Friday, April 29, 2011

God's Waterfall of Blessing - UAE (Part 5)

"Vision, Clarity, and Being 'All In.' "

Personally, this is the blog post I have been most looking forward to write. I was affected by everything that happened last week. God is at work in Dubai (see post #1); the Compassion Kit Parties are remarkable ways to show and tell the love of Christ (see post #2); the Compassion Kits are phenomenal tools to present the Gospel (see post #3); and the follow-up plan is done with acute discernment and with excellence (see post #4). But for me, all of these things were highlighted, if not dominated, by a spirit of the men (and families) God has called there doing these things. It was/is a spirit that rebuked me. It was/is a spirit that challenged me. It was/is a spirit that encouraged me. It was/is a spirit that I believe allowed me to see the fruit of what I was seeing while there. It was/is a spirit that I long for. It was/is a spirit I don't see much in the lives of pastors and church leaders. It was/is a spirit that I don't see much in missionaries around the world. It was/is a spirit that I haven't had but hurt to possess.

The spirit I am talking about is a spirit of passion to see the kingdom of Christ advance with violence.

I saw it in the eyes of the guys we worked with. I heard it in their words. I watched it in their daily routines. I envisioned it as I heard them dream. I saw it in their wives. I saw it in their kids. I saw it happening before my eyes.

As a matter of fact, one night I was having coffee (Starbucks of course...what else is there?) with the visionary of this deal and asked him, "what gets you out of bed in the morning?" I was expecting to hear something like, "I don't want these people to go to hell" or "I want Jesus to get the glory He deserves for all mankind." Though these are definitely things he wants, that is not what he said. He said, "Man, I want to see the kingdom of Christ advance across this region." When he said that a light went on. "That's it" I thought. That's what I have been seeing in these guys and their families but haven't been able to put my finger on it. These guys have totally given themselves to the advancement of the kingdom of Christ where God is massively at work in Dubai, UAE.

They have big dreams.

They have a HUGE vision.

They have massive plans.

Their dreams, vision, and plans have unmatched clarity to them.

Here's the thing, however: I know alot of people who dream big and cast a vision and make clear plans on paper. But I haven't seen many people actually try to outwork their vision and plan and dreams. There is a HUGE difference between having a plan and casting a vision and dreaming a dream and then just hoping it all comes together and actually going to MAKE SURE it all comes together.

I fear that I have seen, in my own life and in the lives of countless others, good ideas and big dreams and great visions stay on paper in the hopes that God will bless and do the work for me/them.

Not these guys. They are resolute. They are "all in." They are determined to make their vision and dreams a reality and work with all of their might to see the kingdom of Christ advance while God is pouring out His waterfall of blessing there. As one of them told me several times, "There is no Plan B." In other words, they aren't thinking about what happens if it doesn't work. They aren't thinking about what happens if they need to do something else. No, no. Their hands are on the plow and they are not looking back or to the side (see Luke 9:57-62). They are looking straight ahead, waking up every morning - seeking His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) trusting the Word that one day the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God (Habakkuk 2:14).

Before I left to go on this missions experience, I asked several people to pray that this trip be a life-changing experience for me. That I would come back a different Matt Pearson than when I left. God answered that prayer. I praise His name for it and thank Him for allowing me to stand under His waterfall of blessing for a couple of days and rub shoulders with some white-hot servants of His who are zealous for the kingdom to move with force.

Anybody can plan. Anybody can dream. Anybody can cast a vision. Few, however, have the guts and the courage; few make the time and the sacrifices; few get their hands dirty and adjust their schedules; few have a zeal and a passion for it to be done; few actually believe that the world can be turned upside down for Christ; few are willing to do the hard things when no one is looking.

Could it be because most are zealous for their own kingdoms to advance with violence?

Have mercy on me, oh God, and replace my love for Matt's kingdom with an unparalleled passion for Yours to be spread violently around the world.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

God's Waterfall of Blessing - UAE (Part 4)

All week long I have been posting some thoughts regarding my recent mission experience in Dubai, UAE.

Monday, I wrote a bit about why I call this series "God's Waterfall of Blessing."

Tuesday, I wrote about what is called "Compassion Kit Parties."

Yesterday I tried to describe what "Compassion Kits" are all about.

Today, I want to briefly describe how the guys in Dubai are following up with those who attend the Compassion Kit parties and/or surrender their lives to Christ during one of these parties. Prior to my going to Dubai, several from the church where I pastor had heard of men putting their faith in Christ, but did not know if any follow-up/discipleship was going on. I myself was unclear, thus my curiosity was high. My curiosity increased when I was told that the primary purpose of the "Compassion Kit Parties" was not to see men saved, but to get them involved in a story group. Really? The primary purpose? Yes. Let me explain...

As I explained on Tuesday, the parties served several different parties, complete with an invitation to respond to the Gospel. Many men responded and asked Jesus to save them and be their Lord and Savior. These men (along with others at the 'parties') were quickly encouraged to be a part of a story group that would meet soon thereafter. The purpose of these story groups are two-fold: First, for those who did trust Christ to grow in their understanding of the Bible and the Lord they just surrendered to. Second, there were many (being that all sorts of religious backgrounds were represented in the room) who were intrigued by the Person and teachings of Jesus, but still wanted to know more. The story groups, which (to put it simply and basically) are weekly oral teachings of the biblical storyline led by a trained national (lasting anywhere from 10 weeks to 24 weeks), would both disciple those who trusted Christ and/or help answer questions those who were curious about Christianity - hopefully bringing more to Christ. Thus, the story groups are CRUCIAL to the work in helping solidify decisions made during the 'parties' and to further evangelize those wanting to know more before embracing Christ.

You can see why the story groups were/are the primary purpose!!!!! Needless to say it got me thinking about how this sort of thing can/needs to be incorporated in the states.

The guys directing and leading out in this ministry are also very intentional about ensuring these men who trust Christ understand their need of being baptized - to which they follow up on until the men are dunked!

I will type more about this tomorrow - but for now suffice it to say that the overall vision for this ministry is HUGE and is backed with remarkable clarity and feet to the work. The guys I worked with last week don't just hope to see some men saved so they can write back to the states about how many men raised their hand at a party where they got some free stuff. No, no, no. These men are intentional and extreme about advancing the kingdom of Christ - where God is pouring out His waterfall of blessing. Yes, they want to see men saved. But not just a few. They want to work and plan and lead and direct and organize and arrange ministry to where those who are saved make disciples who make disciples who make order to see a movement rock the whole place.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Book for 'The League' - Summer 2011

Having read Tempted and Tried, by Russell Moore, I feel compelled to take 'The League' guys through it this summer.

Click here for a description of the book and to view the promo video.

The plan for the summer is as follows:

June 2nd, 2011 - Chapter One: "Wrestline With Demons: Why Temptation Matters"

June 9th, 2011 - Chapter Two: "Slaughterhouse Drive: Why You're on the Verge of Wrecking Your Life (Especially if You Don't Know It)"

June 16th, 2011 - Chapter Three: "Starving to Death: Why We'd Rather Be Fed than Fathered"

June 23rd, 2011 - Chapter Four: "Free Falling: Why We'd Rather Be Right than Rescued"

June 30th, 2011 - OFF

July 7th, 2011 - Chapter Five: "Desert Reign: Why We'd Rather Be Magnified than Crucified"

July 14th, 2011 - OFF/Mission-Wynne

July 21st, 2011 - Chapter Six: "Where the Wild Things Aren't: Why You Can't Resist Temptation (Especially if You Can't See How)"

July 28th, 2011 - Chapter Seven: "(Not A) Conclusion"

What is "The League"??

Any male who wants to get up at the crack of dawn to be at the church at 5:45 am to eat biscuits and gravy, sausage and bacon, etc. and discuss a chapter in a designated book.

What does it cost??

The cost of the book will be $10.00 (Bro. Matt will order and have available for purchase prior to the first summer meeting) and the breakfast is free (w/donations appreciated of offset the cost).

God's Waterfall of Blessing - UAE (Part 3)

For the past two days, I have been writing brief posts related to my recent mission experience in Dubai, UAE. On Monday, I gave a brief description as to why I have entitled this series "God's Waterfall of Blessing." Yesterday, I gave an overview of what happens at what we call "Compassoin Kit Parties." Today, I want to explain what Compassion Kits are and why they are used.

First and foremost, I would encourage you to click here to familiarize yourself with what Compassion Kits are all about. In fact, click here to get as practical as you want to be.

In short, Compassion Kits are boxes about the size of shoe boxes (perhaps a little larger) that contain items such as socks, a T-shirt, chocolate, soap, deoderant, a toothbrush, and a phone card. All the contents have been intentionally thought through - they are meant to be a small blessing to the laborers in the labor camps.

They are more than a tool that opens the door for a Compassion Kit party (see yesterday's post). When these men, who have been away from home - some of them for over 4 years - see some guys from North American walk in with a gift, knowing that others from the states have purchases and assembled these kits, they know that someone cares for them.

The ultimate goal, of course, is not JUST to leave these guys with a box of stuff that may or may not last them a month. The goal of the kits is to show that we love them, point to the One who loves them infinitely, and 'buy the right' to show and share the Gospel with them, hopefully leading them to involve themselves in a story group (see tomorrow's post).

Believe me, I have seen it first hand...IT WORKS!!!! God is using these kits to bless the nations! He really is. Men responded to the kits with graciousness. They listened to the stories that were shared by the men who brought the kits. Some responded by trusting Christ. Many agreed to be in a story group to learn more about God and His word in oral form.

The Compassion Kit crew have a goal of getting 50,000 Compassion Kits by September 11, 2011. I think it can happen...back up - I KNOW it can happen. I know it because I believe God's hand is in it.

Again, click here or here to see how you can be directly involved in Compassion Kit assembly and distribution. Talk to your pastor about getting your church involved. Be a part of being on the front lines of where God is working in bringing the nations to Himself by participating in these shoe boxes called 'Compassion Kits.' They will be used to further the kingdom.

What are you waiting for? Do it!

'Til the Whole World Hears...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

God's Waterfall of Blessing - UAE (Part 2)

Yesterday I began the first of five in a series on my recent mission experience in Dubai, UAE. As I mentioned yesterday, it was one of if not THE most incredible mission experiences I have ever been on in my life. God is pouring out His waterfall of blessing and I got to sit under the water for five days. Life-changing to say the least.

The primary task for the volunteer team I was with (team members: Kevin Bolin, Ben Browning, and Karl 'Big Daddy Eats a Fat Burger on the First Day' Garner) was to help with what is called 'Compassion Kit Parties' in various camps each night.

Here is a run down of what took place before, during, and after the parties:

- Prior to our coming, believers in the camps had been already trained and committed to inviting their friends, coworkers, etc. to a 'Party' in a certain room (a small room where around 12 men would sleep at night) where they would eat some food, play a game or two, hear some stories, and receive a gift (the gift was a Compassion Kit...more on that tomorrow).

- Those who were invited would show up at the designated room at the designated time. Each night was different as far as attendance was concerned. The first night, my group had 82 in attendance! Other groups would have 40, others 25, and so on. You can imagine, a room that was crowded already with 6 bunk beds, how cramped a room with 82 men in it must be!

- Once everyone we thought was coming had arrived, the guys we work with would start the 'party' off by welcoming everyone and then passing out bags of chips (we brought with us) and cups of Pepsi or orange soda (we also brought). After the snack (which usually lasted no more than 10 seconds!), the guys would lead out in a game (a form of indian wrestling and arm wrestling in a room with 82 men - don't ask, just go and see for yourself). Following the game, one of the North Americans in the room (where the volunteer group comes in...we have been sitting off to the side praying they do not ask us to indian wrestle one of these men who look like they could pick up the building they had been working on all day) would be set (scheduled ahead of time) to tell his personal testimony (with a translator of course). One of the guys would then follow that up with a line or two about how Jesus changed this person's life and would use that to transition to the 2nd story told (called the Hook Story) about a man whose life had been radically changed by Jesus (story of the demon possessed man from Mark 5). The story was told by another of the volunteers in the room (through a translator) in narrative fashion, not read from the Bible - the men in the camps were/are oral learners. There would then be a transition from this story to the 'Gospel' story from Luke 19, and Jesus' encounter with Zaccheus.

- This would, in turn, lead to a call for a response to the Gospel; a prayer with and for those who were led to respond; and then an appeal for those present to be involved in a story group (more on that Thursday).

- We would not leave until the story groups were identified and a time and place for them to meet was established. Having as many men as possible involved in story groups was/is the ultimate goal of these Compassion Kit parties ("What? You mean to tell me seeing these men saved was not the ultimate goal...what kind of ministry is this?" Again, hang on until Thursday to hear more on's really good).

- After ALL of that, several men would go out to our vehicles and get the boxes of Compassion Kits and hand them out, one by one, to each of the men who was present at the party. The what and why and how you can do a Compassion Kit is for tomorrow's post.

- At this point, it would be anywhere from 11 or 12 at night and we would have about an hour and a half drive back to where we were staying. Needless to say (especially since Karl "I'm Gonna Eat Somebody's Hand Off If I Don't Eat Now" Garner was with us!) we stopped on the way home and ate as much Burger King/Popeye's Chicken/Baskin Robbins' milk shakes as we could put down in order to settle us down for a couple of hours sleep (breakfast would be soon!).

Many men came to faith in Christ as a result of these parties and numerous men agreed to participate in a total of 7 story groups that started as a result of these parties. It was a wonderful week. Seeing men from different religious backgrounds trust Christ for the first time reminds you that this is why you exist: for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom.

'Til the Whole World Hears...

Monday, April 25, 2011

God's Waterfall of Blessing - UAE

I just returned from one of the most, if not THE most, incredible mission trip experiences I have ever had the opportunity to participate in. There is so much floating around in my mind regarding it and much I want the world to know (or, at least the two or three people who read my blog)!

My plan is to take a different aspect of our mission trip experience each day this week and talk a bit about the ministry going on in Dubai, UAE (United Arab Emarites).

Here's the plan:

Monday (Today!) - Explain the Title of the Blog Post series

Tuesday - Compassion Kit Parties

Wednesday - Compassion Kits

Thursday - Story Groups/Baptisms

Friday - Vision, Clarity, and being 'All In'

Late December 2010, a dear friend of mine packed his and his family's bags (and house and car and job and school) and headed for Dubai, UAE to be a part of the work God is doing there. Last week I had the chance to play a small part of that work.

What is God doing there you ask? Hence the title of the Blog Series for this week regarding the mission experience in Dubai. When I was asked why I am going to Dubai the week before Easter on a 'last second decision' trip I responded by saying that it seems as if God has chosen to pour out His waterfall of blessing on this place and I want to stand under the water for a while. I had not seen it firsthand. I had only heard about it through reports from my friend and his wife. But having gone I can say with integrity: "God is blessing in Dubai and I got to stand under the waterfall for a week!"

I will explain more in the coming days about what all is involved with the ministry there, but suffice it to say for now that my friend has partnered up with another guy (who actually believes that he can change the world by the power of the Gospel!!!) who has envisioned a plan to reach the nations there in Dubai. They are currently seeing dozens upon dozens of men from other religious backgrounds come to faith in Christ; join story groups to learn the Bible in oral form; be baptized; and lead others to faith in Christ. Some are even being led of God to go back to their home country (India, Nepal, Pakistan, Ethiopia, just to name a few!) and advance the kingdom strategically and intentionally there. Needless to say, then, God is moving in what has formerly been considered some of the hardest people groups/religious groups to reach with the Gospel.

The guys who a spearheading this ministry are there with Compassion Kits under their arms and messages of hope in their hearts and are seeing many men trust Christ, be discipled by the Word, and then be trained to tell more about this message of hope. I've never seen anything like it.

For now, God's waterfall of blessing is being poured out in Dubai and surrounding areas where these labor camps are located. The kingdom is advancing. These guys and their families have been led to be a part of where God is working and they are joining in the movement.

Easter 2011 Sermon Discussion Questions

Yesterday was a GREAT day to be at Wynne Baptist Church! I thoroughly enjoyed being back in the USA and celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. The passage I preached from was Luke 24:1-12 and the title was, "Security in the Details." You can watch, listen, or download the message here later today.

For those interested in thinking through/discussing the sermon truths further, here are some questions to help prompt some further thinking:

1. In his introduction, Bro. Matt said that Jesus could not be one god among many. Is this true? Why or why not?

2. Why do you think the historical validity of Jesus' resurrection has been attacked so hard for the last 2,000+ years?

3. Of the 10 details mentioned in Luke's account of the first Easter Sunday, which one gripped you the most? Why?

4. Do you see any other details Luke provides to help us believe in the reality of Jesus' resurrection?

5. Why do you think Luke is so careful to provide as many details as possible? (see Luke 1:1-4).

6. If Jesus did indeed rise from the dead, what does that mean for your life?

7. If you are a follower of Jesus and have submitted to His Lordship, what does this mean for your life? (See Luke 24:46-47)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Nahum Helps the WBC Faithful Prepare for Easter

Okay, so maybe it was a stretch, but I thought it would serve the WBC body well, when reflecting on the enemies of God and His people (Nineveh - read Nahum 1-3), it would be a good time to think about those who will be destroyed without Christ that live in our own city and neighborhoods.

Thus, a good time to remember how to come with a servant's attitude for those who will be on our campus Easter Sunday, right?

You be the judge as to whether it was a stretch or not. Click here to watch, listen, or download the message from last night (should be up later today).

Here are the challenges/suggestions I made for active WBCers for Easter Sunday morning:

- Begin parking as far away as possible so others can have easier access.

- Intentionally look for guests who may need help finding their way.

- Intentionally look for those sitting by themselves before a worship service.

- Invite someone to come to church with you Easter Sunday

– Pick up a copy of God is the Gospel by John Piper and give it away! (See Desiring God's special here.)

- Be willing to sit in the lobby on Easter Sunday.

- Wait until guests are in and settled prior to taking your seat.

- Practice the Golden Rule before, during, and after your time on this campus.

- Be willing to serve in the nursery one service and attend another service.

- Invite a guest to your family lunch.

- Have a neighborhood-wide Easter Egg Hunt next Saturday and intentionally get to know your neighbors.

Can you think of any more???

Discussion Questions from Sunday Morning, April 10th

Yesterday morning, I had the very difficult task (for me anyway!) of preaching on a huge chunk of Scripture - Luke 23:32-56. Some of the most fascinating verses of Scripture throughout the Bible.

I covered all of the verses at once due to a last minute mission trip to Dubai that I am privileged to go on (and will therefore be out of the pulpit this Sunday), AND because I wanted to be preaching on the resurrection Easter Sunday morning (of course!).

You can watch, listen, or download the message here later today.

Here are some questions I hope will help you navigate through and apply the passage with more depth and insight:

1. Why is it important that we see how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament?

2. Is it really a big deal that we believe Jesus was totally innocent when He was crucified? Why?

3. Could Jesus have ‘saved Himself’ from dying on the cross AND at the same time ‘saved others’? Why or why not?

4. How does the fact that Jesus told a wicked criminal that he would be with Him in Paradise give you hope?

5. Have you heard various thoughts about where one goes after they die? Have you heard various ideas as to where Jesus went when He died? How does Luke 23:43 resolve that?

6. What was it about the repentant criminal’s confession that made it authentic and effective for salvation?

7. What had the centurion witnessed in Jesus that caused him to praise God and declare Jesus’ innocence?

8. How have people seen “Christ in you” that would cause them to be shocked and changed like the centurion was?

9. Joseph of Arimathea, along with other women (see Luke 23:49 and Luke 8:1-3) sacrificially gave (time, reputation, money) for Jesus’ sake. What are some practical ways you can demonstrate your desire for Jesus to get the glory He deserves from all peoples?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Secret Church Simulcast at WBC !!!!

I am extremely excited about hosting the Secret Church simulcast with Dr. David Platt on Good Friday - April 22nd, 2011.

Click here to register if you plan on coming to WBC's campus to watch.

Click here to find out more information about the simulcast.

We will be selling Platt's new book Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God for a discounted price before and after Secret Church. It promises to be another hard, yet needed and wonderful book.

Currently Reading - And THOROUGHLY Enjoying!!!

I am currently reading several different books that I think would be of interest of anyone who 'happens' upon this blog. I post the links below, fyi...

About to begin:

God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC by Chad Gibbs (Chad will be at WBC on April 28th, 2011 for 'The Main Event'!!!)

Confessions of a Reformission Rev: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church by Mark Driscoll (the WBC staff is going to read this together)

Random, Yet Helpful, Articles of Interest

I have had good intentions of linking to some great posts/articles I have come across over the past week and a half or so. However, I haven't been 'radically intentional' (ha!) about it.

Below is a list of some very, very good articles/posts/videos that I encourage any and all to read for further edification and sanctification in Christ.


To Love Your Neighbor, You Must Know Your Neighbor by Ben Stevens (Talk about being radically intentional!!!)

Functional Universalism video by David Platt (Talk about being SUPER 'radically intentional'!!!!!)

I See Your Crack by Katie Baker (Radically Intentional Modesty)

Pride and Anxiety by Danny Franks

Above the Clouds by Danny Franks

A Mighty Rushing Wind by Danny Franks (my personal favorite)

Discussion Questions from Sermons Preached on April 3rd, 2011 at WBC

Yesterday morning I preached from Acts 2:42-47 in effort to cast a vision for the summer and our future here at WBC. You can watch, listen, and/or download the message here.

Here are some questions to help you further apply the truths presented:

1. What is the overlapping theme of the 4 actions they 'devoted' themselves to in Acts 2:42?

2. Do you think Luke was exaggerating in verse 44?

3. How can it be that "all" who were together had "all" things in common? How is that possible?

4. If they gave themselves to the apostles doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and the prayers - what might we learn from them as it relates to unity with our spouses? our children? our Christian friends? our Christian co-workers? our fellow WBC church members?

5. What do you think the outside community saw in these followers of Jesus that led to "the Lord adding to their number day by day those who were being saved"? (see Acts 2:47)

6. What might your neighbor see in you that would make him/her want what you have?

7. Other than church attendance, how is your life different from your neighbors/co-workers?

8. What might the city of Wynne see in us that would make them want what we have?

9. Do you plan to be a part of a 242 - Sharing Life Together small group this summer? Why or Why not?

Last night I preached an overview of the book of Micah. Click here to get the notes and/or watch, listen, download the message.

After listening to or watching the sermon, take 20 minutes to read through the book of Micah.

What are some characteristics of the LORD that cause you to be amazed in wonder, thinking "Who is like the Lord?"

How does knowing this about the LORD give you hope in the midst of what you are facing right now?