From February 17-22, I (Glen) had the pleasure of being on the beautiful campus of Johnson University in Tennessee. The purpose of this excursion was a week of Jonathan Training, conducted by Team Expansion. Jonathan training focuses on effectively making disciples and planting churches, and it was a very special, exciting week that I believe will truly help us to serve better here in France.
While there is so much from the training that is worth sharing, I was reminded of some important principles while reading through 1 Peter. Verse 4:7, in particular, says, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.” The three main ideas of this verse are so important for approaching the task of making disciples.
URGENCY – The end of all things is at hand. It is an easy idea to recognize even when it is difficult to be driven by it. Every single person needs Jesus and everyday people are dying without accepting the free gift of his salvation. This should leave us restless, constantly yearning to act with the best balance of speed and effectiveness we can find in our efforts to make disciples. So many of our difficulties with obeying the Great Commission would actually be solved merely through a conviction of the urgency of the situation at hand.
PRAYER – Obviously the mission before us, bringing the good news of Jesus to the world, can feel quite intimidating, especially when we keenly feel this warranted sense of urgency. This is where this verse offers us some hope. Our first reaction should not be to rely on our own abilities but to turn to God for help. It should be processed like this:
-The end of all things is at hand…
-Oh no! What do we do?!
We are not meant to accomplish any of this alone, and we should start by asking for help, wisdom, and courage. Turn to the Lord in prayer.
REFLECTION – This verse also acknowledges an unfortunate reality for us at many points in our life. There are times of dryness when it is difficult to find the motivation to commit ourselves to prayer, let alone the task of making disciples. This demands serious reflection and self-awareness on our part. We should survey ourselves to discover what is disrupting our self-control and sober-mindedness. What is keeping us from going to God? Is it that phone in our hand? Is it worries about finances? Perhaps we are allowing less-than-holy influences upon our mind. Maybe we just need to retreat for a couple of days of renewal. Whatever may be the problem, seek earnestly to capture a mindfulness, a self-control, which would allow you to react in prayer to the urgent mission field before you.
At the very core of the Jonathan Training is a simple, powerful focus on being a disciple worth reproducing. When we focus on this, this verse from 1 Peter will come alive to us. Then when we pray effectively, with a clear and sober mind fueled by a sense of urgency, God-sized things are sure to follow. Trust and cling to His faithfulness. It is already God’s plan to reach the world, hopefully this verse will motivate you to jump on board and take part.