Category Archives: CPCMtest

Beautiful Feet

“How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
‘Your God reigns!'”

Isaiah 52:7

Clearly it is not the feet, but the mouth, which proclaims peace, which shouts out “Your God Reigns!”

But the Holy Spirit sings that the feet are beautiful.

It is the beautiful feet that climb the mountains, that carry the body to those who have never heard the good tidings, that bring the mouth to where its proclamation of salvation can be heard by those who must hear and believe — or perish.

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'” (Romans 10:14-15)

Beautiful feet are the answer to “And how can they preach unless they are sent?” They propel the body of Christ, carrying the Good News to those who have never heard. Those who send are the beautiful feet, the glorious underpinnings of Jesus’ Church’s mission to enable some from every nation to call on Him.

Remember “…the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. … the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ … you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:14-27)

Let us each remember that we are a part of His body. It is the whole body that is necessary for the message to be heard — feet as well as mouth. For the nations to hear the Gospel there must be senders and sent ones. And they are both part of the same body that takes the Good News to those who have never heard.

And let those who God has made the feet that send those who are the hands and heads rejoice that He calls them beautiful.

 



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A Tale of Two Armies

A description of the elements of a skit.

This skit requires a group of men and women, something fewer than half of whom are (preferably) dressed in military uniforms. It should be as large a group as the geometry of the area for the presentation will allow without each one crowding the other so much that their actions can’t be observed.

It is imperative to understand — and make understood — that this skit is entirely allegorical. In no way should it be understood that physical force is to be used in bringing the Good News to the nations. We are to war with spiritual powers using spiritual power.

(Ephesians 6:10-20)

Also, if possible, they should be equipped with items that indicate their duties: for those in uniform items appropriate to medics, radio operators, pilots, bosuns, riflemen, etc., for those in civilian dress items appropriate to factory and office workers, homemakers, farmers, etc. Only two should be equipped for actual front-line combat, with rifles, bayonets, etc.

Scene 1

The group comes in and mounts the platform, staying to one end of the platform perhaps spilling down over the end of the platform and extending to the surrounding area on that end of the platform. Those in uniform march, but out of step with each other, ahead of those in civilian dress. The atmosphere should be one of each one doing their own thing and lack of overall sense of purpose. (The things that each is doing should not, however, be purposeless. A few could be engaged in frivolous activities. But most should be engaged in “very important” tasks — but tasks not in any way focused on the war effort at hand.) The two prepared for combat should be clearly more fit than all the others, with the most sense of purpose in their demeanor. They should be at the head of the group. (Perhaps the background music could be “Onward Christian Soldiers” played by a group of instruments out of tune and out of time with one another.)

After a bit of indecisive behavior on the part of all but the two prepared for combat, these two seek out those who seem to be in charge and explain their vision to reconquer territory that the enemy is holding: the other end of the platform. Some of the others commend their vision. Some express their encouragement. Some express their doubts as the necessity of the task, the feasibility of the task, the amount it will cost. Some express a desire to be part of something like this, but can’t conceive of any way they could. Many can’t see how this effort could be in any way connected to them. Many don’t seem much interested one way or the other. Some are annoyed that these two are bothering them about this at all. But in the end the two are commissioned by a majority of the leadership and a large number, but less than the majority, of the others, told to do a good job, patted on the back, saluted, and sent off.

The two combat troops march, then begin to crawl toward the enemy territory. Sound effects should begin with rifle and cannon fire, airplanes strafing, bombs bursting. Of those left behind, a few take alarm, most don’t notice, all go about doing their own thing.

One of the combat troops gets out his radio and calls for air support (which he alternately calls air support and prayer support). The radio operator of the crew back home (i.e. the large group) at first tries to tune it out as interference, so that he can listen to his favorite program. He then realizes what it is and asks if anyone has seen the pilot. There is general indecision about what to do. They find the pilot. He is not sure it is worth the risk to himself or the aircraft not to mention what the aviation fuel and ammunition will cost. Where are the funds to pay for all of this? Then they check with the mechanic, who tells them that the plane is not ready to fly and certainly not equipped for combat. Another discussion ensues about risk, cost, and the value of the objective. Things then proceed to evolve in similar discussions with meteorology, air traffic control, and general staff. The factory workers report that they would have to work overtime to make the necessary munitions and will anyone pay them adequately for that?

In the meantime one of the combatants takes a near mortal hit. The other gets on the radio and calls for a corpsman (medic). Although the radio operator is a bit quicker to realize his duty this time, a similar scene occurs with the medics and those that support them as occurred with the pilot and the mechanic et al.

[The foregoing can be amplified and evolved for as long as there is time.]

In the end the combatant who hasn’t yet been wounded begins to drag the other one, near death, home, when he, too is hit. His wound is not as bad, but it is all he can do to finally drag his buddy home and both are nearly dead by the time they reach the “home” group.

They are greeted with sympathy of the you’re-specially-called-to-this (and I’m-glad-I’m-not) kind. Quite a few say: “I told you so.” Some lament: “I wish there were some way I could have been of help, but there couldn’t have possibly been a way.” And there is murmuring that “we should be investing our funds in something better” in the background. The medical personnel respond enough to keep them from dying. But the former combatants are so crippled that it is very doubtful that they will ever be able to do anything again, let alone fight.

Scene 2

The group comes in and mounts the platform, again staying to one end of the platform. All march in step with each other, those in civilian dress in ranks with those in uniform, The march is purposeful and joyful. The atmosphere should be one of all having a common goal. The two prepared for combat should be fit, but not especially more so than all the others. They should be in the center of the group. (Perhaps the background music could be “Onward Christian Soldiers” played by a group of instruments in tune and sharply in time with one another.)

Immediately the leaders (not the combatants) call the whole group to attention. Those in military attire to military attention, those in civilian attire to attentiveness. They explain the situation. There are people whom the King loves dearly being held in slavery by the enemy in a place where none of the King’s army has yet gone. It is imperative to send a combat team to break the enemy’s hold over that territory. The two dressed in combat gear are seen as the ones appropriate to actually invade the captive land. All must be involved in the effort to the maximum with whatever is their expertise. The combatants step gladly forward. They are sent off with crisp salutes by those in uniform, cheers and tears by those in civilian dress.

As in Scene 1, the two combat troops march, then begin to crawl toward the enemy territory. Sound effects should begin with rifle and cannon fire, airplanes strafing, bombs bursting. Those on the home front are busily doing all they can to provide the support the troops need and are actively aware of the battle going on.

And again, as in Scene 1, one of the combat troops gets out his radio and calls for air support (which he alternately calls air support and prayer support). The radio operator of the crew back home takes the call and immediately relays the message through command to the pilot. The mechanic reports that the plane is ready to fly and for combat. Meteorology and air traffic control give their reports and general staff order the air strike immediately. All of this takes only a minute or so. The factory workers cheer because the overtime work they have spent to make the necessary munitions is paying off! Those who have invested their earnings so that the aviation fuel and weapons were available rejoice that their investment was worthwhile.

Sound effects give aircraft taking off and bombs being dropped in enemy territory.

Again one of the combatants takes a near mortal hit. And again the other gets on the radio and calls for a corpsman. This time the radio operator relays the message and within a minute, not only medics, but replacements are arriving on the scene.

[The foregoing can be amplified and evolved for as long as there is time.]

In the end the troops on the field, some with wounds, raise the flag (probably a cross or a banner proclaiming “Jesus is Lord!” would be better) in a manner similar to the famous WWII picture of the marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima. (See IwoJima.com.)

The wounded one has good treatment, recovers, and is ready to be part of the next effort.

There is much rejoicing among all, both those in the land that has now been freed and those who have freed them — not only the combatants, but everyone: factory worker to General.

“Scene 3”

The moderator makes the point. God’s global purposes are accomplished by His body functioning as a unit. As Steve Hawthorne says “…God intends better for us. God wants each believer and every church to live in the joy of fulfilling His global purposes. God never intended a few heroes to carry all of the joy and the labor. He gives us all a part.” (Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, p. 708)

God’s effort in a specific people group isn’t for just two or so heroes, it is for a large team of heroes — some here, some there — all actively committed to and engaged in His purposes for the people group and all actively connected to one another and to Him.

Possibly bring various members of the cast up and point out the parallel between their occupation in the skit and that of the many functions needed to bring the Gospel to where there is no living, on-the-ground witness for Jesus Christ.

Follow through

Performance of this skit should definitely be followed up by a systematic effort to fit people into the places for which they are best qualified and called to in order to effect the conquest of Satan’s kingdom in specific ways: E.g., a large, powerful team for a specific people group. Not a large team to go to that people group. A large, powerful team to participate with God in planting His church in that people group.

God gives us all a part Some notes to amplify the points of this skit. more…

Therefore, preparation for this skit needs to proceed in parallel with a thoughtful evaluation of what functions/roles are need for an effective team for a specific people group. This should include at least careful consideration of this issue by those already involved there and consultation with experienced missions organizations and other churches that are effective in planting churches in similar situations.

As a further note (going further afield from the skit to it’s results) it would seem wise, in general, for a church to concentrate on developing such effective teams for one or two areas at first, based on efforts in which they are already engaged, while maintaining the current relationship to their other missionaries. Once some experience has been gained with those one or two areas they should seek to expand the approach so that every church member can become actively involved with God and live in the joy of fulfilling His global purposes. In addition it might be advantageous to begin with a couple of rather different types of endeavours. In WWII the war in Europe was fought differently than was the war in the Pacific.



© 2001-2017 EveryPeople.net. May be used freely. Attribution and link to EveryPeople.net is appreciated, but not required.

Thrust Out The Laborers

Many are called but few are chosen.
Many are invited but few are welcomed.
His voice has gone out to all the earth,
but where are those who will translate it into words?
His hand holds the world in its place,
but where are the saints to touch the unreached?
His eye searches the universe to find one who seeks him,
but who has followed him to the lost?
Preachers of paradise abound among the faithful
while the cries of hell echo in pagan temples.
Prayers for more blessing fill the sanctuary
while those with nothing do not even know who to ask.
The kingdom is delayed for we have not prayed,
and disciples are half-made,
believing a lie, seeking what cannot satisfy.
Lord Jesus, send us out! Send us ’til we have no place to go!
Lord, gather the wayward! Hold them in Your arms!
Open our eyes to your holiness and our hearts to Your Word!
Empty the halls of idolatry and pretended piety!
Open the floodgates of heaven and fill us with Your Spirit!
Let us rather die for You than live half-heartedly!
You have promised Your kingdom, the sonship, Your very life
but we have settled for petty politics,
a long-distance relationship,
and rumors of joy.
Copyright © 2001 by Mert Hershberger. Used by permission.
 
 

God gives us all a part

Missions Teams / Glad Bands / Barnabas Teams

The effective missionary endeavor is more often a team effort than an individual one — both in Scripture and history.
When Jesus said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” The future apostles “left their nets” — they didn’t drop their fishing poles — “and followed him.”

(Matthew 4:19-20)

Effective fishers of men are more likely to be a team casting a net than individuals throwing out lines.

 

  • This endeavor involves team members who travel with the team
    • physically and spiritually
    • spiritually only — are located elsewhere physically
  • The team
    • involves the whole Church
    • specifically engages particular sets of individuals within the church.
The whole Church is involved, everyone has a place.
“After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some … women were helping to support them out of their own means.”

(Luke 8:1-3)

Jesus didn’t need the presence or support of those He took with Him. He was certainly more than capable of doing it all on His own. But He wanted them to have the joy of participating with Him in fulfilling His purposes.

When a nation is at war a purpose of every part of the nation is to win that war. Some parts are explicitly directed to that task — every part is implicitly. And every part is constantly and acutely aware of the war and the importance of doing their part to win.

Of those parts of a nation that are explicitly directed to waging war only a small fraction are actually “on the ground.”

A Tale of Two Armies A skit to illustrate the points made here. more…

Someone has said that it took 24 people in uniform to put one in combat during the Vietnam War. Whatever the exact number, the principle is clear. The contributions of many are essential, not just those that carry the rifles.

And in missionary endeavor the contributions of many are essential, not just those that carry the Word.

Just as waging a war is not the primary purpose of a nation, missions is not the primary purpose of the Church. Worship is. John Piper has said “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” (Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions)

A nation’s war effort exists so that it can get on with its real purposes as a nation. But the nation will never be able to get on with those real purposes unless the whole nation gives itself to winning the war.

And we will never have the complete worship that God desires until some from every tribe, nation, language, people are there to worship Him (Revelation 5:6-14, Revelation 7:9-10).

The participation of the entire Church is critical to the completion of Jesus’ campaign to bring some from every tribe, language, people, and nation to worship at His throne.

Many more than just one discipline is essential to bringing the Good News to every people:

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'” (Romans 10:14-15)

The feet are those parts of the body that propel the body. This and the fact that the Scriptures place “how beautiful are the feet” immediately after “unless they are sent” indicate that those who send (propel) those who preach are beautiful.

Beautiful Feet Clearly it is not the feet, but the mouth, which preaches. But the Holy Spirit sings that the feet are beautiful. more…

It is the whole body that is necessary for the message to be heard — feet as well as mouth. For the nations to hear the Gospel there must be senders and sent ones. And they are both part of the same body that takes the Good News to those who have never heard.The giftings of this body of goers and senders are multi-faceted:

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:6-8)

Each gifting is needed. All giftings work in concert to bring some from every tribe, language, people, and nation to worship at His throne.

There are many possible ways to refer to this team endeavor – Missions Teams, Glad Bands, Barnabas Teams… More important is that it is understood that such teams are essential – and that they exist and function. The team members/functions may, for example, be:

  • Team Leader (“advocate”)
  • “Apostle(s)” (missionary/missionary family, “in-country” team member(s))
    The “Apostles” are an integral part of the team, not an isolated entity off in some foreign spot doing missionary work.
  • “Messenger(s)” (short-term missionary(ies))
  • Encourager (moral support)
  • Administrator (logistics, physical well-being)
  • Finance mobilizer
  • Prayer mobilizer
  • Communications coordinator
  • Re-entry coordinator

Some example team activities could be:

  • Email interaction on a frequent basis
  • Send worship and teaching tapes
  • Christmas and birthday packages
  • In-church presentation/awareness activities: status reports — verbal and written
  • Intercession on a routine basis — prayer chain for special issues
  • Organize and encourage short-term trips
  • Organize, encourage, and train new staff for in-country team
  • Needs awareness campaigns

A reference: Serving as Senders – Today, Neal Pirolo



© 2001-2017 EveryPeople.net. May be used freely. Attribution and link to EveryPeople.net is appreciated, but not required.

Not even one chance…

Turkey is a land with more than 75 million souls, 96% of whom are Muslim.Eminönü — Istanbul

One American Christian there was asked by a new believer: “Are there other people like you in your country — you know, Christians, people who know Jesus?”

“Sure!” he replied.

“Maybe a few hundred*, like here in Turkey?” she queried.

“Oh, no, millions.” he explained.

“Why aren’t more of them here?” she pondered, “Most of us haven’t had a chance to meet a Christian even once.”
* This conversation took place in the 1990s. Today there are a few thousand Christians — about 0.007% of the population.



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Going with Jesus

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

(Luke 8:1-3)

Picture this glad band traveling with Jesus — from town to village, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God: The twelve, several women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases, and many others. What a glorious adventure: to accompany the Christ, the Son of God, on a mission of eternal significance in the company of the redeemed!

But there’s more: This band not only accompanied Jesus, they supported Him out of their own means. Jesus – who created all that is out of nothing, who was able to multiply bread and fish to feed thousands, to pay His taxes with a gold coin from the mouth of a fish – chose to be supported by those who traveled with Him! What an amazing privilege to not only walk with the Son of God, but to have Him depend upon us for His needs.

And He hasn’t stopped! Today Jesus is taking the Good News to Inner Mongolia and Uttaranchal – to the ends of the earth. He is inviting each of us to join His band of joyous conquerors – going with Him, supporting Him out of our own means!



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