Series: REACH

Radically Sending Our Own (REACH|11)

  • Oct 16, 2011
  • Anatole Glukhovsky
  • Luke 10:1-20

REACH|11 Week 3 of 3

“Radically Sending Our Own”

Luke 10:1-20

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. [2] And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. [3] Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. [4] Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. [5] Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ [6] And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. [7] And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. [8] Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. [9] Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ [10] But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, [11] ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ [12] I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. 

[13] “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. [14] But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. [15] And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. 

[16] “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” 

[17] The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” [18] And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. [19] Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. [20] Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (ESV) 

Today is the third week with a special focus on global missions. Thanks to the internet, I was able to listen to Pastor Nate’s message based on Romans 10, “How Can They Be Saved?” as well as Pastor’s Mark message based on Revelation 20, “Reach Them Before It’s Too Late.” This morning we have an opportunity to learn from the Gospel of Luke and few other passages about how generations are working together in order to “declare His glory among the nations” (Psalm 96:3). 

First of all, please receive love and greetings from your Ukrainian brothers and sisters. This year Ukraine is celebrating 20 years of freedom from Communistic regime and the fall of the Soviet Empire. From the early sixties to the late seventies, there were more than 50,000 prisoners – including both church leaders and new converts – in the USSR. Paul Voronaeff describes the situation: 

The official Soviet government attitude is ‘if you believe in God, you are ignorant.’ If you tell someone about your faith in God, even one of your children, you can be jailed or sent to a mental institution and your children will be taken away from you.[1] 

While freedom is always a challenge for church growth, persecution is not able to stop it. Because the church could not be active socially – and certainly not politically – during the time of persecution, its main focus was on managing internal activities in order to support community life. Church history calls those seasons a time of the “headship of the Spirit” because it was impossible to plan any actions or even any public meetings.  

The best thing for the enemy would be to destroy the church from inside, and the main target of the enemy is a family of believers. What the church needs the most is fathers and mothers, godly parents, with a passion to see their children serving the Lord and bringing fruit into His Kingdom! I do hope that an interview with my father, Vladimir, that we are about to see, will be a confirmation of the truth: God’s Word is powerful to make each one of us radical in missions and humble before the Lord. Let’s watch this video…

 “Young people need to learn how to stay strong in faith,” is a very powerful statement. When I was young, I kept hearing at school from my teachers that there was no future for me. If you do not belong to the Communist party, you are nobody. Funny enough I  heard a similar message from my father. The only difference was he said that a there is no future without God and without God you are nobody! During communist oppression, our Christian fathers did their best to make sure that their own children loved the Lord and served the Lord. God’s appointment upon children’s lives makes all the difference. As we read in Jeremiah 1: 4-5,

“The word of the LORD came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
Before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” 

This same prophetic prayer became part of intersession for my wife and me for our four children. Yes, we do want our children to receive the best education possible, to be happy and to not know what it means to be hungry. But the bottom line is for us as parents to pray the Lord’s will into the life of our children. This challenge starts in our minds: “Do I really want my child to be a prophet to the nations?” In other words: “Could I pray with my child and for my child to be the best musician or politician or businessperson with a “prophetic” anointing upon his life?” Sounds radical because we are sending our own. The blessing on our children starts with repentance that leads to salvation. I like the simple and powerful way Pastor Nate has described salvation as ‘deliverance from danger.’ It is so true, that a person without Jesus is perishing in terrible guilt and judgment that falls upon his sins. He is in spiritual danger. Jesus saved us by taking upon himself our sins, our guilt, and our judgment. This is the miracle of salvation. Only Spiritual birth gives us spiritual life! 

It instruction to his disciples (Luke 10:2), Jesus is making it very clear that there are so many that are spiritually dead. THE HARVEST IS SO GREAT. As Christians, we sometimes absorb this world’s ideas about greatness. It is easy to get our picture of greatness from the “great people” we see on television, from the “great people” we see in Time Magazine, and even from listening to some “great religious leaders.” 

There is a story of two brothers talking with each other about their goals in life. As they were standing together in church, one brother said that he wanted to be rich and famous. The second brother said that his goal was to follow Jesus Christ and fully serve Jesus and others. He reached this goal. His name was David Livingstone, the great medical missionary to Africa. The first brother went on to be rich, but his greatness came from someone else. The words on the tombstone over his grave read, “Here lies the brother of David Livingstone.” 

Today’s world would like for our kids to be famous singers or movie stars. BUT, their challenges start when what they choose to do is to be a sacrifice to the Lord. Worship is so powerful, because God’s children are telling the Lord about their full dependence on Him and their full belonging to Him. You have heard about Chernobyl, yes? It was 26 of April 1996 when the explosion of a nuclear power reactor took place. People were in panic and death was everywhere. I was away, while my wife was alone at home and we were waiting for a baby. Svetlana was crying to the Lord for help and God was comforting her through the Word of God. 

Today, he has his own family and his life is a testimony of the difference you can make when you are in fellowship with the Lord and when you are busy being a blessing for your local church, your nation and unreached people around you. Now the time has come for him to pray constantly for his two children. 

From the experience of my father and from my own life, I can humbly make the following statement: 

“Intersession for our children in prayer makes a difference when we serve the Lord of the Harvest together.” 

When the Lord has asked us to pray for more laborers, He has our families first on His mind. God has given us children and we do not want to see them being misused by evil.  We want them to overcome evil and the evil one and share the Good News. 

There are more than 110,000 orphans and street kids in Ukraine and the age of those committing those crimes is getting younger every year. The streets and the classrooms have become the battlefields for the souls of young people from so many nations. Why is our seminary needed? Ukraine is not merely a nation where people come to adopt children.  In Ukraine, foster care and adoptive families need help in training so WE can know how to be good fathers and mothers, and our children can enjoy loving arms around them 24 hours a day. WE need to train men and women to be godly people so they can be godly parents.  We have 994 collages and 20,047 schools in Ukraine with more than 1.5 million kids in classrooms. BUT there is not even one Christian College in Ukraine! 

U.E.T.S. offers young men and women an education taught in the light of God’s Word and provides opportunities to work together in life and in ministry, so that they not only have understanding but also have practical experience.   America and Ukraine suffer from being taught from attractive worldview of secular humanism. Abraham Lincoln said: “The philosophy of the classroom in this generation will be the philosophy of politics, government and life in the next.” 

Three years ago, Ivan Rusin, my assistant on Academic Affairs, felt a burden to start a Spiritual Formation program at U.E.T.S. This one year course of study is designed to help a young person learn biblical foundations of faith and be able to reach his own friends for the Lord.  This year we have received a request for at least 25 openings for students to come to study in the Spiritual Formation program on a yearly basis from the movement “Ukraine Without Orphans.” The harvest is great because there are so many brilliant young people among orphans.  U.E.T.S. has the great opportunity to help young people understand who God is and what He has done for them, so that they will want to share this Good News with others. 

Let’s keep doing this work together! As you see, the renovation of our Hospitality building is coming at just the right time. Because of your Christmas offering and the labor of our staff and students, the project will be "under roof" by winter!  College Park, your generosity is truly transformational and we have learned so much from you! We at U.E.T.S. came up with a challenge as a seminary to match each scholarship that College Park Church is providing with a scholarship to support the life and ministry of an orphan student for at least three years. 

That means, between us we will provide two scholarships for students who have dedicated themselves to serve the Lord by serving people needing spiritual, emotional and physical healing.  We also teach students the power of personal growth in generosity. It is true, that as long as you have something to eat, you have something to share. 

Do I see the harvest with a promised rain of blessings? If yes, then I also see that THE WORKERS ARE SO FEW. Spiritual fields are in need of workers, according to Jesus. In Luke 10:1 we read that Jesus sent his disciples to all the towns and villages he planned to visit. How many of them were in Israel? We are not sure, but for sure, cities and towns are His field! The only reality is what He sees and helps us to see. What I see is motivating me to pray for more workers. Ukraine has 451 cities, 893 towns, 28,651 villages with 10,540 evangelical churches. Why is U.E.T.S. needed? To see more church planters, more missionaries, more social workers and more leaders in government offices and in the market place! 

Together, with leaders of local churches in Ukraine, we started to pray for more workers. Each pastor wants to see youth coming to the church (and not leaving the church) and serving on a mission field long term or short term. God started to answer our prayers by seeing our kids and teenagers from Sunday school as workers. Again, it may sound radical, because kids are suppose to study and not to work. But in reality, kids and youth do not need us to entertain them, but to involve them in the mission of God! 

God has a plan for each child! Our youth could end up like David Platt’s list of ‘wrong people’ – “those who are the least effective, least brilliant, least talented in the church or society” (Radical Together, p. 57). But the Bible tells us “your sons and daughters will prophesy… your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28). 

Yes, our sons and daughters are a gift and blessing from the Lord! Children are special agents of faith! Jesus used a young boy to feed thousand! Evil is against kids. 21,000 kids die every day from different sicknesses and crimes in the World, and in Russia one child dies every three hours (The Viva Report). Almost 6.5 million Ukrainians work abroad while their children live in Ukraine in conditions worse than orphans. Normally grandparents are taking care of them. We need to create more summer and winter camps to reach thousands of these kids. We did not have enough youth and even students to organize an outreach to teenagers in several areas of Kiev. 

Once I was talking to my daughter, Tina, about that problem. At the time she was 11 years old. She said that she did not see any problem asking her friends in school to help with distribution of an invitation for that event. And today, for a second year, thousands of invitations are given by teenagers themselves and hundreds of them are reached on a monthly basis. This summer, after visiting your Kids Church on Saturday, I brought a challenge to our staff and students: it is time to start praying about planting churches for kids!  

It may sound radical to see kids serving their own generation. But when we PRAY TO THE LORD WHO IS IN CHARGE OF THE HARVEST, we may see our own children and grandchildren used by God in a very prophetic way. God also wants to bless us with spiritual children. 

Apostle Paul has written a letter to Timothy as his “true child in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). What a blessing to write and receive letter like that: 

“Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we partner. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.” (2 Timothy 1:3-4). 

Strong mentoring relations and special ministry exposure helped Paul to become a father to Timothy. It is the Lord, who gives such spiritual children in our lives. We may not have chosen Timothy to be a student at U.E.T.S. He was fast to cry, sick often and still very young… but he became someone God used in a mighty way! 

What a blessing for us to know that Debbie and Gary Sutton, College Park’s partnership leaders for U.E.T.S., are making all possible efforts to be with us in September each year. It is a season of new students coming on a campus and we need help from people, who have a gift of wisdom and who are ready to pray with us to the Lord of the harvest about each one in whom we will invest whatever we can together. This year we are seeing a ‘revival’ in our Music Department that brought another challenge of having enough music instruments for students to be trained.

Some may not consider those students seriously, saying that I would better invest my prayer, my time, and my finances in future preachers or teachers. BUT Radical changes start when we are able to see the harvest in the way the Lord, who is in charge of the harvest, sees it. 

The Lord has used U.E.T.S. graduate students to start the first church for Crimean Tatars.  Crimea is a peninsula on the Black Sea where Russia is still keeping their fleet and trying to keep its influence in a region.  At first, we thought that Marcel Fund Ministries, an evangelistic ministry to elderly in Ukraine, would be used for that purpose. But Muslim families made it very clear that it was their responsibility to take care of their elderly people. It was a lesson for us as a Christian community.   

Then a miracle started to happen, when God has used one lady from Marcel Fund Ministries, who started to visit female Tatar neighbors telling then that “Jesus can make us sisters and you will be able to visit my home as my sister.” The first Tatar church was born when a U.E.T.S. graduate student from Uzbekistan went for a summer mission to Crimea. The Crimean Tatars Church attempts to be closer to the Crimean Tatar community through contextualization and holistic ministry. During the service a pastor and the worship team are dressed in special Crimean Tatar costumes. Russian and Crimean Tatar languages are used in worship and preaching. A special translation of the Bible which is called Ingil is used by the Tatar community. Jesus is called Isa al Masih, which means Jesus the Messiah. It is a special experience when Crimean Tatars worship Jesus in their language and according to their culture. 

Seventeen people were baptized in the First Crimean Tatar Church in Simferopol on July, 2011! Most of them are from Muslim background. This is а great encouragement and joy for all who are involved in ministry to the Crimean Tatar nation. However, we realize that our brothers and sisters will face family and social persecution and ostracism in their daily life, therefore, please, keep them in your prayers.  There is a great and urgent need for missionaries who are prepared to serve in the Muslim context in Crimea. Out of 300,000 Crimean Tatars who live on the Crimean peninsula, there are about 100 followers of Christ. Thus, Crimean Tatars is an unreached people group. We invite you to pray for new laborers for the harvest in Crimea. 

ASK HIM TO SEND OUT MORE WORKERS FOR HIS FIELDS is the last part of Jesus’ instruction we can consider today. It might be easier, if Jesus would command His disciples to select and send pastors and missionaries all over the World. The dark ages of the ancient church history are marked with military evangelization. But it is not what Jesus has taught us to do. As his followers, we are to be faithful in how we are spreading the Gospel where we live, study, or work. I do not have any rights to tell any of my four kids where and how to serve the Lord. What is important for them to see what my wife and I are doing and know that we are praying with them to be used by God according to his holy will. It takes faith to believe God like that on behalf of your physical and spiritual children. 

The only way to grow in Christ is to help others to become like Christ (Joel 2:32). In my office there is a map of the former Soviet Union, which in my opinion, was supposed to be our mission field. But God started opening new doors of ministry–a challenge came from believers in Tajikistan and another opportunity to reach people of Iran. Two of our students went there and could not believe how open Iranians were to hear that there is God who is able to forgive sins. Yes, it is very difficult to preach the Gospel there and normally missionaries are not persecuted there. They are just disappearing… There is also an opportunity to serve Afghan refugee families there. Their status is not better than street people, needing food and shelter.  Kids are working as hard as their parents and they are waiting for our help. 

Regardless of the many challenges – and each generation experiences the same challenges, though in different forms – there are always those who believe in Jesus and follow in His steps. I do believe God is saying to leaders in Ukraine what He said to Elijah, that he had “preserved seven thousand others in Israel who have never bowed to Baal or kissed him!" (1 Kings 19:18). What a blessing to have godly leaders in USA, Ukraine, and Iran who have never bowed to any idol during their lifetime. True leaders do not run from challenges; they rise to the challenges before them. 

There is no victory without the war. Victory in Christ brings life. John Bunyan, the British preacher, wrote the Christian classic “Pilgrim’s Progress.” He was put in jail because his Gospel preaching did not agree with the Church of England. Bunyan was told that he could be released from jail if he did not preach. His reply was: “If I am free today, I will preach tomorrow.” The same happened to Peter, who betrayed Jesus once—and evil leaders thought they could easily stop him from preaching, but the reaction of Peter was “we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20). 

There is no eternity without supernatural life on earth. Jesus said: “I live and you shall live.” We should be even more thankful to God for what He is doing by building up His Church. We have real power when we serve together. Not only do we need each other, but also we especially need the different generations of leaders to work together, benefiting from both the energy of the younger and the experience of the older. The younger generation of leaders has received a great opportunity to mature in developing effective ministry, being used by the Holy Spirit in strategically prophetic ministry. May the Lord’s promise of His constant presence be with us (Mathew 28:20) and the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit for us and our children (Acts 2:39) be our radical hope for generational missions. 

The story is told about a father who once told his son that he was going to take him to visit the country church he used to attend as a boy and where he often rang the bell to call the people to the house of God for worship. Great was their disappointment when they found the old church locked and deserted. Looking through a window they could see the long bell rope. The father borrowed a key and opened the door. The little son looked into his father’s face and eagerly exclaimed, “Father, ring it again! Ring it again!” The door to many places is unlocked and open to us to go…Can you see the long bell rope?  Are you prepared stand together and hold the rope as the bell is rung to encourage all nations to worship the Lord? May this prophetic ring bring us and our children together harvesting the fields of His mission!  Ring it again!  Ring it again! 

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[1] Paul’s father, Rev. Ivan Voronaev, after spending 28 tears in prison was brutally beaten to death.