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Preparing For the Harvest

As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.
-Genesis 8:22

A whole bunch of people are going to get saved, become Christians, and will need to be made disciples of Jesus.  I believe a huge harvest is coming soon.  God has been preparing his people for this.  Are we ready?

These are some thoughts of mine, in no particular order, about being ready for and receiving the harvest of people who will flow into our lives.

A huge number of people are going to suddenly become pastors, who have previously been minding their own business and walking with God on the sidelines.  The pastors who have been pastors will step back and be equippers, coaches, consultants, and fathers & mothers to this whole new tier of pastoral ministers about to be released in the kingdom.

  1. Be ready for and willing for God to inconvenience you, with people.
  2. You can only plan to be open to what God does.
  3. The people God sends or gives you to care for will take up your time and resources.
  4. The people that God sends you will make your plans change.
  5. You will be surprised and at first think of who you could give these people to or connect them with, rather than caring for them yourselves.
  6. Become resigned to the fact that some of and even the majority of the people will be with you for years or a lifetime.
  7. See each person God sends to you as a gift.
  8. You will get less sleep and have to care after the people God sends you.
  9. There will be messes and your stuff might get broken by the new people.
  10. The first thing they will need is natural and spiritual food and shelter, then learning how to live.
  11. Get ready to be needed by people who will need what you have, to make it.
  12. You will have to learn and practice boundaries, in love.
  13. Expect fits and starts, relapses, and even betrayals.  Don't quit over these.
  14. Also beware of wolves in sheep's clothing.  Especially watch over and tend to the weakest ones.
  15. Also beware of inauthentic or false conversions: be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.
  16. Each one that God sends to you, hold lightly.  Every person has in them, through God, the capability to become a leader (servant leader) themselves.  Leaving your home and starting their own is the goal from day one for the majority.
  17. Many of us who have dutifully tithed and offered to others are going to shift to giving our whole lives to God.
  18. We are all going to shift into all being missionaries and pastors, rather than paying or supporting others.
  19. We are going to more live our lives for the sake of others, rather than for ourselves.
  20. "Give and it shall be given", will come alive in your life, like never before.

My pastor, I grew up with, had a vision of potatoes on a conveyor belt.  Someone would separate the potatoes that did not look as good.  The Lord told my pastor that those would be his church.

Church is messy.  Community is messy.  Love is the key.  Love and grace.  Don't be a perfectionist or idealist.

The most profound thing I heard and then read lately, that hit me, was a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from "Life Together", that is this:

Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest, and sacrificial.’ (p. 36)

And here is more, from that same section:

‘God hates this wishful dreaming because it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. Those who dream of this idealized community demand that it be fulfilled by God, by others, and by themselves. They enter the community of Christians with their demands, set up their own law, and judge one another and even God accordingly.’ (p. 36)

‘Because God already has laid the only foundation of our community, because God has united us in one body with other Christians in Jesus Christ long before we entered into common life with them, we enter into that life together with other Christians, not as those who make demands, but as those who thankfully receive…. We do not complain about what God does not give us; rather we are thankful for what God does give us daily.’ (p. 36)

‘Therefore, will not the very moment of great disillusionment with my brother or sister be incomparably wholesome for me because it so thoroughly teaches us that both of us can never live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and deed that really binds us together, the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ? The bright day of Christian community dawns wherever the early morning mists of dreamy visions are lifting.’ (p. 37)

‘When pastors lose faith in a Christian community in which they have been placed and begin to make accusations against it, they had better examine themselves first to see whether the underlying problem is not their own idealized image, which should be shattered by God.’ (p. 38)

‘…the Christian community has not been given to us by God for us to be continually taking its temperature. The more thankfully we daily receive what is given to us, the more assuredly and consistently will community increase and grow from day to day as God pleases.’ (38)

‘Christian community is not an ideal we have to realize, but rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate. The more clearly we learn to recognize that the ground and strength and promise of all our community is in Jesus Christ alone, the more calmly we will learn to think about our community and pray and hope for it.’ (p. 38)

‘Self-centred love loves the other for the sake of itself; spiritual love loves the other for the sake of Christ.’ (p. 42)

-I pulled these quotes from Tim Chester.  I first read Life Together 30 years ago.  It's a great book.

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