Ezekiel 18:30-32 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!
I think we can all agree that this is a very harsh rebuke from God towards his chosen people. There’s no question about the importance and the urgency for the Israelites to change their hearts and turn back to God as the consequences are dire for them here.
As was seemingly so common for the Israelites this was one of the many times where, as a community, they had lost their purpose and become complacent or even comfortable. It’s sad and, I think, sometimes difficult for us to see how easily it appeared for them to forget about everything that God had done for them and and turn away from God. On the other hand, how so completely human.
In so many ways we, too, have lost our way and our purpose. The Biblical basis for sending people out from our churches on mission seems to have been lost. But in all truth, “…how will they preach if they are not sent?” Have we as a people lost the heart for sending? There seems to be a lot comfort and complacency when it comes to the church. God says in that verse in Ezekiel that He takes no pleasure in the death of anyone. The urgency is still there. The importance is still there. Will the church ever get a new heart and a new spirit for sending out to the lost?
The church has so many tools and processes and resources but all too often all that it amounts to is a box to check off. In the movie The Replacements the coach is asked at halftime what his team needed to get back into the game. His response was, “You’ve got have heart…miles and miles of heart.” A deal had been struck and some of their star players had come back to the team and they were still losing in the championship game because the players didn’t have the right perspective and their heart wasn’t in it.
As a church, we need a desire to send people to the nations. We need to have a heart for the people that don’t know of the saving love of Jesus. How do we get there?
Step 1 is to pray. Pray that God will open up that desire in yourself and in your church. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers into the field but be open to the fact that you might be one of those workers.
Step 2 is to ask the Holy Spirit where you should be doing ministry.
Step 3 is to begin training and equipping yourself and your church to go.
Here2There exists to close the gap between churches and missionaries by creating strategic partnerships so that both can thrive. We would love to help you and your church begin the transition to or help to strengthen the partnerships with your ministry partners. Contact us and let us help you begin your heart change towards the nations.