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Pioneering In the Heart of God
- It can be inspiring to hear stories of pioneers such as Chris Bonington, David Livingstone, Captain Cook, Christopher Columbus and others.
- Even in their fallen state, these pioneers reflect something of the heart of God.
- Often when we talk about church planting we focus on the nuts and bolts, but this sometimes means that we miss the majesty of the big picture.
- The creation mandate is to pioneer. Adam and Eve were instructed to go out and to fill the world.
- According to some theologians, the Garden of Eden was only part of the created world. There was a whole wilderness around it, and the mandate was to go to the ends of the earth.
- From the place where God and people dwell together, there is a mission to go out. This is symbolised by the river that flowed out from Eden.
Rivers of Blessing
- The picture of the river crops up many times in the Bible.
- Ezekiel saw an image of a river coming out from the Temple and bringing life to the nations (Ezekiel 47).
- Jesus said that out of our inmost being would flow streams of living water (John 7)
- In Revelation, the river is still flowing in the New Creation and giving life (Revelation 22).
- Then sin came, and the work (which already existed and was a part of God’s good creation) became much more difficult.
Some Biblical Pioneers
- God gave Noah a mandate that was a continuation of the mandate to Adam.
- Noah pioneered the ark in a context where it was very counter-cultural, and he was mocked for it, but he knew what God had called him to.
- As pioneers, it is important to have a picture of what it is that we are trying to do.
- For Colin, this meant starting lots of community churches around Manchester that were like stakes in the ground that were webbed together.
- For different people it will be different things.
- Abram was called to leave his Father’s house and to go to a place that God would show him.
- For many pioneers, it is an important thing to go.
- Sometimes there will be pushback against this from people who don’t want to lose contact with you, but the important thing is the call of God.
- Isaac inherited the promises from Abraham and he believed them
- As pioneers, it is important that we believe the promises – both the promises of Scripture (e.g. Isaiah 2:2, Habakkuk 2:14, Revelation 5:9-10) and the personal promises that God gives to you (such as the promise that God gave to Paul that he would stand before kings and nations).
- God asked Rebekah to leave her parents and go to Canaan to marry.
- The servant who came had to make the big ask to Rebekah, and Rebekah needed to obey God and respond to that ask.
- The way to get people to move and pioneer is to ask them.
- We should both ask the Lord of the Harvest (pray) and ask the people (as Jesus did with his apostles in the passage immediately after talking about the Lord of the Harvest).
- For Esther, being a pioneer was about being brave and doing the right thing where she was.
- For a lot of people, pioneering can mean bringing the gospel and God’s justice into our workplaces.
- Pioneering can mean going, but for other people, pioneering happens where we are now.
- Jesus is the ultimate pioneer. He came from heaven to earth and moved into the neighbourhood.
- God not only asks people such as Abraham, Rebekah and us to pioneer – he does it himself.
- The apostles were mandated to go into all the world.
- Much of the book of Acts focusses on the pioneering deeds of the Apostle Paul.
When Will Pioneering Stop?
- Pioneering will continue until the Gospel has reached all of the nations and then the end will come.
- If there was pioneering before the fall, there is no reason to think there won’t be pioneering in the new creation.
- Think of all the new heavens and the new earth that there will be to discover and pioneer, without the hindrance of sin.