God is bringing a new intimacy to world mission. The “Song of Songs 4:14” gives us some deep prophetic insights into this. New winds are also blowing as the nations of the Global South rise to fulfil their God-given destiny and add their share of beauty to the bride who is making herself ready. Hear what Marv Newell, Executive Director of Cross Global Link, has to say.
“The greatest challenge today for leadership of traditional western missions is to navigate the transition from the historic paradigm of “from the West to the rest” into the not yet fully understood paradigm of “from anywhere to everywhere.” This transition is requiring that many consider new organizational structures, revision of policies in personnel and finance, and the morphing of an organizational culture from western to global.”
Let us overhear some of the longings of God’s heart in all this and enter into these four dynamic prayers.
“Awake!” – A cold wind of indifference has been blowing over “the North” for a long while now. Our passion sleeps as Christianity seems to be on the decline in the past fruitful cradles of Christendom. Yet all is not lost. We still have a wonderful heritage of so many heartfelt prayers and revivals rooted deeply into some of these lands. Just as a dead man came to life when he fell on Elisha’s bones – 2 Kings 13:21, so new life can come to our ancient northern lands if we can just realign with the deep-seated divine purpose. May a new wind of awakening blow over these lands, unblocking old wells and redeeming dreams.
“Come!” – The warm wind of the South is on its way. This wind represents the millions of “11th hour workers” arising from the Global South nations. This generous wind will blow over the deserts of this world (Isaiah 43:19) turning them into living streams of water. The rugged old prophet Ezekiel, after talking to the bones in his desolate valley, was asked to prophecy to the four winds. He rose to his full passionate stature as he echoed the Lord’s own longing voice:
“Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.”
Such a prayer released an army, and our own struggles, sufferings and deep groaning might also birth and encourage many more wind-blown armies.
But we also pray beyond the work. We pray into eternity where a divine purpose awaits fulfilment. A global bride and a glorified Christ sit down to reign for evermore. “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Revelation 22:17
“Blow!” – The synergy of the north and south winds blowing together will ignite the sweet fragrance of nations in unity. In 1 Chronicles 12 we can see a uniting of the diverse tribes of Israel around one goal.
“They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel.”
The passion of their purpose was greater than the challenges of their diversity.
May the Lord blow on us afresh, north and south, renewing our desire to see a greater king than David, our servant King Jesus, reigning over all the peoples of the earth.
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
The world is waiting to smell us. Just as salt needs to retain its “saltiness”, so we need to retain our fragrance – the fragrance that comes from living a sacrificial life of intimacy with Jesus.
Are we “peddlars for profit” or “sincere sent ones?” Alas, the blight of a false “prosperity gospel”, which has profit and exploitation at its heart, is offering a fierce challenge in some of the emerging mission fields to the sincerity of the simple mission message.
Isaiah saw the Lord, heard his call and asked the Lord to send him. May we too engage with the longings of our Lord, enter into the glorious “Missio Dei” and, caught up in the wind of God, become men and women sent from Him.