Wellspring Church

'He turns the desert into pools of water' Psalm 107:35


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Proclaiming Good News to the Poor

In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus boldly states his mission:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to prolcaim liberty to the captives and recovering sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (ESV)

Disciples of Jesus carry out his mission of proclamation and practice. We do this by finding opportunities to both demonstrate and declare the power of God. Working with local non-profits can be a great way to do both. Feed My Starving Children (fmsc.org) recently opened a new facility in Mesa. This organization helps provide food to some of the poorest parts of the world.

Several of our church plant team participated in packing food this past weekend. This simple act of volunteering a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon was a demonstration of God’s love for his lost people. People we will never meet. We were also able to interact with the other volunteers who were making a similar display of compassion. Some were Christians, some were not.

It is critical that we proclaim good news to the poor. Jesus did. But it is just as vital that we notice those people who do not know Jesus that serve alongside us. All resources are God’s resources. And whether these people know it or not, they honor their Creator by serving the disadvantaged of creation. It only makes sense that God is working around us and ahead of us in the lives of people we meet every day. These are our family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers; the poor, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed.

A couple of hours volunteering and a little small talk as to why we were there and one of our teammates was able to exchange numbers with a young woman she met. They hope to meet up again soon. Who knows where the next conversation might lead?

What are some simple activities you can do that demonstrate God’s love and power? How might this activity open a door for you to speak a word for Jesus? You never know until you try.

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Our table packed 26 of the 140 boxes that were going to North Korea!


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Spiritual Journey

“You can pray for me but not with me.” That was the response of a young woman to my request to pray about the upcoming court date she had just finished telling me about. She went on to explain that she had been raised Catholic, baptized in a Baptist church, and her current boyfriend was teaching her about Wicca. “I believe there is a god, I just don’t know which one it is. Maybe Buddhism is right. Why try? I might get it wrong.”

Another man I met said he has no interest in church. He was raised Mormon and resented being forced to go to church as a child. So now he doesn’t.

What I have found in talking to people about faith is that most individuals believe in a spiritual aspect of life. But like the two people mentioned above, there are usually barriers that keep these seekers from Jesus. Tim Keller calls these barriers Defeater Beliefs. He has a helpful article on the subject here:

http://www.case.edu.au/images/uploads/03_pdfs/keller-deconstructing-defeater.pdf

It is our job as believers to help identify and respond to these barriers. Obviously, we cannot see people’s hearts. What we can do is pray for discernment and learn to be better listeners. In most cases, a person willing to have a spiritual conversation is also willing to tell you where they are, or at least think they are. In some instances, I use the back of my business card to provide the person with a framework for thinking of next steps.

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Where are you on your spiritual journey? Where do you want to be? How can I help you get there? Asking these or other simple questions is a great way to practice listening and gathering information to help you respond as well as possible. Listening well builds trust and opens the door for me to then share about my own spiritual journey and talk about Jesus.

If you read the article by Tim Keller, where do you think the two individuals I spoke to said they were on their spiritual journey? What are the defeater beliefs that are standing between them and Jesus?

Where are you on your spiritual journey? What is your next step?


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Community Mapping

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One of our first tasks as church planters in a new city is to become experts on our community. In a metro this size, that can be overwhelming. We currently live in the Southeast Metro in Mesa, AZ. Mesa is home to over 450,000 people. That is roughly the size of Atlanta, GA! One of the methods we are using to become familiar with our surroundings is called community mapping.

Community mapping helps us to chart the reality that is our mission field. What is life like for our neighbors? We find out by observation and asking lots of questions. What are the housing conditions? Where do people spend their money? Where do people gather and spend their free time? Who are the local heroes? What churches are already in the area and how are they serving the community? What are the local issues that keep people awake at night? Where are the points of light or darkness?

You can use your map to keep track of all kinds of valuable information. Where are people most open to spiritual conversations? Where are they most resistant? Where are the physical or social barriers?

When creating your map, it is important to work within a two mile radius from where you live or where your church meets. Most people who are new to faith will not travel more than two miles to get to church.

You can learn more about community mapping from Stan Granberg at: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=46wPk0VeFSw

How well do you know your community?

Michael

Luke 10:2