From the Pastor
Pastor Mike Burns
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Six Characteristics of Kingdom Risk Taking
Six Characteristics of Kingdom Risk Taking
On Sunday, July 25th, I finished preaching the series, Taking a Kingdom Risk. In this series we learned that Kingdom Risk Taking is a necessary component of true discipleship and is a Kingdom protocol (code of conduct) for following Jesus Christ. Jesus calls us to risk, to obey and step out in faith for His glory and to the fullest potential for the kingdom of God realized. Every great risk in Jesus’ Name begins with confidence in the goodness and trustworthiness of God. That He who calls us to “step out in faith” means to trust the One who supplies us with whatever we need to fulfill plans and purposes in and through us.
Kingdom Risk Taking has 6 Characteristics that helps us recognize and understand what is required in in this endeavor. The first five characteristics I have preached about and they are described on the podcast at our website (wordofvictory.org). Here is a synopsis of the last and sixth characteristic:
- Kingdom Risk Taking Is Rooted in Identity.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Is Calculated.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Is Rooted in Faith, Not Fear.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Invites Uncertainty.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Requires Persistence.
- Kingdom Risk Taking Ensures Growth.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green…
Godly risk taking is different than the risk tied to immediate gratification, which is plentiful in our culture.
- Immediate gratification is often self-serving and short sighted.
- Kingdom Risk Taking is God-driven with long range
The latter can take you some place different, some place better!
Obeying God and stepping out of our comfort zone to trust Him and to walk by faith not only has positive repercussions for us and others around us today, but also for generations to come in the future (see Gen. 26:24).
Because it requires discipline, tempering the uncertainty (characteristic #4) and persistence (characteristic #5)…however, Godly Risk Taking is less common among many Christians.
This week I am ‘forwarding’ an article that was made available to me a few days ago. I hope you will read it, and then, respond by praying for the persecuted church.
In recent months, stories of Christian persecution have seemed more like pages ripped from the Book of Exodus than modern-day news reports.
A Christian couple beaten to death and then burned in a kiln… more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria… a mother forced to give birth in chains in Sudan… the mass exodus of families forced from their homes in Syria and Iraq, driven out by the brutality of ISIS… The violence and cruelty seem to know no bounds.
These don't even take into account the untold stories of persecution happening in closed countries like North Korea. Kenneth Bae’s capture, imprisonment and then fortunate release only highlight the instability of the country and suppression of religion there. There is no question that millions of Christians around the world live in constant danger simply because of their choice of religion.
I urge you to not forget about those living without the rights you enjoy. Do not forget about those who fear for their lives simply because they own and read a Bible.
Recently, the world marked the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted. During Open Doors’ webcast to mark the occasion, my colleague Mike Gore from Open Doors Australia remarked that Christian persecution has reached “biblical proportions.” It was a frighteningly apt description.
Only 300,000 Christians or less remain in Iraq (in 2003, there were over one million Christians), with more fleeing monthly, and it is legitimately feared that none will be there by 2016. Syria has seen its own exodus, with so many Syrians fleeing their own country that one in every four persons in Lebanon is a now refugee, both Christian and non-Christian.
Christians in North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan fear for their lives simply because they are Christians. These countries topped the 2014 World Watch List of the most dangerous places for Christians to live.
As the January 7 release of the 2015 list nears, there is a tragic amount of competition for the ignominious top spot. We hope to see conditions improve in some of these countries, but we are not optimistic that anything has changed for the better in the last year. More likely, things have gotten worse.
So, what can we do? When we talk with persecuted, displaced and despondent Christians, their primary request is not for food, water or shelter, but for our prayer.
Knowing that Christians in America have not forgotten them brings persecuted Christians desperately needed hope.
I recently returned from Egypt, where I met with Egyptian Christians to see how they were faring since the change in government. Many came up and welcomed me to their country — a very different reception from the one I received last January, when I witnessed gangs of Muslim Brotherhood supporters shooting and fighting in Tahrir Square.
Now Egyptians are walking and taking lunch there, a sign that the troubled nation is relaxing. But many churches still lie behind Jersey barriers and wire for protection. Since the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood, hope is on the rise in this country, though there is still a long way to go.
I urge you to not forget about those living without the rights you enjoy. Do not forget about those who fear for their lives simply because they own and read a Bible. Do not forget about those who have watched their children die simply because of their faith. Remember and pray for them.
The rise of Islamist extremism and the ongoing suppression of faith by communist regimes continue to drive persecution of Christians and other religious groups.
For far too long, much of the free world has done little to oppose the persecution of Christians. It is time for those of us who are living with the blessing of freedom of religion to advocate for those who are not.
David Curry is the President of Open Doors USA. For nearly 60 years, Open Doors has worked in the world's most oppressive countries, empowering Christians who are persecuted for their beliefs. Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world. Each year, Open Doors releases its World Watch List, a ranking of the 50 countries where Christian persecution is worst.
On to Victory,
Pastor Mike Burns
Published on Thursday, November 20, 2014 @ 11:15 AM CDT