(From now until November 18 we are focusing in as a church on evangelism, both local and global. Every day we are in the Word together using this guide: 28 Days of Acts. On November 18 we will gather as a church to pray for the lost as well as asking the Lord to empower us and embolden us to reach them. Click here to put it on your calendar. And every Wednesday until November 18 is a Fast Day. Today is the first one, and here are some thoughts to get your started).
THE WORLD IS ON FIRE
The world seems to be on fire, doesn’t it?
“Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist”
“Three die as Storm Ophelia batters Ireland and Britain”
“It’s Time To Accept That North Korea Is A Nuclear State”
“The Tweet That Pushed Chip Gaines to Quit ‘Fixer Upper’” (Noooooooo!)
And those are just the top few headlines on my Google Spotlight.
What is the answer to the pain of all of these things?
If you are reading this blog, then I know what you are thinking: “It’s Jesus. Duh!”
Well, kinda wrong.
Here’s my answer:
Compassion. Courage. Boldness. Action.
HELP ME UNDERSTAND
Let’s take a look at those first 2 headlines. What is the answer for Daphne Vella’s husband Peter, and their 3 children after they lost her in a car bomb in Malta? It’s Jesus. He came to fix the brokenness and bring sense to what seems like it makes no sense. Right? Yes. But here is the key question:
Who will tell them? Will an angel step in and do it? It could happen. Will they hear in a dream? It’s a possibility. Will they hear from a radio or television program? There’s a chance. But what is God’s regular means of bringing the Gospel to the lost? Regular followers of Jesus like you and me.
What about the families of Clare O’Neill (58), Michael Pyke (31), and Fintan Goss (30’s)? Widows and fatherless, chlildless and broken: what is the answer for them? It’s Jesus. He came to heal the brokenhearted.
But who is going to tell them? Same as before: regular followers of Jesus like you and me.
The kind of follower that God is going to use is the compassionate, courageous, bold, and action-taking follower of Jesus Christ. Without compassion, courage, boldness, and action, no one will ever hear.
FROM HEADLINES TO HOME
Let’s get out of the headlines. Look around you. Where are the hurting? Where are the suffering? Where are the lonely? Where are the desperate? Where are the poor? Where are the broken? Where are those who need precisely what Jesus came to bring? They are all around you. We see them every day. And you have the answer. But do you have compassion, courage, boldness…and action?
Like we said on Sunday, our pockets are full of unsown seeds. The ground is fertile for the Gospel, the same Gospel that fixed you and me. But no one will know unless you are full of compassion, courage, boldness, and action.
So, here we are. We are at our first Wednesday Fastday.
As we said on Sunday, there are plenty of ways to fast: Fasting from TV, fasting from Facebook, fasting from coffee…that’s not Biblical fasting. If you have never fasted before, here is a great article on how to start.
I’d love for us to fast for 24 hours together: wake up hungry, go to bed hungry. If you need to start with a half-day fast, or a sun up to sundown fast, that is OK, especially if this is your first time. But remember: the point of a fast is not simply to be hungry, but to pray, and to remember where your strength comes from. You are supposed to feel like you cannot do it. You are supposed to feel weak. You are supposed to want to give up. And that is where the replacement of prayer comes in.
Our focus needs to begin with this simple prayer: Father, please make me a compassionate, courageous, bold, and action-oriented Follower of Jesus Christ.
Most of us can put a check next to the compassionate box. But compassion on its own is not enough to save a soul from the grips of Hell. If we are going to model ourselves after our Savior, then we need to see that with His bleeding heart, He bled from His head, His hands, and His feet to secure our salvation. Bleeding compassion was not enough: a bleeding Lamb was required. Jesus in His compassion courageously squared up with sin and death, boldly standing before His accusers without a sound, and took the life-saving action of bearing the wrath of the Father on the Cross, bearing our shame on His shoulders, and giving up His life for you and for me.
The hard, life-saving work has been done. What He has called you into is to be His mouthpiece to proclaim it.
Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses inJerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.”
As you fast today, feeling the hunger pains of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, pray along these lines:
- HUNGRY FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT. Father, as my stomach growls, make my heart rumble for the work of Your Holy Spirit in my life. I see how full of action He is in the book of Acts, and I know that He has not changed. Give me a hunger for Your Holy Spirit that is even greater than my stomach is hungering for me breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- COMPASSION. Father, please open my eyes to see what you see when you saw me as hopeless, and you sent Jesus to die for me (Ephesians 2:1-10). Give me the same kind of compassion that You have so that I can feel what You feel when I see a lost and hurting soul.
- COURAGE. Father, you promised that you would send me Your Holy Spirit when. I know that He is indwelling me as one of your children (1 Corinthians 6:19–20), but I also know that I am lacking the courage that I need to go and tell someone about the hope they can have in Jesus. Please empower me by Your Holy Spirit, and fill me with courage to proclaim the finished work of Jesus Christ.
- BOLDNESS. Father, when I see an opportunity to share the hope of Jesus with someone, please empower me with boldness (Ephesians 6:19-20). Help me to remember that Jesus promised to give me the words to speak through Your Holy Spirit (Luke 12:11-12). Empower me by Your Holy Spirit to be bold, for the sake of Your glory, and for the sake of the lost that You have surrounded me with.
- ACTION. Father, create in me a spirit of action. When I think about sharing the Gospel with someone, I get scared stiff. I know it is the right thing to do, and I know that You have promised to empower me by Your Holy Spirit when I step out in faith. So Lord, please make me a Christian that is full of risk-taking action.
Let’s hit our knees, Harvest.
See you on Sunday.