Summary: We're called to go locally and globally.
Rev. Brian Bill
October 8-9, 2016
I came across some word combinations that are awkward and yet surprisingly useful.
• Cellfish – An individual who continues talking on their phone so as to be rude or inconsiderate of other people.
• Carcolepsy – A condition where a passenger falls asleep as soon as the car starts moving.
• Unkeyboardinated – When you’re unable to type without repeatedly making mistakes.
• Youniverse – Used to indicate that a person has knowledge only of him or herself; their universe consists only of them.
Here’s one more awkward word…
• Glocal - Reflecting or characterized by both local and global considerations since we’re called to make disciples both locally and globally.
It’s not either/or but both/and. It’s not whether we minister locally or globally but that we minister locally and globally. It’s not my neighborhood or yours, but my neighbors and your neighbors. It’s not Rock Island or Davenport but Rock Island and Davenport. It’s not one of the Quad Cities but the entire Quad Cities area. It’s not Illinois or Iowa; it’s Illinois and Iowa. It’s not our country or the continents but our nation and all the nations. It’s not local or global but glocal, because we’re called to engage globally and locally.
We see this clearly in Acts 1:8. Listen for the word “and” as I read: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Here’s a helpful way to see the balance between local and global:
Jerusalem: Natural spheres of influence of the church
Judea: Geographically near, culturally similar people
Samaria: Geographically near, culturally different people
Ends of the Earth: Geographically distant, culturally different people
We’ve been looking at ways that God is calling us to engage this fall – so far we’ve focused on engaging in prayer, engaging in groups and engaging in the ordinances. It’s our pleasure to have Manuel and Kim Contreras with us this weekend as they help us engage Glocally. They are members of our Go Team serving in the inner city of Fresno.
Let’s turn to Acts 8 and discover four different phases of living Glocally.
1. Preparation. As the early church was beginning to experience growth, the disciples realized that they were dropping the ball by not caring for the widows among them. So seven men were chosen who according to Acts 6:3 were known to be “of good repute, full of the Spirit and wisdom.” Among these first deacons of the early church was a man named Philip.
BTW, I must give full disclosure at this point. Our grandson is named Philip and he and his mother were here last weekend. It’s going to be difficult to not insert the nickname Pip whenever I come across the name Philip. Let’s see how I do with this.
The first phase of living on mission is preparation. Philip had the job of making sure that widows were not overlooked in the distribution of food. I’m sure he worked hard at his new responsibility. All of life is preparation, isn’t it? God in His sovereignty uses all of our experiences, both good and bad, the little and the big, the visible and the invisible, to prepare us for what He wants us to do.
Do you feel like you’re not doing anything incredible for the kingdom? Do you sense that your ministry or job is not all that important? It’s not true – God uses every one of our experiences in order to prepare us because His purpose is in the process.
Later Pip [oops] went to Samaria, where he faithfully preached and experienced great fruit. In fact, there were so many new believers that the church in Jerusalem sent Peter and John to help him out.
Let’s pause and ponder something. In Acts 1:8 the believers are told to share the gospel in Jerusalem and then move to Judea and then to Samaria and finally to the ends of the earth. But this process doesn’t take place until persecution comes. If you take Acts 1:8 and flip the numbers you have Acts 8:1 – “And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria...” Verse 4 tells us that as they were scattered they “went about preaching the word.” Do you see the first three spheres of glocal outreach here? They started in Jerusalem and then went to Judea and then to Samaria.
In this first stage of Preparation, Philip is practicing obedience and working in partnership with God. Since his life is submitted to the will of God, he’s eager to do whatever God directs him to do, and to go wherever He sends him.