August 16th 2015

listen to last Sunday’s worship set.

Rob Karch — Leading Summit and 3rd Service; Biography Summary — Grew up in Oregon.  I thought it rained a lot until I came to Colorado.  When I was a junior in college in upstate New York, I received an invitation to go on a missions trip in France — back in 1998.  I met this girl — she was beautiful, she loved Jesus and she had a French accent, so what do you do?  You marry her.  She’s from Montreal; her first language is French.  Another thing God did in my heart in 1998…..I assumed that spiritually the French-speaking world was similar to the United States.  I found that in each village and area there were cathedrals that were mainly empty.  So they were mainly these skeletal remains of a dead or dying religious institution.  There are many full churches here in Colorado; you don’t see ANY in France.  What broke my heart as I was looking out over 11+ million Parisians, was that the vast majority of these people not only have they never opened (the Bible), but they didn’t know any who had.

Rob and Martine applied to World Venture and were invited to Quebec, Canada.  It’s about the size of Alaska.  There are about 7+ million French-speakers in Quebec.  Almost double the population of Colorado.  We’ve had the privilege of being a part, for the last 12 years, of God raising up people and sending them out into communities and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and seeing people put their faith in Jesus Christ.  We worked with individual local churches as well as a provincial church-planting committee that oversaw church planting throughout Quebec.  We were privileged to complete the nine year plan we had laid out and pass the baton off to local church leaders in Quebec.  We came back to the United States on furlough/home assignment and praying about next steps.  France is a possibility…..but right now God has called us here.  God has called us to make and multiply the disciples making the disciples everywhere we are, everywhere we go, while we are here.  That’s the call for every single follower of Jesus.  Where we are right now and then if God calls us and uproots us to Afghanistan or Highlands Ranch, then we go and make disciples there.

Introduced wife, Martine, son Caleb and daughter Constance.  Caleb is a maximum extrovert.  My wife and daughter are introverts.

We’re talking about God’s unstoppable movement and the relentless love of God.  God’s love and God’s pursuit of humanity all throughout history.  What I’d like to start way over here and go back to the book of Genesis where Ryan has been.  God created all of creation—the entire universe and Adam and Eve.  I love how Matt Chandler put it when he’s talking about perfection and living in that.  Matt Chandler says there was alcohol, but no drunkenness; there was sexuality, but there was no lust; there was marriage, but there were no in-laws.  It was just a perfect time.  We see Adam and Eve decide to rebel against that God and choose the one thing….God said you could have everything, but just don’t do this one thing.  We’re like what are we going to do?….we’re going to do the one thing, right?  Of course, none of us are like that!  As we walk through we see that in Genesis 3:15 right after God makes a statement that He will not leave Adam and Eve and humanity alone.  He is sending somebody who’s going to rectify this and there will be a renewing of His creation.  That’s coming and He’s reaching out to humanity.  This starts to unfold throughout history and Ryan talked about Abraham and God calling him out and calling out Israel as a nation and pursuing.  We move forward and see Moses and see David and Solomon.  And Solomon in his dedication of the temple talking about the nations as a whole hearing about the one true God.  We hear about the prophets and people like Daniel who was kidnapped as a young boy and ripped out of his country and brought to a foreign land….you can imagine how traumatic that was.  What is God doing?  Well, God uses Daniel to impact Nebuchanezzer, the king of the entire known world, to proclaim there’s one true God and He’s the God of Israel.  We’re seeing this happen again and again and the prophets are pointing forward to somebody who’s coming.  And we finally get to the Gospels and we find out his name and his name is Jesus of Nazareth.  And he’s a person–God come in the flesh.  And he walked through life.  And he was fatigued.  And he was betrayed.  And he was rejected.  And he was….there was conflict and there were all of these things and these emotional scars and everything he…..we weep and He wept.  We’ve been betrayed; He was betrayed.  We have gone through relationships that are so arduous and just rip our heart out; he did that.  He’s gone through that and then He gave His life up on the cross.  Voluntarily.  I love where they ask Jesus: We’re looking for Jesus of Nazareth and I think his response is I am He and everyone falls down!  Like if there’s any doubt that it’s voluntarily… that moment realize He is GIVING his life up.  But not only does he die on the cross, he conquers death in the resurrection.  Death.  Sin.  All of our spiritual enemies.  Then he appears to his disciples and other groups of people.  At this point in time, THAT’S where we’re at this morning….where Jesus begins to unleash this new concept:  This concept of the church to join in the mission that’s been going from the beginning of time in Genesis and all the way to today and unleashing His church to join and be a part of that mission.  What do we see?  This mission begins to grow.  It goes out from Jerusalem into Judea, Samaria….other parts of the world….up to Europe, down to North Africa to parts of Asia.  Begins to cross up to places like Ireland, up to Scandanavia.  We see these crazy Vikings that are tenacious and violent people that put their faith in Christ.  We see transformed societies.  Finally, it gets all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to this place called the Americas and works its way west and finally gets up to this place called Littleton and eventually this church is planted called South.  This is all part of God’s relentless love for humanity and now we can join it and be a part of it here today.  If we keep going we read to the end to Revelation.  What do we see in Revelation 5 and Revelation 7, Revelation 21?  We see this massive multitude of people….every tribe, language in the entire world.  Representatives of all of these peoples together worshiping God.  One of the things that is remarkable about these scenes is that we see that these are different people with different languages.  They don’t become identical.  But we become unified in our worship of the One True God and THAT’S what we’re looking forward to.  That’s on its way and we have the privilege of participating and being a part of that today, right here, right now.

The church unleashed this morning…and we’re going to look and dive into Matthew 28:18-20 and I pray that even if you’ve read this a hundred times, a thousand times, seen this on the wall over here or elsewhere, that God would open your eyes to different aspects of this.  Christopher JH Wright says this:  “Mission is not ours; mission is God’s.  Certainly, the mission of God is the prior reality out of which flows any mission that we get involved in…It is not so much the case that God has a mission for his church in the world but that God has a church for his mission in the world.  Mission was not made for the church; the church was made for mission–God’s mission.”  And we have a privilege of being a part of that.

Let’s pray together.  God, open our eyes to how great and mighty and awesome you are and what you are doing all around us, both in our communities that we’re living in right now and across the oceans.  Thank you for your love and desire for every single one of us, each one of us, to be a part and play a unique role in this mission.  Thank you for your love.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

So, growing up I had the faulty assumption that the mission began in Matthew 28 when Jesus said, in my English Bible, “Go!”  That’s where I thought it began.  Well, the last few weeks we’ve been deconstructing that and realizing it starts way back then.  But not only that, there isn’t only one commission.  This surprised me.  But we start to walk through the life and teachings of Jesus and we realize that this concept of mission flows through everything Jesus is saying and doing… he’s interacting with the Samaritan woman, how he’s speaking to different Greeks that are coming to him and how he’s overturning all these obstacles and these man-made barriers.  We’ll look at five of these commissions just really quickly.  Matthew 28:16-20…..have you ever wondered when Jesus was resurrected, why did he hang around for forty days before the Ascension?  Was he getting Starbucks?  What was he doing?  Waiting until….really?  No, when we read attentively, we realize there are several things going on.  First of all, He’s spending time with his disciples.  He’s spending personal time with them and he’s healing them and drawing them to himself, he’s wooing them.  He makes breakfast for Peter.  I don’t know how many guys…..breakfast is a good way to woo, right.  If you’re wondering…..   He does that.  And we also see He’s walking with the two men on the road to Emmaus.  Then we see, also, in these particular places, He’s commissioning them.  He’s explaining to them, “THIS is what I’m unleashing you into.  This is what it is.”  He does that multiple times in multiple places.  The first one we’re going to look at is Matthew 28.  The location is a mountain in Galilee and it’s at least three days after the resurrection.  Jesus is resurrected, the disciples are in Jerusalem when that happens.  He says he’s going to meet them on a mountain in Galilee…..that’s at least a three days walk.

The second one is Mark 16:15-16.  The location is in Jerusalem and it’s the evening of the resurrection.  So these are the commissions where Jesus is saying variations of “Go into all the world. Make disciples as you’re going.”  Luke 24:46-49….the location is Jerusalem and it is the evening of the resurrection.  We know it’s Jerusalem because He had just spent time walking on the road to Emmaus.  That evening He spends time with the disciples.  In John 20:21-22 the location is Jerusalem and it’s the evening of the resurrection.  However, his wording is so radically different from Luke’s wording that this must absolutely be something different that Jesus said that evening.  How about Acts?  In the book of Acts 1:1-8 it most definitely takes place in Bethany at the Mount of Olives.  This takes place 40 days AFTER Luke’s commission.  Do you see that Jesus is spending time with his disciples and he’s saying: Alright, there’s this new thing.  I’m sending you out.  I’ve spent time with you, now it’s time to get to work.  I have a role, I have a task for you as the church.  I’m unleashing you into the world.  He repeats this again and again and again throughout this 40 day period of time. We see the Gospel genre climaxes with the death, burial and resurrection and commission of Jesus’ disciples every time.  No other thing Jesus said gets this kind of treatment.

There are a number of things we can gather from that.  One of them is that ALL followers of Jesus, not only a small minority, have the privilege and responsibility to make disciples.  EVERYONE has a role to play.  If you’re a follower of Jesus, you’re part of this.  You can say that you’re not like the other person.  I’m not like Ryan.  I’m not like Pastor Dan.  Praise God that you’re not, because God has not called them to your community in the same way He’s called you.  God has not placed them in your family the way He’s placed you.  This is going to look different in each person’s life.  We’re each unique but we’re all called to this.  Where we are as we’re going to make disciples, young or old, rich or poor, experienced or inexperienced, we’re called to the same mission.  Just one key thing.  Perhaps you’re already involved in the church here and you’re doing THINGS.  You’re involved in a ministry of some sort.  That’s great!  I’m not asking you to try harder or to work more.  I’m asking you to think through, right now, and think about what you’re doing.  As you’re working, as you’re at home, as you’re in the community ask yourself that as I’m doing these things am I making disciples or am I just accomplishing tasks?  God calls us to make disciples.  Each follower of Christ is unique.  God desires to use that uniqueness to multiply unique disciples for His glory.  We don’t have to be like somebody else.  God has gifted us uniquely.  This is the church unleashed.

What we see first of all in Matthew 28:18-20 is the church is unleashed on an authorized mission.  Let’s jump back to Matthew 28:16:  Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.  And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.   {That’s kinda weird.  Have you seen that before?  I love this for two reasons.  First of all, we have the flse notion that if I have true faith that I will never struggle.  Not true.  This life is a journey and there will be times and periods in our life where, for different various reasons, we’re going to struggle with different aspects of what it means to follow Jesus.  Secondly, Matthew is not sugarcoating anything!  I was thinking that if I was writing this and I was just trying to get somebody to believe in Jesus—like I wasn’t concerned about truth—then I would write about: there was a lot of doubting, then Jesus showed up and then no one doubted.  That’s how I would write it.  And Matthew is saying but some doubted.  He’s not sugarcoating.  He’s being honest and saying this is what happened.  Now, you make the decision to follow Jesus.}  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me……(v20) And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”   So the one who has all authority, who’s in charge, is with us all the way to the end of the age.  Jesus, God the Son, has complete dominion (it’s the word “exousia” in the Greek), total power, comprehensive authority and when I become a follower of Christ, He demands my complete and total allegiance.  At that moment, I fundamentally become a child of God, a new creation, a member of the family.  My allegiance changes.  My loyalty shifts.  I am no longer bound by laws or authorities on this earth.  My commitment is now to my Creator and His direction to me.  That sounds kinda scary.  Is that going to be chaotic?

God directs us to be good citizens.  To love our neighbors.  Radical love.  Radical obedience to our Father.  But what binds us fundamentally?  It’s because Jesus, our authority, is directing us to obey the laws of the land.  Fundamentally, these laws don’t bind us.  This is kinda scary.

A number of my family members are United States Marines.  I think they understand this.  The United States Marine Embassy guard…..people in my family have done this.  When you’re guarding an embassy in a foreign country, you go to that foreign country and you are abiding by the laws in that country, to an extent, right?  So whether it’s Hong Kong or Algeria or Canada.  You are abiding by the laws in that country as you also obey the orders of your superiors.  As you are involved in that particular country, if your superior sends you out as a Marine on a mission that is going to trespass some of the local laws and you understand that…..then what’s the Marine going to do?  Is the Marine going to say, “Sorry, sir.  Can’t do it.”  No, the Marine is actually going to trespass those laws.  As a rogue person, as a citizen that is just…..??  No! As a citizen of the United States, serving their country and we love that and appreciate it.  So we, as followers of Jesus Christ, as sons and daughters of the one True God, obey the authorities of our land here, because OUR authority tells us to be good citizens.  That’s why we obey.

I love the story of Tony Dungy.  Is Tony Dungy loved in Denver?  It’s hard to tell because I’m a Seattle Seahawks fan.  Tony Dungy was the coach of the Indianapolis Colts and prior to that the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  There’s this story in his autobiography I love.  His son, if I remember correctly, if he got good enough grades or something like that, he could come and stand on the sideline with his father during the game.  So the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the away team at another stadium.  The game was just about ready to start.  There were 70,000-80,000 fans.  Chaos on the sidelines as they get ready for the game.  Tony and his son are there.  A security guard comes up to Tony Dungy and says, “I’m sorry, sir, but we have a very strict guideline here.  A rule that children are not allowed on the sidelines during games.  So, this boy is going to have to leave.”  Tony Dungy turns to the security guard and says, “Well, he can stay.”  The security guard says, “I”m sorry I have to insist.  We’re very strict about this rule.  He has to leave.”  Tony Dungy replies, “No.  He’s staying.”  The security guard says, “Ok. Thank you,” and left.  A few minutes later he comes back.  He says, “I’m sorry, sir, but this is actually a direct order from the owner of the other team.  He’s asked me to come down and ask your son to leave.”  Tony Dungy turns to him and says something to the effect of, “Well, tell your owner that he’s going to have to refund the tickets of all these 70,000-80,000 people.  Because if he leaves, I’m taking the entire team with us.  We’re going to leave and there will not be a game today!”  Security guard says, “Thank you very much.  I’ll relay the message.”   Authority!  Authority!

Jesus is the one who has authority.  If there’s anyone in this world that needs to not be anxious about the next Presidential election or the next Supreme Court case…’s Christians!  Followers of Jesus.  Now, we’re called to be involved at every level of our society.  Absolutely be involved.  But anxious?  Afraid that the sky is falling?  Jesus has ultimate authority and He is with us to the end of the age!  This mission is authorized….even when political authorities oppose it.  It’s authorized to exist in public.  I love this when you study church history.  The early church could have claimed to be a “cultis privitas,” in Latin it means a private religion, and just hung out in a dark corner and said…….   How often do we get this objection that your faith is between you and God, it’s a personal thing, just keep it at your place and stop bringing it into the public square.  I can understand the objection.  The only problem with it is Jesus won’t let me keep it in my private life.  He won’t let me.  Jesus calls me to make disciples who make disciples.  The early church could have taken this cultis privitas and probably have avoided a lot of persecution.  But instead they took on the name “ecclesia,” which means a public gathering or assembly with authority.  You can imagine the statement that made in front of the Roman government.  We can’t control these people.  They say they have an authority above the Roman government.  We can’t let this go on.  That’s the title the church took.

This mission is also authorized to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations….”  We are not given authority by Jesus to simply personally believe the Gospel.  We are given authority by Jesus to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth!  Secondly, the church is unleashed to multiply disciples.  Disciples are not the end game.  If disciples are the end game, then they are disciples at all.  They are only converts.  This is really important for us to understand.  We’re not looking for people or ourselves to just say yes, I’m a follower of Jesus, but Jesus calls me to make other disciples who make other disciples.  What do we see in this text?  What is the imperative?  There is one imperative and the English kind of mangles it.  That imperative is “make disciples!”  One command.  MAKE. DISCIPLES.  There are three participles:  Going, teaching and baptizing.  So as we’re going, teaching and baptizing….make disciples as we’re going, as we’re teaching, as we’re baptizing.  So we are a going people as followers of Christ.  We’re going and we’re all going somewhere. All of us!  Tomorrow when you wake up you’re going to go somewhere.  Where are you going to go?  Are you going to go to work?  Are you going to some event somewhere?  At some point throughout the week, we’re going.  As we’re going make disciples, teaching them to obey…..not just teaching, we’re not looking for intellectual ascend to more knowlege….we’re looking for people who decide to follow the way of Jesus.  We bring our life into alignment with Jesus.  It’s not just saying Jesus is a great guy.  No, Jesus demands certain things of me for my own good.  To bring my life into alignment with His.  And baptizing….this public proclamation that I, too, am one of these disciples of Jesus.  And in many countries around the world, baptism is the sticking point.  We can be involved in a church around the world.   Maybe even here…..we can attend, but when it comes to baptism that’s the point…..I know if Quebec a lot of people shied away….no, I don’t want to publicly proclaim this.

So we are a going group of people.  We are a teaching group of people.  We are a baptizing group of people.  As we’re going into our communities, into our workplaces and all around the world.  That’s who we are as a Body of Christ!!  As we multiply disciples.  Matthew 23:15….this is a kinda scary verse, because a lot of us could think that if we’re radical enough….if we say we’re going to cross the ocean and I’m going to cross a desert to bring this message to somebody….we could look at that person and think they’re a serious follower of Christ.  Not necessarily.  It’s not in the act of going alone.  It’s not in the act of trying to be somebody and going to a place.  Look at this (Scripture):  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.    That’s scary!  Fundamentally, it’s not about going somewhere or doing some great thing.  Fundamentally, it’s about following Jesus.  I know in my own personal life, this is the struggle.  Am I willing to say Jesus, you are worthy!  You alone are worthy!  I will follow you anywhere!  No matter what question or thing you ask of me, the answer is YES!  If that starts here in my family, in my community and my job, then if at some point in my life God takes me elsewhere, then it’s going to be a continuation of that following of the way of Jesus.

One of the objections to making disciples is that people don’t want to hear.  Have you felt that way?  On the news and around the world, we can say yeah, I’d love to go but people don’t want to hear.  Muslim nations.  Other places in the world so why would I even go?  People in my neighborhood, they just don’t want to hear.  I talked to one person three years ago….they kinda responded negatively… see?  Here’s a story about a young couple who were going to Somalia back in the 1990’s.  His name is Nik Ripken and he wrote a book called The Insanity of God.  Great book.  I would recommend it.  It will mess with you though.  He talks about how they were planning to go to Somalia in the 1990’s….remember Blackhawk Down?  They were going to that Somalia.  As they were getting ready to go, they met with a missiologist in the United States to talk about that. Nik says it was a very small, quiet man sitting behind his desk in his office and they walked into his office to meet this world-reknown missiologist.  The missiologist looked at them and said, “So, you’re the young couple that has the audacity to take the Gospel to Somalia.”  Nik was like I know, I know.  We know Somalis are not responsive to the Gospel.  With that the missiologist jumped up and just about jumped over his desk, knocking a couple of papers on the floor.  And this is what he said, “How dare you say that the Somalis are not responsive to the Gospel, when so many of them have never heard the Gospel and been given the opportunity to respond.” There are so many people who have not heard.  So many people that God is preparing.  His Spirit is going ahead of us right now.  We don’t know what their response will be until they actually hear.

I experienced this a couple of times recently.  A few months ago I went into a closed country on a scouting mission to see what God was doing with a couple of other people.  In this particular closed country a ton of things happened.  I came out of the airport and my driver came to meet me to drive me to where I needed to go.  He was a Muslim.  We’re sitting in the car together and we’re talking and he’s showing me his beautiful city.  We had this great conversation—he was newly married—about what it was like to be newly married and walking through that transition.  What his life was like there and how he spoke six languages, but had never left the country.  There are so many people in other countries that are so intelligent and God has gifted them enormously.  I respected him incredibly.  After the end of that drive, he dropped me off where I needed to be.  I was kind of disappointed because I didn’t have the opportunity to talk to him about Jesus.  Couple of days later, we needed to make an hour and a half drive to go to some villages and who was our driver?  It was the same guy!  It was so cool!  So we started talking right away about Jesus.  We talked about Jesus through the entire drive.  It was a great conversation.  I asked him if he had ever read Jesus for himself.   If he’d ever read in a Bible.  He said yes he had!  Two weeks prior to that, he had gotten on his phone and was wondering why the Bible was forbidden to be given out in his country, so he downloaded an Arabic version on his phone and began to read it.  Two weeks later, who’s in the vn next to him???  I am!!  Helping to explain who Jesus was.  Later on, I was walking down the road with some other friends.  It was amazing just meeting people and realizing that since I was not there long term and if I speak with somebody and something happens, worse case scenario I’d get a free bus ticket to the airport and a thank you for visiting their country and please never come back.  So I was thinking I’m going to step out and try to make some contacts and have some conversations.  I walked up to a particular group of young people and began to speak….it was a country where a few people spoke French….so I began in speaking in French.  They spoke back, “Oh, Quebec!  That’s cold there!”  Yes, it is. They made the assumption that since I was from North America I was a Christian because as we know all North Americans are Christians.  We began talking about that and having a discussion about Islam and that particular country and my country.  One of the guys spoke to me and said, “You know that Jesus did not die.”  So I struggled with how to respond to that, because I do not want to debate.  I want to share the good news of Jesus. So I began to share that we all know that God created everything—He created the universe, human beings and all of that.  Everyone nodded yes.  We all know that God is perfect.  They all nodded yes, He is.  We all know that we aren’t.  Yes, that’s true.  We have sin and we have evil and we have pride, we have lust, we have all of these things in us.  Yes, that’s true.  We all know that at the end of time God is going to judge us for that evil.  He’s going to judge that.  They all nodded their heads yes.  But we also know that God is good. Yes. And that He loves us.  They were all nodding yes, we know that.  We all know that because of that goodness He wants to have a relationship with us.  And that’s why He came to this earth in the person of Jesus Christ.  He lived a perfect life, and then he died.  But he didn’t just die, he rose again conquering sin, death, our spiritual enemies.  And then one day, everybody who puts their faith in Jesus Christ….then the evil inside of us is placed on His shoulders.  The perfection of Jesus is placed on us.  One day, on the day of judgement, we can walk into that day of judgement with no fear, because when God comes to judge us, He’s not going to look at us as evil people.  He’s going to look at us as His children, because that judgement was already paid for in the person of Jesus Christ.  So….if we say that Jesus never died then we’re also saying that Jesus was not resurrected.  We’re saying that at the end of time we have no hope.  Everyone in the group was silent.  The whole group looked at me and started to say amongst themselves, “So that’s why Christians say that Jesus died.”  They’d never heard that before.  Let’s not make the assumption that people are going to reject Jesus if they haven’t heard.

I got an email after that trip.  Rob, Thanks for your message.  Great to hear from you.  It was really great to meet and spend a little time with you.  I was just with (no name) yesterday, all day.  The driver that picked you up from the airport.  He asked about you and kept going on and on about the impact you had on him.  And about how nice and kind you were, even in just the short time you were with him.  He talked about Bob, who had the long beard (I had a really long beard at that time), but wasn’t a Muslim, but who follows Jesus.  So it’s cool you wrote today, because I was just thinking about you yesterday and grateful for the impact you, and the rest of the group, had while you were here.  We are also having a meeting tomorrow with a bunch of students.  I’m planning a day to take them and get to know more and share.  This is the university you stopped outside of and had the discussion with the students out on the street.  I’m sure some of the ones we’re connecting with were some of the ones you had been talking to.  Hopefully that’s an encouragement to you and the rest of the group that came about the followup that’s happening on some of the connections you made while here.           Called to multiply disciples.  We don’t know who God is calling to himself and who He isn’t, but we’re called to multiply disciples, that’s what we know.

Of all peoples.  So this word in Matthew 28 is a phrase “panta ta ethne,” make disciples of all nations.  This doesn’t mean make disciple in Iraq, a disciple in the U.S. and a disciple in Japan.  That’s not what it means. It’s talking about peoples.  Example of that:  My wife and I spent the last twelve years in Quebec, Canada.  You have French-speaking Quebecers versus English-speaking Canadians that are so different.  They have a different history.  They have different cultural values.  Here in the United States we have multiple native American tribes who do not share the same cultural history as other tribes.  These are different peoples.  Even here we have different peoples from all nations who are a part of this community, a part of the larger Denver area.  He’s calling us to make disciples of those peoples.  I’d like to talk a little bit about what God is doing around the world and get our mind around that this morning.  Because one of the things that can happen to us if we’re watching the news too often….because the news is not about God’s mission.  The news is about eyeballs, right? Well, God is working all around the world.  He’s doing amazing, incredible things, including places like the Middle East, right now!  In fact, He isn’t working in spite of the chaos.  Often God works because of and through the chaos.  How many times has there been some natural disaster and after that we see a movement of God in that people group that was so hardened to the Gospel.  Or we didn’t have a way to get in there that we knew of and then all of a sudden, this natural disaster happens.  And all of a sudden these people show up and they begin handing out food and loving people.  And the people there ask why are you doing this?  Their answer usually is it’s because of Jesus.  That marks people and places, so today around the world there are seven billion people according to 2010 Operation World.  Eight percent know Jesus, seven percent in 2003.  Sixty-six countries have some sort of persecution against Christians.  There’s all these overwhelming problems:  HIV/AIDS, natural disasters, wars, famine, slavery and extremism and we can get discourages.  (Pastor Rob showed slides of statistics from Operation World.)  Islam — showing up mostly in North Africa into the Middle East and down into Indonesia.  Did you know that 80+% of Muslims have never met somebody who claims to follow Jesus Christ?  We need to see more followers of Jesus interacting with and loving and making disciples of people who call themselves Muslim.  Hinduism is mainly in India, however the influence of Hinduism is obviously greater than that.  Buddhism we see mostly in east Asia and southeast Asia and Japan.  Non-religious people in China, Europe, North America.  Here’s for the accountants in the group (showed a table listing countries with highest and lowest percent of evangelicals).  The left table had listed the countries with the highest percentage of evangelicals in the world.  Of the top 25 countries in the world, only two would be considered western nations:  United States and the Faroe Islands.  We all know where the Faroe Islands are, right?  There are about 50,000 people that live there.

God is working in the non-western world, right now!  He is doing amazing works around the world and we can be a part of it.  Both, making disciples in our communities as well as going over seas.  Each and every one of us…we’re part of this mission that God is accomplishing.  Percent of global evangelicals by continent.  If we took the evangelicals in the entire world and put them in a big pie and cut it up via continent:  17% of the world’s evangelicals are in North America.  33% in Africa.  27% in Asia.  So there are more people who claim to follow Jesus, who claim that only Jesus can save us from our sins/death through his death and resurrection by grace through faith alone….more people in Africa than America.  More people in Asia than North America or Latin America.  However, there are a lot more people in Asia, right?  So the actual percentage of people who would claim to follow Jesus in that way in Asia are only about 4%.  Whereas in North America the percentage of North Americans that would claim that publicly are about 27% (obviously, these are round numbers and we’re getting a general idea).

Unreached people groups by population.  Where there is no indigenous movement with the resources necessary to reach the rest of that people group with the Gospel.  As of 2010, although there have been a few changes.  Most of these groups are in Asia, in countries we generally do not like to visit or that we simply do not understand.  We need to see people interacting, mingling, living and making disciples there.  Who’s going to go?  Top ten countries with unreached populations.  Again, who’s planning their family vacation to Pakistan.  These are generally places we don’t like to go.  We need people going and living there.

I just want to finish with this encouragement here.  The relentless advance of the Gospel 1960-2010.  This is a slide put together by Operation World in 2010.  Don’t miss this!!  Look at Brazil, South America then look over at West and East Africa then look over at South Korea.  (Very few blue dots in the 1960 map in those areas.  2010 map had significantly more blue dots.)  We can ask ourselves sometimes does it really make a difference?  Does it make a difference for me to drive into my community with the eyes of a disciple-maker saying that I’ve been called by God in this community?  Does it really make a difference to move to a place like West Africa and give my life there?  Well, let’s see the difference on the maps from 1960 to 2010!   Traveling to other countries, serving and loving them in the name of Jesus, inviting them to follow the same Jesus as we lay our lives down in radical love for others… makes a difference!  It is effective!  This is one of the products of taking seriously the mission Jesus is asking us, His church, to be a part of!  Isn’t that awesome?!  There’s a lot of work left to be done, but God has not taken a vacation.  He’s not left the world.  He’s still moving.

“Our mission is nothing less (or more) than participating with God in this grand story until he brings it to its guaranteed climax.” — Christopher JH Wright   It’s gonna happen.  It’s unstoppable.  Remember, each follower of Christ is unique and God desires to use that uniqueness to multiply unique disciples for His glory.  So what do I take away from this today?  What do I do about this?  I don’t know what God is calling you to right now.  Actually, I do know….in a general sense.  Where are you going tomorrow morning?  Where are you going to tonight?  Who’s going to a sports-related activity?  No one.  We need to work on that one.  Who’s going to a media-related job?  One person.  God’s called you to make disciples there?  How about education—as a student or a teacher?  God has called you to make disciples in that milieu.  What about healthcare?  Who’s involved in healthcare?  God has called you to make disciples there.  How about business?  Some people are raising their hands in multiple places.  That’s great.  How about government?  Municipal, state, federal.  Yes, God has called you to make disciples in government.  How about the arts?  We’re going to have to work on that one, too.  Family-related things:  you’re raising children, you’re caring for your parents, whatever.  God has called us to make disciples there.  How about science or agriculture?  Gotta work on that one, too —- bunch of suburbanites!  Police and fire?  Yes.  It’s unique, so what it looks like to make disciples as a teacher or a student,  it’s very different from a police officer or a fireman.  These are not the same things, but we’re all called to make disciples in that milieu.  That’s a general call that we’re all called to.

Two things the church is working on right now:  We’re relaunching the third service Sunday evenings.  So if you’re interested in being a part of that…..(Rob is leading that.)  Secondly, Aaron and Rodney are working on a push to adopt world partners next week.  To love and bless people who are going out to other parts of the world.

I want to finish with one statement:  Where do you go?  Where are you going?  If you are a follower of Christ, you are unique.  God desires to use that uniqueness to multiply unique disciples where you are going.

Let’s pray.  God, we want to celebrate this.  Thank you for your call to your entire church to be part of this.  We love you and we have the expectation that you’ll do powerful things through this church and through each one of these individuals as we take this role on.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.