Archive for January, 2013

Part 1: The Holy Spirit Goes Before Us

Dallas 03

Mission Planting in Dallas – Amazements and Learnings

Part 1: The Holy Spirit Goes Before Us

I love the way that the Holy Spirit goes before us and prepares the ground for the mustard seed of the Kingdom of God.  I am always left in awe when I get to see it happen. The Holy Spirit gathered a team of seven from our local missions who were experienced in mission planting. It called us to go to Dallas to work with Korean churches there to plant a mission around which a missional community can form.  The Spirit called exactly the right people and the right number of people since there were only seven seats in the mini-van.  The Spirit even called people who could fit in the back seats for 19 hours of driving each way. Those who came up from our mission partner in Galveston were exactly the right people with exactly the right gifts and skills to fill out what was missing in our team from here.  Each person who went played a unique and indispensable role in the work we were called to do.  Had any one person in that group not been on that trip, we could not have done what was done.  And each person went out of a sense that they were being called to go…not simply out of a sense that they wanted to go, or that it might be fun.  Each person had prayed over it.  Things in their lives had to be gotten out of their way in order for them to be able to go. Those things were removed by a power greater than them. The Holy Spirit had called a group together and had sent it to do its work.  And the Holy Spirit removed every obstacle and opposition that stood before the team.  The Holy Spirit had gone before us.

We passed the hat among our team and came up with only $200 to work with.  That was what we had in and of ourselves.  However, on launch day, several people who weren’t going came up and put money in my hand to support us. In every case, they said that they had felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to do that.  That money was enough to cover the cost of supplies for the mission launch on the ground.  But we still had no funds for food or lodging for the team enroute to the mission. We needed a place to stay halfway to Dallas, and the Lord put it on my heart to call a brother of one of our worship ministers. The brother pastors a church in the Kansas City area.  Not only did he put us up both going and coming, but his community fed us and allowed our team to participate in a youth lock-in they were having.  Even there, we were both the subject and the object of this mission. In and of ourselves, we had no money to eat out, and we would have been eating pop tarts and sleeping at a rest stop if the Lord hadn’t put it on my heart to call this man. We live and die in our missions here by the belief that if we could do it ourselves, it isn’t the Holy Spirit calling us to do it.  We NEED the Holy Spirit and its signs and wonders to do what we are called to do.  What we can do by ourselves is human and small.  But the Holy Spirit calls us to greater things. We need the Holy Spirit to go before us even though we know that we need to pull our weight, too.  The Spirit had gone before us.

When we arrived in a Dallas suburb, we went right into teaching.  The hearts of the Korean students we were working with had already been prepared.  We took them right out of their comfort zones with an invitation to go on a prayer walk with us in the neighborhood around the church we were meeting at.  Very few of them spoke fluent English, and none of our team spoke any Korean.  And yet, many of the students courageously walked and prayed with us.  We stopped at each house to see if the Spirit would tell someone what to pray for for the people who lived there.  In every case, the Spirit spoke to someone and they prayed in their native language.  Among the things that the Spirit told us to pray for was for a person who could tell us where to plant our mission.  We prayed that prayer in front of a Walmart and a strip mall.  The next day while looking for a map of Dallas that I could purchase, I spoke with the clerk at the fifth place I came to for a map.  His name was Humphrey, and a Humphrey was from Ghana.  He didn’t have a map of Dallas either…you’d think Dallas was government classified or something…but I told him about our team and what we were here to do.  Humphrey told us that there were no homeless people in the area where we were.  He told us that we needed to go down by Parkland Hospital, and that there we would find homeless people that we could ask about where we should plant the mission.  Wow, the Spirit went before us and put Humphrey from Ghana in our path in Dallas to help us lead people from Korea on a mission in land that was none of ours by nativity.  That store was in the strip mall that we had prayed over the night before. The Spirit had gone before us.

When we got to the hospital area, we found a parking lot and parked.  In the car next to us was a homeless couple who had been living in their car.  We immediately struck up a conversation, and they told us that we were in exactly the right place.  They told us that they would help us.  They knew the area, and they knew the population that we were trying to reach. Sidney and Tabitha were excited about the possibility of being involved in this mission plant right from the moment we started talking to them.  They invited people, and helped us give out food.  The Holy Spirit had gone before us and prepared two hearts to be our people on the ground on that first day.  They have entered into a partnership with John, who will be one of two Korean partners who will carry the mission forward.  John could not do this if the Holy Spirit had not prepared and positioned Tabitha and Sidney to meet us on that first day.  The Spirit had gone before us.

There were at least twenty other things that Holy Spirit prepared before our arrival that we had the opportunity to witness.  Planting is the work of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit calls a body to it, and that gathered body acting in obedience to the mind of Christ that called it together is the “ecclesia” – the Assembly of Christ.  It is amazing beyond measure to be caught up in the Kingdom of God gathering and to see the Body come together.  And it is an almost unbearable honor to witness the Holy Spirit do what the Holy Spirit has always done.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because I have been anointed to bring Good News to the poor; to declare release to the captives; to restore sight to the blind; to set free the oppressed; and to declare the appropriate year of the Lord.” – Jesus (Luke 4:18-19), This scripture has been fulfilled in its hearing…

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