Starting a New Ministry

I am having a great week.  This week I will finally have access to the community center trailer in the trailer/RV park located right behind our church.  The trailer belongs to Mobile Loaves and Fishes.  They use it as a gathering place and hold meetings and other functions there as they minister to some of the homeless people in the south Austin area.  They also allow the trailer/RV park to make use of the center for various community functions.  I was recently able to get permission from the president of their organization to use the trailer for an after school bible study one day per week.  I have seen this be very successful at a previous church I attended. God laid this ministry upon my heart one day as I was meditating on Acts 1:8.  In this passage Jesus meets His disciples in Jerusalem, tells them that they will be empowered by the Holy Spirit, and says, “you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

As I read that verse it struck me that there was a range or spectrum for missions and witnessing.   Their testimony should reach from Jerusalem, include the area of Judea and stretch all the way to the ends of the earth.  A disciple of Christ should be actively seeking in some way to reach people within the entire range of that spectrum.  Many churches and many people think of this verse just as they do the Great Commission.  They think of missions work in remote countries, unreached people groups who desperately need the gospel.  As a result, many churches and many Christians participate, pray and give greatly to those missions.  That deserves a big Hallelujah!  Souls are being added to the kingdom because of the prayer and attention given to foreign missions.  That is an awesome thing and I would never want to see that slow down; as a matter of fact, I think more can be done in that regard.  But as I read that verse several months ago, I was reminded that the Lord asked…no, told His disciples that they were to be witnesses in Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was their own backyard.  Sometimes as Christians we give to efforts that are far away and out of sight and don’t participate in things that are up close and personal.  Sometimes as Christians we even neglect the opportunity to share the good news with people that we interact with on a regular basis.

The Lord kept that verse on my heart and I asked Him to help me do a better job of witnessing in MY Jerusalem.  Over the past 6 months I have actively tried to do a better job of fulfilling all aspects of that verse; I have shared the good news and talked to more people in parking lots and grocery stores and I have taken more prayer requests from strangers than I have in years.  And during this time God has continually placed the community behind our church on my heart.  I know the task will not be easy but I know that if God has placed it on my heart He will use it in a good way.  I am not allowed to pass out flyers in the neighborhood or go door to door and advertise the after school bible study.  I may have to stand on the corner of the lot and pass out gospel cookies for awhile to get the word out, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”  Pray for me.  I know the Lord will give me wisdom; He promises to do so in His word.

About pastorpstephens

I have been blessed to have served as a pastor, a chaplain and to have been involved in other ministries throughout the years. My wife Marta and I have been blessed with a wonderful family that includes our daughter, her husband and their two daughters and our son and his wife and their son. Each of them are very special to us so please keep them all in your prayers. One truth that I always try to share with people I meet is that anything God asks you to do, He will help you to do. God has your back.
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