Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Am I an unsung hero?

So, I was nominated for something called an Epoch award and as a part of the process, we are supposed to write a blog response.  Their website says "Epoch 2013 honors the unsung heroes; the people who cross the boulevard or the world to serve where poverty, drought, HIV/AIDS, sex trafficking, homelessness, and fear reign. For these heroes, this is more than planting churches and discipling– this is life."  They have chosen a few people from non-profits in Atlanta and others around the country and world to receive grants totaling $50k at a ceremony in October and it is an honor to be mentioned.

I kinda wish we at Global Frontier Missions would have been nominated as an organization rather than me as an individual.  Honestly, the "unsung heroes" that make our work awesome is every one on our full-time staff that raises their own support to do this type of work; our church planters who develop relationships for years sometimes before seeing spiritual fruit; our short-term teams that give up their spring break or holidays to come love on the strangers living among us; the summer interns that actually pay to come alongside of us to share the good news of the kingdom; the missionary training school students who sit in class all day, read books all week and still have the energy to take a refugee to the doctors office; the bivocational indigenous laborers that put in 12 hour days at the chicken factory and still have time to make disciples; the supporters that give faithfully every month so we can do what we do; the prayer warriors that do the true work of this ministry on their knees and in their closets with little to no recognition; our homeschooling moms raising up the next generation of disciples; our families that extend grace as we occasionally spend late nights responding to emails, skyping, counseling, leading Bible studies, pouring into short-term groups, and ministering to internationals; the new believers that we interact with that undergo persecution that we can never imagine; our guys that pioneer works in new locations and go through lots of spiritual warfare to to establish outposts of light.  Those are the folks that deserve a black tie event in my book!

So, I raise a glass to all of my GFM family and say congrats to all of us for the labor of love and race we have been running.  Let's persevere until the end where we will lay every award, nomination, compliment, accomplishment, fruit, etc. at the feet of Jesus since it all came from Him anyway as we all join the great worship service in Rev. 7:9,10 where every tribe, tongue, people, and nation will be fulfilling the purpose we were all created or -- experiencing and declaring His worth!  You guys are the best.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fighting For God or God Fighting For Us: Which Is It?

I just received this from the Abandoned Times newsletter put out by the Student Volunteer Movement. http://svm2.net/abandonedtimes/ I wanted to share the whole article as it is something that I wrestle with constantly and strive to find balance between and want to challenge you with it as well.

Fighting For God or God Fighting For Us: Which Is It?
It is crucial for believers to learn the fine line required in partnering and co-laboring with God. Living the life of spiritual victory and kingdom advancement is a combination of us fighting (spiritually) and God fighting for us. We rely on Him and He requires action on our part as well.

It is common to find believers relying on themselves and their efforts in the Kingdom of God instead of allowing God to take His rightful place as leader and Lord of every spiritual work He has initiated.

Conversely, many find themselves waiting on God to do all the work and don’t step out in faith themselves. Neither stance is the correct, Biblical one.

Those who want God to do everything for them never accomplish anything. Those seeking to do everything themselves, will ultimately fail. It takes spiritual maturity to walk the correct, balanced way between the two.

God has called us to a living, cooperative partnership in the work of His Kingdom. He wants us involved and we cannot attain spiritual success without Him involved.

It is a fallacy to buy into the notion that God doesn’t need us. He has chosen to set up His Kingdom in partnership with true believers. Though we are frail, weak and often untrustworthy, He chooses to mature and develop us, all the while advancing His Kingdom purposes through us, out of incredible love.

It is also untrue that in our ingenuity and human wisdom we can be fruitful for His Kingdom. This is pride and humanism. God requires we give up on the self-life (self-will, ambition, reliance, sufficiency). To be useful we embrace a lifestyle seeking His Kingdom purposes above all else. We deliberately choose His will and receive the inheritance of spiritual wisdom and revelation He has waiting.

To walk this fine line appropriately we need experiential knowledge of God’s ways, wisdom and spiritual understanding. It is not natural to learn the secrets of being yoked with God in His Kingdom work. To do so, we need more of Him available through increased Bible study, prayer and intercession and abiding in His presence.

Though He will do very little to advance His Kingdom outside of partnership with the body of Christ, it is still His power that is the source. He is the one doing the bulk of the work. We are like a baby ox yoked together with a massive, all powerful ox. That big ox is the one doing all the pulling, but we get to be involved in the process too.

And God looks at our part as important. If we fail to do our Spirit-led, God-ordained and initiated part, we are not being faithful to God and His advancing Kingdom.

We need to get rid of the incorrect sentiment that if something is of God it will go smoothly and be free from problems. God’s leadership is perfect but our capacities to follow Him rightly are anything but.

The partnership between the living God and sinful (yet redeemed) humanity is far from smooth. It is always exciting and exhilarating, but fraught with periodic frustration and misunderstanding. The more closely we follow Jesus, the better it will go because we give up on our own understanding and embrace His Kingdom ways.

In the Scripture when God’s people drifted from the correct balance, they were defeated. We join the fight recognizing full well our inability to win the fight if left to our own devices.

Question: Which of the two are you prone to most? What may God be asking of you to become more balanced in spiritually progressing rightly?