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  • Harvest Series - part 1

    Joel leads our Harvest outreach program and is a gifted evangelist. This is the first part of a three part series about our call as Christians to evangelism and the life 'saving' impact it has.

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    Welcome to this three-part blog about Harvest outreach. What is a Harvest Outreach Saturday? Well, it’s a time of prayer, equipping and encouragement as we look at how we share our faith with others. After our time together, we go out onto the streets to love people, pray for people, share the gospel and put our faith into action.

    In the Great Commission Jesus said these famous words to His followers:
    “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

    When Jesus spoke these words, He left a mandate of what His followers (that’s you and me) were to do once He was gone. Notice what Jesus said when He called His disciples: “follow me and I will make you fishers of people” (Mark 1:17). It’s a two-sided coin you see, you can’t separate following Jesus from fishing for people. Jesus taught and demonstrated the kingdom of God so that His disciples would go out into the world and do the same (see book of Acts for more detail!). It’s Christianity 101!

    Over the next three blogs, I’m going to share some stories of Harvest in the context of Jesus’ words in the Great Commission.

    “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”

    All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus, therefore, as we are now IN Christ—we now have access to a full belt of spiritual weapons to exercise this same authority. You may recall this famous passage that Paul writes in Philippians “…so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” A few weeks ago, at Harvest, someone prayed for a man with a tooth ache and all the pain left. Why? Because all authority belongs to Jesus and when we command sickness to go in His name, healing can happen! We don’t have to earn any extra authority; we just need to recognise that the authority of Jesus is now alive in us. Try it out this week, if you encounter an opportunity to pray for healing, don’t ask, command it to be healed in Jesus name. Don’t see it first time around? Pray again and again and again. Didn’t happen? Don’t worry about it, all we are called to do is have faith and pray. God’s language of love is our obedience to Him! P.s praying for stuff in Jesus’ name on daily basis makes life far more exciting, trust me!

    “Therefore go…”
    “Therefore go” can sound a bit daunting, can’t it? Jesus sends us out yes… but He doesn’t leave us, He promises to be with us till the end of the age. He sent the Holy Spirit as our helper to give us courage to break through fear and to give us the right words to say when we don’t feel like we have any. At a Harvest outreach in November, myself and a friend broke through the fear barrier and entered a conversation with quite an intimidating group of 5-6 people. We told them about Jesus but in the process got rebuked, sworn at and told where to go. It wasn’t pleasant, but it doesn’t matter because Jesus was with us and who knows the eternal impact of seeds sown in that conversation.

    This is the fun part…we get to “go” every day. We don’t have to wait for a Harvest outreach Saturday to come along. Every time we step out into the world there is an opportunity for us to be light in the darkness, to live out the authority and power of Jesus. There are daily opportunities where we get to go out and be mini Jesus’ in our workplace, our school, our university, our town etc. We often tend to wait for the ‘magic question’ from our friends, or the ‘golden’ opportunity to present itself. That stuff can and does happen! However, what if there was no better day for your neighbour, friend, work colleague, family member, acquaintance to hear the gospel than today. What if there was no better day to take a step of faith than… today.

    I’ll leave you with that thought.

    Stay tuned for more of the Great Commission and Harvest Outreach stories next time!

    Written by Joel Shopland

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