Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Missionary Life: Where I'm Going, What I'm Doing, and How You Can Participate

The Christian church began in the Middle East and spread around the world because of the efforts of the early disciples. When Jesus said go, they went. When persecution came, they left their homelands and, as refugees, shared their faith wherever they moved. 

Believers in Israel and Jordan and surrounding areas made our faith possible because of how they lived out their own faith. They were on fire, and they shared that fire freely with the world.

A few decades ago, the church there was vibrant, alive, unstoppable. 

And now it's not. 

Only a remnant of believers remain in the area to which I'm going next week. They're discouraged. They fear that the embers of their faith-fire is "almost out."  

My friends in the Middle East have spent many hours with the handful of believers who still remember that beautifully alive church. One of the questions they've asked is "What do you need?" "Prayer" is the answer they always receive.

It's the reason I'm going. 

I will not be evangelizing unbelievers. That's illegal for a foreigner. 

My purpose is to encourage the church, pray with discouraged believers, gather and document their stories, and till the soil with prayer. I'll be prayer-walking the areas in which the church formerly had strength and influence. I'll pray with believers, and, probably teach about prayer. 

That's the plan for the first week. There are two more weeks after that, and they, too, will be filled with prayer.

If you've ever participated in the ministry of intercessory prayer, you know that it's hard. Gut-wrenching, exhausting hard. It requires the intercessor to bear the burdens of those for whom they pray, embrace humility, and pour themselves out in spiritual warfare as a kind of sacrificial prayer offering. 

If you've never done prayer ministry, there's no way to describe the kind of hard this is. Exhilarating and agonizing. Joyful and heartbreaking. 

The fruit of your labor may not be visible for years. It's hard to measure success. If you've done it right, at the end, you're completely drained. 

Despite all that, it's worth it, because time spent in the presence of God is the sweetest time of all.

The job of igniting the fires of revival is too big, too hard for one person, even with other people there helping. I can't do it alone. No one can. 

It will take the body of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit to make revival happen, so I need your help. 

I believe the fires of revival can sweep through that tiny remnant and bring a blaze of faith and fervor that could spread throughout the world again. Imagine that for a moment. 

I'm not praying for revival to start in one town. I'm praying for it to spread throughout the world.

It's an insane, ridiculous goal, and I know at the start that it's impossible, at least for me. There's good news, though. It's the kind of huge that our God loves to do, and He loves to use us, the hands and feet of Christ, to do it.

I need you to participate with me/us as I go, and I'm counting on you, my brothers and sisters. I need you to fast with us, pray with us, hope with us, believe with us. 

I need you to help revival come.

FAST: Isaiah 58 describes the fast God most wants, and it's a sin fast of removing our judgmental, critical spirits. That's a good place to start and much more effective than fasting chocolate or coffee.

PRAY: I've written about prayer countless times. My motto is, "If you're going to pray a little prayer, do it for someone else's missionaries. If you're praying for my missionaries, pray big." If you're praying for me, definitely pray big. 

BELIEVE: Never is praying big more important than for this trip. Consider the biggest possible outcome and ask God for it. Even a mustard-seed of faith in the possibility of world-wide revival will be enough. 

ASK: Ask big. 

How big? I'm asking that the fire of faith will be rekindled and spread throughout the world. That's a big as I can imagine, so join me in that request.

PERSEVERE: This trip begins February 28, 2017 and continues through March 20, 2017. Consider printing out this blog and putting it where it will serve as a reminder for prayer. 

Check the blog daily, because I'll be sharing photos, stories and prayer starters while I'm gone. Because of the time difference, it may not appear at the "usual" hour, but there will be something every day. (As long as I have wifi)

INCLUDE OTHERS: Invite more believers to help. When you like and share this blog post, it increases the number of views dramatically. When more people know of the need to pray, more people pray. It's that simple. 

You, my precious friends, determine how far this invitation to intercession spreads, so like, share, and comment. 

It's hard for me to comprehend, but we can participate in the same kind of expansion of faith the first century Christians did. It will only happen, however, if we live like they lived, believe like they believed, sacrifice like they sacrificed, pray like they prayed. 

Join me. It's gonna be fun, and God might use us to change the world. (I believe He will.)

"You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Acts 1:8 nasb
In case you missed yesterday's blog post, here's the link: What I Do and What I Need

This ministry of prayer and outreach (digital and in-person) is only possible because of the generosity of your support. Together, we're making progress, but help is still needed. (I don't get a salary until this ministry is funded) If God has called you to help, here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 or you can mail your  check or money order to:
Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.