Saturday, December 14, 2013
The Transforming Power of Water and the Word
Saving Lives, Changing Destinies
By Jerry Wiles, President Emeritus, Living Water International
Special to ASSIST News Service
HOUSTON, TX (ANS) -- At this time of year we are hearing and thinking about joy and being joyful, and even singing songs of joy and rejoicing. But what is it that brings real joy into people’s lives? What can we do to bring joy to others? What is it that brings joy to the Lord? These are important questions to ponder.
While we, as followers of Jesus, should be responsible to share what we have with those in need, it would be important to realize that we can learn from and receive from them. God is at work in all places, at all times, and it is a challenge to all of us to recognize His redemptive activities, many times in the most unlikely people and places. One of my mentor’s years ago, the late Manley Beasley, used to say, “One of our greatest challenges is to find out what God is up to, and get in on it.” Henry Blackaby has said we need to identify the activity of God, and join Him.
There really is no greater joy than being God’s instruments to carry out His purposes and advance His kingdom. Think of all the ways you can do that on a daily basis. God has placed each of us in a mission field, made up of our families, neighbors, co-workers and friends. And, there is another category which I call “all others.” With today’s resources and technologies, we are able to communicate and share with people around the globe.
A friend of mine, who has participated in LWI’s Orality Training Workshops and is now conducting orality training himself, shared some of his recent experiences with me by phone. He was on a mission trip and had the opportunity to lead an Orality Training Workshop with 25 underground pastors in one of the creative access countries in Asia. He was encouraged at how excited these pastors were to learn a method that they can use anywhere, which is not dependent on literate or technological resources. They were equipped with stories and methods that are reproducible, with just what is in their heads and hearts that can be reproduced in other people’s heads and hearts. They were amazed and surprised at how effective their orality training can be in sharing Jesus and making disciples, even in some of the most difficult circumstances.
Just being alert to the people around us, and looking for ways to connect with them, can create amazing opportunities to share Christ. Making eye contact, smiling and greeting people, can open the door to engage in conversations that can result in saving lives and changing destinies. We sometimes make things more complicated than they need to be. Simply asking questions, listening and telling our story can lead to telling God’s story. We don’t have to be great storytellers, because we have great stories to tell.
It is true that God seems to use the most unlikely candidates to accomplish His most significant work. (See 1 Cor. 1:26-31). It seems like many in the Church world today are looking for or trying the most sophisticated, complicated and complex strategies and programs. There is a tendency to look for the best and newest thinking. Yet, when we think about the fact that the Good News (Story) of Jesus spread throughout the entire populated world in the first century, we should consider how that happened. It was primarily by simple, ordinary people telling the story and sharing the love and truth of Jesus. It’s not complicated. Someone has said that the Early Church is becoming the model for the Modern Church. It has also been said that the Twenty-First Century Church may look a lot like the First Century Church.
It is encouraging that increasing numbers of church leaders are now having conversations about some important kingdom issues, such as:
The important thing is to find answers to these questions, not based on some religious tradition that has been developed over the past few hundred years, but based on what we learn from Jesus and Scripture. Many people today are looking for answers, without asking the right questions. When we ask the right questions, chances are better that we’ll eventually discover the right answers, especially if we are looking to the Lord and His Word.
One of the encouraging things about the Orality Movement is that almost anyone can participate. We don’t have to be scholars or theologians to tell stories and ask questions. When stories from the Word of God are told, and the right questions are asked, the Holy Spirit often gives people deep insight into His truth and how it applies to our lives. It’s not just about information and knowledge, but it’s about experiencing the truth -- experiencing God in a personal and intimate way.
It is amazing and encouraging to see the growing passion and excitement among pastors, mission leaders and others as they become familiar with the Orality Movement. Those who take the time to learn and participate often have a transformational moment when they see its impact.
Tweet See all ASSIST News articles at www.assistnews.net
** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
Send this story to a friend.