Reaching This Generation Through Principles From The Book of Acts
What, How & Where
For our ministry at the Rio Coco Café, we need a strategy that is bold, energetic, personal, out of the norm, and divinely inspired. A good place to go for this type of ministry is the Book of Acts which records the birth and phenomenal growth of the First Century Church.
The author of the Book of Acts is the Greek physician Luke, who also wrote a lengthy biography of Jesus. Luke was a logical minded, first class historian who desired to “put everything in order” concerning the life of Jesus and the experience of the First Century Church.
Luke is writing with a purpose. He has points to make, and chooses his information with that in mind. He is being inspired and led by the Holy Spirit to teach us timeless principles that should govern the way we live and do the King’s business.
As a logical starting place for this first chapter of Acts, let’s pick up in the final section of Luke’s Gospel. Many thought that Luke had the intention of writing a trilogy of the life of Jesus and the Church. This was a common practice in his culture. Whether he did or not, these words of Jesus are a good place to start our study of Acts.
Then he opened their minds to understand these many Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day. With my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me.’ You are witnesses of all these things.
“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” Luke 24:45-49
Luke continues this conversation in the first chapter of Acts:
During the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time and proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. On these occasions he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.
In one of these meetings as he was eating a meal with them, he told them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you what he promised. Remember, I have told you about this before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
When the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, are you going to free Israel now and restore our kingdom?”
“The Father sets those dates,” he replied, “and they are not for you to know. But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
It was not long after he said this that he was taken up into the sky while they were watching, and he disappeared into a cloud. As they were straining their eyes to see him, two white-robed men suddenly stood there among them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. And someday, just as you saw him go, he will return!” Acts 1:3-9
When I was an attack pilot in the Navy, we began each flight with a “brief” of what,where, and how we were going to accomplish on this particular flight. For example, our flight leader would describe the mission in detail. We could be attacking ships over the horizon, or an enemy target ashore. He would then describe the target, its location and surrounding defenses. Next in the brief would be our weapons that we would use (bombs, rockets, missiles) and what tactics we would employ to destroy the target, and get safely back to the ship.
After that it was a matter of getting our flight gear on, taking the elevator up to the flight deck, doing the preflight inspection of the aircraft, strapping into the ejection seat, and beginning our engine start up checklist. Once our jet was ready to go, we waited for the ship to turn into the wind (to make the catapult launches and arrested landings safer) and the Air Boss to give the order to “Launch Aircraft”.
Can you see the What, How and Where of this mission for the Church?
What: “Tell people about me and my offer of forgiveness of sin.”
It is interesting to note what exactly Jesus directed His followers to proclaim. Was it:
- A list of the 612 Laws of Moses?
- The teachings of the rabbis on personal holiness?
- A message that God is mad at mankind and we better get it together?
No, it is the Good News! God is offering a complete forgiveness of sins for all! All it takes is for us to
- Acknowledge that we have in fact violated His standards of behavior and
- Have a desire to allow Him to be the Lord of our lives.
He is inviting all into a personal relationship with Him that transcends “religion”. The key to restoring this relationship is the resolving of the sin issue.
This thing we call “sin” is what separates mankind from God. We must realize that we often offend God through our actions that are contrary to His character. “Sin” defined in my dictionary as “an offense against God”. That seems rather nebulous. Sin could be a lot of things, right?
If you look at the Greek words used in the Bible that are translated “sin” or describe sinful behavior, then the concept becomes more precise and more personal.
Sin is defined in the Bible as:
- parabasis: not lining up
- harmartia: missing the mark
- parakoe: disobedient to a voice
- anomia: ignoring the law that you do know
- agnoemz: ignorance of what you should know
- paraptoma: falling when one should have stood
- hethema: not giving a full measure when a full measure is required
These definitions come from Kenneth Weiss’ Word Studies in the Greek New Testamentand I find them very helpful in a practical understanding of what the sin actually is. I guess the important thing now is to know the “line,” the “mark,” the applicable “law”; what we should know; how much is a “full measure”; how far should we resist; and what does that voice of the Holy Spirit sound like.
This next thought may shock you: We don’t have to become perfect for God to accept us. All that is required is to turn to God and acknowledge Him as our Lord, and begin to walk with Him.
Repentance means to recognize the wrong in something you have done, be sorry for it, and change your ways or habits. It literally means to be walking in one direction, to stop, turn around and walk the opposite direction. When this happens, Jesus says that God will freely forgive your sins, and we can now have a personal relationship with Him. Now it will be God guiding our lives, and helping us lead a life that is “others centered”. A God-led and God-empowered life will be a life that will please our Heavenly Father.
“There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me.”
We will meet many people at the Rio Coco Café who do not realize their need for a Savior. They will think that they are “good people”. This is particularly true in a culture where truth is relative with no absolutes. My dictionary defines truth as “values shared by a group”. “Their truth” and “our truth” can be mutually exclusive. However when it comes to traffic rules, gravity, aerodynamics, and banking, there is absolute truth, although driving in the Third World often seems to bend the truth. “Hey its only paint on the pavement” says one of my friends in Nicaragua regarding traffic lanes on the road. Truth is absolute in math and business, although sometimes my bank seems to have its own truth when it comes to balancing my checking account. Can you imagine banking systems that were not based on an absolute “truth”? That would be chaos!
C.S. Lewis begins his classic “Mere Christianity” with a chapter titled “Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe.” He points out that we all have an inherent sense of what is right, and what is wrong, and this must come from somewhere. This right/wrong sense is trans-cultural. It is a God given common sense that mankind often consciously violates.
God has always desired that we would know His heart, and how we are to live here on Planet Earth. He gave very clear direction to Moses and the Israelites as they left Egypt what was important to Him. The sacrifices that He ordered performed at the Wilderness Tabernacle were graphic illustrations of the relationship that God wanted with His People.
Do we want to know the author of this pervasive morality? Or have we chosen to simply ignore Him? This is often our starting point in our conversations with “good people”.
Jesus had a conversation with a “good person” that is recorded in Matthew 19:
Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
“Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.”
Jesus reminds this young man what the standard of “good” is. It is God Himself. If we are to earn our entrance into heaven, then we must keep the commandments, and order our behavior to match His. Obviously this is a very difficult, in fact impossible, task to accomplish. The young man knows this, so he asked the obvious question:
“Which ones?” the man asked.
And Jesus replied: “ ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?”
Jesus quotes five of the 10 commandments as recorded in Exodus 20. It is reasonable to think that a “good person” can keep at least some of these, part of the time anyway. However Jesus knows that this rich young privileged man has probably looked at his neighbors vineyard, or chariot, or other possession and thought “I want that”. And most definitely he has not placed God as Number 1 in his life; rather it appears that material possessions are his source of security- his god. Thus Jesus throws out a challenge that hits home:
Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Matthew 19:16-22
We will meet many in our ministry on Utila, and really anywhere in the world, who consider themselves “good people”. Let’s follow the lead of Jesus here, as well as many others throughout Christian history, by asking our new friend whom we have just shared a cup of coffee, or a meal, or an adventure out on the water if they consider themselves a “good person”.
They will probably reply “Yes”.
As Jesus asked the rich young ruler, let’s ask our friend if they have ever told a lie. Of course they have. White lies don’t really hurt anybody anyway, right?
Next, ask if they have ever stolen anything. They probably did when they were kids. We all have.
Now ask if they have ever murdered anyone. Of course most will say “No!” This is a good time to remind them what Jesus said about murder in Matthew 5:
“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone (some mss add “without cause), you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. Matthew 5:21-22
Murdering someone in your heart and mind is often just as effective as physically taking their life.
Now, if you are still on good terms with your new friend, ask them if they have ever committed adultery (had sexual relations with another’s spouse).
“Of course not!” they will respond vociferously. Now remind them what Jesus had to say about committing adultery with only your eyes and hands:
“You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye —causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Matthew 5:27-30
Jesus always brings it back to the issues of the heart: What Is Going On Inside?
To our new friend we can say: “You have already admitted to being a liar and a thief. Maybe you are a murderer and an adulterer as well. So let me ask you once again, Do You Consider Yourself To Be a Good Person?”
The Truth is that even if we are “good” and live our lives according to a selfless moral standard, we still occasionally do what we like. And generally we like what we do.
According to the Bible,
All have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23
Our new friend will probably admit to lying, stealing, coveting, and perhaps lust. As you point that out, it is important to keep a smile on your face as you declare: “I am just like you. We all need someone to save us from our sins.”
In the passage, the Greek word for sin is “harmartia” which we have already seen means simply “Missing the Mark”. It is an archery term. We aim our arrow at the target and we do not hit the bullseye. When compared to God’s standard of behavior, attitudes and motivations, ours often falls short. We miss God’s mark.
This is why the Good News is the Good News!
For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. Romans 3:23-25
We all need a Savior! Jesus takes care of the sin issue, and with Him, we can now have a personal relationship with God. This is the Good News of Christianity. This is why Jesus came to Earth: to pay for our sins with His Life.
This has to be a part of our conversation with our new friends on at the Rio Coco Café, or anywhere we meet those outside the Kingdom of God. No true spiritual progress will be made unless one discovers the answer to the sin issue.
How: “When the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will receive power.”
We are to accomplish this mission through the supernatural gifting of the Holy Spirit. We cannot do this on our own intelligence, abilities, or emotions. We must rely on God working through us.
What are these supernatural empowerments? You will find some of them listed in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, I will write about the special abilities the Holy Spirit gives to each of us, for I must correct your misunderstandings about them.
Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.
To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another he gives the gift of special knowledge. The Spirit gives special faith to another, and to someone else he gives the power to heal the sick. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and to another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to know whether it is really the Spirit of God or another spirit that is speaking. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, and another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.
It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have. 1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-11
In this passage, Paul describes one empowerment of the Spirit as the ability to understand situations in a manner that goes beyond our own experience. Suddenly we “know” what the correct thing to do in the situation at hand. The Spirit also gives “special knowledge” of a specific event, or person, that is not something we would have known through our own experience.
This happened one night when Laura and I went to dinner at a restaurant on the Greek island of Paros. Before we entered the restaurant, we asked God to “give us a word” for someone inside. The owner came and greeted us, led us to a table, and took our order. When she came back with our drinks, I asked her how business had been that summer season. “Not so good” she replied. “I serve continental cuisine, and we are mostly getting young tourists who do not appreciate fine dining.”
“Have you ever thought about a taco stand? Or serving Mexican food” I suddenly asked.
She looked at me with a wild eyed expression, spun on her heel, and returned to the kitchen without saying a word. Laura looked at me and asked “Why did you say that. Maybe you insulted her.” I wondered too. But it did seem like the thing to say.
She returned in a few minutes with four big books in her arms. They were cook books…Mexican food recipe books.
“How did you know that I am thinking about changing my restaurant to serve Mexican food?”
That began a long conversation. We told her about our lives, about our work in Nicaragua, and about our Lord. We returned the following night to talk some more. She was listening. Intently.
Other spiritual empowerments that Paul mentions are the ability to do miracles, to pray for people to be healed and see God heal them, the ability to see into the spiritual realm and see or sense the presence of demons. We have seen all these giftings in operation in our work with the Miskitos. They are very useful tools in getting God’s work done.
There are also people who have the ability to know things that are about to happen before they happen. This is one aspect of the prophetic gift. Once we visited a church in North Carolina, where we went to a prophetic prayer team to receive a word from the Lord. Nobody knew us, or what we did. The four members of the team greeted us, and asked God to give them a word for us. A minute went by. One of the men began looking at me intently. Finally he said: “Does the word “Indian” mean anything to you?” “Yes”, I answered. “We work in Nicaragua with an indigenous people called the Miskito Indians.”
He smiled and then proceeded to describe the spiritual environment on the Rio Coco, and what God was about to do. For someone who had never been there, or even heard of the Miskito people, he was right on!
The ability to speak in a foreign language or understand someone speaking to you in a foreign language is very helpful when it comes to communicating the words of God. It is amazing when suddenly you understand words that you have never studied or you are able to pull up words that you don’t really know, to communicate an important message.
Here is another discussion of these spiritual empowerments with Paul’s friends in Rome:
God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well.
If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Romans 12:6-8
These mentioned here may not seem supernatural until you actually see a person going beyond their own abilities, and exercising these gifts for the benefit of those around. There is a certain assurance that God is among you when you experience a word coming forth that you know is from God Himself for the moment. Have you been around people who seem to be ahead of you doing all that needs to be done, and they have great joy and satisfaction in just doing it? With no compensation? I have been standing in front of a class, teaching from my notes, when suddenly I realize that there are thoughts coming to my brain that get passed to my tongue and out to the audience that were not on my notes. I have the amusing thought while I am speaking that I should be taking notes, because what I am getting is “good stuff” that I probably will not remember!
We have noticed that the faithful givers to our ministry in Nicaragua and Honduras over the past 20 plus years have not been the wealthy people on our mailing list. They have been regular guys with regular jobs, with regular bills to pay, who for some reason are always the first to respond to a need. And they do it again and again, with very little need to be acknowledged. That is what the supernatural empowerment of giving is all about.
Working with a team that is lead by one who is selfless and diligent is a pleasure. Once you get to know that leader, and realize that he is just a regular guy who has his own issues, and that his ability to lead the team is something that is really beyond his own natural gifting, that’s when you really begin to pay attention! God is doing something!
Being around someone who has the ability to set aside their own agenda and take moments to be with someone, to listen to a friend, or even a stranger, and do it with patience and kindness causes conviction to set into Type A guys (like me) who are focused on the list of things to do.
We can sometimes be interrupted from our agenda, but usually we have a tone of voice or expression on our face that denotes displeasure. Individuals who have a supernatural empowerment to express kindness in these situations are well used to communicate the essence of God and His Message to mankind: “I love you and care for you. You have great value to me. I will not withhold any good thing from you” (Psalm 84:11). Fortunately most Type A leaders have people around them, like Laura, who have a genuine spiritual gift of kindness and mercy.
This is not a complete list of Supernatural Empowerments (Spiritual Gifts), but we can see some abilities that the Holy Spirit gives to individuals in His Body that will help with the mission that He has given us in the Rio Coco Café .
There is one other area of supernatural empowerments to consider. Paul writes about it in his letter to his friends in the churches in Galatia:
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20 idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:19-23
The key word here is “Fruit”. These qualities of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control are ones that are not given outright a “gifts’, but rather these traits are “cultivated” in the lives of the followers of Jesus over a period of time. Normally it takes suffering the consequences of our sinful behavior to desire Godly behavior in our lives. We see ourselves naturally do things that have negative results, especially on those around us. It is then that we realize we need help, and the Holy Spirit is there ready to help us cultivate the very significant spiritual fruits.
For long term service in the Kingdom of God, these “Fruits of the Spirit” are essential, and each disciple must be aware of this process of cultivation. To get these sweet coffee cherries requires a lot of effort on the part of the workers at the Vida Joven Farm in Nicaragua! We must do our part to allow these qualities to become part of us. To truly be a Christian in this world, we must be “qadowsh”! We must live our lives according to a Divine Moral Law that places the needs of those around us ahead of our own.
All of these “Fruits of the Spirit” have a direct impact on our relationship with family, friends, and others in our community. We may speak boldly to others proclaiming our faith in God. As we speak, they will be looking at our lives, and how we live it.
Without the Fruits of the Spirit, the Gifts of the Spirit are relatively worthless in evangelism and discipleship.
If we talk the talk, then we better walk the walk! Jesus said it this way:
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35
Notice that Jesus did not say “If you correctly understand and explain every point of doctrine, then the world will know that you are my disciples.” It is all about displaying the Fruits of the Spirit. Jesus knew that it would be impossible for us to represent Him to our world on our own. He knows that people will not respond to how much we know, until they know how much we care.
Each of these nine Fruits of the Spirit has a direct impact on the people around us. Think about it.
All of our words about Jesus that we speak to others must be framed by behavior that is others centered. We must have and display love for others. People must see that we are confident that God knows us, He knows our situation, and He cares. No Worries! They must sense the peace that we have with God and our lives, despite the adverse circumstances that will come along on a regular basis.
We must be patient with them as they walk through their own issues, rather than display irritation! We must think of them first, and allow interruptions into “our” schedule, and do it with a smile on our face, and softness in our voices. In the Photo you notice a smile on Laura’s face when Arielle interrupts the photo in front of the Santa Monica pier. What do you see on mine?
Our responses to them must be “prautes” (Greek-gentle), in regard to our own emotions. “Prautes”, according to Aristotle, means getting angry for the right reason. We allow our emotions to fit the circumstances, according to our God given values of what He thinks is important. And always, we must exercise dominion over ourselves, controlling to the best of our ability our desires, our words, and our actions.
God knows that all this is impossible without His help. That is why Paul told his friends in Ephesus
Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. Eph. 5:18
The word for “fill” in the Greek is actually “pleroo”, which has a military sense meaning “to dominate”, or “to cause to happen”.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to “dominate” us, we are enabled to behave as He wants us to. This will result in those around us seeing, hearing, and feeling God, rather than experiencing us.
For those around me, this is the desired behavior that all my friends and ministry partners want to see. When they get a glimpse of the “Un-Dominated-by-the-Holy-Spirit-Mike”, it can send them running!
A famous Christian from the 12th Century once told His disciples:
“Go out today and make disciples, and if you have to, use words.” Francis of Assisi
It is essential that we rely on God to do His part in our and His ministry at the Rio Coco Café. He is very aware of His Plan and how He wants to achieve His goals. We just have to do our part!
Where: “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Starting in Jerusalem Jesus’ disciples are to take this message to the surrounding regions, and eventually the far corners of the world, including your home, your neighborhood, your city, state, and country. For those first missionaries, God had set things up ahead of time for this to take place!
- God placed His people in Canaan/Palestine which is the land bridge between three continents. This was strategic location for the spreading of the message, as travelers from all these lands passed through. Even Jesus’ choice to locate his ministry in Capernaum, the tax station on the main road from Egypt to Babylonia reflected this geographical strategy.
- Thanks to Alexander the Great, who conquered most of the Middle East and Mediterranean in the 4th Century B.C., Greek was a language that all merchants and learned people knew. Having a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures available in that language was essential in communicating this message.
- Finally, as much as the Romans were hated by most of the conquered people, they did provide a road system and peaceful environment that made travel feasible and safe. The Photo is of the Via Egnatia outside Philippi in Northern Greece. Paul walked this actual road as he travelled from Neopolis to Philippi!
It was a combination of these strategic factors, the Leading of the Holy Spirit, and the obedience of the disciples that allowed the growth of this small Jewish sect into a world movement in a relatively short time. Christianity became the fastest growing “religion” within a few decades of the events in Acts Chapter 1. Despite the “religious behavior” of many disciples through the centuries, and the ungodly behavior of “so-called Christians” toward Jews, Muslims, and others who got in the way of their own political and economic agendas during the past 2000 years, Christianity still is the fastest growing spiritual movement on Earth, with hundreds of thousands of people getting saved each month.
In our generation, God is especially moving in Africa, China, and Latin America. Reinhard Bonnke, who resides in Vero Beach and is a member of our church here, has seen million come to Christ in his ministry in Africa. According to Wikipedia, “Since the year 2000 more than 50 million decisions for Jesus have been documented through the completion of a decision card. These cards are used in the follow-up work and help to ensure that people are integrated quickly and smoothly into local church fellowships.”
When Reinhard shows photos of the crowds that attend his meetings inAfrica, such as this one taken from his website, the crowd stretches to the horizon. It is amazing what God is doing in our world today!
Has the mandate given to the disciples by Jesus in Acts Chapter 1 changed for us over 2000 years later? Are our methods to be different? These are good questions to ask as we plan the ministry at the Rio Coco Café.
What was the meaning of the ascension of Jesus to those left behind? It was an obvious message that the disciples were the successors to Jesus’ ministry. Now it would be left in their hands to carry the message. That may be a scary thought- that now we are responsible for this next generation- but we are the result of faithful men and women who received the message, lived it, dedicated their lives to it, and passed it on, and on, and on.
We have our “marching orders”. We know the mission, and how we are to do it. We have been given our targets-one of which is a small island in the Southwestern Caribbean where many young people from around the world come to scuba dive and party. They are looking for fun, fulfillment, and adventure.
In 1981, traveled to an island in the middle of the Pacific to have fun and look for adventure, and help a friend begin an ice cream business. In the first month of living on Maui, thanks to my cousin Kean Salzer, I discovered who Jesus is. I found the source of true satisfaction and fulfillment. I entered into an adventurous lifestyle that is still more that what I expected.
We think that same can happen to thousands of adventurers who come to the Rio Coco Café on Utila, in Vero Beach, or wherever we encounter those outside the family of God. It can happen anywhere we are focused and intentional, and enjoying the people that God brings us.
A key element of this mission is what Jesus told the disciples as recorded in the 28thchapter of Matthew. We refer to this passage as the “Great Commission”. Here isBagby’s Literal Translation of that famous passage (I have some good dictionaries and I like to make it simple!):
All Authority in the Universe has been given to me. Since these things are so, pursue the journey on which you have entered, and disciple the races and ethnic people groups, teaching them all the things I told you and baptizing them. Remember, I will be with you always as you do this.” Matthew 28:18-20
The key principles are that as we “go through our life” we are to make disciples of all nations, ethnic groups, and checkout cashiers at your neighborhood grocery store. We are to be faithful to teach what Jesus said within the context of His First Century Biblical culture, not necessarily our 21st century North American, European, Latino, or Asian cultures.
The Everlasting Principles that He taught worked in that culture and will work in ours as well.
As we do this, He says that He will be there with us, playing His part.
Our ship has turned into the wind. We have our aircraft manned and ready with trained crews. We know our mission, and we have all the weapons and tools that we need. Our jets are launching.
Our Flight Leader Jesus is leading the way, and we are in for an incredible adventure!