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!

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The Quest – Day 33

This is the devotional for Saturday, October 28, 2006 which is the 33rd day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 33 of Frank Moore’s challenging book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 33 – Receiving the Power

 

You can receive power from God for the life you’ve longed for. 

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8 NIV)

You have been exploring God’s power for the life we’ve longed for that comes through relationship with the Spirit of Christ.  This is power to conquer habitual sinning and the self-serving attitude that leads you to selfish choices.  This is power to help you through the trials of life and power to resist temptation.  This is power to assist you in sharing your witness for Christ and to make new disciples for Him.

So how do we obtain this power?  We obtain it not through strenuous spiritual exercise or through earning it or purchasing it.  We receive it as a gift!  Jesus left us a promise, the promise of His Spirit.  

The disciples hoped Jesus would offer them political power.  Jesus instead offers spiritual power which would be absolutely essential for their success with the mission He had given them. 

The three symbols of Pentecost hold spiritual meaning.  The wind reminds us of its ability to separate chaff from wheat (Matt. 3:12), pointing out the Spirit’s desire to blow away all that is unholy in our lives.  The flames remind us of fire’s ability to burn chaff and purge gold and silver from impurities (Mal. 3:2-4).  The Spirit comes to purge our hearts of all that is less than what God intends for us.  The miracle of languages reminds us of the call to communicate the good news of Jesus to every person in his or her own tongue (Matt. 28:19-20).  What were the results of this spiritual power for the disciples?  Their lives were changed.  The Good News went out.  The world was changed! 

There is no doubt.  God has the power for the life you long for.  Ask for His gift and wait for His response.  Remember not to desire the gift over the Giver.  The gift is a by-product of a close, personal relationship with God.

 

The memory verse for this week is Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net.  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.  

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 4 of the Quest, “You can receive power,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.  You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net. 

Build your faith today by asking God for the gift of His Spirit.

The Quest – Day 32

This is the devotional for Friday, October 27, 2006 which is the 32nd day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 32 of Frank Moore’s challenging book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 32 – Power For Witness

 

God has the power to help us make disciples for Him. 

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)

Today’s Bible study passage reminds us God invites us to join Him in His ministry of adding new converts to the Christian community.  However, we can quickly develop a power shortage when we attempt to disciple new converts into God’s kingdom by our own strength and ability.  

Jesus, who has been given all authority from His Father, gave a commission to all of us.  He does not reserve disciple-making only for preachers or evangelists.  We are to:

  • Go
  • Make disciples in all nations
  • Baptize them into faith and
  • Teach them the doctrines and lifestyle for Christ’s followers.

God has a place for each one of us in His work.  Paul speaks of various roles we serve in the Christian community, which differ according to the different gifts, talents, abilities and personalities God has given us (cf. 1 Cor. 12:7-11 and Rom. 12:6-8).  God uses each person in a unique way to contribute to the growth and development of God’s plan.  

Jesus promises to be with us as we do this.  He fulfilled that promise by sending His Spirit.  With the aid of His Spirit, we face the challenge to make disciples by receiving the direction and strength from Christ Himself!  Partnering together with the Creator of the universe to make disciples for His kingdom—now that’s power!

 

The memory verse for this week is Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Thank you for visiting the FaithBuilders podcast site.  Don’t forget to visit our Faith Church podcast site also..  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.  

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 4 of the Quest, “You can receive power,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.  You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net. 

Build your faith today by making disciples for Jesus Christ.

The Quest – Day 31

This is the devotional for Thursday, October 26, 2006 which is the 31th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 31 of Frank Moore’s challenging book, The Power To Be Free.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

 

Day 31 – Power For Witness

God has power to help us witness for Him.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)

If you tell new or seasoned Christian they need to give a witness for Christ, they quickly conjure up frightening images of embarrassing or stressful situations!  But witnessing for Christ should not scare us.  Think about your response to such questions as:

  • How did you come to know the Lord as your personal Savior?
  • In your own words, who is Jesus Christ?
  • Why are you a Christian?
  • What does faith in Jesus mean to you?
  • How do you cope when the troubles of life close in on you?
  • Why do you have such a positive outlook on life?
  • Where is your hope?

Our presentation can be simple and must be personal.  Note that Peter tells us in the last part of verse 15, “But do this with gentleness and respect.”  Nothing could be worse than for a Christian to speak for Christ with a spirit of arrogance or superiority.  Peter reminds us of the importance of keeping a clear conscience and of our lives matching up with what we say. 

In John 9:25 a man who was healed by Jesus told his personal experience in his own words.  His witness cut through the opposition of critics with his simple statement, “I was blind but now I see!”

The story of Christ’s work in your life can flow from your lips as naturally as telling your neighbor abut a great bargain at the shopping center.  You don’t have to be eloquent.  People care more about your being genuine than they do about hearing a grandiose tale.

Your quest for power includes a search for the strength and ability to witness for Christ.  He has promised to give you power to witness!  He’s never been ashamed of you; you must never be ashamed of Him.

The memory verse for this week is Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcast at www.buildyourfaith.net.  For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org. 

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 4 of the Quest, “You can receive power,” or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast.  You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net. 

Build your faith today by depending on God’s power to share the story of what Jesus has done for you.

40 Days of Purpose – Day 36

This is the devotional for Sunday, June 4, 2006 which is the 36th day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 36 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 36 – Made for a Mission

You were made for a mission!

“In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world.” John 17:18 (Msg)

God is at work in the world, and he wants you to join him. This assignment is called your mission. God wants you to have both a ministry in the Body of Christ and a mission in the world. Your life mission is both shared and specific.

Jesus clearly understood his life mission on earth. At age twelve he said, “I must be about my Father’s business,” and twenty-one years later, dying on the cross, he said, “It is finished.” Like bookends, these two statements frame a well-lived, purpose-driven life.

If you will commit to fulfilling your mission in life no matter what it costs, you will experience the blessing of God in ways that few people ever experience. There is almost nothing God won’t do for the man or woman who is committed to serving the kingdom of God.

If you want to be used by God, you must care about what God cares about. What he cares about most is the redemption of the people he made. He wants his lost children found! Nothing matters more to God; the Cross proves that.

Always be on the lookout to reach “one more for Jesus” so that when you stand before God one day, you can say, “Mission accomplished!”

The memory verse for this new week is Colossians 4:5 (NIV), “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. This podcast is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Visit our website at jaxnaz.org for more information about our church.

Build your faith today by accepting God’s mission for your life!

Spiritual Conversation Starters

Do you see spiritual truths illustrated in everyday objects and events? Jesus did! In this edition of FaithBuilders Pastor Bill explores the opportunities we have to engage in spiritual conversations with those around us.

– A FaithBuilders Plus –

Consider starting spiritual conversations with these questions:

On your spiritual journey how close do you see yourself to God, on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being far from God and 10 being close to Him?

If you could ask God any question you wanted to and knew that He would answer you, what question would you ask?

How would you describe your spiritual life right now, more like noon or like midnight?

What are you doing these days to maintain or improve your spiritual health?

A Divine Appointment

Is it possible that God might send you a messenger, unexpectedly, at a crucial moment in your life? Is it possible that God might want you to be such a messenger? Pastor Bill examines this possibility in today’s podcast.

Come and See!

What does *Meet the Parents* have to do with you and your friends and Jesus? Pastor Bill explores this in the Podcast entitled “Come and See.”

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Want to be a hero? Be prepared!

You could be a hero to someone if you will prepare to share the hope you have!