2016 Mission Impossible
(theme to Mission Impossible playing in the background)
(Intro) Good morning church, welcome to mission 2016…your mission should you choose to accept it, in the natural is impossible. You will need to
use everything provided in your mission impossible manual, the Bible… You will need to maintain intimate communication with mission headquarters… The one who has sent you has gone before you to prepare a place for you… Look to the author and finisher of your mission…. Your team consists of those who are called according to His purposes…. Know that the Holy Spirit is in constant contact with your Spirit as you watch and pray…. The enemy wants to distract you from your mission and even erase this message from your memory…. Keep a guard over your mind because as you think, so are you….and as you accept the mission, remember, with man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible!
This year God is calling ordinary people to do extraordinary things… to handle eternal substance in the ordinary, daily situations and circumstances of life… to hear the inaudible, touch the intangible, and do life changing things like, loving, caring, volunteering, touching, believing, hoping, and acts of kindness which will have eternal significance.
We all have many commitments, but are we willing to set them aside to do the work that God calls us to do when he calls us to do it? Jesus invites us to reform and reshape our lives and look at things through the lens of our heavenly calling and mission. In following Him, we become leaders of others, and each of us in our own way, in our own uniqueness, in the place we have been positioned, in our job, our community and our families, have been called to do his work in the world.
A minister was invited to speak at a week of meetings in a church revival. While he was there, he was shadowed by a certain little boy. Wherever the minister sat, the little boy would sit with him. The minister said later that the little boy was not a bother---he just wanted to sit where the minister sat. Later, the minister found out that the boy’s parents did not attend church and the boy made the effort to come all by himself. One evening, when the minister was sitting in the front row, waiting to come up on the platform, the boy came and snuggled up very close to him. The boy looked up and asked the minister, “Why are you a preacher?” The minister replied, “Because that’s what God told me He wanted me to be.” The boy paused for a moment and said, “God told me just to be a kid”….. Isn’t that what we all can be….just ourselves, and let God have access to all of that!
Our mission, is to go into each day asking, “Lord what are You doing today….because whatever it is, that is now my mission”.
In the “Mission: Impossible” series, there is a point near the beginning of each episode or movie where the main character receives a message from his superiors telling him what his mission is going to be, and the message always includes the words, “This is your mission, should you choose to accept it…”.
In 2006, U.S. President George W. Bush hosted the 64th annual National Prayer Breakfast. During this interfaith event, the guest speaker was the rock star known as Bono, leader of the group U2. During the breakfast, he said, “A number of years ago, I met a wise man who changed my life. In countless ways, large and small, I was always seeking the Lord’s blessing. I was saying, you know, I have a new song, Lord bless it…I have a family, Lord please bless them… I have this crazy idea…Lord bless it…..and this wise man said: stop. He said; stop asking God to bless what you’re doing. Get involved in what God is doing, because it is already blessed!
That’s what God is saying in Isaiah 58:6 "This is the kind of thing I am after: to break the chains of injustice, to get rid of exploitation in the workplace, to free the oppressed, to cancel debts. v7 What I'm interested in is seeing you, sharing your food with the hungry, inviting those with limited resources into your homes, clothing those who are ill-clad, being available to meet the needs of your own families. v8 Do this and the light will shine upon you, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave the way for you. The God of glory will secure your safe passage. v9 Then when you pray, God will answer. You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.' You’ll enjoy a full Life in the emptiest of places "If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming those who are the victims, quit gossiping about other people's faults and shortcomings, v10 f you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, you will come out of the shadows and your life will be bathed in sunlight. v11 I will always show you where to go. I'll give you healthy bodies and strong bones. You'll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry”.
Wow, God is very clear….you do this and I will do that….
When a special forces unit in Iraq or Afghanistan goes on a patrol outside the wire, they have a patrol briefing that is given so that everyone on that team knows what is going on.
First, they are given the enemy situation and the environment or conditions the team is likely to encounter during the patrol.
Second, a roll call is done for accountability and all personnel are briefed on their specific role within the patrol.
Third, they are given the anticipated end result, which is what should be accomplished at the completion of the mission.
Let’s take the first thing….the enemy environment we are likely to encounter…. The Lord clearly lays out for us the Situation and Environment we will be operating in….He says… “The days are evil”….
1 Peter 5:8-9 Tells us that our battle is not against flesh and blood., but It is a spiritual battle. We are to be self-controlled and alert. Our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith. Be alert and of sober mind.
Because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings”.
A very visible example of the moral decay of our society, is the divorce rate….and believe me folks, there is a horrible trickle-down effect, which is causing a decline in our society as a result of this…
Instead of vows stating…”For richer, for poorer, for better or for worse, in sickness or in health, till death do us part”…The vows folks now are saying to one another are…. “If it’s convenient, if it’s not too difficult, if it feels good, if it doesn’t demand very much”.
A daughter called her mom on her honeymoon, crying hysterically… She said “Mom, I’ve made a terrible mistake… He is so cruel, and heartless…. He is constantly hurling curse words at me… like “work”, “laundry”, “cooking”, “housekeeping”, “having babies”, and other awful things!!!
The ripple down effect of divorce and constant fighting and arguing in the home, is the next generation, living together outside of marriage, multiple marriages, same sex marriage and gender confusion!
One doctor stated that the most difficult patients in his medical practice are those who refuse both diagnosis and treatment and ignore the signs, even if those signs point to something potentially deadly. They become very sick, but they cannot or will not acknowledge it, but for whatever reasons, they would rather deny it than be cured.
Everyday, you can listen to the politicians, the prognosticators, the pontificators, and the professionals speak about American society in various ways. Yet, very few are talking about the diseases at the core of our collective problems, they focus instead, on blaming our symptoms on all the things we choose to hide behind, in our attempt to avoid personal responsibility and deny that we could be doing it wrong because we’ve left God and His word out of the equation. It’s the governments fault, it’s big corporations, it’s corruption in our cities, and even democracy is the reason for our troubles. But government is what we all make it, corporations are made up of all of "us", cities are simply collections of people like us, and democracy is the expression of the collective will of a society. In other words, all of these things we blame are not because of "other things", but they all come back to roost with "us".
A sick society, Segregates the Sacred…. They no longer hold anything as sacred. There is nothing considered Holy. It is held accountable to nothing and no one because those things that are sacred are segregated to "private" and "personal" areas of life. Morality in pubic life is self-determined, often by those in power and it is legitimized by might, not by society’s rights. The opinions of a fickled society have replaced Judea-o Christian values and principles in a nation which was founded upon the Bible!
A sick society, normalizes the nasty… they legitimize and normalize immoral practices. Practices that should cause shame and embarrassment are now considered normal. The lewdness and crudeness of what passes as entertainment should shock us, but instead, it numbs us to the cruelty and perversity that is all around us. We no longer promote the idea of modesty and the call for decency. Our children have seen over 1000 pages of pornography by the time they are 16. Nasty is the new normal.
A sick society, disregards life….abortion has claimed 54,559,615 abortions since 1973…all legalized by our government….To make matters worse…the body parts of those aborted babies are sold for research….there is a threshold which God will not tolerate for long….
There are many other areas I could list, but time requires that I move on.
The mission of every Christian, is to use our influence in a pro-active way, wherever God has stationed and strategically positioned us, to make a positive and transformative presence in our society, our communities, and our families well again. It begins by first understanding our sicknesses and then being willing to take the many small steps that reap huge returns towards healing and restoration.
On the flip side, the good news is that we live a time of awakening and desire to change, never seen before. A lot of people are becoming more conscious and aware of issues and practices that have lasted for too long and that must change. Many people now want to take their lives back into their own hands and escape the model imposed by society in order to really know happiness and live the life they truly want to live – not a life that is dictated by television, magazines, movies, the collective conscience and all kinds of meaningless clichés…
So many now want to find a new path, and you and I, who are called into this mission impossible, have been strategically placed in their path.
The world is also awakening to a growing awareness, that in the midst of all the moral and spiritual sickness, there is a way out. Many people are ready to hear those truths, and to become the change they wish to see in the world. Their interests are evolving to a point of action, the meaning of life is changing for them, and they have new aspirations and inspirations, coupled with the desire to change themselves in order to change the world.
I hope that’s a snap shot of you…..Do you recognize yourself in that?
You feel something stirring inside of you….It may scare you, but at the same time it excites you! Your world is about to expand, it’s about to experience a transformation….it has new boundaries, new horizons, a new focus, and new meaning, because you now look at it with new eyes…
We said at the beginning, that the second, thing, that happens when a special forces unit goes on a patrol outside the wire, is that a roll call is done for accountability and all personnel are briefed on their specific role within the patrol.
An important part of the team the Lord is sending out into the world is the family. He has chosen each one of us to make a difference for Him in this world. We are specifically chosen, we are specifically called, we are specifically equipped with gifts and talents which He wants us to use for His glory and the benefit of others.
We are responsible for carrying out our role in the family unit. Whether or not you perform your role is not dependent upon your other teammates performing their role. You are to execute your role “as unto the Lord” in obedience and faithfulness.
Every parent is the first mentor that every child will have… and we are teaching by our example.
I recall a pastor who was approached by a young man who asked if he would be his mentor. The pastor said he would, and invited the young man to be with him and go with him everywhere he went… in counselling sessions, hospital visitation, house calls, and church services. After about a month of this…. The young man complained that the pastor had not really sat down with him and taught him…. The pastor said… “if you have not learned by being with me for this past month, listening, and observing, then I have nothing that I can teach you”….
A faithful missionary pastor was told by his superior that his ministry was no longer effective and he would be called back to the states, because “Only one person had been added to his church that year, and that person is only a boy.” That boy was Robert Moffit who opened Africa to the Gospel of Christ. Years later when Moffit spoke in London, a young doctor heard him say, “I have seen in the morning sun the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been.” The young doctor, deeply moved by Moffit’s message, was David Livingstone. In 1840, he sailed for Africa where he labored for Jesus for more than three decades—all of this happened because a faithful pastor was obedient and faithful in his “one convert” MISSION IMPOSSIBLE was actually POSSIBLE, but in ways they never imagined!!!
Have you done a family roll call before God lately?....
Jeremiah 33:3 “Call unto me, and I will answer you, and shew you great and mighty things, which you cannot imagine”.
Have you made the mission clear enough by your example, so that others in the family have chosen to carry high the banner as well? Perhaps it’s time for a family meeting, where the values and principles that guide your life are spelled out and made clear… It’s never too late to regroup and finish the mission….
My wife does a family roll call every morning on her knees.
There was a great tribal chief named Cagular. His empire bordered the empire of Cyrus the Great. Cagular was powerful, but Cyrus the Great was able to defeat him. Cyrus was so impressed by his opponent that he personally met with Cagular. He asked him, “What would you do if I were to spare your life?” Cagular answered, “For the rest of my life, Your Majesty, I would live as your obedient servant.” “And what would you do if I were to spare the life of your wife?” “Your Majesty, if you were to spare the life of my wife, I would die for you!” Cyrus was so impressed with his response that he freed both Cagular and his wife.
When they returned home, Cagular asked his wife, “Did you notice the beautiful palace? Did you see the marble at the entrance and the tapestry on the wall and the pure gold chair on which the emperor sat?” His wife said, “No, I didn’t really notice any of that! I only saw the face of the man who said he would be willing to die for me!”
When our families know we love them that deeply, things become possible which would otherwise never be possible!
We mentioned that the third thing that happens when a special forces unit goes on a patrol outside the wire, is that they are given the anticipated end result, which is what should be accomplished at the completion of the mission.
Matthew 28:18 is referred to as “The Great Commission” and would certainly be an accurate mission statement for the church of Jesus Christ….
”And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. v19 Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: v20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen”.
Jesus’ first instruction is Go! He’s saying, “Go out and introduce folks to this new way that He is teaching”…We can’t wait for them to come to us! They are waiting to be invited but we must bring them so they can be a part of this great adventure of faith. Remember, it only takes one person to change everything!!!! The person you bring could be that one….like Moffit, who reached David Livingston!
Christians are to be missionaries. Jesus said that we are to go out into the world to present Christ in our living and as someone said….”even use words if necessary”. Christianity is by it’s very nature, aggressive, and Jesus is giving a mandate to all Christians to be active in carrying the gospel to all who, have not yet received it.
Jesus, our leader and our lord, went to places and talked to folks that few other "proper" people of his day would ever have imagined themselves doing.
He was born in an out-of-the-way barn!
He grew up in a backwater town where he got tossed out of the synagogue one day because his neighbors thought he was nuts.
He associated with prostitutes, tax collectors and a host of other sinners.
He ventured into the territory of the Samaritans, where no pious Jew would ever dare to go, He spent time talking to women of ill repute…and the list goes on and on.
Yes he is a tough act to follow and please don’t relate that your pastor told you to go out and find a prostitute but you get my point…
This is not a call to preach, but rather a call of invitation and a call to example what we believe. When we get tied up in all the rest of life with our necessary activities, we can forget to focus on the basic instructions and we will lose track of our mission. We must keep our eyes on the outcome He desires…
We need to remember to go, because going is how it all begins.
Jesus said that we are To make disciples. If everyone here reached one person, that would be 40 people here….if we reached just 3 people in a year that would be 80….If those people reached one there would be 160…and so on and so on!!! And it’s all about just being a friend!
It is not enough to live in our neighborhoods, but to grab those defining moments when hearts are open and spirits are willing. The world is aggressively teaching society it’s values and unless we are willing to teach what we live and live what we teach….how will they know? The kingdom of heaven rests upon and is established upon truth. But we know that Satan has blinded their eyes and stopped up their ears, so folks cannot see, hear and believe. Therefore, we must depend on the Holy Spirit to do what we can never do….That’s why Jesus wanted us to know, in..
Luke 10:2 “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray therefore the that He would send forth laborers into His harvest”….. (Who’s harvest is it…..HIS HARVEST!!!)
We may teach, share and mentor, but it is the Holy Spirit, working on the inside of a person, in the deepest places of their lives, that can make application and bring about a redemptive change!
Jesus also said.....We could count on His living presence, with us at all times…He said this would be true until the end of the world…. That means the task will not be finished until then….In our work, in our play, in our family time, in our fellowship time, and in our alone time…. We watch for those defining moments to reveal themselves, so the mission can be accomplished…. We cannot fail with such a presence always with us. And in the end, it shall be as scripture has foretold.. "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." -
So, let us live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with us always. Let us be bold enough to greet one another with God’s love, a self giving love. May we meet those whom God has brought in our path, with acceptance and an invitation to come join this adventure of living in Christ’s hope, His love and His peace. Your mission my friends…should you decide to accept it… is very simple: go, be a friend, teach and remember and as always Christ is with us until the end of the world, no matter what! Amen