How Do You Enter an Empty Field?

How do you enter a NYC Park, a mall, or neighborhood?

What is an empty field?  There are empty fields all over this globe.  The largest concentration of empty fields are found in countries where there is no gospel witness at all, these stretch across North Africa and into Asia.  It is commonly called the 10-40 window; start at 10 degrees north latitude and go up to 40 degrees north latitude.  An empty field is defined as a field that does not have seed being sown in it.  Houston is hardly an empty field.  There are plenty of opportunities for someone to go to a church that shares the word of God if they want to.  However, if everyone in Houston, along the 290 corridor through the Cypress area, went to church on a given Sunday it would make up about 12% – 14% of the population.  Although it may not be able to be classified an empty field, there is still great need for gospel sowing.  Is there any insight into entering an empty field?

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Jesus tells us at least 4 ways in Luke 10:1-11:

  • Go 2×2-  There is power in accountability.  Two are better than one almost every time.  If one is struggling the other one is there to pick them up.  There are many who are convinced that reaching out like this requires actually going 2×2, that is, don’t go unless you can go with another person.  I am not convinced that Jesus requires this but will not diminish the blessing of 2×2.  I think it could be done 2×2 but I also believe there might be a sense of accountability that you know that the other person is living on mission simultaneously.  There is nothing more empowering than to know you have a partner in the outreach.  When we visit NYC, we go 2×2, that is mandatory.  But sometimes it is a logistical barrier to do this (i.e. work, neighborhoods, out to eat, etc.).  Question: Do you think it would empower you more or less to go 2×2?
  • Pray- Prayer is the Work of the ministry.  Jesus makes it clear to Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers to the harvest field (Lk. 10:2).  Prayer is powerful because it forces us to stop and depend on God’s enabling, direction, empowerment, and mind.  Outreach is the last activity we want to do in our own strength.  It would be like having a brand new Ferrari that has not gas.  It looks nice in the driveway but a Volkswagen Beetle would be able to get you to work better.  Prayer is the power behind the work.  It is powerful. The power of prayer should not be underestimated.  James declares, “…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (James 5:17-18).  God most definitely listens to prayers, answers prayers, and moves in response to prayers.

  • Go-  The Great Commission does not focus on going but on Making Disciples, however, we make disciples by going and not staying.  Discipleship will never happen if we stay.  In the Bible the word Go means Go.  It is the opposite of Stay.  It is the present tense of Went or Gone.  Just sitting around and not getting involved is like a group of firemen at a five alarm fire washing the truck instead of fighting the fire.  Paul says we have a spiritual resource of feet that are ready to share the gospel (Eph. 6:15).  Somehow, these beautiful feet of ours, have been given a compulsion, a readiness to share the gospel of peace.  It is a noun.  We have them.  Not to go is more work than going that is when one actually goes it seems like all is right in their world.  Make no mistake, GOING or NOT GOING is an act of obedience or disobedience.  Imagine a fully armed soldier. He has his sword, his shield, his helmet, his breastplate and his belt…but his feet are completely bare.  All of the other armor would be worthless without shoes. A shoeless soldier could run into real trouble in the heat of battle. Unless he is fighting on a well manicured battle field, he is going to encounter some rocks, sticks, and rough terrain that will compromise his ability to keep his footing.  In short, shoes allow us to step freely and without fear while we turn our full attention to the battle at hand.  Until we see living and reaching out for God as a battle, not against people, but against our own selves and powerful spiritual forces, we won’t quite know why to really pray or the true motivation for Going.
  • Look for the Person of Peace-  Who is this Person of Peace?  When we unlock the meaning behind the Person of Peace it will completely change the way we live on a mission of outreach with God.  Many have written on this lately.  In summary the Person of Peace is someone that receives you and you receive them.  One writer says, “They like you and you like them.”  Wow!  Here are some ways to consider who a Person of Peace is:  They Welcome and Receive You (they are really in the process of receiving the LORD that shines through you).  They Serve You.  You Intentionally Invest in them (the best idea here is pre-evangelism or showing they belong before they believe).  They are a Gatekeeper to a Network of other Relationships where the Gospel can Go.  Consider these questions in determining if a Person of Peace is around you right now.  Who are you called to love intentionally?  Who comes to mind in response to, “They like you and you like them”?  Who is your heart best shaped to reach for Jesus?  Who is already responding positively to you?  What is Jesus saying to you as you pray about this?

How Does the Kingdom of God Grow?

A Lesson from the World of Agriculture

Before I tackle that question, let me ask, “Did Jesus talk more about the Kingdom or about the Church?”  If you said, “Kingdom,” you would be absolutely right.  In fact, Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven over 100 times and about the Church about 3 times.  The most famous is Peter’s confession of Christ and Jesus’ response saying, “I will build  my church (Matthew 16:18).”  Just a simple look and one will conclude that Jesus wanted to build a Kingdom that would cover the entire globe.  The Church is not bigger than the Kingdom.  The church is a vehicle to build the Kingdom.

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The first command Jesus gives His followers is to “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15).  One of the goals of His followers is to set up God’s Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:10).  Jesus even tells His followers to Seek first the Kingdom (Matthew 6:33).  What does that look like?  How does the Kingdom of God grow on earth?

Typical thinking would say we build the Kingdom of God with a preacher, a church building, a stunning worship band, lights, and a haze machine.  The preacher should be able to communicate to a large crowd so people would listen.  The problem with that thinking is it cannot be found anywhere in the Bible.  Kingdom growth is much more simple than that.  It is simple and transferable.  Kingdom DNA has the power of reproduction in it from beginning to end.  Jesus tells us clearly how the Kingdom of God grows through a lesson from agriculture.

The simple and reproducible lesson is found in Mark 4:26-29.  This parable of Jesus is ONLY found in Mark.

26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

I am amazed every time I think about how Jesus says the Kingdom grows.  Only 5 things are necessary for the KINGDOM OF GOD TO GROW (maybe 6).

  1. A Sower
  2. Seed
  3. Soil
  4. A Season of growth
  5. A Sickle (harvest tool)

Sowersare the beginning of God’s plan. They are men and women who are willing to cast the seed. God has chosen to use US, his people to be catalysts for HIS KINGDOM growth.

  • What does a Sower do?
  • Who is qualified to be a Sower?

READ- 2 Corinthians 9:6

Seed The Word of God from the hand of the sower. God has provided us a picture of Kingdom growth to be like a seed planted in the ground. In another place, Jesus talks about SEED as being the word of God (Mark 4:14).

READ- Romans 10:17

Faith comes by hearing. Yet not everyone who hears believes (Matt 13:14). Some people’s hearts are just not ready, but that is not our job to distinguish between the two.

The sower sows the seed. The sower also tries to remove any obstacle from growth to happen. We want to do our best at being able to be hearable, loving, and full of grace and respect.

  • What is the best way to sow seed?
  • What barriers exist from keeping people from receiving the seed?

SoilThe hearts of the lost in which seed is cast. Everywhere we look we can see spiritually lost people whose hearts are far from God.

  • How many lost people do I know personally?
  • Do I know the condition of their soil?

SeasonCommitment to the sowing of seed and harvest. No seed grows over night. NO farmer sows one day and expects to reap the next day. The wise farmer returns to the field where the seed is sown regularly.

  • Are you committed to bringing the harvest in?
  • How much priority do you give to checking on the growth of the seed you cast?
  • Are you patient to wait for the harvest?

SickleWorkers in the harvest force intentionally seeking to bring the harvest in. It only takes one to sow but it takes the entire community to bring in the harvest.

READ- Luke 10:1-2

  • What resources do we have for bringing in the Harvest?
  • Is your sickle sharp?

I said there might be a sixth necessary thing…

Spiritread Mark 4:27…there is a worker that is working behind the scenes. Seeking to live on mission or go on mission without the power of the Holy Spirit is like planning a trip to the moon without a rocket ship. God calls and God empowers us through the HOLY SPIRIT.

  • How often do you spend learning about God and listening to God?
  • How would you describe your relationship with God?

NYFLO here we GO!

290 Community Church exists to exalt Christ by making disciples that make disciples.

Can you imagine if we knew all there was to know about Jesus’ commands but never really did anything about them?  Craziness!  Yet the number 2 reason why people don’t make disciples is because they don’t think they know how to do it.  What if you could be trained to not only understand how God’s Kingdom works, how to share your story and God’s story, immediately assist a new believer, give long-term assistance to any believer, and finally to teach believers how to multiply their faith…would you sign up?

The vision at 290 Community Church is to Drink Deep of Christ, Flow to Others from Neighborhood to Nations.

The closer we get to knowing God the more readily we will be to make disciples.  People who are empty can’t give much but if one is full from Drinking in knowing God more and His word, the Flowing will be there.  But it won’t happen without intentionally meeting your fears and figuring out a plan.

Check out these two videos: