As we concluded our week of prayer we received a message from Jeff Fair in Lahore from Matthew 9 v 35 – 10 v 8. Jeff had been following our prayer week through the emails each day. Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
Jeff commented that Jesus was moved by the needs of those who were around him and where the task seemed impossible. So his solution was to commission a group of people without the relevant expertise or experiences and gave them the power to do something about it. Jeff went on to say that from afar in Lahore it feels that God is calling us to be active within the society needs of Brentwood to enable people to have their spiritual needs met. We don’t need to think that we need to have a professional capacity, expertise or experience to help, just a willingness to go, and an openness to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
I thought this was a great summary of our week of prayer.
This week of prayer has thrown up questions that as a church we need to prayerfully think through:
How do we continue this season of prayer? When we pray things happen.
How do we as a church equip and empower people to meet the needs of this town and see people come to Christ?
How do we move forward with our building project because it will naturally come as we meet the needs of this town?
How do we keep momentum?
What does this Week of Prayer mean for Fun Run?
How do we make everyone know they are loved by God?
How do we help people with financial problems and other needs?
How do we link with other organisations like Lighthouse?
How do we fulfil simple Biblical commands?
How do we make our current ministries more effective?
How do we meet the needs of the church family – because we also are the people of Brentwood?
How do we pray continually?
Over the course of the week there was one passage that stood above the rest.
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6 v 16)
I believe we are standing at the crossroads and that it is time to break camp.
The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land . Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.” (Deuteronomy 1 v 6 – 8)
Breaking camp, I believe, means breaking out of our comfort zone, our old ways, our traditions, and experiences and moving into the new things God has for us.
We look forward to seeing you at church this Sunday at 10.30am at Becket Keys School as we look at what it means to break camp and our vision as a church for the coming year.