As we prepare over the next month to focus on missions, including our Missions Conference (Oct. 22-23) I thought I would share a few thoughts on this theme. This coming weekend Dave Southwell from A.B.W.E. will be with us, training us through the “Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship Seminar”. This seminar is intended to focus on discipleship training. In the 28th chapter of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age” (v. 19-20, NIV). Part of our mission at NDC is “to make disciples who reflect the image of Christ”, into a world of need. I believe this seminar will be an important tool in helping us to improve the discipleship arm of our church’s ministry. Dave was the keynote speaker at our Missions conference 4 years ago and I believe his ministry will be a great blessing to all those who sit under his ministry this weekend.
I am so thankful for our heavenly Father’s heart for missions. It was God’s heart of love that sent His Son to die for our sin and to be resurrected on the third day so we could be saved. As we are challenged by various speakers over the next month, I am reminded of Jesus’ words in the 10th chapter of John’s gospel. In verses 14-16 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep and my sheep know me- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father- and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice and there shall be one flock and one shepherd”(NIV). Christ certainly has had many other sheep outside the original 11 who heard these words and responded in faith. Many, many sheep. Aren’t you glad someone shared Jesus’ words with you so today you can be one of Jesus’ little lambs. God’s heart is toward all people and He desires to meet us where we are so we can become part of His flock, under the Good Shepherd. We are to be part of God’s program in taking the Message to the ends of the earth.
In the 1st chapter of Acts, Jesus gives us the model we are to follow when He says “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (v.8). The mission begins at our own Jerusalem. As Alex Leonovich (our speaker on Nov.6th) shared with us the last time he was with us when he stated, “The light that shines the furthest, shines the brightest closest to home”. As we seek to reach our Jerusalem and go out into the utter most parts may Jesus be shining His light through us to bring more of the lost sheep into the sheepfold of the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rejoicing in God’s goodness,
Pastor Rich Sivo