Contributed by Dr. Fred W. Penney on Sep 30, 2019 (message contributor)
Summary: This message focuses on Jesus prayer for his church. He prays this prayer before going to the cross.
Title: “The Mission”
*Jesus prays for his (jr.) partners in the mission of God, the Father.”
See also John 20:21 “as the father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Read Text Here... John 17
The context/background ? Jesus is soon to be arrested... (“the hour has come...”)
Lesslie Newbigin, the great missionary to India, writes:
When a man is going on a long journey, he will find time on the eve of his departure for a quiet talk with his family, and—if he is a man of God—will end by commending to God not only himself and his journey, but also the family whom he leaves behind. Very surely will this be so if his journey is the last journey.
Church in Iran... (1) fastest growing (2) no buildings (3) mostly led by women (4) fearless in the face of persecution.
“Iran is home to one of the fastest-growing churches in the world,” said Terry Ascott, founder and CEO of SAT-7, a Christian broadcasting network in the Middle East. It began a Farsi-language channel, PARS, in 2006.
“There seems to be a crisis of faith in Iran, perhaps because of the abuse of power by ‘religious’ leaders, the economic problems, and the violent oppression of any dissent.”
Church in Mongolia: virgin territory – after the fall of USSR (1990)? ... church moved in (along with cults...) services are held in schools/town halls/ abandoned theatres... one Sunday I had had the privilege of preaching there... before the service began I asked to use the washroom... I was guided down a couple of hallways ...then outside...then I tucked through a hole is an old fence and then to the out-house. (This is how we do church in Mongolia)... my friend Bozekhan has a vibrant ministry to orphans and the poor.
In Ukraine I’ve preached in a beautiful church that during soviet days was converted into a army depot... the soviets kept their trucks and artillery in this building dedicated to the gospel... after 80 years of oppression the soviet union collapsed and the building was fixed up and nowadays 600 plus people cram into that building every Sunday.
Like many of you ...I grew up in a modest church of approx. 100 people... in CBS.
We always envied Elim (at least I did) – it was church done the right way... even though to attend Elim back then was a little intimidating... when you’re a guest or you know people – it can be uncomfortable. ... but that little church has made an impact... it made a number of disciples... it sent out preachers and teachers of the word... as rick warren once said “the measure of a church is not it's seating capacity but it's sending capacity.” ... it has been a sending church.
Having said that... I don’t think it's ever reached it's potential – and it frustrates me deeply when churches fail to reach their potential... but maybe I’m thinking too logically and not thinking spiritually.
I mean how can any church reach it's potential when it's run by humans... yes, it's God’s way – yes, he’s making his appeal through us ... but he also says “we have this treasure in jars of clay(!) – why Lord?...so that the power may be of God and not of ourselves.”
When I finished seminary, I wanted to plant a church. I like the “Tim Hortons” approach to church planting – put a church in every neighbourhood.
So I wanted to plant a church in Toronto... a paoc “franchise” you might say.
The PAOC said “No” (I’m too young and inexperienced)...
but God said “Yes” and we did
... 8 years in a school... no on-site storage... a portable keyboard and an endless scrambling to find someone to play it.
No mother church... we were an orphan without knowing it.
No critical mass.
We started with a dozen or so mis-fits. Most of them didn’t stay long... but 3 couples did... we were like family.
One of those families had a pool and that’s where we did baptisms. Yes, full immersion baptisms. Except for one dead old lady – a former Hindu – she couldn’t make it in and out of the pool safely, so we went all liturgical and poured a pitcher of water over her head. It continues to be one of my favourite baptisms ever.
That church still isn’t “big” ... but it is beautiful.
It is a NT community. People come from all over the world and all over the neighbourhood.
A place where people take care of each other. Where the gospel is preached – and where people are working to reach their neighbours.
I love the church – it's Christ’s body and blood.
I want to be one of those people who works for the church – it's mission matters more than anything.