The Transformative Power of “And” (6/3/13)

Read: 2 Samuel 20:14-21:22 Acts 1:1-26 Psalm 121:1-8 Proverbs 16:18

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

And

Relate: There is an understanding of this I’ve heard so many times it makes my head spin. That understanding goes something like this: There are four geographic locations given here, Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the world. Jerusalem represents your home, Judea your state/country, Samaria those nearby with cultural differences (or those in neighboring areas), and the world is… well, duh. Like Jesus commissioned the first disciples, we need to focus first on our home communities and from there spread out into our state/country cross cultural divides and ultimately, eventually saturate the earth with the gospel.

Wrong, Wrong! DEAD WRONG! I think this understanding has done more to prevent missions than any other understanding of any other verse in the Bible. Yesterday pastor Will talked about one of these mistakes with the first message of the Transformers series. He mentioned how we have placed a “first” before “in Jerusalem” that doesn’t belong there. If we were to focus only on “Jerusalem” until we’ve got that taken care of before branching out we will never branch out. No matter how great the move of God is in our lives and community there will always be tares growing along with the wheat. This side of heaven there will always be more we can do in our “Jerusalem”.

The second misunderstanding is that Jerusalem was “home” for the first disciples. It wasn’t. Most of the disciples (if not all) were Galilean country boys. They were born and raised in little towns like Capernaum, or Cana, or Nazareth. Jerusalem wasn’t home. What it was, was the strategic center through which “Judea”, “Samaria”, and “the world” could best be reached. It was a natural base of operations for a mission that was both local AND regional and cross-cultural and global all at the same time. For Two Rivers Assembly, if our Judea is Broome County of the Southern Tier of New York then Binghamton is our Jerusalem. Some might call Windsor, or Endwell, or Chenango Bridge home but if we are desiring to transform these communities with a simultaneous “and” rather than a sequential “then” it just makes sense to have Binghamton be our “Jerusalem”.

React: It is so easy for me to only focus on my home and my community. That is, after all, where I live. But God has called both my vision and my actions to go higher and farther. While not neglecting the here, I also have a daily mission “there” and beyond “there” to the corners of my world. How am I praying globally? How am I giving globally? Is there a specific part of the “ends of the earth” that God is calling me to go to? What about you?

Respond: 

There is a time to pray and there is a time to act. This week at TRA we met with Matt and Rhea who are part of the Live Dead Initiative. More about that can be seen here. Two Rivers has committed to supporting them on a monthly basis as they head to Cairo to plant a church that will be a “Jerusalem” that will be a launching pad to planting other churches through the Arab world. In addition we took a special offering and gave them over a thousand dollars. If a new, three month old church can do that, then I know there are others reading this throughout the States, Canada, UK and the world who can partner with the Rolosons and with us in this endeavor through prayer and giving. Please head here to pay forward the blessing God has been in your life.

9 thoughts on “The Transformative Power of “And” (6/3/13)

  1. Great insight! I too have heard the interpretation of Jerusalem as “home” for many, many years. Jesus wasn’t limiting our mission, but expanding it. Most people, Jesus included, didn’t travel very far outside of their home town. Jesus was opening their eyes to see the larger vision. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Transformative Power of “And” (6/3/13) | JimMorrisonDreamDiaries

  3. Well said! My home Church supports our local area and several outreaches outside of the United States. We can’t reach the world if we stay home!

  4. I have a lot of issues with missions as done today. The SBC just voted to ignore certain doctrinal differences like whether or not you believe everything in the Bible for the “sake of missions”. Not the sake of unity in Christ but for missions. Why?

    #1 Consider how much money goes through institutional coffers tagged Missions: college classes, professors of those classes, conventions, speakers, books
    #2 We have made international missions cool, I attended a church that overtly stated if you are not doing international missions you are doing it wrong. What does that say to the poor with missing teeth who no one would spend enough on so they could go to the dentist much less send on an international mission? Or the man who is out of work and his family goes without at home?
    #3 and really the most important of all: It is God who inspires and energizes you to do His good will, 1 Corinthians 12:6

    If we got missions right at home, we wouldn’t have to worry about taking it internationally. Word would spread from house to house like wildfire because the people would be on fire.

    • It is not an either/or situation. It is both/and. Missions is both here and there. It is both local and global. Of those churches that I know that are doing missions well, they are doing both. I don’t think it is possible to successfully do either without the other.

  5. Pingback: Food for Thought | Thoughts Along the Way

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