It is so exciting to be a part of this generation knowing that God is about to pour out His Spirit mightily upon all the nations of the world. Knowing this is about to take place, it is so vital that we heed Jesus’ words to become His disciples and to make disciples. This is exactly what Jesus commanded His Church to do in Matthew 28: 19-20, ”Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” When we look at the Church in America, is this something being done? In a recent conversation with VFNtv, Charles Simpson spoke with Greg Lancaster about the necessity for the Church to do exactly that; make disciples.
In today’s culture, the word ‘discipleship’ is not something that everyone is hearing or even being taught about. To actually do and carry out what Jesus commanded could almost be considered rebellion since it is so rarely mentioned or taught about. Simpson comments about how the present-day Church applies discipleship. “What I see is that is discipleship is looked upon as what happens on Sunday, or in Sunday school…that’s fine, but the replication at a personal level, I don’t see it happening. It must be happening somewhere, but it’s certainly obscure as far as I know.” As Simpson continues, he emphasizes the unease that this reality brings to him. “That concerns me greatly because Jesus’ last words were ‘go make disciples’…I’m not seeing that on a personal level.” The concern is how the present model of Church is not meeting Jesus’ command. “We’ve institutionalized the process with schools and seminaries, and whatever else we have to make disciples that’s not personal and the people who go through it are not personally making disciples.” What is a heartache is to hear those that are doing it; “The exceptions to that are usually outside the Church, parachurch, and that’s a shame because the Church has the tools to do it if the people will take responsibility.”
Greg Lancaster talks about the moment that the realization of responsibility came to him when he was hungry for what God was doing. “Lord, I’m ready to learn. If it’s going to take five years, ten years, we’ll just meet together until You just tell us what’s next.” Greg continues to describe what God did. “[God] took over! It wasn’t but one Sunday and people just started coming. Holy Spirit just started bringing people. And then, they started reproducing. WAIT A MINUTE! Then you realize, I’m responsible for what I reproduce!” It was in this paradigm that Greg realized that people were doing things “in the name of God”, praying, but it wasn’t God at all. His wisdom highlights the moment of decision if we will obey the commandments of Jesus. “It makes you want to run into a building and go, ‘Okay! We’ll never have to do that again!’ Right. But then you die there.” This is precious wisdom for us to hold tightly to knowing that God is about to do great and mighty things. When God moves, good things will take place, and so will bad things.
Considering the journey and experience that Greg describes, Simpson reminds us of the journey that took place in the book of Acts. “The Book of Acts is so diverse. I mean, it’s powerful! It starts with an explosion. And then they go to jail, they get beat, and all these different things are going on, good and bad, but God is using it all.” It’s these very experiences that we can glean precious wisdom from and not be surprised when a sudden change of direction takes place midstream of a move of God. As they continue to exchange experiences from their life’s journeys, Greg says it with these words, “that’s what happens! Right in the middle of a positive God move, all of a sudden something slides in and puts themselves in that place, including individuals who are looking for self-promotion and advancement”. So many people have gotten defeated by how quickly things change direction that is not the direction they started in. Simpson continues to share priceless wisdom, “you can use good principles to your own advantage and that happens if people have not died to themselves…but…that’s not your fault”. Simpson continues, “if you are confronted with it, and it’s your responsibility, deal with it. But I began to think, you know, there was a wreck in Africa, two people collided, and I must have been responsible. I don’t know how, but I’m sure I had something to do with it.” This is where the devil attacks all of us. Simpson continues, “you get paranoid! You think, ‘I don’t want to be close to anybody because they might do something wrong, and then we’re all going to get blamed’”. The beautiful moment is when we’re okay with these realities. Simpson continues, “but you can’t be that way, and if you die to yourself, you’ll take risks, and you’ll love people that won’t love you back, or they might mistreat you”.
These stories and experiences are not unique. The enemy is always whispering lies and defeat into our ears. When we become light focused, it doesn’t matter what the strategies of darkness are. Light will always overcome the darkness. Simpson continues to talk about the perspective that the Church must take on. “If Christians just allow the Holy Spirit to have charge, they can be used out in the world, even when they don’t know it. And then, there will be opportunities where you can share your faith or help somebody.” His next words are where the rubber meets the road; “The Church has to become contagious. It’s gotta get out of isolation…well we got to get out in the public with the presence of God”. Simpson points out the fact of the matter. “It’s the Holy Spirit that makes us special. We’re not special in ourselves, and when the anointing is gone, we’re just back where we were.”
We can take the time now to gain so much wisdom from these practical life experiences and apply them to our own personal journeys. Be sure to see the whole conversation with Charles Simpson, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: family, relationship, buildings, seminary, the Fear of God, Baptism of the Holy Spirit, persecution, government, the Light of the world, sphere of influence, relationship, counseling, timings of the Lord, and fathering.
Image courtesy of Storyblocks.com
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