In an earlier post, I made note of the importance that Jesus placed on the need for laborers for the harvest. God uses people like you and me to get the work done.
But the people of God need the power of God. The Holy Spirit provides that power. Read Luke 24:46-49 and you discover that the Great Commission may also be seen as the Great Promise. Before His resurrection, Jesus assured His followers that they would indeed carry the Good News of His grace everywhere. But, their first responsibility would be to wait until the Spirit filled them with God's power.
Ministry in the 21st century requires the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. We depend on that power just as much as Peter, John, and Paul did in the first century. When the good news is proclaimed and validated by signs and wonders, people find an opportunity to respond in faith for salvation.
Dr. Anthony Palma, a leading Pentecostal scholar has written a practical article in which he provides straightforward advice for leaders as they lead their Spirit-filled ministries. Pastors, teachers, and evangelists, please proclaim and lead the people of God to fullness in the Spirit. The harvest demands it.
Click here to read the full article by Dr. Palma.
In a recent Harvest 365 post, Dr. JoAnn Butrin makes a compelling case for viewing missions as a fundamental purpose of the church. In her view, a church, does not "do missions". Instead, a church is missions. The mission statement of a church cannot, be definition, be separated from missions, the primary disciple making mandate that Jesus gave His Body, the Church.
I agree with Dr. Butrin's assessment. With a church-is-missions mindset, there exists no "Missions Department" of a church because missions is embedded in every group or activity of the church, like DNA is present in every cell of a person's body.
Sending missionaries to the world and to every people group in the USA is hard work, it is expensive, and it requires unceasing devotion. If missions is just one thing we do, we will fall short. But, if we embrace the mandate as a fundamental purpose, and with the Spirit empowering us, Jesus will build the Church.
What do you think?
Click here to read the full article by Dr. Butrin on Harvest 365.
Missionary itineration brings us, for a couple of weeks, to the state of Illinois, where I was raised and where Ruth and I spent many happy years in ministry. It has been wonderful to renew friendships and make new acquaintances across the state.
In two weeks we have traveled approximately 2,500 miles across the state. We have seen a lot of corn. And that corn is nearer to harvest with each passing day. I can't help but think repeatedly of the words of Jesus: "Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest." (John 4:35, ESV)
The harvest has not caught a single farmer by surprise. For an entire year they have worked for this opportunity. They are ready and waiting for the harvest to become ready.
For followers of Jesus, harvest also speaks salvation, the wonder of God's grace that forgives, restores, and brings the lost into the family of God. Harvest is what we long for, live for, and work for. There has never been a greater opportunity to fill heaven with harvest than we have today.
But one over-arching need remains. The workforce. "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few," Jesus said. "Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." How important is it that we pray for laborers? Jesus issued this instruction to his disciples before he sent them out themselves.
As we have been driving by miles and miles of unharvested corn, I cannot help but think of the urgency of the hour. The harvest is ready. Are we?
Will you join us in praying for the Lord to send laborers?
As it turns out Jesus does demographic studies. He does them differently than most today, however. Read Matthew 25:31-46 and discover that the Jesus plan is to search out the following people:
Having identified these key targets, the plan is to care for them and authentically love them. I certainly believe in healing and deliverance; but in this case the love of Jesus visits the sick and befriends the imprisoned.
Where are these people that Jesus loves so much? In every state, county, reservation, and neighborhood in America.
David L. DeGarmo (D. Min.) serves Global University as Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Theology. Along with his wife Ruth, he is also a U.S. Missionary. He has extensive experience as an educator, missionary, and pastor.
David writes an additional blog on a variety of topics. Check it out...