Tuesday, June 27, 2017

“Engage”, A Closer Look by Andy Braams

Jesus statement in Acts 1.8 meant for His disciples to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit and go to the various locations He mentioned. Unless you live in Jerusalem, then the idea must be applied to your location. Thus, share the gospel and make disciples locally, then regionally (perhaps a county or even state), then nationally, and then throughout the world.

It is paramount that Christians follow Christ’s command as He gave it. However, I want to show you a new way of looking at Acts 1.8. This will cover the idea of Engage, not only from sharing the gospel, but in participating in Kingdom initiatives as well. In other words, the second idea is like a progression of our discipleship.

Consider the following table. In a real way, Jesus meant for us to go. However, not every Christian will go to the ends of the earth. Perhaps some are unable to go to their Samaria because of a lack of health, funds, or something similar (though a lack of funds is often more of an excuse than reality because many people will generously share to help others serve where God is calling). We need to reach those who are lost, and thus, if we cannot go, we often pray for, or give to, others who can.

95% of the lost people in the world, live with no access to the gospel!

Let me put this into perspective of a growing disciple? Certainly, exceptions exist – many new Christians jump at an opportunity to go to the ends of the earth, but for the sake of this teaching, let us use a natural progression. I realize I am spiritualizing this verse, and again, that is why I mentioned we must first apply Jesus’ words as He meant them.

Let us use Kenya as our example.

Last year, at this time, our church took up a collection for a printer (pic) for the church at Archer’s Post. I believe it cost something like $300. The money was raised, but contributions were only from a couple of people. Then, I went to Kenya, and you all prayed for me on the trip. When I returned, I mentioned that Benson needed a motorcycle because he had to walk so far each day. And Michael had a bike, but needed gas. The church responded within two weeks with the funds to purchase the bike and had enough left for $200 worth of gas. Now, we take up a monthly collection. Then, I announced a plan to return to Kenya and several inquire about going and three others (names of the four) from this church are next January.

Let me show you what happened to us as a church. As I do, realize the same is true of individuals.

First, you heard about an opportunity to get involved. Most didn’t at that time, but it began by hearing.

Second, you prayed about the situation. Not so much about the printer, but for me and the teaching I was able to do.

Third, your praying became action – most everyone has given something to the piki piki fund. We have collected well over $500 to date. That is awesome! Now we have a box here to collect coloring books and crayons and other supplies that we will take with in January.

Fourth, you are involved. Again, four of us are going in January. But each of us have wives, so they are directly involved. For many of you, Kenya became quite real with Linus was here last month. Now, when you hear Kenya on a news report, you mind registers a thought when it likely did not before.

Do you see the progression?
Hear –> Pray –> Give –> Involved

That is a process of learning to Engage. We hear about a problem, but we don’t worry about it too much. The next time we hear about something similar, we take time to pray. Then perhaps an opportunity to give some financial or other assistance takes place. And finally, you are personally involved in the situation.

Such is the nature of humanity in many cases. Such is the nature of churches. And such is an evolution of a disciple who becomes more and more involved with God’s plan for themselves, the church, and others – beginning in Jerusalem and eventually extending to the ends of the earth.

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