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Do Not Pass Go

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Having just returned from Nicaragua and considering what to share with congregations and youth groups, here are a few things I have gathered from my understanding of scripture and the heart of God. These are not so much steps we take but concepts and directives to help us understand that missional living is really the way we were created to live.

Before Jesus departed earth, leaving his rag-tag bunch of disciples to change the world, this is the charge he gave them:

18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 HCSB

This is nothing new for people who live in church culture; we hear this passage anytime there is anything remotely related to overseas mission work! But was that really Jesus’ intention for stating this command and empowering His disciples? Was He only interested in “overseas” mission work or was He more interested in their lives being missional? I believe it encompasses both but ideally the latter. When we live missionally, it matters not where we are; wherever we are we seek to usher in God’s Kingdom. This is where the mindset for some is lost. Sadly, some only view “mission work” as that which is done in another country or with a culture that is distinctly different than our own. So many pass on the word “GO” because they feel like they are not “called” to be a missionaries in some foreign field and thus they tune out as soon as they realize this passage is set for the sermon.

My understanding of the passage mentioned in Matthew 28 is that when Jesus spoke these words, He was essentially saying:

“As you are making your way through your ordinary, daily routines of life, make disciples of people whether you are at home or traveling abroad.” At least, that’s how I would interpret it. Here’s how Eugene Peterson translates it as in The Message:

18-20 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life…

Why is it that so many of us just pass on “GO”? Here are three directives to help you make the most out of your life and living missionally right where you are.

1) Use Common Sensedo not pass go

When Jesus gave this direct command to His disciples, he expected them to do it. He didn’t require them to be planning long distant mission trips to countries on the other side of the world but what He did expect them to do was to take the gospel and life transformation wherever they went. Before you jump on the bandwagon and claim that mission work is only for those who are “called”, you need to realize that Jesus was talking to all of his disciples at this point and none of them had more of a “special calling” than the other. What this means is that all of us are “called” and CAN do mission work wherever we are. Jesus’ command is not for a select few who WANT to go; it’s for everyone who is going from place to place whether it’s familiar or foreign. Jesus’ command for missional living  just makes common sense to be lived out right where we are.

2) Use Common Connections

Mission work abroad seems “easier” because we are forced to do “ordinary” things with people. Things like washing clothes, serving food, and building relationships are tasks that each and every missionary must do when traveling abroad. Sure there are times for sharing the gospel, attending church, among other “spiritual” endeavors BUT the most effective mission work is done in and through the relational aspects of a trip or stay. Even though the spiritual things are of grave concern, it is through the common connections of daily routines, the tasks of general life that allow for conversations and eventually conversions and discipleship.

Sometimes people freak out wondering where they are supposed to go; is it Africa or Asia? Use common sense and look at your common connections. Do you have connections to any of those places? Are there people in your circle of influence who are already working in that place? It’s really not a matter of God not “showing” where He wants us as much as it is us recognizing the places that we can effectively connect through the relationships we already have.

The only reason we have a ministry in Africa is because of a friend who came to my church one day and asked who would go. I was the only one who raised his hand that day. Now for more than 14 years, I have been helping and developing disciples in Africa. I’ve been 10 times but MOST of my discipleship happens via prayer and the internet.

The only reason we have ministry in El Salvador is because a friend invited me to go and their church made it possible. I went and have been going ever since. That was close to 10 years ago! Now we have a ministry that is growing and expanding like crazy there.

The only reason we have a ministry in Nicaragua because a friend invited me to go and helped make it possible. I have been several times over the last three years, teaching and equipping young disciples there and it’s all because of using common connections. I had a friendship with someone who had a friendship with someone and that opened more doors than I ever thought possible!

Missional living happens when we simply use our common connections and build on those relationships to affect the world.

3) Use Spiritual Discernment

The first two directives are really for all of us. Anyone who has common sense can live like a missionary wherever they are. Those who realize that God orchestrates relationships and friendships for intentional purposes can also quite easily live missionally. This third directive is geared for those who are sincerely seeking to serve in some specific way. I believe that there are certain people that God gifts with abilities to learn languages, to adapt to changes, and easily identify with others. These “missionaries” often seem to “know” their calling and have a desire for a place or a people in which they want to minister. It’s quite clear to them and to others who know them well.

For those who wonder if they should or shouldn’t go to a “place” or deal with a certain “people” group, use spiritual discernment. Pray and study the scripture. Learn about them and seek out healthy friendships with that people group here in the USA. One of the great advantages we have living in America is that we have almost every nation in our own “backyard”. So be discerning and wise and establish some friendships with other cultures and see if God would have you become more involved in “going” to serve that nation.

Sometimes there is just a gnawing sense within one’s spirit about what they must do or where they must go. If this is NOT you, then simply pray and seek the Lord. It doesn’t mean you aren’t a missionary. Through spiritual discernment, friendships, godly counsel and connections along with God’s word and common sense, you will become more and more clear on how and what God wants to do through you. Whatever you do, don’t pass “Go”. It’s meant for you!

 

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George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and Missions Pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA

Weekend Recap 3/18/14

V2H Weekend Recap

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Shortly after Jan-Niklas arrived, we thought we’d get a shot here with Mayor Reed welcoming him to the USA.

Well it has been a very busy weekend. As you may already know, our intern from Germany arrived after a very adventurous journey to America. You can read more about that here. After arriving last Friday, we had a fundraising event at our church. The event was to help with funds for the upcoming Nicaragua trip on June 15-21, 2014. We had a great turn out and raised over $400! This was a huge blessing toward the whole cost of our trip. Currently we have about 12 making plans to go from New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA.

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Alex, Terry, Jan-Niklas and Brandy serving during our fundraising event at New Vision Church

On Saturday, we had a very intense sign practice as we are getting ready for the spring and summer months when we do quite a bit of performing and travel. I have gotten a little out of shape this winter and really needed to up the “workout” level for our team in Fayetteville so as to help myself mostly, lol. Unfortunately they have to suffer with me.

We had our church service on Saturday night and then again on Sunday at New Vision. After lunch Sunday, I took two of our student leaders and Jan-Niklas with me to Hixson, TN. Several years ago we launched a branch of our ministry in that area to serve in the Chattanooga area. In that time, we have had a vibrant skateboard ministry, Sign Language team and now a growing church plant. Terry Davis, pastor, missionary and friend, has been with Vision 2 Hear over 10years now. He’s currently working for the non-profit ministry called On Point during the day and then serves as pastor/missionary with Vision 2 Hear other times. He has been a very valuable asset to us and the kingdom work of the Lord.

The Movement, which is the church gathering there in Hixson has grown to about 40-50 meeting twice weekly. They serve in the local homeless shelter regularly and have been involved in many other community service projects. They too will be taking a team to Nicaragua this summer and have 12 currently signed up to attend the first week of June. At The Movement, I was able catch the WAVE team up on some current music we are working on and then I was able to speak for the church service that night.

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From L-R: Me, Terry Davis, Tyler, Jan-Niklas, Trevor and Devin. We were playing disc golf on Signal Mountain, TN

Jan-Niklas and I are unpacking and repacking today getting things ready for the next few days in the Forest Park/Fayetteville area. Jan really seems to be enjoying his time and learning a lot of sign for performing. He will also be serving with our praise band at church and sharing his testimony and speaking from time-to-time. He’s got a great heart and mind to work and learn. I am sure he is going to grow a lot as well as add a lot to our ministry over the next few months. Please keep him in your prayers.

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Prince in Nigeria. He’s been suffering some serious back pain.

I also heard from Prince in Nigeria the other day. He has been having some severe back issues. He was hospitalized and had some kind of surgery. After the surgery he informed me of some other very serious things for him personally. He has some difficult decisions to make which may include leaving the village. Please be praying for Prince’s health, protection and God’s direction on where and what he should do.

Jorge Campos from El Salvador has also come to the USA and is in Ft. Lauderdale, FL right now. He arrived this weekend and is staying with friends there and then next week he will be visiting our friends in Port Orange at Christ The King Church where Scott Kirschner is the pastor. Jorge is here doing some fundraising and visiting before he heads to Iceland for three months to serve as a Spanish teach. He has friends who are missionaries there who are going to house him and give him the chance to teach and serve in a local school. Be praying for Jorge as he travels as a V2H missionary. Vision 2 Hear El Salvador has gotten their NGO status and Jorge is not only serving as a missionary with V2H but also the president of V2H ES! We are very excited about all that is going to happen as the ministry continues to flourish in El Salvador.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support. More updates coming soon!

George

 

 

Africa 2014 Building Pics

George just returned from Ututu, Nigeria. Here are some pics of the work project. More pics coming soon of other things that transpired over the 12 days.

Fast Forward Love Feast

Fast Forward 2014Join us for our annual fundraising event, Fast Forward. This year’s event falls on Valentine’s Day Weekend so we are having a “Love Feast”. For 30 hours on Friday through Saturday, we will fast from food and feast on love for God and others. Funds from this year’s event will go a long way in helping send people overseas and in providing school fees for students we sponsor abroad in El Salvador, Nigeria and Nicaragua.

Nicaragua: The Movement

Some recent pics from the latest trip to Nicaragua with our friends from Soddy Daisy, TN

Missions Update

fast forward logoVision 2 Hear is happy to announce that through the efforts of our Fast Forward 30 Hour Famine, we were able to generate $3,000 to be disbursed in mission efforts in Nigeria, Nicaragua, El Salvador and The United Arab Emirates. These funds will help students with school fees, families in poverty and getting missionaries to the field. Thanks to everyone who gave and participated. We give God the glory for the success of this event.

 

 

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The funds that we generated for Charity Water were sent to Ethiopia. Vision 2 Hear and New Vision Church generated over $500 that is going to help dig wells and bring water to people who are in desperate need. Thanks for collecting change to make such a change!

Fast Forward 2013

Fast Forward 2013

Hey Everyone,

Here is some information about this year’s Fast Forward Event. We are asking all teams to participate by:

1) Fasting for 30 hours from Noon on the 8th until 6pm Saturday on the weekend of Feb 8-9.

2) Solicit funds from sponsors

3) Gather if possible over the course of the weekend as a team to pray and share in the experience.

Our goal is $4000 so we can give each group $1000. The way it will divide is 1/4 of whatever we raise to each of the following missions:

Prince/Festus and others in Nigeria to help with schooling and living
Jorge/ El Salvador as he finishes up his schooling in October this will help with school fees etc.
Toney Jones/Nicaragua and educating and feeding people at The Dump and Padre Ramos
Randall Ray/ United Arab Emirates/ monthly support for 2013

Please inform your churches, youth groups and communities about your efforts and help us DRIVE Home the reality that we must give to people around the world. Our mission with Vision 2 Hear is to make disciples and through this effort we are doing just that! Thanks for your support and prayers as we seek to impact the world for the Kingdom of God!

George

Vision 2 Hear Promotional Video

If you have ever wondered what Vision 2 Hear is or what we are all about, check out this video:

Vision 2 Hear Ministry Promo

Fast Forward Update

With our annual Fast Forward Campaign complete now, we are happy to report that $2400.00 will be divided between Nigeria, El Salvador, and Korean Church in NC! What a blessing it is to be able to help these groups of people in such a tremendous way!

I cannot even begin to express my deepest and most sincere thanks to Lora Darrisaw and our friends at GBI(Georgia Bureau of Investigation) who have faithfully contributed for the last 4 years toward our relief efforts. Moreover, their giving has exceeded every other group making contributions to Fast Forward each of the last four years! Thank you GBI!

During the course of the Fast Forward weekend we spent time in prayer, fasting and learning about poverty, homelessness, a mission in Haiti called Bethel Mission Outreach and the sex/human trafficking through Atlanta. It was an intense and informative weekend to say the least!

The weekend also spawned other fundraising efforts which will provide clean drinking water through another non-profit called Charity: Water. We will finish collecting those funds this Easter Weekend.

The weekend was a great success in numerous ways and I thank all of you who shared in giving, praying and fasting for our friends in Nigeria, El Salvador and North Carolina!

Help us Help Others

Check out this video on how you can help us help others around the world

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