Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Confessions of a Missionary” with Marcus Smith

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and long workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

Yesterday, we had a guest with us, Marcus Smith, missionary to Thailand. Kfirst has been supporting him, Andrea, and their beautiful family for the past 4 years. They have been instrumental in impacting the community that God has placed them in. And it all began when the Holy Spirit challenged their comfort zone.

And yesterday, Marcus brought to us what he termed as his “confessions” that every one of us can relate to.

  1. “I have nothing to give.”
    • When we abide in Jesus, it’s THEN that we have something to offer. (John 15:4)
  2. “There’s a lot of junk in my heart.”
    • I need to take inventory of what’s deep inside of me. (Hebrews 4:13)
  3. “I don’t know anything.”
    • I should walk humbly before God and not get prideful in myself. (1 Corinthians 3:18)

Our messages are for Monday and we need to put action to what the Lord is speaking. This week, be willing to ask God to take you out of your comfort zone. God will not just give you opportunity, He will equip you to do it.

Also, if you need a scripture reading plan to go along with our message, check out this one.

Love you all.  See you this Sunday as we continue our series!

BTW, here’s a song this week for your devotions playlist:

It’s in my blood: My Challenge to Kfirst for Global Missions

Went back home to Detroit a month ago a sat for a lunch with my parents.  No idea how it came up, but I mentioned I had A-negative blood. It sent dad on a thought-tangent he couldn’t let go of.  Even hours later, at a Red Wings game, he was still bringing it up trying to figure out the heritability of my blood type verse his and mom’s types.  Not being the most versed in genetics, I didn’t have much to add to the conversation.

Even though he and I have different blood types, there are traits that come naturally to me because of these two people who raised me.  My hairline (obviously from dad), my lack of basketball height, the emotional disposition I carry, and work ethic are just a few things they’ve passed down to me.  Of all the things they’ve passed down, one that I will be forever grateful for is generosity. At the risk of sounding prideful (please don’t read any of this in that tone), any generosity in my life is NOT of my own doing.  I owe it, first, to the work of Jesus in me and, second, to the nature and nurture of Hal and Linda.  They were natural givers and they nurtured that into me and Rachael.  There’s not a moment when an opportunity for generosity opens up where I don’t think about what my parents would do in the same situation.  I give because, well, it’s in my blood. 

As a church, Kfirst is dedicated to make it simple for people to follow Jesus.  It’s not about making it easy (because quite frankly, follow Jesus isn’t easy), but it’s about making the message of the love and mercy of God clear and understandable so that people can respond to Jesus.  Our lives have lavishly received his grace and we stand transformed by his love.  Regardless of our past of sin and pain, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” The generous nature of His love gives to us and his generous nurture/care of us CONTINUES to grow us day by day.  That transformation has so moved our church and fellowship that we believe it’s more than a mission for our area.  Because of his nature and nurturing, it’s our mission for the world.  It’s in our spiritual DNA.  It’s in our blood. 

Reach final

Coming out of a great weekend with Tim Enloe, we celebrate the work of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives.  I love to see how the Holy Spirit is touching people and using them in His gifts.  But we cannot have an Acts 2:4 church without the Acts 1:8 expectations. We cannot possibly richly receive and keep it to ourselves.  Last week we were poured into.  This Sunday we reciprocate that by pouring out onto the mission field. 

This Sunday, we approach a significant Sunday that, perhaps, is the most important service of the year thus far.  We make our six-month “Missions Commitment” to global missions.  We have a tremendous opportunity in 2015 to have an impact in places that we may never go.  The 82 missionaries and ministries that Kfirst supports are reaching people locally and all over the world with the gospel.  These amazing heroes of faith need our prayer and our financial support to enable them to make it simple for people to find and follow Jesus.  

Can I challenge you to do 4 things? 

First, would you pray for our champions of faith (missionaries) that are on the field? We have a map in our prayer room where you can pray over them by name anytime during church office hours and/or before and after services.  They need your prayers daily and with so many we support, we need all of you to help pick up the mantle of prayer for all 82 of them.

Second, would you pray over what you would give to global missions at Kfirst? Pray on your own.  Pray and talk with your spouse. Pray with your children (this is a great time to nurture generosity to missions in them).  Talk as a family and decide what you want to do together.  Make this a family affair.  Take a step of faith. It may be a one-time gift.  I’d encourage you to do what Anne and I do.  Out of every paycheck, we tithe AND we give to global missions.  Why? First, we want to put God first in our finances.  Second, we don’t believe in asking ANYONE to do something we won’t lead in doing ourselves. 

Third, take a step of faith and make a missions commitment on Sunday.  For some reason if you cannot be with us (seriously, you don’t want to miss this Sunday), sometime within the next few weeks, fill out a “Missions Commitment” card HERE or at Kfirst.  What’s a “Missions Commitment”? Check out this video:

From the months of June, 2015 through November, 2015 we’re challenging you to give to the work of missions through our Missions Commitment form AND give via PushPay.  You can easily set up recurring giving and designate to “missions commitment” HERE.

Lastly, would you see yourself as a missionary to the field around you.  Just as you may not carry the calling to go to places like Senegal, Thailand, or Columbia, the missionaries that are there are not necessarily called to the Kalamazoo area.   You are.  Just as you freely received His love and mercy, walk as agents of the love of Jesus to the world around you. 

Again, the generous nature of His love gives to us and his generous nurture/care of us CONTINUES to grow us day by day.  That transformation moves us to be passionate about people hearing the life-changing message of Christ. Because of His nature and nurturing, we walk in generosity to the world around us.  Generosity is in our spiritual DNA.  It’s in our blood. 


Thanks for letting me ramble…

Barringer couple 2

Spectator Church

I do my normal Monday thing.  Well before the office opens, I sit in a undisclosed coffeehouse location and pen out messages (my fancy way of saying “I type out sermons on my computer”). I find myself reflecting on yesterday’s message points by Ron Maddux:

Out of context of the story of his life, these seem like very simple points.  But to hear his testimony…to catch his passion for the lost…yesterday’s message continues to impact me to my very soul.  You need to understand: I came out of a week of talking with missionaries about future missions trips, conversing pastor’s pursuing their calling, and seeing people reaching out to those who are hurting.  Sunday was the “icing on the cake.” I am so passionate for people to hear the Gospel (the good news of hope in Christ in the midst of our hopelessness) and yesterday just fed the flame.

I learned something years ago:  church is not a spectator sport. (Yes I know it’s not a “sport” per se but bear with me.) But I’m afraid we’ve made the american “church” into nothing more than what I do during football season on Sunday afternoons in front of the TV.

I watch my team.
I get excited.
I’m proud to be a fan of my team (for the first time in a long time).
I post it on social media.
Then I walk away and go about my life.

A spectator. A fan.

Aaaaaaaaand that can sum up the life of a church attender.  I will support my team/church on Sunday.  I’ll enjoy it IF the outcome of the game/service is what I think it should be.  I might even tweet/facebook post about it.

But that’s it.

Have we spent so much time going to church that we forget we ARE the church? We fight for traditions of what takes place in a building we call the “church” and don’t fight for the traditions of BEING the church.  The early church was radiant with the Gospel.  The “Good News” was so good they couldn’t keep it to themselves.  Grace was so rich to taste that they didn’t want to be the only ones consuming it.  Everything about the early church seemed to smack against being a spectator.  Everyone was involved.  It wasn’t about getting “my” church experience. It was about being a “city set on a hill” (Matthew 5:14) so that others could experience the indescribable grace of God.

This is what this month is about at Kfirst.  It’s about moving us from being the spectator into engaging the world around us.  We’re asking you to engage in 3 ways:

Reach final

  1. Reach our community.  Sign up to serve the week of November 17 in our “Serve All” week.  Put hands and feet to your faith.
  2. Reach Ethiopia with clean water.  We’re partnering with Life Water to drill a well and provide clean water to a community in desperate need.   Every time we gather in November, we’re going to take time to give so that we can provide people with water and communicate the love of Jesus.
  3. Reach the world. Starting next week, we’re going to challenge you to make a commitment to reaching our world by partnering with us and our 84 missionaries/ministries to make it simple for people to find and follow Jesus.

It’s time to get out of the stands in the stadium and get on the field.  Jesus didn’t come out of the tomb so that you can be housed safely in your church buildings.  You are a missionary.  You are an ambassador of the Kingdom. It’s time to engage with world around you with the love of Jesus that has transformed your life.  If you have freely received…

…it’s time to freely reach.

We’ll see you on Sunday.

Thank for letting me ramble…