During my recent sabbatical break, I read through 20+ years of journals that I have kept. These journals are not “diaries”, but periodic testimonies of what I sensed God showing me in my Bible studies and prayer times. There are also many testimonies of God’s works in my life and in the lives of those I have served in ministry, both at home and abroad.
I was challenged to find that a few themes continually surfaced in my journals – year after year. Probably the two most dominant themes were worship and mission. By worship I mean developing a passion for pursuing and encountering God’s presence, through prayer and worship and meditation. By mission I mean a compassion for reaching people who do not yet know Christ.
A key verse that often came up in my journals regarding mission was Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be being preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.”
Many years ago this verse powerfully impacted my paradigm of mission and Christ’s Second Coming. It appears that Jesus has no intention of returning to earth until the gospel is being preached to every people group in the world. That’s a task that is objective and clear. While doomsday cults speculate about world politics, natural disasters, the rapture, and anti-Christ figures, God’s real apostolic people have their hearts set on the unreached.
Another key verse in my journals, this time relating to worship, is Mark 14:9, “Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”
Jesus is here referring to the act of extravagant worship by the woman who broke the jar of perfume and anointed Him. The perfume was valued at a year’s worth of wages. At first glance this statement by Jesus may appear to be a prophecy about the woman’s actions being included in the Bible for ensuing generations to read. This is no doubt true. But I think the implications are far greater.
In both of these instances Jesus is making a prophetic statement about His missional/apostolic people. Those who are truly the extravagant worshippers of the Lamb of God, will be passionate to spread His praise abroad and win for Him the reward of His suffering.
True worship inspires mission – and mission creates worshippers.
They go hand in hand! John Piper has written that, “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” The gospel, if rightly understood, produces worshipful passion for the Son of God.
I was challenged last month by seeing this twin theme over and over in my journals. I felt challenged by the Holy Spirit to fan into flame again this two-fold passion. Even as I type these words I feel a deep witness in my Spirit and a strange warmth inside. Indeed, the Spirit of God witnesses from the pages of the Bible and from the hearts of His children, that worship and mission are never meant to be separated and never should be allowed to lose their fire.
Beloved, I ask that you pray for me as I seek afresh our Master’s strategic plans to make worshippers among the people who have yet to know the Savior (both at home and abroad). Would you pray that we will all allow the Spirit of God to lift our vision to the new possibilities of worship and harvest? This is an amazing hour to be living in. May we capitalize on every opportunity!
While the nations shake, let there be a rising symphony of confident praise being lifted up from God’s people. He alone is our Rock. He will not allow our foot to stumble. Let all the nations trust in Him alone.