Summary: Jesus still looks out at His disciples – you and I – and sends. He gives us gifts, gives us resources, and gives us opportunities to lead people one step closer to Him.
How The Kingdom Works: Part 1 – Transformed to Transform
Luke 10:1-20 Feb 4, 2007
Several months ago, when considering whether I should be a part of the short-term missions team to Bolivia, I said to Pastor Sue, “I’m kind of worried that if I go, my heart might get so broken by the poverty and need that it might not get put back together. I might get wrecked.” Her response, blunt but exactly right, was, “oh, and God’s not big enough to handle that?”
I’m pleased to report that the opposite has happened! Instead of being wrecked by the poverty and need, I’m energized by the response of successful, Holy Spirit empowered ministry that is making significant differences in the face of poverty and need.
I’m energized that children who are forced to live in a crowded, confined, economically unstable prison environment are getting a chance at life in the name of Jesus. Our ministry, and I consider it a humble privilege to use the word “our” as we join in partnership, is breaking the cycle of poverty and hopelessness. The Casa de la Amistad meets the need of 170 children – physical needs like food (inmates are provided 3.5 bolivianos, the equivalent of about 50 cents per day from which to meet all their needs for food); and physical needs like medical care (I was incredibly excited to learn that the Casa purchases medical insurance for each child registered in the program, which ensures they have access to the medical care they require). The ministry meets emotional needs like loving relationships with Christian adults who live normal lives, psychological needs through trained Christian counselors, and practical needs like space to do homework and help with that homework, or even as simply as being the liaison between school and home – something impossible for a parent in prison. And, of course, the ministry meets spiritual needs through teaching and modeling Christlikeness.
I’m energized at the difference that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the full Gospel of redemption of heart and soul and mind and emotion and body, can make in the lives of people. And I’ve come home with a new enthusiasm to see the Gospel make that kind of a difference in the lives of people here in Canada.
Transformed to Transform:
Last week we introduced you to Ivan, CBM staff in Bolivia with whom we spent almost all of our time. He did care for all of our practical needs, but he was far more than a translator, doctor, driver, etc… He led us spiritually. Early on, in one of our morning sessions, he expressed his deep desire that the six of us would be transformed by this experience, SO THAT our church in Canada could also be transformed. Since our relationship with the Bolivian church is a two-way partnership, whenever we introduced our church we asked that our partners would pray for us, that God would transform us and enable us to look out and minister to the people around us in the Name of Jesus. And they did, and continue, to pray that for us.
So What is it Going to Take?
As my heart “catches up” to being back in my own culture, I’m starting to ask the question, “what is it going to take” to bring that prayer to reality?
1 The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. 2 These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. 3 Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. 4 Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road.
5 “Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ 6 If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. 7 Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay.
8 “If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you. 9 Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’ 10 But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!’ 12 I assure you, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on judgment day.