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LIVING SENT

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“Live Sent” is a familiar phrase in todays church venacular. You have probably also heard, “It’s not about our seating capacity but our sending capacity.” Being mobile and ready to follow God’s direction in our lives is for every follower of Christ. He does say “follow me” and there should not be any limitations on the location or the address whether here in North America or on another mission field.

  • Here is what living sent involves:
  • Living surrendured to the leadership of the Holy Spirit!
  • Living submitted to His guidance of where He wants you to serve Him!
  • Living with a willingness to go! Living on mission in your zip code!
  • Living determined to share the Gospel!

There are many testimonies of those who have not just talked about living sent but have lived it out in their lives. Families who have sold out, found jobs where God was calling, and helped a church planter by being a part of their launch team. Barnabas had Saul, Paul had Silas, and church planters have those who are willing to live sent. They are willing to pull up their tent stakes, step away from the comfort of family, and begin representing Christ in a new zip code because He asked them to “follow Him.”

Recently while visiting a church plant I heard another story of “living sent” from a young lady who grew up in the church planters youth group. They shared with me how she willingly came to their area and found a job teaching in a public school just so she could help. When I asked her where she worked she told me of a town about 20-30 minutes away. I asked where she lived and she said, “Oh I live here and drive to work because I knew I needed to live near the people God sent me to reach.” That is living sent!

There are multiple stories of couples, families, and individuals who have moved to help church plants such as:

  • Fusion Church in Fountain, Colorado
  • The Summit in Richland, Washington
  • The Refuge in Nixa, Missouri
  • Jacob’s Well in Plano, IL
  • The Bridge in Celina, TX

These church plants were blessed with other followers of Christ who were willing to listen to His leadership in moving to a new location, finding a new job, and beginning a new exciting journey. Each one of them have exciting testimonies of how God provided them other people who stepped out in faith believing God had called them to live sent. Maybe God is calling you to live sent and has placed a burden on your heart to follow in their footsteps? Are you willing to follow Him wherever He is calling you?

What if God were to say to you, “How about Thornton, CO?” You are probably wondering were in the world did that come from? Brain and Piper Cleary are planting CrossRoots church in Thornton and they are faithfully praying that God would send them people to help them reach their zip code for Christ. They are looking for couples, families, or individuals who would move to Thornton to be salt and light. They are praying for disciplemakers who want to build relationships within their circles of influence as they develop!

Ed Stetzer and David Putman in Breaking the Missional Code: You Can Become a Missionary in Your Community say, “One of the defining issues that we have observed over the years is that leaders who break the code seldom if ever do it alone. Working with church planters, you never have a shortage of people with big dreams and visions. It is the nature of those who plant churches or desire to plant churches to want to be paradigm breakers. However, this thing of not doing it alone seems to be the decisive difference in those who want to do it and those who actually get it done.”

Let me ask it once again, “How about Thornton, CO?” Is God asking you to live sent and to help a church planting couple reach their community for Christ. Living sent also requires:

  • Living the Great Commission
  • Focusing on People Far From God
  • Praying for Your Neighbors and Co-Workers
  • Engaging in Spiritual Conversations
  • Ability to Share the Gospel

In The Leadership Ladder: Developing Missional Leaders in the Church Steven Ogne and Kenneth Priddy ask us to evaluate our missional living by asking: “Does it make a discple? Having good missional activities leads to the making of disciples. Expressing God’s love through service is good. Expressing God’s love through relationship is better. Expressing God’s love by leading someone to faith in Jesus Christ, is best. The best missional activities put us in relationship with someone long enough that he or she can, through us, experience Christ and become His follower.”

Live sent!!!

 

10 LESSONS FROM MISSIONARIES

 

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My wife, Shelby, and I are in Thailand for a mini-conference with several BMAA missionaries in Southeast Asia. We also were blessed to make the trip with our Pastor Todd West, his wife Paige, and their twin daughters, Addison and Riley. This afternoon as the missionaries arrived we enjoyed fellowshipping with them and getting to know them better. We have been listening to their stories as they share challenges and struggles they have been through.

Hearing them laugh together is special as you see a comraderie that sometimes escapes many. Then to hear one share the new beatitude that my good friend, Jerry Kidd, has shared many times put a smile on all of our faces. “Blessed are the flexible for they will not get bent out of shape!” The conference has not even started but already I am so blessed, greaty encouraged, and excited about spending this quality time with them.

Here are a couple of observations from what I have already seen:

  1. Travelling with the West family has been a great joy. They all have great servant hearts and are excited about this privilege to come and hang out with these special servants of God.
  2. Teenagers are great! At least the two 13 year old girls who are with us on this trip. Addison and Riley have made a very long tiring trip with a smile on their faces and great attitudes. I have not heard them gripe or complain one time.
  3. Take the wallet away from your pastor before you leave so he will not lose it. This is the second time a preacher has lost his wallet and money on a trip with me. Sorry, Brandon, I just couldn’t help myself on this one!
  4. Missionaries are great people to be around because their vision and energy is contagious. Hearing how they have already stepped out on faith and how they are about to step out on faith again is so challenging.
  5. Our missions department is an awesome place to work because of the commitment we have to pour into the lives of our missionaries. Our heart is to help equip and empower them as best we can so they can fulfill God’s calling on their lives.
  6. Oasis is a great church that believes in missions having helped to fund trips all over the world and in the United States. They get it!!! By helping the Wests and others go allows them to be a part of the Great Commission. Some go and some send!
  7. Don’t underestimate what you are doing for the Lord. It does make a difference. All of these missionaries have already mentioned someone who had a godly impact on their life. They have mentioned parents, pastors, Sunday School teachers and many others.
  8. Taking a missions trip is important because it gives you a better overall world view. We are not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy!  Mission trips are important for us to see other cultures, learn from them, and to encourage those God has called to serve there.
  9. We have an excellent young group of missionaries who have been assessed, trained, and are now being coached. (My wife brought up that we were the oldest couple in the room!) The Church Planting Movement systems we have been developing are working.
  10. They need our prayers and support in coaching them, mentoring them, and being their friends. Loneliness and isolation are real challenges to missionary families and the wife can struggle because the husband is absorbed in the “work of the ministry.”

I wish all of you could have been in the room with us this evening as they shared their hearts. Their authenticity was refreshing and their transparency was a blessing. They told of challenges but with such resolve and desire to obediently obey God’s calling on their lives. This trip has reminded me once again of how many people Paul thanked and showed his appreciation to for their support.

Thank you churches for striving to raise up godly young men and women to serve the Lord. Thank you churches for supporting and sending missionaries around the world in obedience to the Great Commission. Thank you churches for seeing the wisdom of healthy church palnting systems such as assessment, training, coaching, and partenrships. We really are better when we are working together.

Tonight at the end of our meeting with this special group of people Todd West shared how Onesiphorus brought refreshment to Paul. II Tim 1:16 says, “May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.”

Who has refreshed you? Who has helped to bring a cool fresh breath to your life? Who has encouraged you to keep moving forward for the Lord when you wanted to quit? Who has been your encourager and cheerleader along the way? One last question: Have you thanked them personally?