater and killer to become a Christian maker because he encounter the living Christ. THAT'S WHAT PAUL SAID! This changed of heart only brought pain and suffering and eventually was beheaded for his testimony of seeing the resurrected Christ. He gained nothing from this change in life but lost everything he was working for because of it. This makes Paul one of the greatest and most credible eye witnesses.
- The sheer number of eye witnesses, over 500, make the resurrection of Christ irrefutable.
Yes, this Sunday, April 1st, 2018 is both the day we celebrate the resurrection of Christ (Easter) and April Fools Day. But don't be the fool by believing that Jesus is still dead. He's not! He's Alive! And by placing your faith in the resurrect Jesus you can be saved from your sins and receive the gift of eternal life. Will you do it today?
When God is ready to do something new, when He is ready to move His mission into a new territory or when God begins to expand his mission to into areas uncharted, He first has to prepare a person to go and do His will! Understand this: God's plan for expanding His mission is always through His people. We who know Christ have been commissioned as His ambassadors to this lost world. So, when God want to do something new in accomplishing His mission he will first prepare one or more of His ambassadors to go.
In Acts chapter 10 we read of such a preparation when God was wanting to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles. He first had to prepare his ambassador, Peter, and then commissioned him to share the message of reconciliation to them. Let's read what Acts 10:9-23 to see what we can learn:
"About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.' Surely not, Lord!' Peter replied. 'I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.' The voice spoke to him a second time, 'Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.' This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon' house was and stopped at the gate. They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, 'Simone, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.' Peter went down and said to the men, 'I'm the one you're looking for. Why have you come?' The men replied, 'We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.' Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along." (NIV)
When I begin to contemplate this story of Peter's life I see four important things that will help us to be ready to move with God into a new mission field that He wants us to go into. They are:
I. BE STEADFAST IN PRAYER!
Isn't it interesting that Peter had been in a time of intense prayer just prior to God calling him into a new mission territory? He had been praying so hard and long that he became hungry. I have often found that during my times of intense prayer I also have become hungry. Prayer isn't a passive activity that requires no energy. On the contrary, prayer can be a very exhausting activity that can cause a person to feel physically tired as well as spiritually and emotionally tired.
Prayer prepares the Christ's Ambassador to be open and receptive to what God wants to share with them. Prayer removes the spiritual blinders and chains that can hold us back from joining God where He is moving.
We find in Acts 13 that while some of the prophets and teachers at the church in Antioch were in a time of intense worship, fasting and prayer that God called for Barnabas and Saul to be set apart for the work that he was calling them into. This was to be the beginning of the 3 missionary journey's of Paul. And it was during a time of prayer, worship and fasting that God called for his servants to be set apart.
When people share with me that they never sense God's call to be used, I often wonder how intentional they are in prayer and how submissive are they in their prayers. For if we are praying and have a submissive heart that says, "where ever you lead I'll go" I am confident that God will employ that servant into His service.
How intentional and consistent are you being in your prayer life? How submissive are you being as you pray? Are you trying to tell God what you want and need for him to do? Or, are you asking God what He wants to be done? Yes, we are to pray for God to meet our needs but, as we learn from Jesus' example, we should be in the attitude that says, "Not my will - but thy will be done!"
II. RECOGNIZE WHEN GOD SPEAKS!
Next we see God beginning to speak to Peter while he was in a trance. This experience wasn't confusing to Peter. It was like normal dream people have while they are asleep. This was different. This was a God encounter and Peter recognized it as such. Peter wasn't confused about if it was God speaking to him - Peter knew it was God speaking to Him.
You see when God speaks, God makes it clear it is Him who is speaking. When you look in the Bible to those whom God spoke to, you never find a person wondering if it was God speaking to Him or not. No! they knew it was God and more importantly they knew exactly what God was telling them.
God doesn't want His people confused about if it is really Him talking to them! God wants us to know for certain that He is the one talking to us and for us to know clearly what He is saying. If there is ever a time when we are unsure if what we are sensing is of God or not we have a wonderful promise in the Bible found in James 1:5,
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. Than man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."
What a beautiful and reassuring promise! If you are uncertain that what you are sensing needs to happen or if it is from God or not, just ask him to confirm it to you and he promises he will. All we have to do is "Ask & Believe".
Have you come to the place in your relationship with Christ that you can recognize the voice of God and discern what He is telling you? Being able to recognize God's voice and understanding what He is saying is ESSENTIAL for joining God in those new mission fields where He is moving. Why should God call you to join Him if you're unable to discern when He is talking to you and what He is saying?
III. BE READY TO BE CHALLENGED BY WHAT GOD SAYS!
Moving into a new mission territories most likely will stretch you greatly in your comfort and your values.
Before this encounter with God Peter was both uncomfortable at the thought of going into the home of a gentile. It was against every value he had been brought up to believe. It was against the establish religious convictions that he had been brought up with. There was no way he would go into the house of a gentile unless God had first prepared him. And that's exactly what God did.
Peter wasn't convinced on the first God encounter or even the second God encounter. It took three different encounters with God and hearing the same message from God before Peter understood that God was serious about what he was saying and before God could send him with those men to go into the house of a gentile. If God hadn't taken the time to prepare Peter, Peter probably never would have accepted their invitation to come.
Are you being challenged about what will be required to join God in the new mission field that you sense He is leading you into? Are some of your church traditions, values and perspectives being called into question and you're not sure how to respond. Then good, because God is shaping you and fashioning you into the kind of servant that will follow Him where ever He leads.
IV. BE OPEN TO MOVING IN A NEW DIRECTION!
Is Peter unique? Or, are we a lot like Peter? I think that we, like Peter, also need to have those God encounters that prepare us to go and join Him in those new mission fields! To be willing to leave the comforts of what is familiar and the treasured established relationships and to go to a place that is unknown has to have a God preparation take place. That doesn't mean it is going to be instant preparation or even an easy transition. It just means it is necessary to happen.
It wasn't instant or even pleasant for Jonah to be prepared and willing to go on his mission assignment! He had to be swallowed by a whale! How quick and how easy that transition to following God depends on how submissive the one being called is. Our openness to moving in a new direction will depend on how much our will has been broken, so that only God's will is left.
How open are you to joining God in the new mission fields He is opening up? How much of your own will have you crucified on the cross and how much of God's will is directing you? These are the question that only you can answer for yourself! No one can answer then for you.
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When we begin to join Christ on His mission and become intentional about making reproducing disciple makers, we can rest assured that we will run into times of trials and tribulations! Difficult times is something we can guarantee will happen and is something we will need to learn to deal with.
In Luke 9:23 we hear Jesus telling people what is expected of anyone who wishes to be one of his disciples,
"Then he said to them all, 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily, and follow me."
According to Jesus there are three things that are essential if someone truly wants to become one of His disciples.
They Must Deny Themselves: A life of a disciple of Christ is a life of self-denial. To be His disciples means to no longer have your own ambitions, your own goals or your own desires. Instead, your life is for Christ and Him alone. You surrender your will for the will of Christ and your desire is to accomplish God's will.
- They Must Pick Up Their Cross Daily: The cross in Jesus' day was a painful instrument of death. Joining Christ on His mission quite often will be a very painful experience. Many have suffered greatly and even died for their commitment to Christ and His mission.
- They Must Follow Him: It is Christ who sets the place for our missional assignment - not us! He's the one who tells us where to go - not us telling him where we are willing to go. Quite often Christ's followers found themselves in the most darkest of places, led their by Christ, for the purpose of sharing with those who live in those troubled areas the Gospel.
The suffering and difficult times we may experience are part of God's will for us and in accomplishing the mission set before us!
Jesus Understood Clearly The Pain Associated With Carrying A Cross
As we all clearly know Jesus knew what it meant to pick up a cross and carry it! It meant to suffer and then die to accomplish the work set before Him. Even Jesus didn't relish the thought of going to the cross and would have preferred a different solution if possible. In Matthew 26:39 we get the rare opportunity to listen in on a prayer by Jesus to His Heavenly Father. It was a prayer concerning the cross. Listen to what Jesus asks:
"Going a little farther, He felled with His face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will but as you will."
Jesus didn't like the idea of going to the cross. He understood clearly the pain and suffering that was going to come with it. He referenced it as a "cup". This was an Old Testament imagery that was a reference to the Cup of "God's Wrath" being poured out as judgement. Jesus understood that going to the cross meant that he would be experiencing the full unbridled wrath of His Father. This was not a pleasant thought at all.
There's no written record of the Father's answer but we do know what it was by the actions of Jesus and His resolve to go to the cross and die. The Father's answer was simple,
"Son, you must go to the cross if people's sins are to be forgiven."
And out of love for us Jesus endured the cross.
Just like Jesus was to take up His cross, Jesus tells us that we are to pickup our cross daily and follow him. He is telling us that on a day by day basis we are to have a heart willing to suffer and possibly die in order to join Him on his mission of redeeming the world. We must be willing to deny our self interests and desires in order that others, still lost in sin, can hear the Good News and be saved. We must be willing to die, if need be, so others can be born again.
But how do you do that? How do we endure the pain and suffering that comes with being on mission with Christ so others can be saved? Again, we find our answer in the example of Jesus.
Jesus Refocused & Looked Past The Suffering.
In Hebrews 12:2 we find our answer through Jesus' example.
" ... For the joy set before Him he endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the Thrown of God."
How did Jesus endure the cross? Not by focusing on the cross but look past it and focusing on the joy that would come after the cross.
- The joy of knowing that everything that needed to be done for the salvation of men had been accomplished.
- The joy that He was obedient to His father even to the point of death on a cross.
- The joy of all those men, women, boys and girls dressed in white robes standing around the Thrown of God singing Holy, Holy, Holy. Jesus was focusing on the End-vision.
That's how we endure daily picking up our cross with all the pain associated with it! We focus, not on the trial or tribulation but on all those who will receive Jesus by faith because of our faithfulness; by focusing on hearing Jesus words spoken to us, "Well done good and faithful servant"; by focusing on the "JOY" that will come when Christ returns and finds us faithful to the call.
THAT'S HOW YOU ENDURE!
In Philippians 3:13-15 we read hear the Apostle Paul admonishing us to press on, never give up, never stop but strain and push your way to the finish line. Read for yourself how Paul puts it:
"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things ...."
When it comes to living a powerful missional life that brightly shines the Light of Christ this should be our marching verse! KEEP ON PRESSING ON! Being on mission with Christ is not like a sprint race but more like a marathon race. To finish the part of God's mission He has given to us to do will take years, along with lots of pain, sorrow and heart ache. The temptation to quit will at times will be almost hard to overcome if we are not mentally and spiritually prepared to go the distance.
This video is the first of 3 messages I brought for Agape Baptist Church in Tucson, AZ during their 3 day retreat with the theme of PRESSING ON! I share it with you because this is a Word from our Lord not just for a few but for all of us who confess Jesus as Lord and have committed ourselves to follow Him. As you watch it be encouraged but also be challenged for the work that our Lord has called us to is the greatest work in all of creation. Don't allow the temporal things of this world blind you or fool you to think that the work that Christ has called us to is of little significance! For it's not! THE WORK WE DO IS THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK YOU WILL EVER UNDERTAKE! I pray that Christ will speak to you!
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Even in the life of Jesus there were stumbling blocks that tried to hinder him from accomplishing the mission that God the Father had sent him into the world to accomplish. Watch this video to learn about 1 major stumbling block that Jesus encountered and how he dealt with it.
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