The urgency of spreading the Gospel has been fired up within me since the week at Reinhard Bonnke’s School of Evangelism in London. “Now is the Time” to see the kingdom increase, saving souls, encouraging the disheartened to return to their first love, Jesus, and equipping believers to take the Gospel into their communities. The inner desire to ‘Go’ has within it the need to be wise.
A couple of months ago I was reading through the book of Mark. I was encouraged to see how the author takes the reader on a geographical journey, Galilee and Judea but also a journey of Jesus ministry. The Gospel of Mark is known as the evangelist’s gospel due to the vividness and clarity in the writing style. Mark emphasises the Passion of Christ, which is what we as evangelist’s have in abundance, passion. The need for personal faith, the gospel message and power of Jesus to bring hope to the lost are at the core of Mark’s gospel. The author’s vigour and urgency in exalting Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God, runs hand in hand with discipleship.
The life of discipleship and service means for many of us experiencing rejection and misunderstanding as Jesus did. Disciples are encouraged to see Jesus’ mission, take up their cross and follow him. The urgency of “Now”can over shadow all that was taught throughout the New Testament. It is so easy to focus on fulfilling “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:10) that we forfeit some of the teachings of Jesus that enable us to be wise stewards.
There are a couple of verses within Mark’s Gospel that give core principles for personal safeguard which are not always at the fore front of being a wise steward of our time. Jesus spent time discipling the twelve, in all aspects of ministry. The verses appear to be hidden, but I believe are strategically placed and significant in terms of being a wise steward especially when passion is high and God is calling us to preach the gospel. They come after Jesus rejection in Nazareth (Mark 6:1-6), the sending out of the disciples (Mark 6:7-13), the death of John the Baptist (Mark 6:14-29) and before the feeding of the five thousand (Mark 6: 33-44).
Imagine the excitement that the disciples felt, the trepidation, Jesus, the one who spoke with authority, the one who had raised the dead, healed the sick, and had released them, the disciples, to go out into the community to do as he had done. Did they think ‘now is the time’ to see Jesus acknowledged for who he was? Imagine the zeal, the passion to be imitators of Jesus; there is no suggestion in the scriptures of the amount of time they spent ministering or teaching, but it could be assumed that they didn’t rest much.
The disciples went from ministering and teaching to personal experience of loss. Imagine the grief they felt when they heard of the death of John the Baptist. Did their minds go to the rejection that Jesus encountered, did the reality of being fallible come through, did they wonder how Jesus would feel at the loss of his cousin and friend, so many things that ‘could’ be, rejection and grief are part and parcel of life. This mimics some of the things that we encounter as we walk the path of ministry.
These two verses nestled in between ministry and life issues, have the oil of protection in them, a safe guard that will help in wise stewardship.
“And the apostles gathered themselves to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, Come aside into a deserted place and rest a little. For there were many coming and going and they had no opportunity even to eat. And they departed by boat into a deserted place.” Mark 6:30-32
The verses show the disciples giving an account to Jesus. Spending time together, talking through all that they had done and taught. Then Jesus took them aside, knowing that the ingredients for rest did not include staying around people who would disturb the perfect peace that was needed to give the rest that brings restoration, the rest that was needed before the next
ministry time. It is important to see the value in both of these principles, there is wisdom in being a wise steward.
To be a wise steward of time means a balance between ministry and personal time. It enables and empowers all to maintain the vigour and passion needed in ministry. “Now is the Time” to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:10) sustained and maintained by the wisdom of Jesus.
Tina Russell-Mott (@agapetina)
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells us not to worry about the practical needs of life, instead he says, 'seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.' Matthew 6:33. Jesus doesn't say that these things are to be completely ignored as some Eastern religions do, just that they should be put in their place. What does this have to do with prayer? The thing is we all pray for things that are on our hearts. Kingdom prayer is simply praying for what is on God's heart.
This is how Jesus taught us to pray in the Lord's Prayer. The first half of the prayer is focused on who God is, how we respond to him and (if I can put it this way) his needs. The second half is focused on us and our spiritual and physical needs. It is finished with a doxology which brings the focus of our prayer back onto God once more.
The problem is this can seem rather abstract, but how should this affect our prayers in a practical way. If we look in the Bible we are given commands which we can only fulfil through both prayer and action. We also see examples of people praying for Kingdom matters and see God answering those prayers. Here are a few examples:
Jesus commanded his disciples to make disciples of all nations in the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:16-20).
Jesus commanded the disciples not to leave Jerusalem until they had been baptised with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:4-5).
The disciples prayed for boldness to share the gospel and for healings, signs and wonders when they were persecuted and God answered them (see Acts 4:29-31).
Habakkuk prayed for revival, for God to show mercy to a nation that deserved only his wrath (Habakkuk 3:2).
Praying for the Kingdom can involve large scale strategic prayer, but don't worry if that intimidates you, just broaden your prayer beyond yourself, your family, friends and your church.
Here are a few ways you can pray for the God's Kingdom to come on earth as in heaven from the above Scriptures:
If you are praying for someone to become a Christian then pray the same for all their household. Pray for the evangelistic witness of all the churches in your area. Pray for unreached people groups who have never heard the gospel. Pray for discipleship in your church for everyone to grow in their faith in Jesus.
If the disciples needed to be baptised in, and continually filled with, the Holy Spirit so do we. Ask Jesus to baptise you in the Holy Spirit if you haven't been and keep asking until he does, which he will. If you have been baptised in the Holy Spirit, ask him to keep filling you so you overflow with his love, grace and truth.
Ask God to give you and other church members boldness to share the gospel and for God to confirm his word with healings, signs and wonders. Pray the same for Christians persecuted for their faith elsewhere in the world. Pray for God to strengthen Christians in prison for their faith.
Pray for revival in the UK, if you don't feel you have the faith to ask God to move in revival power then pray 'Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.' Mark 9:24, and God will help your faith to grow. Ask God to show you his heart for the person you find most difficult, they may deserve God's wrath (as you did once too) but ask God to show his mercy in their life and also ask him to change your own attitude to them.
If praying this way is new to you then try it, and ask God to help you to see his Kingdom and pray for it more. If you are already praying in this way, then ask God to show you more of what is on his heart and to grow your faith to pray for greater things. As you pray more for God's Kingdom to come here on earth you will find that you will not need to ask for the other things so much as you worry less, and know God's provision to a greater extent. Most of all don't forget to worship God for who he is, and to
thank him for answers to prayer whether they are Kingdom requests or personal requests.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.' Matthew 6:13.
Theresa Grant (@theresagrant3)
There is a lot of speculation over the 'mayan' calendar and a prophecy that the world will end tomorrow, 21st December 2012. Some people are taking this more seriously, others not so. I personally believe that the world is not going to end tomorrow. Why? because the Bible says that 'No one knows the day or hour' (Matt 24:36) The Bible is very clear, the world will end one day.The Bible promises that Jesus Christ will return to judge the peoples of the earth.(Matt 24:44, Romans 14:10, 2 Corinthians 5:10) and that is an event we must be prepared for.
However, the end of the world may come to you in another way first... as Billy Graham once said 'your world will end when your heart stops beating' .. are you prepared for either of these events? Either the return of Christ or when your heart stops beating?
We don't know when we will die, or when Christ will return, but we can be prepared for either of those events by living a life that God intended us to have - a life in relationship with Him. Have you got a relationship with God? Are you sure that you are going to heaven when your heart stops beating? - If not, here are some steps to take to start you on that journey with God....
The Plan - God Loves you, God created you to live a life in relationship with Him.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that
whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John
" I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more
abundantly." John 10.10
The problem is most people don't have this peace and abundant life God wants us to have. This leaves us with a question - Why not?
The Problem - God created us to be in relationship with Him. It's only through knowing, and being in relationship with God that we can know and experience the abundant life God wants for us.However, God didn''t make us robots, he gave us freewill and and the ability to choose.The Bible says that all of us have chosen to disobey God and live our lives our own way. The result of this is that we are separated from God because of our Sin.
" Your Sins have separated you from your God" Isaiah 59 :2
" For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God" Romans 3:23
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23
There is nothing we can do ourselves to change the situation. Many try, by trying to lead a ''good life'' - but even
going to Church or reading the Bible doesn't make you a Christian any more than sitting in your garage turns you into a Car.
The Penalty - If someone commits a crime and is caught we would expect them to have to pay the penalty for their crime. We cannot pay the penalty for our Sin against God - thats why Jesus came, died on a Cross and rose
again. Jesus paid the penalty for our sin so that we can come back to God and enter into a relationship with Him.
" For there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ" 1 Timothy 2:5
" For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God" 1 Peter 3:18
" But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us"
" I am the way the truth and the life no man come to the father except through me" - Jesus Christ
The Provision- To receive forgiveness of our sins and to be able to enter into that abundant life, we must chose to follow Christ - trust Him as our Lord and Saviour.
" Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the
children of God." John 1:12
" If you confess with your mouth, ''Jesus is Lord,'' and believe in your heart that God raised him
from the dead, you will be saved" Romans 10:9
What about you - have you trusted Jesus Christ? - If not why not do it now?...
These steps will help you:
1.Admit you have a need ( I am a sinner).
2.Be willing to turn from you sins and all you know to be wrong ( the Bible calls this "repentance")
3.Believe Jesus Christ died for you on the Cross and rose from the grave
4. Invite Jesus Christ, through prayer, to come into your life and take control through the Holy Spirit.
What to pray..
Dear Lord Jesus, I come to you now recognising that I am a sinner.I confess my sin to you and thank you for dying for me. I want to turn from my sins I invite you now to come into my life and by the power of your Spirit make me new. I put my trust in you now and want to follow You as my Lord and Saviour. Amen
If you prayed that prayer out of a sincere heart you now belong to the worldwide family of God. In receiving Christ, we are born into God's family through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer. The Bible calls this being "Born again".
" Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; The old has gone and the new has come" 2
This is just the beginning. If you prayed the prayer you now need to read the Bible daily as this will help you know God better, and to grow as a Christian. Talk to God in prayer each day and find a church that believes and teaches the Bible.If you took the decision to follow Jesus then please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let us know so we can be in touch with you and send you some Bible study materials that will help you in your Christian faith.
I wrote this blog last year on another site and thought it worth repeating here......For the past few years almost everywhere I've gone I've been hearing/seeing the phrase 'Now is the Time' - maybe it's because I'm nearer 50 than I am 40 but the thought of eternity has been at the center of my thoughts for sometime now. Maybe it's age related, or maybe it's because I'm an evangelist - I wonder sometimes if I'm alone (I'm sure I'm not) as I see people out and about and continualy ask myself the questions: where will that person be spending eternity, why am I not doing more to share the gospel, why does the church at times feel as if it has so many other agenda's other than mission and evangelism, and why does evangelism always come bottom on many church agenda's?
Maybe I'm being unfair both on myself and the church, but I can't help but wonder if we're missing it somewhere. In John 9 verse 4 we read that Jesus said 'I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work'. This statement, as many commentators agree refers to Jesus' own ministry and the 'night' refers to the crucifixion - however, I can't help but wonder if that statement is not also a challenge for the Church to get busy with what it is called to do - proclaim the Gospel.
We live in an age of moral declination, financial unstabibilty, and increasing political correctness. An age where by-gone values have just 'gone'.
In the wake of the UK riots last year many people asked the question 'why?' I heard various polititions, celebrities, and even church leaders try to give an explanation as to why many 'normal' people would act in such an attrocious manner. In the mix of different responses I didn't hear too many people say however that the problem was actually to do with the human heart - that our hearts are 'deceitful above all things, and desperatley wicked'(Jer 9:17) and that the only solution to this heart problem is for us to come into a relationship with the living Lord Jesus Christ and receive forgiveness for our sin.
I know for many, "evangelism" is not easy: fears, guilt, worries of rejection and failure surround like a fierce pack of wolves and cause us to become immobilised, like rabbits caught in headlights, but the word of God still stands. We have the many promises in scripture that declare that God is with us, for us not against us, and that he will equip us and empower us - we need not fear.
I'm stirred by the words of Peter and John, when commanded, yes commanded, to stop speaking of or teaching in the name of Jesus, the reply came: " Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.For we cannot but speak of the things which we have seen and heard" (Acts 4: 19,20) I believe we need this same boldness today, that NOW IS THE TIME.
Now is the time for us for be sharing the truth of the life giving Gospel with our family, friends, with whoever we can in whatever way we can. My prayer today is 'Lord give me the boldness to tell someone about you today' - may it be your prayer too: Now is the Time!
Some while ago, when I was on a mission in Uganda, I asked the teenage Son of my host as we were walking through the village, if he knew what he wanted to do with his life. He replied ' to be an evangelist like you' - he quickly followed this remark by asking the question 'What qualifies you to be an evangelist'?
I thought for a moment, and then replied ' well I've been to college, I have a piece of paper that says I've done a certain course and passed the grade, I have a lot of experience working in different situations, including Christian ones, but I don't think any of that qualifies me to be an evangelist' I continued...' I think what qualifies a person to be an evangelist is what God puts in their hearts, It's the passion he gives someone to tell others about Him'.
Thinking about that now it seems quite a simplistic answer, but true none the less. So often we can look to others to give us
affirmation, counsel and acceptance that we need, which is right and good - 'in the multitude of counsellors there is safety' (Proverbs 11:14) but there is something deeper than outside counsel that God puts within us.
It's interesting that Jesus called the likes of tax collectors, and fishermen to follow Him. Folks that were just ordinary people - but people that God used to turn the world upside down. Even the religious leaders, when they saw 'the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated men and untrained men, - marvelled'. The key? ....'they realised they had been with
Jesus'. (Acts 4:12)
It's our relationship with Jesus and what He, through the Holy Spirit puts into our hearts that qualifies us to enter into the
calling he puts on our lives so we may fulfil our destiny in Him.
So if you're feeling 'unqualified' - then just ask yourself, what has God given me? What desires as he put in my heart? What gifts has he given me?
Let that passion rise up within you, step out in faith, and He will carry you, enable you, and equip you in your service to Him.