Welcome A.C.T. Intl. staff member David Bailey with Arrabon.
Check out David’s ministry at: http://www.arrabon.com/about/
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In Matthew 4:19 Jesus called his disciples to follow and promised them that He would “make them fishers of men.” The Greek word for make, poieō, has some interesting implications. This word can refer to authorship, production, construction, formation, fashion, commerce, and even performance. In the same way that John the Baptist “prepared”—poieō the way for the Lord, so was Jesus planning to prepare these seemingly earthy men for works of God.
Jesus’ choice of words here is that of an artist. He wasn’t just planning to speak with a word and see things happen at his command, rather his call to disciple making is much more organic. He is promising here to take the shreds of humanities garments and turn it into robes of righteousness like that of a fashion designer. He’s vowing to collect the scatter lumber of humanities’ disheveled forests and build them into homes like a construction worker, and an interior designer. He claims here in Matthew that he will take normal people who are like clay and form like a potter. Like money is to an entrepreneur, and like performance in the hands of a gifted actor, Jesus is going to turn us into a sculpture, a play, and a treasure for the ages.
As the source of the cosmos, Jesus claims here to make people, the greatest commodity in his kingdom, into fishermen. This is how Jesus views his mission on earth. It’s not a dry skill he undertakes, its an art. So why does this matter? It matters in how we see and do everything—it helps us interpret the very approach and nature of Christ’s ministry. He specializes in gathering dust, adding water and making it into clay, and forming it into beautiful pottery. He delights in taking what has been devalued and ascribed to have little or no purpose, what is antique, and he likes to refinish it, repurpose it and redeem it.
When we see anything “beautiful,” from a building to a movie, to poetry, to a thoughtfully crafted and shaped street corner, we are viewing God’s method for making disciples. He takes normal, everyday elements that are all too often overlooked and despised in and of themselves, and it combines them to make them beautiful TOGETHER.
In Ephesians 2:14 Paul picks this same word up when he’s talking about Jesus bringing the whole world together—both Jews and Gentile—to worship him when he says, “for he (Jesus) himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” This means, that today, when we see a gathering of Christ’s body—Jew, Gentile, Slave, Free, Weak, Strong, Rich, Poor, Every Creed, Every tongue etc.—we are taking a look at the result of God’s discipleship finesse. His ART!
His mission is to shape us into a Christ-Honoring people together through the gospel, and our worship is to respond as a people in joining in with him into this same mission. Will you?
Dave Yauk is first a foremost a follower of Jesus. He is Husband to Katie, and Father to 4 wonderful children (Naomi, Jesse, Levi, and Analise). Dave’s primary passion is to seek after Gods Glory in all things, and in his contribution you’ll find he holds a passion for Theology and all things Beautiful as seen in the Creator, Creativity, Character and Culture. Dave has been privileged to do ministry in over 17 countries. This has been his primary means of education and learning as a follower of Jesus. However, Dave has also had the honor of getting a B.A. from Colorado Christian University in Organizational Management and Christian Leadership, a Master’s in Divinity from Liberty University, and a Doctorate in Worship Studies from I.W.S. Dave owns the Garden City Project (an online collaborative marketplace for Christian artists and innovators), Finale School of Music, and teaches online guitar for Jamplay.com. He is also a Professor of Theology, Worship and Missiology at Visible Music College and Grand Canyon University.
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I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. Psalm 17:6a, 7 & 15 (ESV)
When it comes to personal evangelism, feelings of obligation, guilt, and duty have never been effective motivators for me. On the other hand, experiences of God’s provision, accessibility, love, and forgiveness naturally flow out of me in Gospel witness to others.
This is probably true for most of us. After encountering God in loving, unhindered ways, sincere believers earnestly desire to tell their friends and family what the Lord has done in their lives. This is an example of a clear Gospel witness that embodies God’s abundant grace.
The truth is if we don’t “embody” His grace (i.e., actually experience it, feel it, viscerally connect with it) we will not fully trust in and love Him. I find this “embodied experience” of God’s reality creates more affection for Him, more trust in Him, and more attraction to Him. And evangelism easily flows out of these experiences. In fact, I’m convinced that unless we experience God’s love for us, in us, and through us, we won’t really “do” evangelism at all.
So, in practical terms, what does this mean for believers? In brief, it’s clear to me that to grow in evangelism we actually don’t need to focus on evangelism. We need, rather, to practice focusing on God, in Christ, who works through His Spirit and into and through the circumstances of our every-day lives. This transaction, in a very real sense, is “the embodying grace” or the grace of God moving into and through our being.
So how can we experience this perfect and loving embodiment of God’s grace?
Let me suggest three practices based on the dynamic reality of God …
FIRST, practice focusing on the reality of God’s love to reclaim us to Himself. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;” 2 Corinthians 5:14 (ESV). Paul was so overwhelmed by God’s active love that he was “controlled” by it. He was so moved by God’s love that he could do nothing else but love God back and then, as it were, spontaneous serve Him.
He writes earlier, “But if anyone loves God, he is known by God,” 1 Corinthians 8:3 (ESV). C.S. Lewis sites this passage as “the motive for worship” in his 1941 sermon, The Weight of His Glory. Each one of us is honored if some famous person knows us and lets it be known that they know us. Imagine then, how honored we ought to be when we realize that we are known by God! Practice running this reality through your whole mind over and over.
SECOND, practice faithing in the presence of God. I define “faithing,” a terms I’ve coined, as the moment-by-moment exercising of one’s faith. For instance, I often tell the Lord out loud, “Father, I am exercising my faith in You this very moment.” Then, without telling Him how He should work, I imagine His perfect will being fulfilled. I process both my rational knowledge of Scripture and my actual faithing in Him that moment.
Typically I soon thereafter see the results of my faithing and His working. And the result? I’m deeply moved by the fact God worked as a result of 1) my trusting in His love, and 2) my faithing in the fact of His presence and His powerful working. This sense of His presence, coupled with the sight of His working, overwhelms me with a deepened sense of His Love in me and my delight-filled response and love for Him. I am filled with joy, gladness, and delight – all the manifestations of how we love someone.
THIRD, practice declaring the works of God that He’s demonstrated in your life to others. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (ESV). Isn’t “proclaim(ing) the excellencies of him who called you” the work of evangelism? Isn’t this what “evangelism” means?
You and I don’t need to be theologians (in the technical sense). We just need to know and be interactively involved with Jesus in and through every day. We just need lean into His love for us every minute of every day. And when we see Him work – in so many ways and in so many of our circumstances – we cannot help but declare the works we’ve seen Him doing.
Since, though, this habit doesn’t automatically happen; we must practice it. That is, we must intentionally set about telling others what we are seeing God do in our lives. Evangelism isn’t a debate. Evangelism is simply telling others about your interactions with God through Christ and His Spirit—and then, His interactions with you. In other words, don’t make it so complicated!
SUMMARY: When we are overwhelmed with the loving work of God in our daily lives, we will spontaneously tell others. But to reverse the life-patterns of self-reliance we must trust in two ground-zero realities about Him over and over again: God loves us and God indwells us. Then, based on these two realities about GOD, we must . . .
When you practice these three things you will see three other things happening in your life:
Believers throughout the centuries have experienced this. And you can too. In fact: the more you “embody the grace of God” (experience His loving gracious working in you) you’ll become more and more a true evangelist—‘declaring the glory of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.’
Dr. Byron Spradlin
President, Artists in Christian Testimony
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