Category Archives: The Missionary

The Degree that God Intends

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,” Acts 1:8.

Jesus smiling #6Jesus smiling #6Thailand leadersAmong evangelical believers, the Holy Spirit has received little press. We tend to be strong on sin, justice, the Word, and the Great Commission, but our daily dependence upon the Spirit’s power has  been woefully overlooked.

The passage above reminds us that the Spirit’s presence and power in our lives is indispensable.

  • We cannot be who God intends for us without the Holy Spirit unleashed in our lives.
  • We cannot accomplish what God intends for us without Holy Spirit power surging through us.

It is, in actuality, impossible.

And what is the focal point of the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives? As first eight states clearly, to be His witnesses.

  • Would it be an overstatement to say that if we fail to be his witness, we lack the Spirit’s empowerment?
  • If this is the ultimate issue for which the Spirit was given (and it is in this passage), could we assume that failing to engage in this central mission as a disciple of Jesus reveals a distracted powerless believer?

It is so natural for me to choose disengagement from my neighbors and acquaintances in the spiritual realm of things. I have manufactured lots of good reasons for this (and I’m guessing you may have, too). But I’m quite certain that truth is this: My lack of witnessing about Jesus is an accurate reflection that the Holy Spirit is not upon me to the degree that God intends.

 

 

Dynamite!

One day when I was a little boy growing up on the farm in southwestern Minnesota, my father took me along on a dynamite expedition . You know how excited little boys get about firecrackers? Now multiply that excitement umpteen times and you get a feel for what this day was like for me. My father had a massive rock in the middle of a sprouting corn field that needed to be removed. There was only one way to do it. Dynamite!

dynomiteI remember standing near the boulder as my father dug an arm-width tunnel below it and then gently inserted the stick of explosive. He told me to go sit in a grassy ditch some distance away as he made the final exciting preparations for the big show. Soon, my father was running for cover right next to me–he evidently lit the fuse. There we lay with shallow breathing, eyes fixed on the spot where all chaos would soon burst forth. And we waited…and waited…and waited. Something was amiss. Finally, my dad decided he better check it out. He stood up and KABOOM! Rocks, dirt, and smoke flew everywhere. It was magnificent! The power was almost terrifying…and exhilarating for sure.

Acts 1:8 states, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you….” Of course, the Greek word for “power” there is boy-fireworks-hands-Favim_com-320401dunamis from which we get our word dynamite. Appropriately, this Greek word does not intend to portray a small surge of power like sparklers, but a radical obvious release of power that transforms whatever it’s unleashed upon–like dynamite. This is the kind of power that God intends his followers to experience daily. It will affect us in undeniable ways. His presence and power cannot be overlooked.

The Holy Spirit, as mentioned in this passage, is meant to move (empower) us to be His witnesses–which we will delve into a little deeper very soon. The Spirit is not given to necessarily make our lives better or easier, or to make us smarter or more clever. He is given to make us effective in the calling God has placed before us. And He does this in undeniable ways.

Are you experiencing God’s dunamis? Do you want to?

 

Priority

Priorities slip. The things that we should always highly value have a way of getting lost in the fray.

ivansusancruise2013I recently looked at my wife’s calendar and was humbly reminded of how easily this happens. There in her calendar, on every Tuesday night, was a notation, “Date with Ivan.” Oh wow! This was a commitment I had made some time ago because my relationship with Susan needed time and commitment. Somewhere in the busy schedules and demanding responsibilities, I lost sight of that priority. It’s time for a recommitment.

When Jesus said, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority, but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses…”, He was giving us a clear priority.

  • Holy Spirit power trumps end times information.
  • Doing is more important than knowing.
  • Our curiosity must be held in check by Jesus command.
  • God does His part and we need to do ours.

In essence, Jesus was telling His disciples that nothing matters more than being His witnesses. Our active involvement in His plan of redemption for all mankind is to be an ultimate priority in our daily lives. Our love for Jesus is not best expressed by determining the time of His return, but by engaging in the command He has delivered.

Hold on–you may not be an eschatological wiz. You’re not enamored by end times puzzles. But, you may have let something else creep in and crop out God’s directive. It’s all the same. If we’re not doing what He desires, it doesn’t really matter why. The fact is, we’re missing in action. That’s what matters.

So here’s a important priority to embrace. Take Jesus’ words to heart. Are you involved in spreading the word about what Jesus has done for you? The priority is simply this–be His witness. Tell what you have seen heard and experienced. Again and again and again…

Resourcing for Effectiveness

In Converge International Ministries, we are committed to effectiveness and excellence. We want to sure to develop high potential strategies, deploy carefully assessed and prepared missionaries, and then provide life-giving encouragement and support through all their years of service.

IMLT 2014Our 4th International Ministries Value is that we Resource for Effectiveness.

We strive to eliminate the barriers to success for all of our personnel. A lack of leadership, finances, tools, ministry partners, and more will keep us from reaching our greatest degree of influence. We are committed to developing and implementing systems of support that will enable us to reach our maximum degree of influence.

“If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously,” Romans 12:7-8. Most simply, the point is, for whatever God has gifted and called you to do, do it really well.

We are currently developing The Leadership Pipeline which will encourage and stimulate our global partners everywhere to continue developing as leaders in their personal life, professional/ministry life, and family life. If we are healthy and continue to grow in these areas, there is a high probability that we will become increasingly more effective in the calling that God has entrusted to us.

For the Glory of God and for the salvation of lost people, we resource for effectiveness.

Word Based, Spirit Empowered

As servants of Christ, we need to do the right things in the right ways–and then see results that go way beyond our ability to produce.

Our Converge International Ministry value #1 states: We are Word-based and Spirit-empowered.

The Word of God tells us what to do and how to do it. This is our baseline in all that we do. We need to be in the Word, listening for God to speak, searching for truth, hungry for spiritual nourishment. Our natural default is to sample the Word — maybe just enough to help us still feel biblical or acceptable — but to bypass the Truth as our true source of guidance and confidence. I find myself constantly needing to refocus my life so that I’m a man of the Word. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If I’m going to truly live by this value of being Word-based, it means that I must be pursuing truth constantly right from the pages of Scripture. Anything less is a sham.

When we are people of the Word, the Spirit loves to take our offerings of service and multiply its fruit. The Spirit has been given as our “Helper.” Too often, in our western version of Christianity, we theologically espouse the Spirit’s supernatural power, but fail to depend on His intervention. To see a great post on this, a friend of mine, T.J. Addington, recently wrote a good one! I’m convinced that a minority of believers actually know how to walk by the Spirit and be radically used by Him. But this is what we all must be doing every day! As the apostle Paul declared, “each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done,” 1 Corinthians 3:13, ESV.

Whether we are a missionary, pastor, volunteer in the church, or Christian in the marketplace, we must be Word-based and Spirit-empowered in order to fulfill God’s designed plan for our lives.

Sell Out!

There are so many reasons to sell out to God. So many. Here are a few of mine…

  1. Nothing else matters. Not really. Everything not done for God is only a temporary blip on the big screen of history. Anything done for God is a mark left for eternity.
  2. I want my life to count for something bigger than me.
  3. I HATE being average (or less than that) at anything. Why run the race of life at a slow jog?
  4. I love being part of a great adventure! The biggest of all is what God offers to you and me. We don’t get it sometimes because we actually think God’s dreams and plans fit into our little heads. No no no! He wants to blow your mind with the adventure he has for you. You just need to trust Him…
  5. I get to make an eternal difference for other real live human beings! Every day!!! Wow!
  6. I love God. That means living for Him rather than just for me. If we could only get this… If I could only live this EVERY DAY!
  7. There’s nothing so cool as being on fire for God. There are two reasons people may not dig you if you’re on fire…they don’t have a clue or they wish they were too. And I love being cool…especially for God.

What are YOUR reasons for selling out? I’d love to hear them…

Maybe you have reasons for NOT selling out. Tell me what they are too…