Living Stones began with a call on Pastor Harvey’s life to “Preach the Word.” This call was fueled by a passion to see people who were far from God, come to know the grace and forgiveness found in Jesus. I was one of those people. I had an interest in talking about God, but had no desire to step foot in a church or any kind of desire to become a “moral” person. Knowing this about me, my friends Harvey and Ricky, decided to “bring Jesus to me.” This began the mens Bible study that eventually became what we now know as Living Stones.
Now as one of the pastors of Living Stones seeing what God has done over the years never ceases to amaze me. I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 1:26-27, “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.”
"After his miraculous conversion and a number of years of being discipled, Paul followed his calling to 'bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'"
God can take anyone and do the impossible, and the Apostle Paul knows this first hand. After his miraculous conversion and a number of years of being discipled, Paul followed his calling to “bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” On his second missionary journey, Paul found himself in Troas (modern day western Turkey) where he received a vision. “'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
The Macedonian Church would become a great source of support and encouragement to Paul, and in our stage as a ministry at Living Stones, it should be a great encouragement to us. Macedonia is approximately the size of Northern Nevada, and had two influential cities within close proximity of each other, Philippi and Thessalonica. Paul’s vision lead him first to Philippi (Acts 16) and then to Thessalonica (Acts 17). The Gospel took off in Philippi and as a result, they had passionate response towards Mission (Philippians 4:15-19).
The same response to the Gospel was found in Thessalonica, “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-9)
All over Scripture the Apostle Paul spoke highly of the church in the region of Macedonia, such as in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5. “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.”
So what produced this crazy-zealous-passion for the Mission of God?
Answer: An even crazier passion and appreciation for the Gospel! Through Jesus’ cross, God saved them from the penalty and wrath of their sins!
"If we have Mission without Gospel, then we have a distorted view of God, which just produces dead religion."
This is why Mission must ALWAYS be motivated out of the Gospel. If we have Mission without Gospel, then we have a distorted view of God, which just produces dead religion. The Macedonian Church had ownership and responsibility to carry on the legacy to “Build Gospel Communities,” because they saw it as the MOST important thing that they could ever do in this life.
So my question to you is: Does your love for the Gospel motivate you to live your life for what matters most in this life?
Are you, like the Macedonians, owning the call to build?