Encouragement in Mission
As promised here what you might call a vision, given to me during the weekly prayer for Looe a couple of weeks ago. I shared it with that group and they were encouraged (as was I) so I hope it will help you too.

Jesus called us to be fishers of men (Mark 1:17) and also referred to us being labourers in the harvest (Matt 9:36-38) - a surprisingly revolutionary thought occurred to me regarding both those callings: What fishermen fears the fish? What harvest labourer fears the crop? Sure there are dangers in both professions, but these are related to the environment or the equipment, but not the harvest... The fishermen and the labourer go to work with faith that the work they have been appointed to is not impossible. Should we not too have the same confidence?

Equally, whilst the fishers or the labourers have no fear of what they are working to harvest, they must still be careful of other dangers. This isn't me saying it's easy, but that the fear of rejection shouldn't be stopping us from telling people what we think will change their lives (and their eternities) for the better.

I too fear how people will react to me if/when I bring up the gospel, but given the alternatives (i.e. get rejection or stand by and let them walk off the cliff into hell) the correct path suddenly becomes clear.

Fear is of the devil, it's not God's plan: "I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God." (2 Timothy 1:6-8)

Many people are of the school of thought that we should become friends before sharing the gospel, but it's often harder to share with people who are closer to us. Start with the gospel, then let the friendship build! In all occasions pray that God will prepare the people you are about to speak to.

I was once told that when it comes to sharing the gospel, we should pray for COWS:
Courage - To speak when we have the chance
Opportunities - To share the gospel
Wisdom - To say the right thing
Sensitivity - To know when to shut up and listen

Let's all aim to just go for it, and "throw off everything that hinders".
Mission and Timing
As I mentioned a while ago, occasionally I'm going to want to share stuff that I/we are reading and that is having an impact on us. This is one of those occasions...

It's not all from one place though, it's a combination of Bible reading, book and blog watching. It all ties together and it impacts what we're doing here, so I thought I'd share.

First of all, let's just be clear why we need mission. Yes people are suffering, they are hurting, lost and lonely - that's an important part of our ministry. Since we should attempt to recreate Jesus' ministry, let's look to him. In Luke 4 we see Jesus at the beginning of his ministry allude to the prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 61):
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
Luke 4:14-21
But this isn't it, that's not all. Hell exists. Sin is every part of ourselves that is not perfect, the bad thoughts, the bad actions, the poor decisions, those things that you try to keep so secret from everyone else. God knows our sin and because of His justice He simply cannot do otherwise than punish us ("For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity." Isaiah 61:8).

Human = Sin = Hell.

Hell isn't just eternal separation from God, it isn't just a prison, it's somewhere so bad that there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" whatever that means. Just do a quick search of BibleGateway.com to see the references Jesus makes to Hell ("Gnashing of Teeth").

To make matters worse your unsaved friends, family, neighbours, co-workers and that bloke you see on the bus every day are all headed there unless they acknowledge their sin and their inability to save themselves.

There's too much to go into, but we see Jesus use the law to convict people of their need for salvation and then offer them a solution: "repent". Repentance does not just mean saying sorry, repentance means turning your whole life around.

OK, so it's not just about making people's live's better. It's about making their eternities better. So what about timing?

Time is always running out. People die every day, sometimes it's expected and sometimes it's a surprise. All those people who came to your mind earlier have a clock and it's ticking on, running out of time.

But also, the day of judgement is coming nearer. Although we have no way of knowing when it will be, we can be sure that it is getting nearer!!

Take a look at any of the prophecies in the Old or New Testaments and you can see that the signs are all around us. I was interested to read in Joel a description of an Army that sounds very similar to the Romans (Joel 2), then you see Pentecost and the age we now live in described and suddenly the next part of Joel's prophecy jumps straight to Judgement (Joel 3).

Act now, while you can. Time is running out for us all and there is still much to be done.