The Cost of Following Jesus Anywhere and Everywhere.

We shouldn't be upset when God moves us and scatters us into the world. Even if we are somewhat in our home culture, we need to remind ourselves that we are outlanders.

A lot of us feel even more disconnected because the world seems so weird now. There is so much turmoil and change. We feel uncertain.

As believers, we should be certain of who we are because as we own our identity, we transform the cultures and places where we are planted. Yet, we remain different from them.

How do we operate among the lost? How do we reach them?

Listen to Peter writing Christians scattered across the Roman world, no longer in Jerusalem …" for those who reside as aliens." It was a new identity they adopted.

It's good for us to remember that we too really are aliens, not in our home culture. God gives us a passion and a burden for the places we are planted. We take on the troubles and injustices with our prayers for transformation. There is a kingdom we represent that is diametrically different from this world.

We are set apart and should recognize our identity⏤we are aliens.

 

What we are seeing in our day is a move of God in order to bring the treasures of the nations out of their isolation.

 

In Matthew 13, Jesus describes us as good seed⏤the sons of the Kingdom. We are the seed that God scatters. The word "scatter" in this passage means to hurl forcefully, cast it violently. So we should pray God will cast out His own workers into the harvest fields! 

 

We should not feel odd when God thrusts us into environments that we would not normally go to. 

 

Going from comfort zone to comfort zone is not a pattern for growth. But when the Spirit of the Lord scatters us, hurled deliberately into places we would not have thought of on our own, we can invest in these places and become transforming agents.

How do we live as scattered people opposed to the spirit of the age?

When we carry the injustices of those to whom we minister, we don't adopt the spirit of those offenses. 

The church has an opportunity to identify with the nations of the world like never before. We are in an age of scattering.

 

One out of every 90 people on the earth is a refugee.

 

People are displaced violently, threatened by political, military, and environmental disasters. Four million Venezuelans have fled for their lives. They are just trying to survive, and it's happening in many other places like Asia and Afghanistan. 

We have not seen such high numbers of displaced people since the World Wars.

How do we position ourselves as the church when the nations are shaking?

Who are we? What answers do we have? We have a God who loves us. We can invite them into our Father's house where those who have lost their identity can receive a new name. The believers in 1 Peter were considered evil because they didn't worship like the Romans. Peter reminded them that "You show off the excellencies of who God is. They will see your good works and praise God." 

Our home is the Kingdom of heaven. The Spirit that lives in us is different than the spirit of the land.

I have been scattered into relationships, cities, and lands. What I've learned is to have peace with the One who scatters me. He has scattered me for greater purposes than my own.

In Haggai 2, the people were rebuilding the temple, looking for the former glory. It had been ransacked during their captivity. God says, "I will do something greater. I'm going to shake the earth and the dry land. They will come with treasure of all nations and fill this house with glory. The latter glory will be greater than the former, and in this place, I will give peace." 

This temple was nothing like the one Solomon built, but it was filled with the treasures of the nations because of the shaking of God

What we are seeing in our day is a move of God in order to bring the treasures of the nations out of their isolation.

We want to fight for justice and eliminate pain, but we have to understand that God is far more jealous of the redemption of the nations than just comfort.

We can't let our love for justice overshadow God's desire to heal the nations. Billions of people haven't heard the Gospel. Would you rather they remain in safety or be brought out of darkness?

We've got to come to grips with this. In an age of terror and shaking, we cannot be more interested in justice than the redemption of the nations. We have to find a way to extend care and embrace the shaking of nations in order to bring them into God's house. 

We are living stones, being made into the house of the Lord. The temple is no longer a building. When the treasure of people is brought into relationship with God, we become the house that takes in treasures of the nations, and it will have glory like never before.

We are only going to see more shaking.

As we try to steward the trauma at the Southern Border, God says, "I will do this." It's not comfortable for anybody. No country is ready to receive millions of people. It is the heart of the Lord to extend peace, not by removing them from the conflict, but by giving them a new house to live in, a place where they have a new identity. 

1 Peter 3:8-9 tells us how to live. "All of you be harmonious." As we serve and identity with them, we will win them." Be kind hearted and humble." We can't afford to be caught up in the spirit of the age.

  • We are to be people of blessing.
  • We should recognize the image of God in others and see His purpose for their lives. It's kind of sad that eulogies are saved for funerals.
  • We should see who people are and what they accomplish.
  • We should be known as the weird people who always bless others at Wal-Mart or the gas station. Do it to total strangers.
  • We are the mustard seed planted in every garden.
  • We need to be scattered to invite other scattered people into our garden.

It's not going to slow down. We will be more concerned and bothered by what is happening in the nations. We have to find a way to show God's heart to people and things that are scattered and shaken, not just at the Southern border, but embracing refugees worldwide.

God is saying now is the time to redeem nations and to rebuild the latter glory.

We'll find a way to do it.

What about you?

Are you uncomfortable with the idea of being scattered?

Maybe coming to YWAM Tyler is your scattering?

Are you fearful?

Resistant? 

I have to say that I identify with that. In my 37 years in Ywam, I have never been entirely comfortable with the direction of the Lord, but I always feel very valued by it.

God loves my purpose, my ability to be written into His story. God says I love your glory more than I love your comfort. God loves the glory of the nations more than their comfort.

God will make us uncomfortable in order to bring about something that will last for eternity. That's God's nature, He loves us more than we love ourselves.

I'm not just at peace with that, I feel valued by that. We have to be uncomfortable in order to have a message for a world that is uncomfortable.

Why do we think that we should be exempt from the trauma of the world when we're supposed to have a message of hope and peace?

We have to get off the bandwagon of justice and onto the bandwagon of redemption. 

It's time for us to own this with dignity. As we share in the mystery of the sufferings of Christ, we will do it with purpose, hope, and victory. 

Get Brad's book Finding God in the City.


Get training to be a missionary. God's calling people from around the world to come and get training to be salt and light wherever HE scatters them. You can say, "YES" to following Jesus. We are here to help. 

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Brad Stanley

Author: Brad Stanley

Brad Stanley is YWAM Tyler's Urban DTS Training Director and has served as a full-time missionary for the last 25 years, which has taken him to more than 20 nations. He has worked to develop and train city ministry in Chicago, with a special emphasis on cross-cultural ministry among urban immigrant and subculture neighborhoods. He facilitates hundreds of volunteers each year in urban and international outreach endeavors, and speaks regularly in churches and mission training schools in the United States and abroad.