I saw Jesus in Overton Park

26 11 2011

I saw Jesus in Overton Park

by Glenn Roseberry on Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 8:49am

I was jogging through Overton Park this afternoon in the 92F heat longing for the next stop at the water fountain on my 10K run. I glanced to the right and there stood, Jesus. I did not recognize him at first since he was behind the jungle gym near the water fountain. As I approached the other side of the playground and I got a clear view, sure enough it was him. He had on a headset kind of like the ear things you have in your ear for an IPOD only bigger. He had a back pack, glasses on and a big beautiful smile. When I finally got right up to him I confirmed it. There he was, Jesus, disguised, as usual as the least of these. He smelled of beer, maybe from yesterday. He was glad to see me. We speak almost every day at the park. But today I decided that I could not pass Jesus by. I ask him his name and he said he was Willie. He told me he was going to a secret spot to get ready to hide out so he could sleep near the park tonight. He said he was hungry and I could tell he was very hot. He admitted he had been living on the street for some time. I told him where my car was parked and asked him to meet me there in 10 minutes. He said he would try but his feet really hurt and he had to walk real slow. Willie is 58 but moves like he is 78. I jogged off on a less direct route confident that Willie would meet me shortly. As I lost sight of him the Holy Spirit washed over me like a cool breeze. I lifted my hands in praise and continued to run.

We hung out at my car, got him an apple out of my front seat, drank some water together and talked about options for him. He liked living on the street. I ask him if he needed anything and he said that yes he really wanted a haircut. So we loaded up and went to his favorite place. On the way I told him what Jesus meant to me. I wish I had prayed with him before he left, but in a hurry to get to the barber before 5 he rushed out mentioning that he sure hated to leave my air conditioned car. We agreed to speak again when I run tomorrow or the next day. You see Jesus is almost always around. Especially when you look. He is all over mostly disguised as the hungry, the lonely, the poor the orphan, the forgotten widow and the prisoner behind bars. He is named Willie, Joe, Brenda, Malcome and sometimes even goes by foreign names I find hard to pronounce. Heck sometimes we don’t even speak the same language. Most of the time I notice that Jesus smells funny and he is almost never very neat or clean. But I know it is Him because He told me so. “I tell you the truth, when ever you did unto the least of these you did unto me”.





The Tale of Two Joe’s

26 11 2011

The Tale of Two Joe’s

by Glenn Roseberry on Saturday, July 2, 2011 at 5:52am

Well since it has happened twice I will share it here. I work with a group of men in a discipleship class in Frazier. They are the working poor and the disabled. At least to me. To most of my unsaved white friends they are free loaders and all that is wrong with our society. And yes some of my Christian friends as well. Every man in my group has either been shot, in prison and or had an immediate family member murdered. All but two have their GED as opposed to their high school diploma. They are mostly the recently saved and all over 30. Two of them are named Joe. A few weeks back “little” Joe, was going to be unable to attend our weekly meeting. He kindly called and alerted me to the fact since I pick these guys up to take them to the meeting. He did not want me to waste a trip. A friend had stranded him in another part of town. He could not get back home in time for his weekly ride. We hung up. Less than 10 minutes later he called back and told me he had to say something. He wanted me to know that he really wanted to be in the meeting and that he loved me and would miss me. He wanted me to tell the guys that as well. My group is changing before my eyes. Last week “old ” Joe, came to the door to tell me he was sick with high blood sugar and could not come. “Old” Joe is not really that old. He is a couple of years older than me but looks 75. He has lived a hard life. He would have called to alert me but his government supplied cell phone had been stolen by a drug selling nephew and the youth used up his minutes. He only gets 225 a month. Two old gun shot wounds are visible from his neck. His health is terrible. All of my men have various life threatening diseases due to past life styles and heredity. After apologizing ‘Old” Joe told me he loved me and would miss the meeting. We all missed Joe and prayed for him that night as we held hands. Almost half of my men miss at least one or two meetings a month due to health. They never miss for any other reason. If any miss we immediately are alarmed. It means something bad could have happened. We buried one earlier this year. I gave his testimony at his funeral. Those that work seem to all have large families. If they are laid off they are literally in danger of having to send the children to live with other family members. One had to move to a homeless shelter. Then we lost track of him. We are worried. Due to the kindness of other Christians I was able to give them some work book studies to learn to share their faith. They were so excited. We are memorizing scriptures to share and making a covenant to begin to chose people in their lives to pray for in the coming weeks as we learn to share about what Jesus has done in our lives. The Kingdom has come. The gospel is being preached to the poor. And perhaps some day very soon the gospel will be preached “by” the poor to their neighbors. I believe that we are changing culture. That is always what true Christianity has done. I love my Joe’s. Both of them. And they love me. We are the church. and the Church is triumphant. Praise to the King.

 





Post from an Communist

26 11 2011

The following statement was read by Billy Graham who came under much criticism for it’s obvious source.

 

“We Communists have a high casualty rate. We’re the ones who get slandered and ridiculed and fired from our jobs and in every other way made as uncomfortable as possible. A certain percentage of us get killed or imprisoned. We live in virtual poverty. We turn back to the Party every penny we make above what is absolutely necessary to keep us alive. We Communists don’t have time or the money for many movies or concerts or T-bone steaks or decent homes and new cars. We’ve been described as fanatics. We are fanatics! Our lives are dominated by one great overshadowing factor – the struggle for World Communism.

“We Communists have a philosophy of life which no amount of money could buy. We have a cause to fight for, a definite purpose in life. We subordinate our petty, personal selves into a great movement of humanity. And if our personal lives seem hard or our egos appear to suffer through subordination to the Party, then we are adequately compensated by the fact that each of us in his small way is contributing to something new and true and better for mankind. The Communist cause is my life, my business, my religion, my hobby, my sweetheart, my wife and mistress, my bread and meat. I work at it in the daytime and dream of it at night. Its hold on me grows, not lessens, as time goes on. Therefore, I cannot carry on a friendship, a love affair, or even a conversation without relating it to this force which both guides and drives my life. I evaluate people, books, ideas, and actions according to how they affect the Communist cause and by their attitude toward it. I’ve already been in jail because of my ideas, and if necessary, I’m ready to go before a firing squad.”

 





A Post from an Atheist

26 11 2011

The following statement was made by an atheist.  Words to live by:

“If I firmly believed, as millions say they do, that the knowledge and practice of religion in this life influences destiny in another, then religion would mean to me everything. I would cast away earthly enjoyments as dross, earthly cares as follies, and earthly thoughts and feelings and vanity. Religion would be my first waking thought and my last image before sleep sank me into unconsciousness. I should labor in its cause alone. I would take thought for the morrow of eternity alone. I would esteem one soul gained for heaven worth a life of suffering. Earthly consequences would never stay my hand, or seal my lips. Earth, its joys and its griefs, would occupy no moment of my thoughts. I would strive to look upon eternity alone, and on the immortal souls around me, soon to be everlastingly happy or everlastingly miserable. I would go forth to the world and preach to it in season and out of season, and my text would be:

‘WHAT SHALL PROFIT A MAN IF HE GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD AND LOSE HIS OWN SOUL?’”





My mission

25 11 2011

Kingdom Expansion

through the Kingdom method of Discipleship

following the specific  instructions of our King.

Before you read this page take a moment and view a short movie that has some value in setting up a new paradigm

Like the short video above, I want to propose a fresh perspective on taking the gospel to the nations.  Instead of taking the missionary models of the past century  and moving them to Africa I want to try to share with you what has been identified by myself and others as a  biblical model for missions.

There are  two passages in the Bible  we will look at for a plan for biblical insight into missions.  Matthew 28:16-20 and Luke 10:1-11.  It helps if you  are familiar with the rest of the New Testament since the Apostles followed this mandate and method in their mission.  Read this short article and then read Acts and see if you sense the Apostles following these instructions.   I am going to keep this simple but will gladly “drill down” with you in person if you want more details than this.  But here we go.

First let’s look at the first of the two passages:  The first Matt 28:16-20

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

GO:  Our mission includes going.  Okay that’s easy so far.

MAKE DISCIPLES : We are NOT making converts but disciples.  Disciples don’t just believe, they believe and follow .

We want to disciple believers to become and reproduce Kingdom Citizens, not nominal cultural Christians.  I am not going to Africa to Americanize them.  Nor am I going to give the an American version of the Gospel.  But rather we are teaching the Kingdom of God.  There is a King (Jesus), He has a realm ( a real Kingdom on this earth) , citizens (committed believers)  and they obey His rules (commands)  because they love and trust Him.  The Kingdom of God, in it’s purity, under His leadership with real world involvement and literal attendance is the greatest culture changing force in all the world.

And we learn from 2 Timothy 2:2 that disciples make disciples.

2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.

ALL OVER  We must remember that our mission is mobile, fluid and flexible.  God is at work everywhere we can’t get overly committed to an area but rather stay committed to the vision of Kingdom Expansion.

BAPTIZING  Baptism is an integral part of spreading the Gospel.  It cannot be under emphasized and was a foundation in the Great Commission.  It must be foundational to us as well.

TEACHING THEM TO OBEY: EVERYTHING I HAVE COMMANDED  This  command is many times left out of the Great Commission all together.   This is a huge part of the Great Commission and we tend to gloss over it.  We teach how to get saved, how to witness, a few important doctrinal points to avoid error, the importance of bible reading, baptism and going to church etc.  And those things are wonderful.  But are they everything that JESUS commanded?  Let’s be honest Jesus taught to drop your nets, take up your cross and follow Him completely.  He asked His disciples to love Him more than father, mother and children.  He told them to abandon this world and look to the next.  All the disciples decisions were made with a view of eternal Heavenly consequences.   Then He gave specific ways to live that included loving God and your brother in ways that sound outlandish to us.  He taught that we are to turn our cheek even to our enemies.  We are to give to those in need almost recklessly with little  regard to our own well being.   I could go on, but basically we take the words of Jesus that “He who loves me obeys my commands” and we teach that those commands are to be seriously obeyed.

I am with you always.  I AM IN THIS FOREVER (Jesus)

On to passage number two:  Luke 10:1-11

1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’

GO,  Wait,  we already did this one.  We find Jesus in this passage  giving perhaps the most detailed explanation on a topic that is in the entire Gospel narrative.  He sent them to where HE was coming to next.  We pray for Jesus participation in our mission as well.

Here we are given instructions on how to go that contains some specific details.   He specifically sends them “unencumbered”.  There are no props, minimal provisions, no weapons, no equipment. They are positioned to move quick and often, unburdened by the normal supplies for traveling on a long trip.   This sounds strange to a nation of planning, programing and preparing  methodical people.  But  Jesus is liberating and releasing us to go without all the baggage and methods we so love to carry and apply.  We are simply to focus on the task at hand.  To major on the only thing that is important and be free of all that can slow us down.  Am I walking out of the Mwanza airport penniless and without food to feed on locust and honey as we proclaim like John the Baptist, REPENT!  No. You can see my plans with some specifics below.  Am I going unencumbered and trusting in the Lord for many of the detailed specifics?  Yes.  Our focus is the mission and His method.  And His method is unencumbered.

Man of Peace. We find and stay with a “man of peace”,  or someone who promotes peace, depending on your translation.  We may be introduced to this person as a leader when we arrive at a village.  This is a person receptive to the gospel and with a heart for hospitality.  We may preach the Gospel in public and one of the new believers offer us a place to stay.  The provision for this person is not specifically identified for us in this text.  I find this exciting.   We just know and expect God to provide this person from these instructions.   So we go out in prayer, expecting to identify this person,  knowing that this is in God’s hands.  We go looking for the “man of peace”.  This is a person of influence and a person who could later become a gifted disciple.  This is a point of great importance and we must rely on the Lords leading and provision.  We will always keep this person in mind for the next village, the next town and the next house church.

We carry a Blessing. This is an interesting aspect of Jesus commands for us in going out.  We are carrying a blessing for the “man of peace” his village and his house.  He can have this blessing or if he is unresponsive we can withdraw it.  This seems inconsequential to those that do not understand the power of Jesus teachings.  I claim no revelation in this area.  But I strongly suspect that as we bless those who receive us and withdraw that blessing from those that don’t, there we be a real and apparent consequence.  I believe that the Gospel will be furthered through this blessing and withholding, in ways we cannot foresee at this time.  But I imagine the villages witnessing God’s favor on the blessed will be influenced for the Kingdom.  Regardless we will obey.

Stay,   We don’t move around from this person’s house, in a given area, as we serve and work.  We may travel the area working and expounding the Kingdom, but we stay in this place, partaking and participating in their culture.

Heal the Sick.  For some of you this is a stretch.  The ministry of proclaiming the Kingdom of God, the Good News, is always accompanied by God’s provision and power.   God will be God as we go.  He is the God of miracles.

Tell them of the  Kingdom of God.  Again the Kingdom.  Everywhere Jesus and His Apostles went they preached the Kingdom.  That is the King (Jesus), His realm (His Kingdom, on earth as it is in Heaven) , His citizenship (How to enter and abide in His Kingdom)   and His commands ( following His teachings) .

OK Glenn, this sounds simple, but how does it look in the real world ?

  • I will arrive in Africa and connect with my own national or regional  man of peace, a translator, ( and much more).  A brother who will provide me with geographical and cultural insight as well as interpret. This person may change from time to time.
  • We will use bicycles or perhaps scooters, with trailers  to get around.  The trailer and backpacks will carry provisions, bibles and literature.  We will walk a great deal.  We will go to villages and towns and simply share the gospel of the Kingdom while healing the sick, connecting and serving the “least of these”.   I am especially praying about those in prison or in jail.
  • We hope to stay in the homes of the locals  and persons of peace, but are prepared to camp out.
  • Our gospel will be asking men to “drop their nets”, “take up their cross” repent of their sins and come and follow Jesus.  We will teach them to obey Christ teachings.
  • We will stay in an area where we are welcomed and the people are receptive of the gospel, making disciples that will be instructed to teach and disciple others.  We will work from there and connect with those believers as we reach out to new villages and towns, teaching the disciples to do the same.
  • We will plant house churches that require no funding and train leadership that will be self sustaining.  We want to plant “pregnant” house churches, that are trained and expecting to plant other “pregnant” house churches.

Using this method I can move about and make disciples for only a few hundred dollars a month.  My expenses will be miniscule compared to traditional mission methods.  We will avoid the pitfalls of Americans being viewed as the rich elite and possible sources of money and  gain.  We will travel with little and rely on God’s provision and mercy.  We will carry enough funds for some food and to help the needy when the timing and opportunity is correct.  We will have rice and utensils to prepare a meal and purchase local meat and vegetables.  I will have a method to drink local water safety.   We will have bibles and literature, in Kiswahili . provided to us at cost from Kingdom Driven Ministries.  My friend Marc Carrier, the  principal at KDM, has written and translated both his and other books specifically to teach the Kingdom of God in Swahili speaking Africa.   By the way. And this is important.  We will NOT be critical of any and all that do things differently from a methodology standpoint.  We will interact with any existing Churches and Christians both national and foreign, and bless and assist them in any way we can.

I covet your prayers and hope that you will engage with me on how you can participate.  You can click on a donation tab at the top of my blog page  to join us in this mission.  I am excited about this opportunity and challenge and hope you will prayerfully consider joining the team to take the Gospel of the Kingdom to the people of Tanzania.  We need to purchase bibles, bicycles or scooters, trailers, literature and need monthly funding to move forward.  To Him be the Glory.





Masai Warrior comes forward

25 11 2011

A young Masai warrior came forward during a street meeting to make a decision for Jesus. Dr. Jeff Brawner shared with a group on a street corner right next to the local church we were working with in Mwanza, Tanzania.  During the call to decision, no one responded and I sensed there was a timidity from all to make that public step forward to accept Jesus as Lord.  Jeff made another appeal and this time talked of the bravery that was required to come forward in front of others in making ones profession public.  With this appeal to bravery the Masai, known for their courage and bravery was the first to come forward.  Once he did the other in the crowd joined him in his decision.  He was quickly introduced to the leadership at the church for discipleship and was seen the next day walking down the street heading to church meetings.  God bless this brave new disciple.

Masai Warrior comes to Christ