Saturday, June 17, 2006

Help From Mexico

The work continues. The miracles continue and the salvations continue. Five or six days a week around here, new believers are being discipled, the sick are healed and the poor have the Gospel preached to them. There isn’t a week that goes by without hearing of awesome healing miracles, financial miracles and salvation miracles. Oppressed people are set free and the lost are saved. I just heard in the last couple weeks of backs that were healed, necks that were healed and a pinched nerve with severe neck pain that disappeared. There is no shortage of signs and wonders, prophetic encounters, healing encounters, words of knowledge and prophecy happening on the streets. In fact, there is more going on than we can follow up on and support.

But that’s a fine problem to have.

We just had the privilege of hosting David Baker, a full time missionary from Mexico with David Hogan’s Freedom Ministries. In fact, he’s David Hogan’s son in law, married to David Hogan’s daughter Joy. All in all, it was a great weekend of ministry, of getting to know each other and of getting to know the ropes of how they do things down there. We want to know how they do things because they are bearing a whole bunch of great fruit! More than 500 churches, more than 300 “dead raisings” and to me, the most important thing: they have been doing it consistently for the last 30 years!

There is something about gleaning from a ministry that has been proven, that has been through 30 years of changes and refinements all while getting better all the way. It’s different than gleaning from a “Flavor of the month” type ministry. You know the type, here today, gone tomorrow. This was different. The things that they are practicing have been proven to work over the test of time. All I wanted to do was to ask a bunch of questions about the churches, the new believers, leading people to Jesus, how to take neighborhoods, etc. What was interesting to me is that the problems we have been facing with new believers, getting meetings going, etc. are the very same problems that they regularly face. There is a whole set of problems that you don’t know anything about until you are in “the thick of it”, so you are unprepared, until you actually face them. So David was incredibly helpful in identifying problems and sharing principles that work for them.

More than just advice and counsel, the thing that was so helpful to me is the example that these guys set for walking with Jesus. It’s in their lifestyle. Paul continually pointed to his lifestyle and actually told his disciples to follow the example of his lifestyle. Were you to live the way Paul lived, you would get what he got. Talking and hanging with these guys, it’s so obvious the difference between them and most Western Christians.

For one, they are hyper-committed.
The level of commitment to the Word of God that would get a standing ovation among Western Christians is the baseline for these guys. Actually, I agree with them. They are normal. It’s the Western mindset that’s abnormal. All of the basic issues that you end up wrangling with most believers here in America are settled issues for these guys. No questions asked; just absolute obedience to the Word of God. Issues like authority, integrity and giving (time, finances, etc.) aren’t argued with or debated, they are strictly observed. They are respectful, full of integrity and quick to spend themselves for the Gospel. All of their decisions are governed by the Word of God. They don’t overlook things in their relationships with friends and family and strictly hold to the Word of God’s standards as they understand it.

Secondly, they are dead men.
I’m not saying that they are not human, they are people with all of the drawbacks of humanity like you and me; it’s just that unlike most of us, they have crucified their passions and desires to such a degree that they (passions and desires) are irrelevant to the will of God. Selfish ambition, agendas and self reliance are things of the past. Like I said, these are issues that you are constantly dealing with over here with Western Christians. I believe that the reason it’s so hard for Western Christians to determine the will of God for their lives is because they have so many lusts and desires vying for their attention that it can be difficult to center in on God’s plan. The answer? DIE. Die to your self, your will, your desires and get in there, just laying down your life and serving the Lord for the sake of the Gospel. After a little while, you’ll be good and dead and it will be much easier to determine God’s plan for your life, since your plan for your life sailed long ago.

Thirdly, they are “lifers” that aren’t afraid to get planted.
Most believers that I know always want to keep their options open and would never lock themselves into a location, a work, a job or a church. It’s like they have a plan “b”. If things don’t go great, they will be moving on to the next place, the next work, etc. These guys are not like that at all. They make a decision to work, live and die for a people in a country and stick with their decision. That is such an uncomfortable thought for most folks that they ignore it totally. Saying stuff like, “I’m feeling led”, they flit about from place to place, looking for greener grass. But how different would things be if we could get a few believers to settle down, get planted in a territory and make a commitment to win their city to the Lord?

Yes there would be difficulty and yes there would be trials staying and working in the same place with the same people, but there would also be fruit! A fruit tree (which we are called to be) can’t bear fruit if its’ roots are being pulled up every year or two! Why do we think that we can bear fruit when we are constantly moving from place to place, city to city, and work to work? The fact is, we can’t and we don’t. Now you know why.

I for one am inspired by laid down lovers of God, free of agendas, free of selfish ambition and totally dead to self. It’s a refreshing alternative to what is epidemic in the states; powerless preachers and prognosticators, philosophizing for profit.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

Very good points. I hope to hear more in Newnan. Thanks for the ministry you're doing.