28 September 2014

How Will They Believe?

My time in Mozambique has come to a close. It is with fresh understanding, firm knowledge, and wisdom from above, that I take the next step in this journey with peace-filled anticipation of His goodness. It is the desire of the Lord for those who have not been told about Him to see, and those who have not heard, to understand. (Romans 15:21)

Over the years, I have watched pastors struggle with how to raise the sheep. What to feed? Where to lead? How to tend the sheep verses tending the lambs? And when to send them out among the wolves? But in the end, every pastor must hear the voice of the Good Shepherd for each individual in his care.

I say it often, but at this juncture of my life, it bears repeating once again, I am so very thankful for godly leaders who fed me life giving food, led me to the high place, tended to me with humility and knew when to send me. They cried with me through the growing pains, trusted me to be in by curfew and walked me down the aisle to the Lover of my soul.

It is my prayer that today they look forward to the fruit of their labors in my life.

In Romans, the Apostle Paul writes, "Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Then he asks, "How will they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how will they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?" 

In our western societies, where there is a church that names the name of Christ on every corner, it is difficult to imagine a world where people have no knowledge of the Savior. 

"How will they call upon the name of the Lord?"

Like Paul did not build on another mans' foundation, so am I going into new territory. To places and people who have not had a preacher, have not heard, and have not believed. To a people who have not had the opportunity to call upon the name of the Lord.

Holy Spirit has spent years showing me what 'works' and what doesn't, both in reaching the lost and equipping the saints. Of course, the bottom line is listening to Him, depending on Him, knowing that He doesn't often do the same thing, the same way twice. Being instant in season and out. Hearing the Now word of the Lord and acting on it without reservation. Yesterdays' manna is stale and full of worms.

Still, the wisdom of the Lord is often found in those who have gone before us. The pioneers that broke through the invisible barriers, mowing a path for those who would come behind them. It is from these faithful ones that we learn the true methods of success in ministry. Not the programs and building projects. Rather, the vital need for greater intimacy with the Lord, the true worship that takes us into His presence, and the faith that works by love.

Success in ministry cannot be gauged by comparing one against another. Years ago I learned about "gift projection". Gift Projection is when one person thinks everyone else should do what they do, the way that they do it. It was possibly the first solid lesson of many, in respect and honor for what the Lord has placed in each individual. It was also the beginning of understanding that I was called to something different than the norm, and it was okay to be different.

Being who God made you to be and doing what He called you to do comes with life lessons that can be hard at times. The realization that how I saw myself was much different than how others saw me, was quite painful. But yet, it paled in comparison to coming to understand that knowing the word, and knowing the spirit of the word, are a matter of life and death.

I have gleaned a lot from others, both through scripture and via life among the brethren. Learning is first academic, then practical. Finally, you are sent to do what you have been trained and equipped to do.

We call that work. 

Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep your hand to the plow. "Go, preach the kingdom is at hand, heal the sick, cleanse the leper, raise the dead, cast out demons..."

With His Heart,

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