Thirty-six Communities

Luke 10 begins with the account of Jesus appointing 72 followers and sending them out 2 by 2 to every town and place that He was planning to visit. This implies that Jesus sent out 36 pairs of followers to at least 36 communities, maybe more. Jesus goes on to ask His followers to ask the “Lord of the harvest” (His Father) to send out workers into the “harvest field” because the workers are few. This implies that Jesus wanted to reach more communities than was possible with the 36 pairs of workers He had.

This passage raises some questions for me. Were the 72 trained? I think the answer is yes. Verses 2 through 16 capture some of what Jesus taught them in preparation for their assignment. Also, it is interesting that the number sent out is divisible by 12. Could it be that each of the 12 disciples were to train 6 others (12×6=72), half the number of the 12 disciples that Jesus Himself was training? What could happen in churches today if each pastor set a goal to disciple and train 12 who were then challenged to disciple and train 6 who were expected to do the same and so on?

Another question came to mind: Could we find ways to reach 36 “towns” or communities? In our country we tend to cluster people in cities, towns, unincorporated communities, and subdivisions. What if our church attempted to reach at least 36 subdivisions or communities in our local area or county? Jesus’ 36 teams were not given a budget or supplies (v. 4). They were to avoid distractions (v. 4b) that would delay the fulfillment of their mission. They were to bless the people of that community, offering peace to them, and letting them know that God had taken notice of them and had invited them to join His Kingdom. They were to pray for people to be healed. They were to get to know the people, to sit and eat with them; whatever the people ate, they were to eat. They were commissioned as agents of Christ and His Father. If they were rejected, they were not to take it personally. Their commissioning gave them authority even over Satan, since his destiny is downfall. They were not to look at their accomplishments with pride, but were to rejoice instead that their names were written in heaven.

What if we could do this kind of ministry? What could happen if we set out, 2 by 2, to look for at least one family in each of 36 subdivisions who would welcome a message of peace? What would happen if we sat down with them to eat with them, pray for God’s peace to rest on them, for God to bring healing to their lives, for God to break the chains that Satan has on them? It is interesting that immediately after the account of the 72 and their ministry we find the story of the Good Samaritan, a man who, while going along the road, meets someone in need and stops to help. What if we ask God to show us communities, subdivisions and families in need that we should “adopt?” What if we drove through the subdivision, or better yet, walked, and asked God to show us the family He wants us to meet and serve?

I guess it starts with each of us. Am I willing to “adopt” my community, my subdivision, to look for those who need the Lord’s peace (after all, we all need God’s peace, don’t we?)?

Then, as a church, perhaps we need to pray that God will send out workers: 12 people who will agree to be trained to start with 6 subdivisions. Ultimately these 12 will pray and look for 6 people they can train to send as pairs to 3 more subdivisions. Are you willing to be one of the Lord’s workers? Let me know if you want to impact your community!

The Quest – Day 10

This is the devotional for Thursday, October 5, 2006 which is the 10th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 10 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

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Day 10 – A Guide for Jesus

The Spirit actively participated in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me.” (Luke 4:18 NIV)

Author Frank Moore says that he is a household handyman who loves a new challenge. His son Brent worked at his side most of the 13 years they spent working on their “fixer-upper.” The projects gave them good times together and some great memories.

Brent is now married and owns his own home. His father & mother are quite impressed by the home improvements that he and his wife Nikki have made. Now if only his father could get his borrowed tools back!

This reminds us that the Spirit did not work in and with Christ for Christ’s ministry alone. He demonstrated through Christ what He wants to accomplish in your life as a follower of Christ. It might be that just as Brent picked up handyman skills from watching his father Frank work, you can pick up spiritual insights into the way the Spirit works by watching how He worked with Jesus. Let these examples illustrate:

  1. The Spirit placed the fetus of Jesus in Mary’s body (Luke 1:35).
  2. The Spirit spoke through John the Baptist in preparing the way for Jesus.
  3. The Spirit blessed Jesus through Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-40)
  4. The Spirit descended as a dove upon Jesus at His baptism (Luke 3:21-22)
  5. The Spirit prepared Jesus for His temptation ordeal (Luke 4:1)
  6. The Spirit empowered Jesus for His daily ministry (Luke 4:14)
  7. The Spirit instructed Jesus in His teaching ministry (Luke 4:18-21)
  8. The Spirit performed miracles with Jesus (Matthew 12:28 )
  9. The Spirit raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 1:3-4)
  10. The Spirit validated Jesus’ life and ministry by filling believers to continue His work on earth.

How many of these examples prompt your thinking about ways the Spirit wants to work in your life as well? While some of the above examples may not be repeated in your life, the Spirit stands ready:

  • to help you in time of temptation
  • to empower you for your daily ministry
  • to instruct you as you teach others about Christ
  • to work in your life in unexplainable ways

In the end the Spirit will raise you from the dead, as He did Jesus, and you will live with Him in heaven forever!

The memory verse for this week is John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

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Build your faith today by asking the Spirit to work in you as freely as He did in Jesus!