Discoveries in Missions Part 3 Q and A

Q and A- Ray Ortlund Jr. and John Piper

Ray- The first question is: If I’m imprisoned in my own self exaltation, how can I get free?

John- If they realize it, they are actually very close to the kingdom. You can’t open the prison. Humility is the one virtue you can’t pursue directly. Look outside yourself steadfastly at Christ where he bought your delivery. Cast yourself on His mercies that perhaps He may grant you repentance. Paul said, “I die everyday.” He was constantly believing and fighting to the end with a superior treasure.

Ray- The second question is: With the ultimacy of God’s Glory and the obviousness of our evil, how can I reconcile this personally? (ie the goodness of God v the sin of man, suffering, evil)

John- You can’t by thinking about the horrors of Your life. The only way you can believe that those things won’t govern you is to hear the Word of God. Memorize Romans 8. You will never be in a situation where God will not have a word for you. If your wife or your child goes through the windshield that is what the Bible means by slaughter. And Paul says God’s love prevails over even that.

Ray- The third question is: How do I know that God has called me to be a missionary?

John- In Romans 15:18 Paul quotes Isaiah and tells the Romans that it was written to certify his preaching to those where Christ had not been named. He used the Bible, not just his experience.
Pray that the Lord of the Harvest will send out laborers to the field where there are not churches in preference to sending more to “churched” areas.

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Post Action Report Brazil 2014

Post-Action Report – Louisville, KY

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

What a wonderful way to start the season!

It is always good to look back and see something you worked so hard to accomplish not going to waste. Then again, when we read the passage above, we can be confident that nothing truly done in the Lord is in vain.

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We ministered to the communities of Mamauru and Castanhanduba, and blessed to serve in the city of Óbidos as well.

We were so glad to see the leaders in Mamauru taking matters into their own hands with the WaterStep system we installed last year. They built a beautiful water tower and are now working hard to make the system better for the entire community.

Over 20 years ago, AMOR brought a church from the US to Óbidos and started a 5-year project of building a church. Today that church is still as beautiful as when it inaugurated, with passionate leaders in Pastor Cesar and Luiza, and a heart for missions to the people in the interior.

We were invited again to participate in this year’s March for Jesus. The highlight of the event was the Americans dancing and jumping around with the Brazilians while the worship concert was in full swing.

To top off the great trip, we made it to Manaus just in time for the World Cup opener, where Brazil took on Croatia and came away with a victory.

Prayer Requests

Please join us in prayer as this mission field. Here are a few prayer requests:
– Wisdom and strength for Pastor César and Luiza in their pastoral ministry
– A full-time minister in Castanhanduba
– A full-time minister in Mamauru
– A ministry boat for César
Ministry Summary

Medical Visits [Including Reading Glasses]
Total : 525
Castanhanduba – 114
Mamauru – 87
Óbidos – 114
Crew – 9
Reading Glasses Distributed* – 201
Dental Visits
Total: 119
*In addition to reading glasses, were distributed 683 sunglasses for adults and children, and safety glasses.

To the Praise of His glory.
William Walker AmorBrazil.org

Cornerstone of Ephesians: All the Blessings in the Heavenly Places

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Ephesians Chapters 1 and 2: The Cornerstone of Paul’s faith

God predestined us in Love. Before the Creation He chose us to be “In Christ”
Paul praises God for this awesome truth and prays that our eyes are opened to being “in Christ.”
Jesus is All the Blessings in the Heavenly places
Ch1 v3 and v20: We have every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places because God seated Him at His right hand in the Heavenly places.
Oh what a spiritual blessing is the Resurrected Christ! He becomes our inheritance in the Heavenly places. Not only is He our inheritance but we are His, we inherit all of His rewards and all of His reward becomes us.

New Creation
1:10 Jesus united all things in Heaven and Earth by redemption with His blood
Jesus bought the New Creation with His blood and created an inheritance in the saints.
After the resurrection of Christ, the Holy Spirit came to seal us.

1:14 Does the Spirit change roles when the “inheritance” is possessed?
He is no longer the guarantee but part of the fulfillment. Still a “seal” v13 but in a new way?
Jesus lived His life on Earth as a man filled with the Spirit of God. That was the only way He could live a perfect life. Though God, He was also a man, and emptied Himself to trust the Holy Spirit for the power to do so. This is the only way we can live like Jesus. Jonathan Edwards says Heaven is a world of Love. The only way this can be so is if we live perfectly in Heaven like Jesus, and we can only do this by the Spirit of God. So the Spirit will continue to be a seal of perfection in the Heavenly places and will fulfill this work. We can’t inherit the New Earth without the Spirit that provides humility, meekness, love, joy, and life.

Chapter 2 You were dead. All of our past “lives” aren’t really life.

You are seated with Jesus in the Heavenly Places
Ch2 v6 He raised us up in Christ Jesus. How did He do that?
You were replaced with Jesus in his death. God made you alive.
V13 brought near by His blood- Substitutionary Atonement
We became “In Christ” and Christ was raised to the Heavenly places
Why? To show His Grace! This is grace, that even though we were dead in our sin, walking in the way of the devil (the Prince of the power of the air), God made us alive in Christ. God punished His Son instead of us. God gave us His inheritance for a perfect life.

God created a new Humanity in Jesus, that could possess “the fullness of God.”
v15 You in Christ “one new Man”
v22 God in You “dwelling place”
By what means?
Prophets. Apostles. Christ. Spirit.
The Prophets and Apostles lay the foundation of foresight and hindsight. The Apostles really saw Him. Ate with Him, drank with Him, slept with Him, and walked with Him. The Prophets heard directly from God what Jesus would be like.
Jesus is the Cornerstone.
Jesus is the Lamb that was slain, who takes away the sins of the world.

A very special lady named Noelle writes this response:
‘Upon researching these questions, I found that 1) Temples were designed and constructed according to set proportions, mostly determined by the lower diameter of columns or dimensions of foundational levels. (Paul writes in Eph. 2:19-21 “you are fellow citizens with the saints and the members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets [pretty expansive if you think about including all the prophets and judges and apostles], Christ Jesus HIMSELF being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure… grows into a holy temple IN the Lord.” 2) The cornerstone: ( I read this according to The Golden Bough by Frazer) all stones are set in reference to this stone. AND ceremonially, in ancient greek times there were offerings placed over the cornerstone of a building, (guess what the offerings were? there were two different kinds) the first kind of offering that people made in the Judeo-Greek culture was of grain, wine, and oil over the cornerstone. I find this interesting, because I was reminded of a Scripture in the Old Testament (I had to look it up, because I couldn’t remember its location in the texts) but it’s in Joel 2:23-24 that says, “Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. 24 “The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

The symbolism in the Judeo ceremonial practice of grain, wine, and oil is one that we see in the body of Christ (grain), the blood of Christ’s sacrifice (wine) and the oil (or the anointing of the Spirit). Christ as cornerstone in our faith is a beautiful picture of not just a “reference” point, but also a picture of literally having his body built, his blood spilled for the building of our unity as believers, and the Spirit as a marker of His life which resonates throughout our “temple IN the Lord.”

The second kind of Greek practice to commemorate a cornerstone would be a sacrifice of a lamb, ram, or chicken and the sacrifice would literally be built into the foundation, as a symbol of strength, stability, and life that resonates throughout the whole building itself. This sacrifice upon a cornerstone is another image that Paul would draw upon in referencing Christ’s sacrifice through the language associated with temple construction in Ephesus. Christ is the “lamb” of God, and the Ephesians would hear Paul’s words as a brutal picture of how our “temple in the Lord” came to be a dwelling for the Holy Spirit.’

This Christ who died on a Cross was built into the foundation of Paul’s faith and ours. What a beautiful picture of love and a bittersweet, gruesome, heart to the way we can get to the Father.

Discoveries in Missions Part 2

6. God demands that the Nations be happy in Him: Ps 47:1, 66:1, 67:3, 68:32, 96:1, 98:4, 100:1

That focus is at the core of being Christian.

Conversion- Mt 13:44 Joy to sell everything and buy the Field of God’s happiness, which is the treasure found, that makes everything feel like there was never a sacrifice. Our hearts joy is shifted from non-God to God.

Faith- John 6:35 comes= no hunger, believes= no thirst. The soul has a hunger and can feed on the Bread of Jesus, coming to Him to be satisfied.

Self-denial- Mark 8:34 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but if they lose it for my sake, will gain it. It cannot be absolute self-denial, but there is plenty of it in the Christian life on the way to heaven. (Denying mudpiles to have a holiday at the sea, but we are far too easily pleased.)

Joy- 2 Cor 1:24 We work with you for your Joy. The goal of your ministry is your peoples’ joy.

Mt 25:23 Enter into the joy of your Master.  That we might have the Joy Jesus has in us would mean we need to have a new spiritual body. I can’t stop wanting to be happy and that is God given.

7. Lewis and Edwards showed me (John Piper) that God’s pursuit of Glory and my (John Piper’s) pursuit of joy are not separate because God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him. Philippians 1:20

God is glorified in i. Appearing to our understanding

                            ii. Communicating Himself to our hearts

Not only by his Glory being seen, but by being rejoiced in and received by the mind and the heart.

Lewis- All enjoyment spontaneously pours over into praise. The humblest praise the most and urge us to join them.

8. Motivation for doing world evangelization:

We need not and dare not choose between a passion for God’s glory and a compassion for the hurting peoples of the world. (Combining points 5-7)

A person with compassion should ask what is the greatest and longest happiness a person can have? If we care about people, we will care about suffering, especially eternal suffering. The greatest good is not just escape from Hell, but escape to God’s presence (Psalm 16:11).

The people doing rescue want to rescue into the Joy of God, that’s Love.

May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering. –Moravians

The goal of compassion and the goal of the glory of God are the same. When we feel that desire for someone’s need, we should realize that its goal is for them to be happy in God.

9. Worship is the goal and the fuel of missions.

Goal- Not the acts of the physical body in worship Mt 15:8; worship is an affair of the heart close to God. –For the Father is seeking such people to worship Him (In Spirit and in Truth) The Holy Spirit is enlivening our affections to the reality of His Truth.

“Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” All of life is worship of God if it is being produced by this affection for God.

Fuel- Acts 20:35 more blessed (happy) to give than to receive. You are happy when you give your joy away to others. If your joy expands to include them it gets bigger! The missionary is like a high pressure zone that brings “wind” (love) to a low pressure zone (those without affection for Jesus) Not self-denial of joy… you get more joy!!!

Discoveries on Missions Part 1

John Piper taught on Missions in Nashville a few weeks ago. Here are his first 5 discoveries:

I exist for the supremacy of Christ in all things for the joy of all peoples.

Goals:

  1. A new passion for His supremacy Romans 5. Glory revealed to us through Jesus- end of Romans
  2. His supremacy in All Things (missions) to reach the unreached peoples of the world
  3. For the sake of the Joy of all Peoples

Abraham went out not knowing where he was going- Abraham was “crazy” because of God’s calling. That is what you are supposed to be.

Discoveries

1. Focus on the roots- If you focus on the branches without serious focus on the root, you undermine your desire for the branches to bear fruit.

Criticism: “Why did you say so little about the miseries of the world? And instead why did you focus on God and His Glory?”

Christianity Today- Robert Woodbury- The World the Missionaries Made

Lightning BOLT! “Nuance: The positive effect on democracy applies only to conversionary protestants.” Their focus was on conversion, not on the other “unintended” positives (stopping sex slavery, clean water, medical help, etc). We want mainly eternal fruits, so we must focus on the roots. Missionaries/churches lose their influence when they only focus on cultural change.

2. The Global South- Philip Jenkins: Astonishing growth of church in Asia, Africa, Latin America and decline of Europe and maybe America soon. Europe had 70% of the world’s Christian population earlier on. By the end of the 20th century Europe had 28% and Africa and Asia held 43%.

Mark Noll- The New Shape of World Christianity

Last Sunday more Presbyterians in gathered for church in Ghana than in Scotland.

God is doing an amazing thing in our day and it doesn’t have us (Western culture) at the center.

 3. From everywhere to everywhere- Asian and African missionaries in Britain.

4000 agencies, 250 000 missionaries, from 200 countries

With great growth since 1980- Operation World

½ located in the Global South.

But God is still mercifully blessing us.

614 missionaries sent per million church members in US.

32 400 sent to US from other nations.

4. Dad- what happened to John Piper that he would speak so much about missions?

John was honoring his father as an example for us to honor our fathers biblically.

 -He prayed almost always for missionaries

-He loved the Glory of God and spoke of it often

-He really believed in the “ lostness” of men without Christ

-He paid with remarkable sacrifices in reaching lost peoples

-He told stories of the conversions at Monday dinners

-He modeled faith in the Sovereign Goodness of God and trusted God to live off of love offerings.

Relentlessly push on the Glory of God!

What are the implications of this on the world?

God can break patterns of generational sin because God puts a spirit of Sonship in us, and it is off the charts what your Father has for you.

5. Fuller and Jon Edwards wakened Piper to the centrality of the Glory of God as God’s goal including God goal in missions. “The End for which God created the world.” We live in a day where God’s passion for God is highly offensive because we intend to be the captain of our little boat. God is the captain of our souls, so that we can share the passion of God in enjoying God.  God is not an idolater.

Eph 1:4 For the praise of the Glory of His grace.

Isaiah 43:6-7 Created for His Glory.

Isaiah 49:3 God called Israel for His Glory.

Psalm 106:7 God rescued Israel for His Namesake.

1 Sam 12 God did not cast them away for His Name.

Ezekiel 36 God restored Israel for His Name.

John 12:27 Jesus endured suffering for God’s Glory.

John 17:1 Glorifying the Son to Glorify the Father

Isaiah 43:25 God forgives sin for His Name

Psalm 25:11 Pardon my sin for Your Name

Acts 12:23 Herod did not give God Glory

2 Thess 1:9 Jesus is coming for God’s Glory

John 17:24 That we would see and enjoy His Glory

Hab 2:14 To fill the earth with the knowledge of His Glory

Rom 11:36 From Him and to Him be the Glory

God’s passion for God is unmistakable. This is the ultimate ground for missions. Rom 1:5 Missionary text. Psalm 96 He has Imperial Majesty.

His passion is the deepest Passion and foundation for my passion.

AMOR Brazil

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Being involved with AMOR Brazil has been such an encouragement to me! I went to the Amazon with the UofL School of Medicine in June of  2012. I was so glad to go and get to see Dr. Steve Wheeler in action. Having him as a mentor made it very clear that God was already doing a great work in Brazil, and that we were just joining Him in what He was already doing.

 
It’s amazing how He has already set up the ministry. Regional pastors traveled alongside us to spread the Word while we were doing medicine during the day, and late into the night. The Lord gave me a heart for these people that spend their lives along the river. So many awesome faces full of light and deep burden make you want to stay forever.
 
Each morning when we went on shore, the day began with purpose.  The kids loved VBS, hundreds were served with medicine, and over 20 people got saved while we were there. 
 
Soccer became a new hobby for me after sliding around in the cow pastures. I’m so thankful for the crew and especially captain William. They keep this thing going and have a vision for the future. But God was there before them and He will keep moving forward in Amazonas. I’m looking forward to going back this summer and seeing what the Lord has planned for us to do!