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The disciples had the tremendous privilege and advantage of being pupils of the Master of all masters, Jesus. Yet long before he had finished their education he sent them out to do what he was doing. Actually, that was part of their training and always is. We learn by doing.
A piano teacher can tell a pupil what to do, but the pupil has to sit at the keyboard doing it, putting in daily practice. That is how he gains the skill.
A key word in the Mark’s Gospel is “immediately,” or “straightway.” It occurs over 40 times. It is thought that Peter was behind Mark’s Gospel and Peter was himself an “immediate” man, impetuous. Jesus was the Man for Peter, for he was also a direct action personality. The Lord seemed so unhurried, with time for everybody, but he accomplished more in his brief ministry than any man in a lifetime. What a pattern to follow. REINHARD BONNKE
i was having a pray today about what i am preaching tonight - Boldly Proclaiming Christ – and got a new point to it… we become bold when we embrace the call of God – when we embrace the challenge to be a witness – NOT just with actions aka righteous living – but with words and conversation… the boldness comes WHEN we step out… usually not BEFORE but WHEN! it is the God THROUGH us thing again really but from a different angle…
this is priceless. challenging… very very good!
today we had a church picnic followed by handing out invites to come to our young adults meeting tonight at 5pm, with free bbq afterwards… is the first time in a long time our church has done something like this (semi-shame eh) and it was awesome!
it was so much fun… just the best fun ever.
now i confess i have no fear. i have no problems going up to strangers and talking to them. seriously. it is how i am wired.
and it is really easy when you’re inviting them to something and have awesome invites to hand out.
the first lot of people we met were christians, who gave us a “go for it and God bless”.
we “targeted” young people and young adults – so met heaps of 20 somethings down at the beach drinking and hanging out with their mates. just my type of people. just Jesus’ type of people.
the second lot of people we talked to were early 30′s, with a young kid.
my “line” was “hi, we’re just inviting people to church tonight at five with a free bbq afterwards.” pause… “are you guys interested in God?”
this hit the spot with this 30something guy, who said that what he would really like is someone to sit down and talk about what they believe in, though we probably didnt have the time for that.
so we sat down and had an awesome conversation about God and the universe and creation and jesus and higher power within ourselves type thing. i think he had been doing some thinking in his life about God and had some very firm “beliefs” and so was fun to talk to him and share my point of view. was so much fun.
my other favourite group to talk to was a group of polynesian young guys hanging around in a car and out of a car. one of them got out, and leaned on the top of the car, with beer in one hand and roll your own in the other… and we had a great talk, explaining that we believe that God is real and that we were out there to tell other people about it and that they can find out for themselves too.
we’re just believing that we’re planting some seeds and whether we see the growth in that they come to church or not, we’ve got out there and done some GO-ing…. everyone was really posititve, well mostly. and if you just be yourself and talk, then it is fun. okay, again i think it is the way i am wired. and i must utalize that more, aka be true to the call of God on my life and use his gifts. i mean how many people have no fear of talking to strangers?
cant wait to do it again!
and then tonight at church i was both service leading and preaching with a few testimonies in between that i would intro. so a big day for me (as i had service led in the morning too)
i talked about how God was real and that we can know God and know he is real and also threw the “if you went out of here and got hit by an SVU and closed your eyes for the last time, would your eyes open in eternity and would God be there open armed to accept you….” talked about how through Jesus we can know the wonderful kindness of God… and it was cool a guy “regave his life to God” (you know what i mean) so that was awesome! yay God!
I love how Jesus deals with people in the bible.
- He touches the lepers
- He hugs the children
- He talks with women
- He forgives the sinners
- He eats at the Pharisees house
- He appears first to an ex-demonized-prostitute
- He calls uneducated fishermen and despised tax collectors to be in his inner circle
- He calls a traitor friend
- He heals, gives hope, restores lives
- He dies for the ransom of the world
This Jesus is the same today as he was 2000 years ago.
The one significant difference is that 2000 years ago he walked the earth and so it was his hands that touched the lepers and his mouth that proclaimed forgiveness…
Now in 2009 the bible says that WE are his body. We are the body of Christ. Jesus lives within us. It is us who are to touch and pray and speak and move in the power of God. Us. You and me.
We are like the little boy who gave his lunch to Jesus that was then miraculously used to feed 20,000.
God flows and demonstrates his love and grace and power through us. He speaks through our words and our life.
Just as Jesus told the disciples to go and feed the people in the desert he calls us to Go and make disciples, to feed the people with spiritual food and truth. People don’t live by bread alone but by the words of God.
1. V1. As soon as they could the women went to prepare Jesus’ body and care for him. Despite his death they still had love and worship to give.
2. V2. Yay God!
3. V3. As bright as lightening! Cool imagery!
4. V4. The angel caused the guards to shake with fear and then faint/lose consciousness. The women saw the angels too but were differently affected.
5. V5. The angel tells the women – who were standing and conscious – don’t be afraid – which most angels in the bible say to humans they reveal themselves to.
6. V5. Jesus was nailed to the cross. This was a common execution style for criminals. People would have seen other crucifixions before. it was a way to punish and humiliate criminals.
7. V6. Jesus isn’t in the tomb! He isn’t there! He is alive! Risen!
8. V7. The angel invited the women into the tomb to see the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection.
9. V7. Now you’ve seen the proof – go and tell! The women FIRST got to tell of the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection! WOMEN! FIRST witnesses! Now days that doesn’t sound so immense and momentous or significant. But in Jesus’ day that was amazing. Women didn’t even get to testify in court. Their word was not counted as worthy enough. Yet God chose women as the first witnesses and declarers of the greatest miracle!
10. V8. “The women were frightened and yet very happy.” Good way of describing all the emotions they probably felt! Put yourselves in their shoes. Their teacher and friend was dead. But now he is alive! Oh the questions! And the wonder! And the hugs! And the “oh my God!” in the most reverent ways!
11. V9 SUDDENLY Jesus met them.
12. The soldiers woke up. They had fainted or lost consciousness when the angel appeared and rolled the huge tombstone away. They bravely then went and told their commander what had happened and how the body was missing. In turn they had to go and face the chief priests. The penalty for the guards to fall asleep on duty was execution. They would have been executed for failing in their duty. Instead of being executed though these guards are paid to fabricate a story and lie to everyone about Jesus’ disappearance. Part of the cover up story was that the soldiers were sleeping when the disciples snuck up and stole Jesus’ body. Does this sound logical? Yes, but not if you consider the context of roman discipline and soldiery. As I said the penalty was death for falling asleep on the job.
13. V16. All the remaining disciples went to the mountain in Galille to meet with Jesus. The remaining 11. Judas had hung himself. Peter had denied Jesus 3 times but he was still there. All the other disciples except John didn’t go and watch Jesus die. And they still came. Jesus called and they came. There was hope again. Perhaps the cross was not the end?
14. V17. They saw and worshipped but some of them doubted? Some of them on the mountain with resurrected Jesus doubted? What? Why? What were they doubting?
15. V18. Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth. ALL. ALL means ALL. Everything. ALL. He has all authority. There is no authority higher than his. He is the one who commands. All other authorities and powers are subject to his authority. Get this in all the way. Live with this perspective. Live under and in and through the authority of Jesus. Know his authority is in heaven and on earth. Submit to it and be secure in it.
16. V19-20 “Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them to do everything you were told.”
- Make disciples
o Agree to teaching
- Don’t restrict the gospel. People of ALL nations. People of all nations were to be made disciples.
- Don’t restrict what you teach – they were told to teach everything that Jesus had taught them. Don’t hold anything back. Don’t create spiritual hierarchies.
17. “I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.” V20
John Leonard Dober and David Nitschman are names you may not readily recognize. John was a potter and David a carpenter. Ordinary occupations. Extraordinary men. They are men who left the security of their jobs and families in Copenhagen to become the first Moravian missionaries in 1732.
John Leonard Dober and David Nitschman are unsung heroes.
Well almost. Their final words as they departed on their mission are now lyrics in a powerful new Cindy Ruakere song; “Receive”.
These men were not going on a nice short term mission to the Caribbean, or even Africa or China but they sold themselves into slavery to answer the call ‘come and minister the gospel to us’. It gives new meaning to the phrase “sold out for Christ”. They became slaves in order to have the opportunity to reach the slaves of the West Indies for their Lord. Their life’s purpose was to follow the Lamb who had given His life for them and for all the souls of the world. Their mission statement was “Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow Him.”
One of the men left his wife and children begging on the wharf for him to reconsider and stay. But the call and heart of God for these slaves in the West Indies was even greater than the pull of home. As the ship pulled away from the docks the men lifted a cry, “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering” which became the resonating heartbeat of the Moravian Missions movement.
The men felt their sacrifice paled in comparison to the sacrifice of their Saviour. They loved Jesus with everything they were and did, and desired to walk in obedience, knowing that the God who called them is the God who gives the courage, grace and anointing for the task. Even to spend a life of hard toil, with meager provisions and hardship. They experienced and modeled the truth of Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The Moravian Movement, that sent out David and John, was founded by Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (born in 1720), in the early 1720’s. He initially founded it as a refuge for Christians in a papist Europe, but soon it attracted those with a desire for intimacy with God and a zeal for prayer and evangelism.
In May 1727, Count Zinzendorf and the leaders of the community felt God calling them to prayer at a deeper level. They committed themselves to praying round the clock, beginning a 24/7 prayer meeting that lasted over100 years involving not only the adults but the children of the movement. In August of that the minister at the Sunday morning service was “overwhelmed by the wonderful and irresistible power of the Lord.” A move of God broke out, with people testifying that “hardly knew whether they belonged to earth or had already gone to heaven. We saw the hand of God and were all baptized with his Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost came upon us and in those days great signs and wonders took place in our midst.” Over 10 years later John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church visited the community where the revival was still taking place. He experienced a powerful encounter with God that was to shape his own personal relationship with God and his ministry.
It was in this environment and atmosphere that David and John grew in hunger of God, His Word and His Lost. They epitomized the Count’s personal life motto; “I have one passion: It is Jesus! Jesus Only!” They knew that the secret to been able to sell themselves into slavery in order to minister to their fellow slaves was to be totally in love with their Lord. With their eyes upon Him they could lay their lives down and carry the cross of slavery.
These two men birthed a missions movement, not by persuading men to “Go” via flashy display boards, brochures and messages, but David and John, and the men that followed their example, lived the message and just did it. They lived the “Go”. John Leonard Dober and David Nitschman inspired their generation, and generations to come to lay down their lives for The Lamb.
Matthew 10:7-10 “as you go announce that the kingdom of God will soon be here. Heal the sick, raise the dead to life, heal people who have leprosy and force out demons. You received without paying, now give without being paid. Don’t take along any gold, silver or copper coin. And don’t carry a travelling bag or an extra shirt or a walking stick.”
I read this the other day somewhere and it has come back to my thoughts again and again, so I’ve been pondering it a bit – it said it as “Don’t take anything with you.” The disciples were sent out to preach the message of the kingdom of God and to pray for the sick and work miracles. They were to travel from village to village sharing what Jesus had told them. They were to take nothing. It struck me that often when we go to minister somewhere – be it formal ministry – or just living our lives as ministry – that we often take things with us. We might take the great book we were reading, or the great blog post we’ve just read tee hee, the latest podcast we’ve heard or a preaching set of cds… we take baggage and our own views and rights and preconceptions. We take our knowledge and our learning. But are we taking revelation and encounter and the presence of God.
We are to take NOTHING! Why?
So that in taking our nothing we take the Holy Spirit and listen to him and follow his ways and not the 17 step programme to laying on hands, or the 4 step sniff and scratch way to discern demons etc. so we don’t rely on our own knowledge but rely on revelation. That we obey the Lord.
All we must take is Jesus. All we must take is his power. Take nothing of ourselves but all of Jesus. Trust him. Follow him. Be used by him.