An Opportunity of a Lifetime
Over the years, I’ve heard people use the phrase “an opportunity of a lifetime” as an exaggeration for such things as a date, book signings and celebrity sightings. But, I’ve also heard people use the phrase with merit related to a job prospect, education opportunity, property purchase and exotic vacations. From time to time, I’ve also heard Christians use this phrase related to a trip to Israel, including me, and conferences and mission trips as well. So, what makes something “an opportunity of a lifetime?” The phrase literally means a significant event or opportunity that is not likely to be repeated.
Several years ago now, Mark Elliott, Associational Mission Strategist for Heartland Network, introduced me to Ying Kai and invited me to a seminar that he was teaching. I didn’t know Ying at the time. In fact, I never heard of him so I was wondering why Mark thought this was such a big deal. Then I found out that under Ying’s leadership and Train the Trainer (T4T) strategy he developed they saw innumerable numbers of people in Asia come to faith in Jesus and started hundreds of churches. You can read about his story at the following link: Ying Kai Story All in all, he and his wife Grace were on the mission field in Asia for over 20 years. After meeting Ying, and spending over 2 hours talking to him, I quickly realized it was truly an opportunity of a lifetime to meet someone who was used by God in such a remarkable, even miraculous way! Ying significantly contributed to my understanding of what it means and what it takes to “make” disciples.
What would be on your list? I’ve recently added something new to my list. It is reviveSiouxland. Why revive Siouxland? How often do you see churches from various Christian denominations come together in partnership with the gospel to pray for our region and go out and share the gospel? How often do you see various churches coming together in worship of Jesus? How often do you see several churches in the same city unite in clear focus of prayer, witnessing and making disciples? How often does it look and feel like revival and spiritual awakening are coming to our region?
I’ve never experienced anything like this in my entire lifetime. What about you? I doubt we will see an opportunity like this come around again. Would revival and spiritual awakening make your list of things that qualify as “an opportunity of a lifetime?” It makes my list because we often see people praying for revival but never really taking action to fully step into the opportunity. This time we see people of all ages from various Siouxland churches stepping into the opportunity. I not only see humility among the people engaged, but I also see unity. Why is unity so important? Take a few minutes and read the entire prayer of Jesus in the Gospel of John chapter 17. Pay close attention to verse 20 as follows: JN 17:20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. Did you notice why unity is so vital? In case you missed it. Unity is so vital because it is critical to the people of world believing the Father sent the Son.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not advocating unity for unity sake. I’m certainly not desirous of unity at the cost of compromising our essential beliefs. However, I hope I’m humble enough to admit that I don’t know everything and I don’t have everything quite figured out. I also hope that I wouldn’t allow arrogance, fear, hatred, prejudice or anything of the sort to discourage others or get in the way of what God is doing in Siouxland. What I do know is this: He wants us to love God, love one another, bear fruit, make disciples, witness and He wants His church to thrive!
In case you didn’t know, very few Christians and churches are witnessing and making disciples. Moreover, in my experience, very few Christians can explain the mission of the church and clearly articulate the gospel. Consistent with that, more churches are closing than new churches are being planted. Added to that, the largest percentage of churches in North America are in decline. In fact, Thom Rainer reports, “Eight out of ten of the approximately 400,000 churches in the United States are declining or have plateaued.” Wouldn’t you agree that we are in need of a wakeup call? I personally hope and pray that God shakes us to our core. Why? Think about what is at stake? Seriously, I wouldn’t miss this opportunity and I hope you will join me and hundreds of others. If you’re truly a leader, then encourage others to step into this opportunity.
A Work in Progress,