'The Cloud of Witnesses'
Consider the cloud of witnesses
Who spur us on to faith,
Who've witnessed God enough to trust
And enter in His race.
Consider the land that Abraham left
For land he did not know,
But he knew his God and trusted Him
When He told him he should go.
Consider Hudson Taylor
And the race that was set for him;
He sought his God and heard Him speak
'Nothing this faith can dim'.
The challenge though before us all
Is our own race to find;
Can we talk to Him enough to know
The thoughts He has in mind?
God has a plan for all who'll stop
And set their own aside,
But to find it we must walk with Him
Before He will confide.
| 2008/11/10 22:20||Profile|
Las Vegas, NV
| Re: Your ministry|
I think we are missing the heart of this thread. As much as it is enjoyable to hear about Hudson Taylor's ministry; what of our own personal ministries?
When I consider my own ministry, and it is a calling of God, this I do not doubt, it appears to be a small thing and of little worth in value for provoking others unto the good works wherein Christ has predestined each of us to come and follow Him. However, let us not so consider even the meekest of services sanctified unto the Lord to be without our Father's praise.
In my own life, I wait at a crux. For several years now I have desired to up and go! Yet, I have never felt free to do so. This is not to say there are not opportunities or things I could be committing myself to, both home and abroad. I have considered (as from reading a bit of Hudson Taylor's biography and from the admonitions of many other pious pastors from church history -- I highly recommend Richard Baxter's book, [url=http://www.reformed.org/books/baxter/reformed_pastor/]The Reformed Pastor[/url]) ways in which to live as a true pilgrim and sojourner in this world, as though I am already a missionary. And during this time of waiting for the restraining hand of my Shepherd to lead me on, I have devoted my time to reading and studying and praying and meditating on the high and necessary things of the Christian faith; generally of late: the Gospel; particularly: the love and hatred of God as well as I can understand it from Holy Scripture as opposed to Webster's dictionary. I believe I am in a way comparable to being in a time of a wilderness and obscurity, as Ravenhill has said of the apostle Paul, becoming spiritually pregnant with the epistles -- epistles not only written on paper but on the hearts and lips of converted men.
I work part-time because I need no more financial substance to support my flesh. Indeed, I have confounded a few people with my diligent and careful labor without exhibiting any selfish ambitions. Most of my time working is in isolation -- not unlike being the only person in a crowded room. So during that time I exert myself to prayer and meditation; indeed, most of the seeds of my sermons and revelations are formed in me during this time; and likewise, when I am laying in bed trying to get those last few feeble hours of sleep before an early shift and the Spirit stirs in me and the words of Scripture seem to flow so freely, even though I am exhausted I listen and lay quietly awake (I'll just have to take a nap after work!)
From this place do I go out and about my local area. Obviously I live in Las Vegas, if you haven't noticed my profile location. If you are wondering, I personally do not minister on the Strip (the local term for the street where most of the casinos are) and it is seldom that I ever go there, except when I head down near UNLV to fellowship with a college group that meets at a Methodist church. My main focus of ministry is with the college aged Christians, or at least those who go to church. There was a time I had the privilege in assisting with ministering to some youth kids but the main pastor thought it better if I did not come to "hang out" but that I should only come if I was specifically asked to teach. That whole situation was just strange to me and not to mention has given me reason to pray. I also try to take one or two days out of the week to give service at a local homeless shelter, the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. They serve food and give out clothes as well as offering a little sermon inbetween; but the big focus down there is the rehabilitation program. They not only give to the needy but they seek to strengthen their hands! Ah, I tell you what, not but a week or so ago I was talking with some of the residence there and they invited my brother and I to stay later to attend their "commencement ceremony." Dude, that was hardcore! To see these down-broke-n-busted sinners coming in off the streets likely still spinning out on whatever drug addiction they had and now after being discipled through the Rescue Mission's rehabilitation program walking up to the stage microphone sharing their testimonies and preaching the gospel! It was beautiful.
When I am able to attend a church meeting or prayer meeting or bible study or home group or college group or just hang out with some friends I am not interested in just "hanging out." I don't want my ears tickled, I don't want to feel good about myself, I don't want to pray like the pagans, I don't want to play xbox, I don't want to just go here or there or just know a bunch of people -- I am making it my purpose like Paul to know Christ and Him crucified. My focus is God and my aim is the salvation of souls. When I find myself in these different places, if I do not see an earnest desire for holiness then I will find the individual there who does. If there are none, I will go where I can find them. My main ministry is to find those Christians, old or young, babes in the faith or mature, and edify and be edified in our faith together with Christ in our midst. I thank God that He is raising up, as He is me, those precious few who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness. And it is these that I attach myself to. Curious enough, my brother's main focus of ministry seems to be towards evangelizing those who are not hungry and thirsty. And to tell you the truth there is no one else I would ever so much desire to labor with in this good work than my brother -- I can trust his prayers.
I wonder if I am making this sound so exciting; the flesh is so dull, but the Spirit quickens all things. I consider at times the life of Jesus, how He so walked in the earth. Truly there were great and wonderous miracles, but what of the humbleness of the washing of feet and the blessing the children and His teachings and sharing a meal with His companions by the sea; no great miracles in these, but Jesus was there and He only did what He saw His Heavenly Father doing.
So for these past several years I have devoted myself in my youth to somewhat obscurity, hidden in my room or writing on this internet forum, or hanging with my buddies glorifying God and speaking of the most holy faith and bearing one another's burdens and praying the prayer of faith together and holding eachother accountable and discipling one another unto maturity and a sound mind. It might not seem as "exciting" as the world but this simple way is life to my soul. And whatever, Lord willing, I shall do in the years to come I won't be ashamed of these years past. But all the same, I shall take this simple way with me and continue to preach the gospel and serve and counsel the hungry and thirsty heart in the wisdom that is able to make one wise unto salvation: that there is a hope that excels and forgiveness of sins and fulness of Life because Jesus Christ lives.
| 2008/11/15 2:17||Profile|
My main ministry is to find those Christians, old or young, babes in the faith or mature, and edify and be edified in our faith together with Christ in our midst. I thank God that He is raising up, as He is me, those precious few who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness. And it is these that I attach myself to.
Now that's what I'm talking about.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your discription of how God is using you. Though 30 years seperate us in age, we are being used in exactly the same way. A few years ago I got burned out from being up to my eyeballs in church work. I backed out and decided to simply seek God for myself with the hope that in that seeking, He would provide an opportunity for ministry that was tailor made for me that I could once again get excited about.
I decided to lay aside all I had come to believe to that point and start over. I decided to journal my thoughts. I developed a passion for writing. This proved very valuable in helping me to clarify my new beliefs that were based solely on what I discovered in His word. It has been an exciting journey.
As I became filled up with God and new life, I found I could not contain it when I talked with people. It just came out. I used to struggle with talking to people about God because I was not sure of how to approach it. Now it just comes out.
I have had the opportunity to combine my passion for writing with my heart for individuals by writing letters and emails to people. This site, which I have only recently discovered, is like a diamond field of opportunity to share with people of like faith and especially, just last night, in the thread labled as 'lust', to be able to go one on one with one who needed help. It is like everywhere I turn, God gives opportunity for me to hook up with individuals. In some cases they are my equals, such as yourself, Kingjimmy and brokenone. In other cases, such as with joeSOC, I have had the privilege of offering help.
A few weeks ago, I was conversing only with those in my small town; a few through email a little further away. As a result of this site, I have had the privilege of talking with someone from Las Vegas and now with joeSOC, someone from Australai. To me that is cool.
To think that this is not a legitamate ministry is a thought from satan himself. As more and more individuals get full of God, we have the potential of doing more to disciple other believers than all the mega churches combined. There is actually no substitute for the ministry we have.
So I thank you for your post. I am encouraged by it and hope that others will be as well.
| 2008/11/15 9:47||Profile|
The overall purpose of this thread is to give people opportunity to breifly describe their ministry. The intent is that others might learn and be encouraged by those who have discovered ministry opportunity.
This post is a request for help. Does anyone have experience or otherwise helpful information regarding neighborhood Bible studies. The specifics are as follows:
1) Mostly low income and apartment housing
2) Equal mix of blacks, whites, hispanics
3) Heavy foot traffic
4) Small storefront space available to rent at hub of area
5) Thought is to have small scale service on Fri. or Sat night. Time to hang out afterwards.
6) Possibly an additional mid week bible study.
Very beginning stage of idea. Definitely feel God initiated it. Looking for helpful information.
| 2008/11/24 20:19||Profile|
The fullness of God...breeding ground for new ministry.
| 2008/11/26 6:23||Profile|
| Re: |
One ministry I am involved in is taking the Gospel to Nursing Homes. I am currently involved in just a single location but have been involved in several over the last 14 or so years.
The services begin by the staff bringing the people down to a gathering area. The object is to prayerfully come together and share what the Lord puts on our hearts. I typically ask to begin with what songs folk would like to sing. We make a list and sing them. They are typically the older hymns. We sing a capella.
The idea is participation. We want folk to contribute what they feel the Lord would have them share. We have a time of sharing in between the singing. I will typically bring a message that is on my heart. Since I have been at this location for a while I am able to build on the simpler messages of the early months. I go out once a week.
Sometimes I have help and sometimes I do not. As long as the staff helps with the people you can manage.
I have been afforded the opportunity to minister to several people that have since passed on these last two years especially. Some have only been in their 40's. There are all types of people in long term care. There are ministers of the Gospel that have been faithful for decades and are now in need. Many Sunday School teachers and other types of ministers are suffering.
Should God lay such a thing on your heart and you would have any others questions I'll try to answer them.
Robert Wurtz II
| 2008/12/22 15:23||Profile|
| Re: Ministry|
God bless you, MJones, for starting this thread.
A few years ago in a time of prayer, the Lord told me He would send women to me; that I was to minister to them and He would show me what to do. Imagine my surprise [yes, I know.....Lord, help my unbelief] when I began to meet those women and He loved them through me!
Furthermore, I love to call folk back to the faithfulness of God's word. I also help the worship team on occasion.
I'm not sure who lamented the dearth of brethren who love to share God's word [outside of church setting] instead of 'useless' hanging out sessions but I feel you. The Lord has provided some out-of-state like-minded brethren for me...they are priceless! Thank God for telephones and the internet.
| 2008/12/22 17:18||Profile|
| Re: Ministry Opportunity|
[font=Helvetica]Early 2006, after consistent weekly prayer with two of my friends, we felt the need to allocate an extended period of time to prayer. Specificlly, we decided to retreat for an extended weekend. I scheduled our first retreat for May 2006. Eighteen women attended that retreat and God met us in glorious ways. We realized that it was a divine setup and planned to "come aside" twice each year. The number of women has progressively increased to as many as 79 women calling upon the name of the Lord and rejoicing in His Presence. What times of refreshing we always have and such opportunities for encouraging and praying for each other! This has been used by God to impact our lives and to keep us ablaze. We are excited each time we meet to see what God has in store. We cover this ministry with intense prayer because it is clear that God is using it as a vehicle to strengthen the Church. Truly, opportunities for ministry are all around us and, oftentimes, God launches these ministries in the most "incidental" manner.[/font]
| 2008/12/22 18:48||Profile|
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
| Re: |
Should God lay such a thing on your heart and you would have any others questions I'll try to answer them.
Hi Brother Robert,
I actually do have some questions about the nursing home ministry.
1 Who do you contact at the nursing home to get permission to meet with the people? And do you find that they are generally open to having Christian groups come in?
2 Do they put any type of limitations on what you can do? For instance, are you allowed to pray with the people, go room to room, and things like that? Or are you limited to the people who come to the meeting room?
3 What is the ideal length of time for a meeting in a nursing home, taking into account the physical and mental limitations of the residents?
4 When you say participation do you mean participation from the others who go with you to minister? Or do you mean participation from the residents?
5 In what ways do the staff help with the people?
6 What part of your meetings does it seem that the residents enjoy most?
7 What advice would you have for someone who is interested in getting involved in this type of ministry?
Thank you for your help.
| 2008/12/22 19:24||Profile|
| Re: |
What a good post.
I thought I would share a little of what the Lords doing in my life.
After coming to know Jesus, I would have these urges to evangelize on the streets. Sometimes, I would obey and overwhelming joy would be with me. Sometimes, I would obey, and the people sneering at me would dissapoint me.
I would tell the Lord, "Father.. I'm not spirit filled enough to do this. I will evangelize when you have transformed my heart so much that I don't have any fear of men and can transform these people through your spirit every time I talk."
After accepting Jesus, I have been trying to fulfill what I considered to be the essence of Paul's faith, Gal 2:20. I would try to kill the self. I constatly was battling with me trying to give glory to ME! If I preach and pray hard, I found in my heart a wisper of pride telling me, "Hey! I did a pretty good job! Hey God used ME!" When I shared something spiritual, I sensed in myself a desire to be acknowledged for my spiritual discernment. When I preached (which wasn't quite often) inside me, I would found a small pride in me that I preached only the essence of the cross with zeal. I would be very nice to others, but my heart would sometimes, despite my niceness, condemn and judge others.
So I could keep the whole law, but my heart was always off track.. It was always secretly sinnning. Truly being a lover of Jesus, this was quite hard for me. No matter how hard I asked for forgiveness, and how many times I was refreshed by the Holy Spirit, the effects would stay for 1week to 3 months, but after that, I found my heart was still in it's sin.
I heard one person describe it like this. "If you have a "sin tree" and it's bearing fruit like adultry, pride, idolatry and so on, one of the best ways to get rid of the tree is by killing the flowers before so that it doesn't bear any fruit. We often in the christian circles call this person a "saint" cause he has sinned little. However, the so called "saint" has to always surpress the fruit and always killing flowers. A saint then is a flower killer, and he finds that he always has to kill the flowers. How can he solve the problem so that there won't be any flowers to being with? The only solution to put the axe at the root of the tree."
And so I realized that after the fall, "life" in me was totally connected with "sin" that it was one. That nomatter how hard I tried, I could not escape from it. The only way was to die to sin, which would be the same thing as dying to the self. This is when Romans 6 came to my understanding.
"If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him..."
I understood that Jesus Christ didn't just die for my sins.. I died on the cross with Jesus Christ. This is a biblical fact that Paul is trying to point out. It is by faith that I am united with him in his death, and by faith that I am raised with him.
Gal 2:20 "and the life I live in the body I live by FAITH in Jesus Christ"
Ephesians 3:17 "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through FAITH..."
So Jesus died, and the bible claims that I am dead with Him. I only have to claim this by faith in every aspect of my life.
Before all this, I had many expereinces of utter repentance. It wasn't repentance of the fruits of sin, but repentance of myself because I and sin are one. But these expereinces didn't last long as I mention. However, through this, I realized that I need to live this life by faith.
So then I began to proffessed myself dead (instead of trying to die) and Jesus living in me through almost everything.
I would go to the subways and preach. Sometimes I wouldn't "feel" like it. But hey! This old self has been crucified. It won't change if I try to "fix" the old life. This old self is dead! So I will go and preach. And so I go and preach and am filled with the knowledge of truth. As it's writte in Romans 6: 17 "...though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were intrusted. (Thus)You have been set free." This teaching of course was the Gospel.
So they obeyed the gospel by faith and expereinced truth and became free from sin.
I and Christ are one. What he did on the cross, his death, his ressurection, even his assention (ephesians 2:6 "seated us in the heavely realms with Christ) I was there with Christ by faith.
So this is my ministry now.
I meet people whenever I can and talk to them about Jesus.. To the believers who haven't met Jesus, that they need to come to Jesus and that they have to admit themselves to be the man of sin. That they have to cry out until they meet him.
To the believers that have met Jesus, to die on the cross with Jesus Christ so that they may live with him.
So I obey the gospel and also evangelize in the street no matter how I feel. Most of the times, the Holy sprit will fill me with great joy when I don't obey the old self and put on the new self of Jesus christ by faith.
So now, everything I do, it has been done by faith in the cross.. There is no boasting.. There is no pride.. If condmentation comes to me, I hold on to my death by faith. If I don't want to do the dishes, I profess myself dead with Jesus, I let Jesus do the dishes through me with joy. Hope this truth is as amazing to you as it was to me.
| 2008/12/22 20:42||Profile|