Beginning from…Wichita?

Christians today, just like the first-century Apostles, find their call to ministry in the words and mission of Jesus.  When Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,” the disciples took him literally.  Jesus said to go, so they went.

The New Testament books of Luke and Acts tell us that they waited in Jerusalem–as Jesus had instructed them to do–until they were filled with the Spirit of God.  Then, beginning from Jerusalem, they spread out to teach people the good news about Jesus Christ.

Many times when we think about spreading the word of God we think about mission work.  For most of us that means sending people to teach the gospel in Africa or Asia or South America–someplace foreign and distant.  Jesus did say, after all, to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19).  But we often miss an important point.  The Apostles were to begin right where they were in Jerusalem.

I expect that nobody reading this little blog is in Jerusalem.  But the plan Jesus initiated is still a wise plan for us to follow today.  If we want to make a noticeable difference in the world around us, it makes sense that we should start here at home.

Whether you are in Kansas, Arkansas, Nebraska, Missouri, California, Texas–wherever you are–there are people around us right now who don’t live with much hope.  They don’t have faith.  Their lives are not blessed as far as they can tell.  Most of them just don’t know God or what he’s like.  They don’t know that Jesus Christ died and was raised back to life as the Father showed his power over sin and death.  They don’t understand that new life can be found by living with faith in this risen Lord.  And they don’t know these things because we haven’t told them.

It’s great to support men and women who go overseas to live as missionaries.  The world needs more people like that.  But somebody needs to get the message out right here, beginning right where we live.  If it isn’t you and me, who will it be?  So here’s a simple but powerful way to begin.

Pray.  Pray daily for the people around you who need to hear and experience the good news of Jesus Christ.  Pray that God will open their ears and hearts.  Pray that God will give you courage and words that will give people hope.  And then watch for the doors God opens.  He will bring people into your life so that God himself can touch them.  He does his work through us!  His power is as great as it was when the church began two thousand years ago in Jerusalem, and the church can grow again like it did in the beginning.

The world will be a better place when we let God work through us here and now whether we’re beginning from Wichita–or Jerusalem.

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About PatrickBarber

Preaching Minister East Point Church of Christ Wichita, Kansas
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3 Responses to Beginning from…Wichita?

  1. Rick Short says:

    Patrick, you are so right – any change that needs to be made should start at home, especially when we are discussing the great commission. Hope all is well with you and yours. God Bless.
    Rick

  2. Don Johnson says:

    My take:
    I don’t think the apostles saw Matt. 28:19 as a command to go spread the gospel, because they didn’t go. It was not until Acts 8, that the gospel began to spread due to the persecution of the church, but Acts 8:1 says specifically that the apostles did not go. I think the word translated “Go”, poreuomai, can be translated “go on your way”, meaning as you go about your life, make disciples of all nations. I think this supports your statement, that our work needs to start at home. East Point has a great mission program, but we need to be as good or even better at home.

    • Thanks for the comment, Don!
      For the most part, I agree with what you’re saying. You make a good point about the Apostles remaining (at least initially) in Jerusalem as it tells us in Acts 8:1. Eventually, however, even some of the Apostles would be used outside of Jerusalem. Peter, for example, would spend some time in Lydda and Joppa (Acts 9:38-43) and in Caesarea (Acts 10). But your point is well-taken.
      You are correct about poreuomai. It can be used in different ways, but it can certainly mean as you “go on your way.” I think we agree that making disciples of all nations was to be a life-long mission for the Apostles, and it should be for us, too. There are many different ways for us to be involved in that great mission, and I hope to have more to say about that in the near future!
      Thanks again.

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