Staff Retreat 2014
About 80 missionaries, serving with NTMC, attended the staff retreat held at Joy Bible Camp. It was refreshing to be challenged and reminded about God’s focus. WHAT IS GOD’S FOCUS? Here are some clues from God’s Word, that Greg Sanford so graciously shared with us:
(This is not actually Joy Bible Camp, but was taken on the way back. Thought it was a nice reminder of God’s promises.)
1) Gen. 1:26-28 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
This is lost in our culture. We worship the creation and not the Creator. It is seen as evil to “govern or subdue” “nature”. It also means to be a good steward of the resources God has given us, but we are not equal to the animals and plants. We are made in the image of God and he made all the plants and animals for us to govern. As far as multiplying and filling the earth, mankind disobeyed that from the beginning. God reminds us what happened to people when sin entered the world.
3) Gen. 9:1-3 Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power. I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables.
Again, the same message. Again, mankind rebels, does not believe, trust and obey God. We come to the Tower of Babel.
4) Gen. 11:1-9 At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” …Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.” In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.”
5) Gen. 12:1-3 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
This is talking about ethnic families, people groups, not political nations. Jesus came through the line of Abraham. When he told his disciples to go into all the world, they didn’t even realize He was talking about the blessing of Abraham.
6) Matt. 28:18-20 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Disciples all started to go out. Almost all of them were killed for their faith. Paul went to the Gentiles. The Church grew. God’s Word spread.
7) Acts 15:13-19 When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me. Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for Himself. And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written: ‘Afterward I will return and restore the fallen house of David. I will rebuild its ruins and restore it, so that the rest of humanity might seek the lord, including the Gentiles— all those I have called to be mine. The Lord has spoken—He who made these things known so long ago.’ “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.
So are “we”, the church doing our job? Or are we focused on “our” business? NTM, local church, individual believers?
John was exiled to Patmos and we got the book of Revelation.
8) Rev. 1:9-11 I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
The book starts out like this:
9) Rev. 1:1-3 This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.
10) Rev. 5:9-10 And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.
a. 6900 plus languages today
b. Portions of Scriptures – 375 +/-
c. Whole Bible – 518 +/-
d. NT – 2800 +/-
e. In Progress – 2000 +/-
f. Need Translation – 2000 +/- (1958 maybe)
In the analogy of a football game, we are in the last 2 minutes of the final quarter.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
a. In the game playing. (Church planters, support workers)
b. On the bench, as part of the team (support workers, supporters)
c. In the stands (encouraging by prayer, support, going short-term)
d. Watching at home (praying, (lethargically or devote prayer partners) giving (sacrificially or when it’s convenient)
e. Not even turning on the game. Focused on our own agenda?
WHY ARE WE DOING WHAT WE ARE DOING?
1st Cor. 9:24 …Do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings. Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! Phil. 3:14-16 “We” press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made!