Spiritual Warfare: Local Missions + At Risk Youth = Deliverance

mentorQuestion: Did you know mentorship of a child is one of the strongest strategies to combat modern social ills affecting youth?

Big Brothers Big Sisters, Intermedia arts programs, school tutoring, and school coaching are great ways to love a child outside of the Church. These programs exist with the purpose of proactively countering the negative environments at risk children often live in. Children are vulnerable and need nurturing in general. Children are even more vulnerable when they have experienced rejection and/or abuse. Bravo Body of Christ for spreading the word about gangs and trafficking of children! Some of you are already personally engaged in countering these social ills through education and financial support. It’s fantastic that we pack out coffee shops and Churches to hear about modern day slavery and gangs. Now we also need a lot of you to take a leap of faith and pack out the local youth mentorship programs. These programs are strategically in place to PREVENTATIVELY curb the gateways to gangs, trafficking/prostitution, and other forms of abuse. The goal is to continually engage positive adult role modeling to at risk youth. At risk = risk for gangs, risk for trafficking/prostitution, risk for abuse. The enemy can maintain a tight grip on these socials ills as long as the Body is inactive in engaging youth outside of the Church. We know you care about these kids. Please join one of the above organizations or others like it to individually counter the works of the enemy. A small minority of the local and larger American Church is involved in one to one or group mentorship of at risk children. Imagine if every healthy adult Believer was involved in a weekly youth mentorship or coaching program. The enemy would surely lose a lot of ground. Trade in one day per week that you might ordinarily devote to other things (i.e. discussion groups, coffee dates, shopping) to mentor a child. You are the very person vulnerable children need to see regularly to counter the garbage the world is offering through gangs, trafficking, and other illicit activities. Many mentorship programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters offer family mentorship options that allow you and your family (children included) to mentor another family or child. This is great exposure and education of your family in how to demonstrate Christ love to others in need. If you don’t know where to start, check out Big Brothers Big Sisters, Volunteermatch.org, local Churches, and/or local school district(s) to get involved today.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31:8

If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. Proverbs 21:13

Photo Credits: Mentor; Book

Discernment: The People God Uses

sadDo you feel you know who the “right” persons are to do Kingdom work? Do they have the right credentials, right training, know the right people, live in the right neighborhood, wear the right clothes, and are a part of “right crowd” of “leaders of tomorrow”? Where do these assumptions come from? Are you absolutely sure you know who will do God’s Kingdom work?

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8

Are you open to God? Are you open to God using circumstances and people who don’t fit the image you have imagined? What if God chose someone who did not fit “The Checklist”?

Many plans are in a man’s heart, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

Recently my dad shared with me an article bringing to light the issue of the people God uses. An inner city student with autism from a single parent home, did what many think is impossible. He became the salutatorian of his high school class, mastered four languages (fluent), and on track to study mechanical engineering at one of the nation’s best science based academic institutions. Man says that “inner city” kids are trouble, are all in gangs, and should be avoided. Man says that children with autism have no hope of academic success and should be prepared for a group home for the rest of their lives. Man says that children from single parent homes don’t even have a chance compared to dual parent home children. However, God in the power that only He can display declared that this inner city student with autism from a single parent home is exactly capable of all things according the Kingdom of God. This child is a walking miracle and a sign post to the Body and the world that we cannot assume we know who God will use for His purposes.

In Acts 5, there is a story of the apostles being placed in jail by the religious leaders and during the course of the night they were released by an angel of the Lord and charged to teach in the temple the next day about the Believer’s life. The following morning the religious leaders and guards checked the prison house and found all the locks secured as they were placed the night before. They were confused as to how the apostles got out and into to the temple where they were teaching. The leaders ordered that the apostles be brought back to them. Upon the apostles arrival, they were immediately chastised for having continued to disobey their human orders to not teach about the Believer’s life. Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus who you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given those who obey Him” (Acts 5:29-32).

Now rather than recognize God’s work in these individuals and surrender to God, the leaders turned to anger and planned to kill the apostles. One of the religious leaders, Gamaliel, could see God’s hand at work in these individuals and could see a disturbing pattern in those who worked against the apostles.

‘But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be over thrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”’ Acts 5:34-39.

In God’s perfect universe, there are no right credentials, right training, right neighborhood, right clothes, right family, or right crowd that can do His Kingdom work. Our God is the God of love and inclusion. He uses even the most tarnished or challenging individuals to do great work. In fact, God believes so much in this principle that more than one of Jesus’ descendents were considered tarnished or challenging by historical and modern day moral standards (Tamar, David, Rahab). Coincidence?

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Photo Credit: WordPress

Discernment: Local v. Third World Missions

QuestionQuestion: Why is it so much easier finding Believers willing to serve the poor across the globe than finding Believers willing to serve the poor within 15-30 minute local driving distance?

If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. Proverbs 21:13

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2

The above question was posed by a local missions’ coordinator trying to develop ways to encourage the congregation to passionately and equally serve the poor locally and abroad. Every year thousands of students and professional adults leave the shores of their Western homeland to serve in the third world. “I think the Lord wants me to serve the poor…in Mali. So help me raise $10K to get there.” We’ve all either personally had this experience or know someone dear that has had this experience. Many of these individuals have come to understand that there is more to this world than the status driven, materialistic society we live in and in turn devote their lives to serving others as God commands. It is praiseworthy to leave the safety of a Western community and serve often unreached third world communities stricken with illness, extreme poverty, and crime. On the other hand, don’t you ever wonder why just as many Believers in Christ Jesus do not seem to receive the same volume of life changing revelations to serve the poor communities locally? It takes not even a 1/4 of tank of gas and anywhere from one to twenty hours per month to reach a local inner city, rural, or reservation community. On the other hand, it takes several months pay and work leave to reach the third world communities across the pond. Yet even with all these factors, international missions seems to outpace local missions for volunteers in outreach of the poor. Body of Christ, maybe you were never aware of the needs locally or see yourself as a Nations evangelist. Here’s a challenge, let’s see if we can balance the scales in local and international missions. The world is becoming more global by the minute and opportunities already exists to serve the Nations in the Western world and third world. There are many poor communities in the Western nations that are driven around daily that could use some Jesus TLC. Cancel the “I’m afraid”, “I might get robbed”, “I can’t relate” or the many hosts of fear based excuses we use to justify ignoring the poor placed around us. Take a leap of faith, get out there, and serve the poor…locally.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

Holy Spirit come and reveal to us what hinders us from obeying your commands to serve without partiality. We ask all of this in the name and blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen.

Photo Credit: Bing