George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilisation, spoke to the new recruits at OM’s January 2008 GO (Global Orientation) Conference, which I attended. Here are some of my notes from one of his presentations. George is pictured wearing his signature map of the world jacket. George says he has a “Pentecostal heart” and an “Evangelistic head.” It takes both groups working together to reach the world. He has always stressed holiness in his work with OM, but the way he used to do it led too often to legalism. It takes a close walk in God’s love to avoid legalism. George says his “gifting” is to say one stupid thing in every message. (I didn’t hear any such stupid things in his comments to us, however.) One of his early messages was titled “Hunger for God.” He has found that this message can be depressing and wishes he’d done a better job with it, because 30,000 people have downloaded it! George acknowledges that he has a negative streak. He fears he has become the “Darth Vader” of the evangelistic world. How do we stay positive in a negative world? It’s the work of the Holy Spirit! and a lifetime pilgrimage. I John 2:1 (also read 1:8) was written so we would “sin not.” There is no sinlessness on earth, but lots of opportunities to “sin less” with God’s grace. Suicide has become more and more common in the world, even in the church. Sexual sins, too. God’s radical grace is needed to combat these. If we do sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, the righteous, holy one, Jesus, who has paid for our sin and will continue to forgive and cleanse us from sin. Producing holiness is a continuous process. It takes spending time in the Word, prayer and repentence, knowing God and acknowledging his radical grace, to produce holiness in us.
Prepare the field. Remove the stones, the briars and weeds, plow up the soil and fertilize. Then sow the seeds. Follow-up with proper cultivation. Okay, that’s how a farmer does it. But how does the word-sower do it? Let’s look at how Jesus did it.
Pray first, find out where Father wants you to go and what he wants you to do.
Love people and help them. Turn water into wine. Feed hungry people. Heal sick people. Return a dead son to his mother. Return a healed sick boy to his father. Drive demons out when necessary. Whatever shows the Father’s mercy, compassion and practical help, do that. Then, when you speak they will listen.
Teach in easy to understand ways. Use understandable examples. Use the weather. Carpentry. Farming. Housework. Business. Warfare. Scripture, where the people are familiar with scripture. Be practical, useful, helpful. Build up, not tear down. Encourage, not discourage. Be merciful, not judgmental. But be truthful.
I have a problem with folks who quote one particular verse out of context – you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free. Not so! The truth that sin will kill you doesn’t make anyone free. Jesus said, if you continue in my word, then you’ll be my disciples – and THEN you’ll know the truth, and THEN the truth will make you free. (Read John 8:31ff)
While we go about preparing the field, sowing the seed and cultivating afterward, let’s don’t forget that the seed we’re handling is God’s word. Let’s handle it with care and integrity, and be smart. Do it Jesus’ way.