You know in Acts chapter 1 where Jesus has risen from the dead and it says, ” He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3) I recognised a while ago that my passion for Jesus and His work had become a little choked out with the busy-ness and cares of life. So I read these verses and began to think about what Jesus shared with his Disciples for 40 days! Imagine what those 40 days with the risen Christ must have been like! Imagine having a conversation about the Kingdom with Jesus for 40 days! Amazing…
Then I realised that this invitation to have a Kingdom conversation with the King is still open to anyone who can be bothered to listen!
So I’ve been spent 40 days revisiting what Jesus said, did and taught about the Kingdom of God and also getting back into some much needed Spiritual disciplines (Prayer, fasting, scripture etc)
So I was in a Somerset town the other day…prayer walking…thinking…reading…spying out the land
I read through 1 Corinthians and was reminded of some things about God’s Kingdom…
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness,holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1)
It’s not the religiously healthy people that Jesus came for it was the notorious sinners who knew they were sick. When I think about our fellow workers in this area of the UK and the people who are starting to follow Jesus in “simple churches” the words above encourage me!
God uses weak, simple and foolish things to grow His Kingdom…
Weak People – God doesn’t use experts or those who know what they’re doing. Otherwise people would think that human effort and ‘clever-ness’ is that counts. God uses people who desperately seek Him and realise they are nothing without Him. Even Jesus said that He could do nothing of Himself but only did what He saw the Father doing. Why do we think that we know better?
Simple Methods – God loves simple methods of discipleship and community because it means that anyone can do it! If God’s heart is longing to see people from every tribe and tongue reached with the Gospel of His Kingdom then I think putting simple methods and patterns into the hands of ordinary untrained disciples is the way to go…After all that’s what Jesus did isn’t it?
Foolish Message– The Gospel of the Kingdom is a foolish message to those who are perishing but it is absolutely amazing news to those being saved! In our attempts to “dress up” the Gospel let’s not forget that people who think they’re healthy won’t want to hear about a doctor! In our experience sharing the simple message of the Gospel and asking “Do you want to know more about Jesus” has been very fruitful!
Are you weak? Are you using simple methods? Are you foolish in sharing the Gospel?
We’ve been ploughing the ground and scattering the good seed on the land (as the good old song says!) God has led us to concentrate our efforts on certain people groups and places and we have ‘found’ people of peace who are looking to gather their friends and family in Simple Churches/Groups. We’ve also been working with other disciples to help them form simple/missional groups with their friends and family.
Today I travelled to a nearby town on the bus and we found a man called Tom who wants to know about Jesus and is looking to gather others in his house (you can read more about that here)
There’s now a few of us who share this Kingdom vision for our region so we are learning about ‘team’, how real maturity is to love one another despite our differences and to draw on each other’s strengths. We’re also working through how to see the groups we’ve started around people of peace become healthier and stronger
At the Newforms Level 1 Training we were reminded about the ‘Kingdom Vision’. Father God wants His Kingdom to spread to the ends of the earth like yeast in a batch of dough. If multiplication is not factored into everything we are doing then will we accomplish the Father’s will? Click here to watch Neil Cole talking about the necessity of multiplication…
Someone in the Bible once said that the feet of those who bring ‘good news’ are beautiful…well not everyone agrees!
Today me and a co-worker went out to search for people who wanted to know more about Jesus. As we continue on the journey of discipleship and learning from Jesus we’re seeing that most ‘Christians’ have been conditioned to do the opposite to what Jesus modelled. Imagine the leader of a sales team telling his recruits to go out and sell the product to as many people as they can. But rather than go out and follow the Team Leader’s instructions they go out and do everything but find customers. Some of them have good conversations with people but don’t find out if they are interested in their product. Some of them stay at the office and talk about what they are going to do. Others decide that they’re not meant to be selling the product because they don’t like being direct with people.
I have a growing feeling that Christians have been conditioned to do everything but find people who want to know more about Jesus. We make friends. We wash cars. We give out bottles of water. We walk around town centres late at night giving out flip flops and helping people. Sure all of these things are really great. But are we asking people the one question that we need to ask them?
“DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT JESUS?”
Has Jesus sent us out to make friends or to make disciples? Sure we are friendly with people and have some good friends who don’t know Jesus. Something needs to shift in our mindsets. Are we passionate about the Gospel enough to ask whether the people we meet and know want to know more about it? Maybe you’re different to me – but I sure want to make a difference while I am here on this planet. I take the call to make disciples very seriously because obeying Jesus is the most important thing to me. It’s actually very freeing to share the thing I’m most passionate about (Jesus and Salvation) right at the start rather than trying to smuggle it in through the back door a year down the line…
So me and my friend spent the afternoon knocking on doors and talking with people in a local town. Offering to pray for people and having conversations with people about Jesus and faith.
A few people slammed the door in our faces. Some said they weren’t interested. A couple were happy for us to pray with them. One person wanted us to go back and talk with them some more about Jesus. Some people were not in.
But we asked people the question, “Do you want to know more about Jesus”