The Who of Global Impact
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
What does a Global Impacter look like? Extraordinarily ordinary, uncommonly common, remarkably like us. We see the answer each time we look in a mirror. One day God came to visit Abraham. The man of faith was not working on theological books, not debating dogma, not enthralled in a vision of some kind.
Genesis 18:1b “. . .he (Abraham) sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;”
Living in a parched desert, Abraham was hot, trying to find a way to be cool, sitting in the shade, dreaming of air conditioning. He was simply a regular guy, a normal fellow.
Global Impacters look like people who want to worship, to be growing ever closer to the Lord. Holiness matters most. Spiritual growth does not happen by accident. It is a product of intent, not drift. If careless, time will work against us.
Our missions revival began six years ago with lots of excitement, steam, and energy. God’s glory exploded among us. The new began to wear off as we had setbacks. Things got tough. We learned Ken Sorrells is right, “Missions is messy work.” It became easy to lose sight of the Glory, to allow tedium to set in.
I call us back to the beginning. Jacob had to return to Bethel, to revisit his relationship with God. The song fits, “I’m coming back to the heart of worship.”
God changed us. Effective serving and going always begin in worship that changes us. The Twelve had to be changed before they could go. Jesus said, “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (AC 1:8a).
We set aside the 100 World Viewers in 1997. We made a corporate choice to seek to obey. And then God came, creating a newness in us, a white hot heat.
God changed me in 1997 in China. I went up the mountain scared to death. I came down relieved. I remember thinking, “All is well. If they don’t kill me on this trip, they’ll get me next time.” Safety didn’t matter any more. I was changed.
God did something new in us. We should long for something new once more. We need revival, a re-embracing of white hot heat from God and for God.
To see our desirable future, don’t first look at others or gaze out there, to harvest fields. Begin by looking upward to God, and inward into ourselves.
Global Impacters look like people who want to serve. They are humble. To make sure God receives all honor for the work, He delights to use weak, feeble servants. To be used, Isaiah had to reach a depth where he looked more fit for a nervous breakdown than effective service. “Woe is me!” he cried, “I am undone.”
The path to service usually goes through the crucible of brokenness. Jesus told us to pray the Lord of harvest, “that he will send forth laborers” (MT 9:38b).
“Send forth” translates an intense verb used of casting out a demon from a person possessed. It means to cast out, drive out, push out, thrust. Why such a harsh verb? Because we are usually initially unwilling to surrender to God’s will. Reluctance has to be broken. God has to intervene to crush our inner resistance.
Little can be done by us till God has undone us. We have to be taken to pieces, undergo destruction, and then be reconfigured into new, nobler images.
We constantly have to be re-made. Surrender is no once for all time event. We are ever students, learners, apprentices. Only in Heaven do we finally arrive.
It’s okay to feel the task is beyond us, to mourn incapacity and failure. It’s good to be laid in the dust. “Downward in breakage, in crushing, in grinding, into dust we must go, for this is the way to be made strong in the Lord” (Spurgeon).
This is not the same as abject despair. We never say, “It’s hopeless. We might as well give up. The job is too daunting.” I struggle with this vantage point. Often the gaze at lostness almost crushes me. This weakness is okay, yea good, as long as it drives us, not to quitting, but to prayer that seeks God’s power.
We must never give up. The only acceptable option is to plead the case before the tribunal of Earth’s Supreme Potentate. When all looks discouraging, when it seems the harvest is slipping away, may we pray more and despair less.
Global Impacters look like people who want to go. Paul could not restrain himself to a limited sphere. He had to extend himself, take the Word everywhere. He always felt a need to go. We may not travel as much, but we must travel some. Everyone needs to go to Missouri, the USA, and the uttermost from time to time.
The Gospel is carried by go, not by osmosis. The message has to be picked up, carried, conveyed, delivered. Go is hard for me, but has become part of God’s re-making of me. I who never wants to go anywhere except home became a go-er.
A Canadian Customs official, thumbing through my passport, noticed stamps from many countries. She asked, “What is your occupation?” “Pastor.” She then asked, “Does it require you to travel the world?” I immediately answered, “Yes.” Amen. I consider myself under direct orders from the King of kings and lord of lords to spend the rest of my life traversing the whole world.
In Nicaragua I learned what Christians are suppose to do when they come to the end of the road. Larry White stopped, shifted into four-wheel drive, and then drove on across a field. Larry taught me an important lesson. For Christians, when it comes to the Great Commission, there is no end of the road, no end of go.
Global impacters worship, serve, and go. As your Pastor, I want to lead the way in our seeking to do better in these three areas in order that we might rise to a higher level of impacting the world. I want to take the next step. My dear people, please walk with me. I am not a missionary or an evangelist, I am a Pastor. That means I move with a flock. God’s call on me is a call on you, we share this duty.
I want us all to make a personal response. Isaiah felt the voice of God call him as directly and personally as if there were not another person in the world.
What if all the pageantry, music, and preaching of this missions conference had been done with only you, one individual, in the audience? Would you have felt more personally challenged? If so, we failed to achieve our purpose.
Each and all must respond as if there’s no one else to fulfill the mission, for there is no one else who can accomplish what God intends specifically for you to do. May we all say with Isaiah, “Here am I, send me.”