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Circles of Influence

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Circles of Influence

Jesus’ exit was quite cool. Usually when we exit, we go by the way of the grave. Jesus did that, came back and lived on the earth for 40 days, then he made his exit. As he ascended into the heavens, he told his followers, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”[1]

God is showing us that missions must encompass everything we do.

Missions must be in our hearts, done in our city, and carried to our country.

We must not stop until we have reached the end of the world.

In Acts 1:8 Jesus gave three concentric circles of influence in His vision of world missions—Jerusalem, Judea, and to the world.

  • Jerusalem = the city in which every church of Jesus is located
  • Judea = the country in which every church of Jesus resides
  • World = all nations, languages, tribes and people

Any effort of missions, which overlooks or minimizes any portion of these three circles, is incomplete at best and disobedient at worst. Jesus said don’t neglect any part of it. Pay attention to all three dimensions. Invest your heart, money, time and prayers to them.

So if a church focuses only on their Jerusalem but doesn’t do anything to reach the ends of the earth there’s an imbalance in their ministry. Conversely, if a church gives sacrificially to world missions but isn’t doing anything to reach out to its immediate neighborhood, there’s a disconnect from the mission that Jesus commanded.

Let me give you an example. It may actually be more difficult to reach the Muslim we can see than to reach the Muslim across the see. Yet God has brought thousands of Muslims to America—to Indianapolis. In Saudi Arabia you’ll be arrested for witnessing to a Muslim but in America you won’t be!

Let’s refuse to put the work of missions in a box. Don’t miss out on one of the greatest blessings of missions. Ask God to show you how you can do the work of missions up close and personal, engaging in it right here in our Jerusalem.

Want more? Listen to Pastor Ron’s message on this topic here.

[1] Acts 1:8 NLT

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About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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