Summary: This sermon is about calling us to reclaim the Apostolic mission of the Church!
If you hire a guide you can put your canoe/kayak in at the Devil’s River State natural area (Texas), and make your way down the Devil’s River. There won’t be any takeout points until you hit Lake Amistad (near Del Rio, TX) unless you have a professional outfitter who has access to the private land. One takeout point means that you have to travel ten miles of river between the time you are dropped off and the time that the outfitter picks you up. Don’t make it is another 22 miles or so to Lake Amistad. The trip though can be like you have traveled back in time. You probably won’t see anyone else; few signs of life and you will see some beautiful things including Dolan Falls.
A sign tells you to get out and portage around the falls. My friend Charlie decided he would paddle up to the edge and get out on one of the big rocks. He forgot they were slippery. He went over, the kayak stayed on top. He was trapped for a harrowing time in the currents and undertow beneath Dolan Falls. At one point he later recalled “ I was pretty certain my life was over” and just as sure as the current had swallowed him up, it spit him out and he came out downstream just a piece sputtering gasping for air. And hopefully much “wiser” than he had been a few minutes earlier.
I wasn’t able to make that trip because of some emergency. My friend Ray had earlier been dumped on some rocks, he leg was bleeding and his swimsuit shredded down both sides. Among the others on the trip they also had some bruises and cuts and were completely worn out by time they made the takeout just five minutes before their deadline. Like another trip they I did go on with some of these same people we often had to rescue each other or equipment.
Couple things I want you to learn from their experience:
1. Don’t go alone (Jesus called his Apostle’s/Disciples and he sent them out in two’s. Someone to help you, share in the burdens of ministry, and to even rescue you when need be.
2. Know the mission and be prepared. Ray needed a second swimsuit. At least that was what the other men on that trip told me. Be prayed up; stayed up and prepared.
3. Follow the signs. If it says “get out here”… I pretty sure they know what they are talking about! Don’t pull a Charlie!
4. There is something about going back so that we can know where we are. I really have burdened heart on this issue, I think we have lost sight in America of where and how we began, and I think we have lost sight in the church of the same thing. That we need to “go back” to our roots and re-discover America’s greatness as well as re-discover the purpose and calling of the church. I’m not saying we can’t be “contemporary” or have bands in worship or use technology. But we must recover the mission of the church.
So what does that mean to us, and how is it relational to our text?
1. Don’t go alone. Jesus called the 12 to surround him and help him in ministry. In Luke 10, when Jesus sent out the seventy (others) he sent them “in pairs” to go on ahead to the towns to which he was coming. Almost thirteen years ago I walked an area of Junction that is called “Little Mexico”. An impoverished area on the North side of IH 10 separated from the main town not only be the river, the highway but also distance. I was walking with Kevin Reynolds from San Angelo and we were walking our neighborhoods to invite the kids to HOF. Quickly we came across Greg, a young boy, and he was soon showing us from house to house introducing us, and then in turn we introduced Christ. I never felt afraid; or threatened; or even uneasy. But I was glad that I really wasn’t alone, and even more thankful that someone from the neighborhood began introducing us. Notice: “they were sent out” (we like to come stay)
The church isn’t mean to be contained within these walls. This is where we worship, but the “church” is the people of God at work in the world.
2/4. Know the mission and be prepared… to me this also ties with our going back: We have to go back and be more like the Apostle’s. Somehow the church has become a “sterile” place we “like to get fed” BUT what we need is to recover the Apostolic mission; we need apostolic revival, we need to "go back":
A. Go rather to the lost sheep
B. preach this message: