Summary: God works in mysterious and majestic ways.
And He went up on the mountain to pray and He continued all night in prayer to God and when it was day He called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. (There was separation from the crowds & time for prayer)
Then He appointed twelve, and He named Apostles that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:
Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter; James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, "Sons of Thunder"; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. Judas, Son of James
God, What on Earth Are You Doing?
Introduction – Hetty Green
You have probably never heard of Hetty Green. Hetty died in 1916 and left an estate with an estimated value of $100 million dollars. Hetty regularly ate cold oatmeal because it cost too much to heat it. Her son had his leg amputated because she took so long to get him adequate care because she was looking for a free clinic. She died in the midst of an argument over milk. She argued that skim was best because it was the cheapest. Hetty was wealthy but she lived like a PAUPER. She never enjoyed nor benefited from the riches that were hers.
As believers, we have the greatest opportunities in the world to serve Jesus. But we often wonder what He is up to and how He can use someone like me.
Jesus separated the ones He wanted unto Himself. He chose them. By choosing them, He set them apart for three things.
First, there was a time of preparation.
For those God calls, He equips. He pulls us to a place where we can learn.
Second, it was a divine invitation.
Considering that Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, He issues a divine invitation to join Him in the work He is doing.
It was a place for participation.
He doesn’t call us and equip us to simply play in the world. We are to participate and get involved.
When I was in elementary school (back in the days where we played baseball with rocks and sticks), I was one of those who was generally picked last in sports. Being short, fat and nearly blind, I often wondered why anyone would ever pick me. I figured out that they only picked me because they couldn’t start the game until everyone was picked. I occupied a place on the field and never batted.
When God calls us He intends for us to more than occupy a place! He wants us to participate and be faithful to Him!
Then we notice…
They were sent to preach the Word and heal the sick. They were intended to make a difference!
They were missionaries!
Their commission was for Identification.
They identified with God’s kingdom work! Jesus was doing a might work through them.
It was for Proclamation.
They proclaimed the Good News that the kingdom was here…NOW!
It was for Restoration.
Jesus is restoring man into a right relationship with God.
It was for Confrontation.
But we also find it was a time for confrontation between good and evil, God and Satan. God is doing a great work among us even today!
On June 18, 1999 Gary and Gloria Sloan, Southern Baptist missionaries, who had been on the field of Mexico only six months, were enjoying a birthday celebration for their daughter, Carla, at a popular swimming spot on Mexicoâ's Pacific coast. With them were two other young missionaries from the United States, Joy Murphy and John Weems. Due to a strong undertow, Carla began to be pulled out to sea. Gary Sloan and the other two missionaries rushed to save eleven-year-old Carla, but were overcome and drowned, as did she. When Carla's body was brought to shore, Gloria doubled over in agony, unable to breathe. But it was then that she felt the physical presence of Jesus. Gloria said, "I felt such a strength and power and control. I looked down at my daughter, and I had such a peace" (The Commission, a publication of the International Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, pg. 29).
A large group of people gathered to watch this unfolding tragedy. And before long, four bodies lay in the sand. But what happened next is truly amazing. Gloria stood over the bodies of her dead loved ones and gave witness to the saving power of Christ. She told the people, "The pain I felt because of the loss of my husband and daughter was not as much pain as I felt for the true lostness of those standing around me" (Ibid, pg. 29). Gloria Sloan then told the people that her daughter and husband were standing in the presence of God. And then she said, "What if you were the ones laying here? Would you know you would be in God's presence"? (Ibid, pg. 31) Gloria's husband and daughter were buried in Mexico. After their funerals, she went home to Texas to heal. And believe it or not, after almost six months, Gloria packed up her remaining three children and went back to Mexico to finish the work that she and her husband had begun.