Friday, September 5, 2008

True Followers

“Once you decide to ask Jesus Christ to take control of your life, involvement in world missions is no longer optional.” Peter Wagner
A few weeks ago, I had the priveledge of watching 10 high school students take the next step in obedience to Christ and were baptized in our church's pool. I am so grateful to the Lord for the fruit in many of these student's lives and have been praying that they would take the call to follow Christ seriously. The above quote is one of my favorites, because I know it to be true. Some of you may not agree with me (or Peter Wagner for that matter) but I believe that Jesus is not looking for easy followers- there is no such thing as cheap discipleship, it costs. There is something wrong when we say "Yes, Lord I will follow you!.... as long as I can stay here, or live there, or make this much $, or still live this kind of lifestyle."
I remember listening to Adrian Rodgers on the radio preach a sermon about being a Committed Christian. He gave many examples of what it means when Jesus tells us to be salt and light. But my favorite part was when he said, " We come to church and listen to sermons and end up "salting the salt." You don't salt salt. Jesus didn't say you are the salt of the church- he said you are the salt of the EARTH. Our churches need to get out of the salt-shaker and into our neighborhoods and the world... If salt loses it's saltiness it's good for nothing. The problem in America is "saltless saints."
I took that message to heart and have almost daily asked myself and the Lord, "Am I a true follower of Christ?" Or is it more about my own comforts and agenda than making a sacrifice. There are so many days when I truly don't feel at home here- I am ready and just waiting on the Lord for further direction and other days when I just slip into complacency and seem to be living for myself.
Below is a letter that Randy and I wrote to our church to kind of summarize a few of the things that God showed us while we were in Mexico this summer. Part of it was put in the monthly newsletter with a key part left out, but I am including the whole thing, because it is important and well because it is my blog and I can do that!

August 16th 2008
Last month we had the wonderful opportunity to spend 10 days on a mission trip with Global Frontier Missions in Oaxaca, Mexico. Our time there consisted of intense biblical and cultural training, prayer, worship, teaching English to young children, sand sifting and building relationships.
Last year through the Perspectives course, the Lord opened our eyes to the truth weaved throughout the Bible that our God is a missionary God. His heart for the nations and command to GO to them is the very theme of scripture from Genesis to Revelation. He invites all of us to take part in His global purposes by living according to this truth everyday. We were blessed to see examples of this being lived out in the Mexican town of Tlaxiaco. From the college-age summer interns to the full-time missionaries and their kids, we learned so much from these humble servants, who are just ordinary people that have chosen to live according to God’s will and demonstrate credible faith with their lives.
The Bible gives us the mandate, the message, the model, and the power we need to live in accordance with God’s global purposes, but it is our choice to obey and allow it to change us completely. Will you join us in answering God’s call to live a missional life everyday- no matter what part of the world we are in at the moment? This call is for every person who is ready to follow Christ and become a living sacrifice for His kingdom. Do you trust Him enough to take control of every part of your life?

In the last few years that we have worked with youth, we have seen that many of our young people have hearts that truly want to follow Christ and His commands, but have no idea what that looks like or even how to take the first step to living a passionate life of obedience. We, along with Scott and the rest of the youth leaders, desire to mobilize our young people and their families to be moved from words into action. We are in the process of planning some local and global missions opportunities for the year and Lord willing, hope to bring a team of students back to Oaxaca next summer for another 10-day trip that God will use to change their lives. We are of the opinion that youth with an expanded vision of God and His work can and will change the world!
John Piper has said that “Missions begins and ends in worship.” May we first delight ourselves in the Lord as we then live every moment of our lives for this purpose: To make the nations glad in the glory of God through Jesus Christ.

For His Glory, Randy and Candice

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