This has become one of our team war cries as a church. I think it could be for every local church. The call to win home and away, to be faithful witnesses to Jesus both in "Jerusalem" and beyond to the ends of the earth, is intrinsic to the Great Commission from our Great Commissioner.
The last couple years have seen us intentionally make an effort to be an Isaac -spirited church; (Gen 26) to 'stay and sow' here in the spiritual famine of Orange County. By His mercy we have seen some terrific fruit, and we are convinced that if we are not seeing fruit here, we have nothing to export beyond our borders. Or to change the metaphor, "a winning team builds it's season around winning home games."
So what is it to be a community on mission here in our own zip-code? What is it to peel back the sunny orange-peel facade of our county, to reach and love the last, the least and the lost? It is no easy task, because the lost are often blissfully unaware of their lostness! But we have fallen in love with our home field. It is a ripe harvest of God-fearers and Hedonists, whom God is redeeming from the idols of self-righteousness and self-realization. He is redeeming them to Himself!
Mind you, that's not the whole picture. This January during our church fast, God spoke to me very clearly through one of our students, who was fasting with us while on a study trip in Israel. He was in Beer-Sheba, and felt that God's word to Jacob at Beer-Sheba was very pertinent to us as a church for 2012. (Genesis 46) It was famine again, and God's word to Jacob was very different to the word to His father, Isaac. "Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt." It was in Egypt that God would turn Israel from a clan into a nation. Isaac had to stay. Jacob had to go.
This has been God's word in season to Southlands. There has been a weighted grace on
crossing geographical borders to partner with other churches for the sake of the Gospel this year. Palm Springs. Aspen. Newcastle, UK. Johannesburg, South Africa. This has not been due to strategic planning. The Gospel runs along relational lines more than strategic ones. We are busy training over 40 potential church planters through Porterbrook Network. There is a fresh wave of Jacob's coming.
And now we have begun dreaming about those who have never heard the Gospel. The missioliogists call them 'World A'. If 'World C' comprises Christians, 'World B' comprises evangelized non-Christians, then 'World A' comprises those that have never heard the Gospel. Of all the funding currently going to missions, only 0,1% goes to reaching World A! And of all the missions workers being sent out, only 0,4% go to "World A!' There is something horribly skewed with this picture! It may take 2-3 years, but we have begun dreaming about how to reach 'World A.' The majority of us will never go to World A. But that does not mean that we cannot prepare and partner with those who will.
Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel. May the Holy Spirit empower us to be an Isaac-spirited, Jacob-spirited community, who both 'stay and sow', and 'go and sow,' for God's glory and the joy of all people!