KICKSTART DEVOTIONAL

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On every Mission Discovery mission trip, we begin the morning together in God's word. One speaker is chosen to give the word of the day so that everyone else can meditate on the Scripture. Our hope is that volunteers engage in group discussions throughout the day and in their small groups.

Since the way ministry is being done has shifted, our goal is to serve by creating resources that will help others focus on God throughout the day, and influence family and small group discussion.

Join us every weekday as we explore God's word together. We will have speakers from all over the US and the world. Here is today's Kickstart Devotional.

 

Video: David Joannes // Is Jesus Enough?

 

 

Social Media Image for Small Groups

 

Is Jesus Enough

 

 

Be Still.  Be Convinced. 

Mission Discovery Mission Trips with David Joannes

David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places.

He is the author of The Mind of a Missionary: What Global Kingdom Workers Tell Us About Thriving on Mission Today & The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary.

Hello my name is David Joannes. I'm the founder of Within Reach Global. The author of Mind of a Missionary and the host of Missions Pulse podcast. You know I've been living outside my country of birth America for 23 years now. 15 years in China and eight years here in Thailand. And as we enter this season that is very trying and difficult and the whole world is having a shared experience with COVID 19 there's many uncertainties, there's grave difficulties. 

I think it's very apt, that we turn to the scripture that has ministered to me in many ways. We're going to read all of Psalms 46 and culminate in the final verse, verse 10. Let's read it right now. It says this. 

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging there is a river whose streams make glad the City of God the holy place where the most high dwells. God is within her. She will not fall. God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar. Kingdoms fall. He lifts his voice, the earth melts."

Don't you feel like this is the kind of time in the season that we are in right now,  great difficulty, uncertainty, and many of us are perturbed about the present and the future. What will come of all this. And it continues 

"the lord almighty is with us the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the Lord has done. The desolation he has brought on the earth He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear. He burns the shields with fire"  and this is the culmination of the verse he says 

"Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted in the nations I will be exalted in the Earth" 

it continues, "the lord almighty is with us the God of Jacob is our fortress."  

I think right now is a great time to pause and to reflect, be convinced in this season, the selah of the Psalms perhaps where many of us are on lockdown perhaps some of you have lost your jobs maybe some of you have lost loved ones.

This is a time to consider is God truly on the throne. Can we be shaken?  He cannot. How about our faith?  I want to tell you a story about one of our indigenous missionaries a Within Reach Global. My wife and I founded this organization many, many years ago. We used to travel throughout the mountains and villages of China to unreached unengaged gospel deprived areas literally. 

We walk into a village and say “Nín zài zhèlǐ tīng shuōguò yēsū ma?” Have you ever heard of Jesus here?  And they would say “Nà shì yīgè féizào pǐnpái”? Is that a brand of soap? 

They had no concept of who in the world this Jesus was. Well my wife and I along with other indigenous missionaries of Within Reach Global, traveling 24 hours from the city we are living to the border of China and Myanmar formerly called Burma, one of our local missionaries was named Zhang Rong, it's a pseudonym, not his real name is what we call him online

And as we gather there all of our teams, two by two by two we have eight teams total of 16 people went out after prayer going from house to house village to village shanty to shanty. Throughout these mountains were unreached people groups were many of us came back the following day with great incredible stories of healing of salvation of whole families turning to Christ people tearing down their idol worship on their walls and all that remained was holes in the cement.

It was a powerful time of rejoicing. However Zhang Rong and his partner never showed up. Well we waited another day and on the third day we decided to return back to our respective areas. My wife and I. Twenty four hours one way to the city that we were living in Southwest China. We had not heard now from Zhang Rong for three days. We were beginning to get concerned for his life because all of our local missionaries had been followed by plainclothes police been jailed been beaten for their faith.

On the fourth day I received a phone call from Zhang Rong. His voice dejected and he said Dà wèi,  that's my Chinese name David. Okay I'm alive and we'll see you tomorrow. Well. He arrived 24 hours later at my house and I saw on his face. Cigarette burns all over his face. He was scarred and bloodied and I realize he had been jailed tortured and persecuted by the local police asking what he had been doing in that area.

My heart broke for him and I thought. We've got to protect this person. So I asked Zhang Rong do you want to take a break from ministry just lay low for a while. Go back to your hometown and take a break from ministry. He looked at me and he was convinced in his heart. He said Tell me. How can I do that. I am so grateful that I got to suffer with Jesus. Tears streaming down his face right along the scars where cigarette butt Burns lay.

We prayed the most beautiful Acts 29 prayers and Jesus thank you for considering me worthy to suffer for your namesake. We all cried there. The following week. Zhang Rong returned to that village that he was warned never to come back to and continued to share the gospel which led in a couple of years the salvation of about 300 young children, their families and a whole outreach center on the border of China and Myanmar.

I think this is a powerful thing to realize that Jesus is worthy in this time. As we pause and consider Is he truly God be still another man that I am God. He then thrusts us out into his epic redemptive plan. I will be exalted the nations will be exalted in the earth. I want to tell you that every citizen in God's kingdom is significant. I know sometimes it's difficult to see this when we're used to seeing someone on a pedestal on a platform behind a podium saying.

Explaining the things of God and we wonder is this only for the chosen few. Did the heroes of the Faith and I could never do the things that these Christian leaders would do. The reality is though men and women boys and girls these are the ones unassuming misfits God's Plan A to express his kingdom in the earth. And guess what. He has no plan B as churches have closed and you're meeting online.

I want to remind you every citizen in God's kingdom is significant. Every member of the body of Christ is a minister. This is the reality of God's epic narrative. As we see in Psalms 46 this began way back though in Genesis 1 when He told Adam and Eve 

"be fruitful and multiply, bring people under the sovereignty in the rain and rule of God Almighty." 

This plan continued as we see the Abrahamic covenant God made a promise to Abraham and said 

"through you all the families of the earth will be blessed."

Jesus then reader reiterates this in Matthew 28. We call it the Great Commission and he said 

"Go into all the world preach the gospel to every nation to every people. Baptizing them in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit and a promise I will be with you always" 

and then you think about the final words of Jesus final words matter. Don't think of all the things Jesus could have said to his disciples.

Love one another give to the poor but instead he says this 

"you after the empowerment of the Holy Spirit shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem in Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth." 

He called his disciples to give witness of all that he had done over the last three years. And today. I believe that beckoning call of Jesus traverses through the generations and the ages and hinges now rings and lingers on the air at this present moment in the midst of great difficulty, uncertainty, distress. I would encourage you to set your eyes on eternity. Why. Because there is nothing that we can take past the pearly gates besides souls.  All of our things and we are some drawn to the tangibles of life. It is so easy to become myopic. It is so easy to forget the King of Kings and the Lord of lords and to rely upon our own strategies and methods.

All of those have been ripped away at this present moment and God is saying in this time of skeletal faith. Am I enough for you? Jesus is essentially saying all the tangibles will pass away and we must focus on eternity and revealing God's glory and grace to those people in our zip code in our cities in our states and surrounding and neighboring nations and to the ends of the earth.

So I want to ask you this right now and I want you to ask it of yourself as well is Jesus enough during difficulty. Is he enough during hard times. What is being brought forth from your heart during this strange and difficult and trying time. I'll have to tell you this Zhang Rong was convinced that Jesus was enough so much so that he took cigarette butt burns on his face and there are many more stories that I can tell you about this radical missionary in the kingdom of God but he was convinced that God is watching.

And in that time even in his jail cell, as he was being tortured. There was a time was it not a difficult in wherein he says be still know that I am God I will be exalted in the nations I will be exalted in the earth right now COVID 19 has changed everything but God has not changed. And the mission is not cancelled. So I want you to take this time.

Make the most of every opportunity for the days or evil. Pause reflect. Be convinced that God is God. He is unperturbed. Does not have anxiety. He sits enthroned in the heavens unperturbed by the happenings of the earth. Can that kind of faith become ours. So I want to ask you a couple questions. You can consider them in your heart. Perhaps you'll talk with someone next to you about these things. This is a couple of questions I will leave with you.

Is Jesus enough during difficulty. What is God speaking to you. As you sit at his feet during this time of the selah of the Psalms. This moment where everything is put on pause. What is he revealing to you about his character. To whom is he asking you to reach out to and bless. And lastly. Are you poising yourself in a posture of expectancy and preparing for the harvest on the horizon.

Be still. Know that I am God.  Be convinced of it. Why? He says I will be exalted in the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Guess what, he is going to use you to extend his kingdom to places and people you never thought possible. I pray that you would catch that reality and be convinced of it today.

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