Missions Minutes

One of the ways we are doing ministry at Lumenations is to help out the global work of local churches. My daughter Shelby and I are working hard to get the Perspectives course to our area for the first time ever by Spring of next year. I am also partnering with a local church, Downtown Church of Christ, to help them better communicate to their body what is happening with the global missions that they are involved with. One way I am doing that is by creating “Missions Minutes” videos that they are showing the congregations on Sunday mornings, here are a couple that we presented recently during a special day focused on missions.

On March 3rd, 2019, Downtown commissioned and sent out Andrew & Lydia Taylor and their kids to live and work in East Africa and share the love and good news of Jesus! Here is a part of their story.

Buildings with Steeples

Do you ever remember putting your hands together and saying, “This is the church and this is the steeple, open the door’s and here’s all the people.” I thought about that a few weeks ago as I was preparing to teach Lesson 3 of the Perspectives course, YOUR KINGDOM COME. At the same time, I was preparing for our house church gathering and had planned to focus on the question, “What is Church?” What does it mean for us to BE the church together. I realized while that old children’s poem, with the fun hand motions, while cute and fun, was disturbingly UN-Biblical. So, I wrote an alternative version and shared it with the Perspectives classes in Branson and Harrison and also with our house church gathering. A bunch of people asked me if I had a video link of it - I didn’t. But I do now! Here it is (and the poem is below the video).

This is a building, it may have a steeple, but it’s not the church, the church is God's people.

A people redeemed who take up their cross, who follow their Savior no matter the cost.

And live with God’s love for the wounded and lost.

They’ll gather in huts or under a tree, in underground caves down on bended knee

You’ll find them in prison and orphanages and out on a mission in far off places, 

You’ll find them in homes where families enter, you’ll find them in streets and big shopping centers

In conference rooms, coffee bars, even cathedrals,

and sometimes even in buildings with steeples.

the church is certainly not what you meet in, but the family of God who’ve been freed from their sin.

Wind Power

We put a BIG emphasis on our prayer ministry at Lumenations. We all know that the ONLY way the vision and mission of Lumenations will be accomplished is to be completely dependent upon the Spirit’s provision, direction and strength - and the key connection to that is through the power of prayer. So we have a prayer team and we want to do everything we can to make sure our prayer team is active and knows our prayers needs. (want to join? CLICK HERE and sign up)

Every member of our prayer team has signed up to pray on a certain day of the week and, each week on that day, the receive a reminder e-mail from us. That e-mail includes a picture with a scripture or relevant quote. This coming week, they’ll receive this picture - read below it for the idea behind the picture.

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Each day, I try to read a bit of O.T., a bit of Wisdom lit., more than “a bit" of the Gospels and then a bit of the N.T. letters. My New Testament readings brought me to a couple of passages that I had never thought of in relation to each other.

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. - Jesus' message to Nicodemas in John 3:8

My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. - God’s message to Paul in 2 Cor. 12:9b

Around the time I read this I also received an e-mail from my favorite royalty-free stock photo site, unsplash.com (see pic above).

It got me thinking about the idea of God’s “power working best in weakness” in relation to a windmill. A windmill is created specifically to work with wind - no wind, no power. It has NO strength, no power on it’s own. It does not have the ability to produce it’s own power, but it CAN keep the wind from producing power through it by getting “stuck”, locked up and not moving. We are created to be vessels of power in the Spirit of Christ alone. We can’t offer anything worthwhile in our own strength but when we release ourselves and allow the “wind” to move through us, then the lights turn on! …power!

I pray that we can operate on “wind power”. May the Spirit of Lord blow through us and through every aspect of our Lumenations ministry.



The "Romance" of a Missionary

Note from Ken:

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I will be speaking at The Rock Campus Church in Columbia, Missouri on the campus of Mizzou this Sunday morning. As I was doing some final preparations for my lesson, I came across this great quote from one of my heroes, C. T. Studd, that I had not seen before:

“The “romance” of a missionary is often made up of monotony and drudgery; there often is no glamour in it; it doesn’t stir a man’s spirit or blood. So don’t come out to be a missionary as an experiment; it is useless and dangerous. Only come if you feel you would rather die than not come. Don’t come if you want to make a great name or want to live long. Come if you feel there is no greater honor, after living for Christ, than to die for Him.” 

C.T. Studd left a life of luxury and fame to serve his Lord and inspire many others to do so. He spent 10 years in China, 8 years in India and 20 years in Africa. He obviously felt he would rather die than not join Jesus in this great commissioning. He died in the Belgian Congo, a missionary to the end.

Sending Churches

We love “sending churches” and we love helping churches send well! This is an area of the ministry of Lumenations that I, personally, am so passionate about. I’ve been blessed to have open doors from several different churches to come in and lead their annual missions conference (check out this fun video I did for one of them late last year). I will be heading up to Columbia, Missouri to speak at The Rock Campus Church next month on missions. If you would like to have me (Ken) and Lumenations help with your church, let me know!

We’ve recently been blessed with an opportunity to help our home church engage with their domestic and foreign missionaries. Here are two new videos we did for their “Missions Sunday” this past week.


Video 1: What is Missions?


Video 2: Why is important to pray? (for our missionaries)

Dealing with Doubts? Go on Mission with Jesus!

WRITTEN BY KEN SHACKELFORD

I was blessed to be in Ozark, Missouri earlier this week and teach lesson 4 of Perspectives to the 40+ who are having their life “ruined for the ordinary”. Lesson 4 focuses on the life and ministry of Jesus and how He perfectly displayed God’s heart for every tribe, tongue and nation. We spend a lot of time on His “Mandate on the Mountain”, the Great Commission, and show that this co-mission is at the center of what his ministry training was all about.

Each time I teach this lesson, God reveals something new and fresh to me about what I am teaching. This time around, it has to do with the verse just before Christ’s commissioning in Matthew 28. In verse 17, it says, “When they saw Him, they worshiped Him…” Of course, this is what you would expect of people who had been with the Messiah for years, witnessed His brutal death and now see Him alive and well! But that is not the end of the verse! The three words just before this commission are, “but some doubted.”

Doubt?! What? How could the disciples standing in front of the resurrected Christ have any ounce of doubt? If they doubt, what hope is there for me 2,000 years after the fact reading this ancient Book? It is interesting to note how Jesus, who surely knew that they doubted, dealt with their doubt. Did He tell them that they are of no use to Him until that can “just get over it” and really believe? No. He tells these doubters, along with everyone else, to “go and make disciples.”

The theologian Paul Tillich says that “Doubt is not the opposite of faith, it is an element of faith.” If you have no doubts at all, you have no need of faith, you just simply know. While we are living in this fleshly shell and walking through this fallen world, doubt will be with us. This is why we need faith! Faith, hope and love are indeed great, but love is the greatest because faith and hope are temporary. They are only needed while we “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” [Phil. 2:12b] When we stand in white robes with the multitudes from every nation, worshiping Christ with the angels, our doubts will vanish. When we enter the gates of Heaven, our hopes will be realized. Then there is simply the fullness and completeness of eternal LOVE.

But for now, Jesus knows that He can work with those of us who doubt. He tells the doubters to join Him in His mission: to make disciples of every people group, to baptize them and teach them to walk in loving obedience alongside their new adopted family of God.

There is a saying in the south, “A dog in the hunt don’t scratch for fleas.” Doubts nag at us like fleas on a dog. If we just sit around the “barn yard” (a.k.a. church pew) as a passive believer, then the nagging doubts, among other issues, will become our focus. If we, instead, do what we were created to do - worship Jesus and join Him in His mission, then we will scarcely notice the doubts and our faith will be strengthened.

Even if our doubts loom large and our faith seems as small as a mustard seed, Jesus knows He can do great things with us, in us, and through us for the Kingdom of God. Don’t wait for doubt to cease before you obey Christ’s call to “GO”. Obey this great “co-mission”. Look and see what God can do through you, …in spite of your doubts!

Pics above: Teaching Perspectives Lesson 4 in Ozark, MO.