Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
“It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But, it is absolutely vital to grasp that he didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live your life in comfort and superficial peace.” Francis Chan
Well the big announcement has been made. Harvest in 6 months will be planting a new church on the south side of Muncie. Certainly there are a lot of emotions floating around within the Harvest family. Personally I am excited but also nervous at the same time. I know that since the inception of Harvest we have always said that we will be a church planting church. Now we are putting wheels to our words as we step out in faith. This decision is one in which all your shepherds are united and in agreement that the Holy Spirit has called us to go forward with this plan. As we move forward I wanted to share with you something which I believe is at the very heart of God. It is simply one word which describes not only God’s heart but also describes what he wants us to do both corporately and individually in our walk with Him. It is the word “Go.” A simple survey through the Bible reminds us that God has always been about going and always commands his people to go. In the rest of this study I want to show you how this theme of “going” is very prevalent throughout the Bible and at the heart of God. My hope as you read this is that it will cause you to spend more time reflecting on God and the heart he wants you to have as it pertains to this idea of going. To understand God’s heart of going we must take a look at this idea beginning in Genesis and moving through the rest of the Bible.
The Bible starts out in Genesis 1:1 by saying that “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth”. This is the first statement of “going” on God’s part. Going implies that you have a starting point and you move forward to another place. We do not know what God’s existence looked like before creation, but we know that creation was the starting point and God moved forward with his great plan of fellowship with mankind. Immediately following creation God than calls mankind to “go” as well. In Genesis 1:28 God says, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” Mankind was called to go all over the Earth. It can be said that according to Genesis 1 & 2 that the human race could go wherever they wanted except to the tree of knowledge of good & evil. Unfortunately we did not do so well at listening to directions as we went and mankind would have to take a detour which would seemingly bring a stop to our going. The good news is that God in Genesis 3 got us going again by putting into action a plan of going which would restore what was lost in the garden. Let’s look some more at this plan.
From Genesis 4 through Genesis 11 God’s plan of going seems to get lost in the wickedness of mankind. The Earth during the time of Noah had become very wicked and evil to the point in which God decided that he was going to start over by cleansing the earth of all life except for Noah and his family and a boat load of animals. Shortly after the flood God tells Noah and his family in Genesis 9:1 to go and be fruitful and fill the earth. In Genesis 12 God’s plan of going will kick into high gear through Abram and Sarai. Abram loved God. As a result God tells Abram in Genesis 12:1-3
The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
God’s word to Abram is to go. He is called to leave everything which he knew and go to a place God would show Him. It is in his going which God will build a kingdom(Israel) which would go and be a blessing to the World and eventually usher in the one(Jesus) who through his going would build another kingdom(the church) which would reverse the damage done in the garden. The rest of the Old Testament is simply a story of Israel’s success and failures to go as God had commanded. Let’s take a quick look in the New Testament at this theme of “Going.”
Certainly the most evident form of going is in the fact that Jesus left the comforts of home and came to Earth. Jesus coming to Earth was a fulfillment of prophesy in Genesis 12 in which the whole earth would be blessed through the seed of Abraham. During Jesus earthly ministry he was always on the go. He never seemed to stop. Only when Jesus was crucified was there a pause in the going. But this was only temporary as we all know. When Jesus rose from the grave he conquered sin and death. The curse of the garden had been defeated. Mankind could once again be at peace with God. The old was gone the new had come into existence. There was only one problem with Jesus astounding victory over death. Very few people knew about it. Except for a hand full of followers the rest of the World was still on a path leading to destruction. Certainly this was not what God had intended when he told Abram thousands of years earlier to go so that the whole World would be blessed. In Matthew 28:18 -20 we learn that God did have in mind to bless the whole World. Listen what he tells the early disciples
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
In Acts 1:8 God tells the early believers that the Holy Spirit would come and give them power in their going. Throughout the rest of the book of Acts we see the church going throughout the World spreading the hope of Jesus. When the church got comfortable and stopped going that is when God would send some type of persecution to get them to going again. It is safe to say that the theme of going has always been God’s plan from the Old Testament and now into the New Testament era which you and I are participants in.
So what does all this mean to us? In the easiest terms I know it means you and I are still called to go. Anything short of going is a deviation from God’s heart and his purpose for our lives. God wants us to go and spread his message of hope throughout Muncie and the World. We can spend a lot of time, money and energy doing a lot of things in this life which is far from the heart of God. Good things can become bad if they are not about going. Selfishly we can get comfortable in our walks when we stop going.
My prayer for Harvest is that we will go. I pray that we go by sharing the good news of Christ to our friends and neighbors. I pray we will go by investing more resources, time and energy into the missions we partner with. I pray that whether in six months we worship at Harvest or Harvest South or even somewhere else that we will go full throttle for the Lord. God has called you to Go! Will you go?