The Value of Contextualization

This week, we have been honored to have David Sills come and teach our missionary trainees, as he does each year, on the topic of “Culture and Contextualization” at the Center for Pioneer Church Planting (CPCP). Sills has been a longtime favorite of ours to have in the classroom because of the gifts God has given him in this area of life and ministry. Often, if we are not careful and aware in our biblical studies, it is easy to not step out of our comfort zone to communicate the gospel in cultures unlike our own. Crossing cultures to bring the gospel to unreached people groups is an incredible challenge. And it is for this reason that we appreciate Dr. Sill’s fresh and eye opening perspective to the CPCP. More

A 2013 of God-given historic proportions

“The kingdom of heaven has been suffering violence, and the violent have been seizing it by force.” (Matthew 11:12) (HCSB)

2013. Momentum. Excitement. Heightened anticipation. Those are words describing the beginning of the year for To Every Tribe. To Every Tribe has momentum. Christ provided His mission with more than $490,000 in the purchase of 50 acres of buildings and land at Chachalaca Bend. There is much excitement about what God is going to do at Chachalaca Bend through missionaries who will be trained and sent to unreached people around the globe. Our anticipation of what Christ will do next through His people for his mission has been heightened by all the great things God has done for us in just the past year.


To Every Tribe begins 2013 with hands held high in praise and hearts full of gratitude for Christ, his mission, and his work among his people! Here are our hand-picked top five things that God has been doing down in South Texas over the past year:

1. Largest attended Open House with Adoption of Village Q in Oaxaca, Mexico

2. Construction Begins on first Missionary Home in Goroka, Papua New Guinea

3. First 4 missionaries graduate from the 2-year program of the Center for Pioneer Church Planting

4. Record enrollment of 26 in the Center for Pioneer Church Planting

5. God provided over $490,000 of $1.85M, and we closed on the property at Chachalaca Bend


Grateful for what God has already done, we are asking Him to accomplish the following through To Every Tribe in 2013:

1. Seek to develop and identify 2 complete missionary teams for Papua New Guinea, and expand to a potential of 3 teams for Mexico

2. Send workers to PNG to finish the house project in Goroka, and develop a construction and funding plan for the next missionary house

3. Realign and establish To Every Tribe for the next stages of growth and development in mobilizing the church, training disciple-makers, and sending missionary teams

4. Pursue a partnership with new local churches to expand the reach of Ekballo prayer, sending missionaries, and generous giving to the mission of the gospel to unreached people groups

5. Ask God and his people to provide over $1.35 million needed to purchase the 50 acres of buildings and land at Chachalaca Bend so that To Every Tribe will be debt free by 2014

6. Implement a strategic master plan for future training and sending from Chachalaca Bend


David Sitton, President of To Every Tribe, began the 2013 Open House at Chachalaca Bend with this challenge from Matthew 11:12: “The kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.” (NIV) Christ, The Forceful Man who won the kingdom through His death and resurrection, is advancing his kingdom through “forceful” disciples willing to lay it all on the line for the gospel. Whether staying home in order to send or going as the sent, followers of Jesus have a responsibility to His mission of advancing the kingdom through a violent faith willing to do “whatever” for the gospel.

We are running headlong toward the challenges that lay before us in 2013 as Christ advances His kingdom through His people. Matthew 11:12 reminds us that Christ’s mission is a violent mission. 344 years ago, the Puritan preacher Thomas Watson noted, “The kingdom of heaven will not be taken without violence. The violent take it by force. The earth is inherited by the meek (Matthew 5:5.) Heaven is inherited by the violent. Our life is military. Christ is our Captain, the gospel is the banner, the graces are our spiritual artillery, and heaven is only taken in a forcible way…the right way to take heaven is by storm; or thus, none get into heaven but violent ones.”

The advance of Christ’s kingdom through To Every Tribe will not be without a violent faith, with war being waged against anything that would present itself in opposition to the gospel. This includes violence against the desire for all the baubles that this world has to offer. Paraphrasing Watson, Christ’s mission is military. But we do not wage physical weapons aimed at physical violence. We do not offer a sword of death and oppression. We offer Christ and his gracious provision in the gospel. Our sword is the Word of Christ proclaimed to the unreached, those who have no access to the good news of Jesus. This war is waged by sacrificial proclamation, sacrificial praying, sacrificial serving, sacrificial sending, and sacrificial going to those who have not heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are 3 billion unreached people on this planet. There are 3 billion reasons for a violent faith that takes heaven by storm.


We are eager to see what Christ will do through To Every Tribe in 2013. And there are many opportunities for you to participate with us in Christ’s mission.

1. First and foremost, you can pray that Christ will be honored and glorified through To Every Tribe in 2013, and that He will continue to use To Every Tribe to spread His name and His fame among those who have no access to the good news of Jesus.

2. Your help is needed in serving in many diverse areas of ministry.

3. Your gifts are needed to come alongside local churches in helping train and send more risk-taking followers of Jesus to some of the 3 billion people who will never hear the good news of Jesus unless we tell them. We still need $90,000 in order to have full ownership of the 50 acres of buildings and land at Chachalaca Bend. We need your help. Participate with us in propelling missionaries into the harvest from Chachalaca Bend by clicking on this link: http://bit.ly/givenowTETM

God-given historic proportions. 2013 is going to be a year unlike any other at To Every Tribe. We look forward to partnering with you in the gospel for the advance of the gospel and Christ’s kingdom! Pray for us. Partner with us. The gospel continues its advance in 2013 and we are excited Christ has included us in His mission, a mission fueled by violent faith that sacrifices all to take the kingdom for the sake of Christ.

Forcibly Flung to the Nations – Ekballo

The gospel task, essentially, is to take territory for the Kingdom of God.  However, we’re not after geographical conquest.  Rather, we target spiritual strongholds where Satan has exerted his control for centuries.  We are compelled to go after the hearts and souls of people for whom Christ died.

To advance the gospel means that we are to go everywhere extending the Name and the Reign of Christ throughout all of the earth.  That’s the Mission.  God makes his own name great among all of the ethnicities of the earth1 and he does so through the geographical scattering of his people.2

The harvest of nations is an enormous task requiring thousands more of well mentored missionaries than are presently available.  What should be our response to this labor force deficit?

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  Go!  I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.3

There is a Lord of the harvest.  I’m so grateful that the work of the gospel around the world is in the hands of One who is big enough, wise enough, and powerful enough to manage it.  The harvest of nations is the Lord’s work and he will do exactly what he wants to with it.

As Lord of the harvest Jesus will have a full crop of all the elect from all of the people groups of the world.4 Likewise, he will have a full contingency of harvesters who are necessary to gather them.  All of the goers, all of the martyrs, all of the intercessors and financial senders who are necessary – Jesus will have a full number of everyone and everything that he intends to use for the ingathering of a People for his name and glory.  Jesus is the Lord of the harvest.

There are workers in the harvest. This speaks to the opportunity we have of working with Christ.  Don’t ever forget the magnitude of this privilege.  We get to be missionaries for Jesus Christ!  It is indescribable grace that Jesus allows us to be partners in mission with him.  We get the joy of being front-line spokesmen for Jesus Christ in the far-flung places where his salvation is unknown!

The workers in the harvest are to do two things.  First, we are instructed to “ask the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers.”  Send out in Greek is ekballo, which means to “thrust out violently”; to “forcibly expel”; to “fling out.”  It is a spiritually violent and authoritative word, used for example, to describe the driving out of demons.5 When Jesus commands demons to leave a person or place, they immediately relocate.  In the same way, as we pray for the Lord of the harvest to send out workers, we are asking Jesus to strategically and forcibly redeploy his people into his worldwide harvest.


Prayer is the biblical way, primarily, that missionaries are inwardly compelled to change locations and go somewhere with the gospel.6 We don’t try to twist anyone’s arm or talk anyone into anything.  We pray that the Lord of the harvest will ekballo a work force to accomplish his own work.  In a refreshing way, instead of trying to argue people into becoming missionaries, we go over their heads.  We ask the Lord to compel those whom he wants to carry his gospel seed bags and drive his harvesting combines.  The same authority that expels demons in Jesus’ name propels missionaries to joyfully “pack their coffins” en route for remote and hostile places where Jesus is not known.  When Jesus says, “go!” demons vacate and missionaries relocate.  We do the praying and Jesus does the flinging!

Secondly, disciples are told to pray for harvesters and… What is the first word of Luke 10:3? – “GO!”  Pray and go.  The sense of the text is that we should pray for laborers to go and then get busy being a part of the answer to our own prayers!  This is what the Church is called to do.   We are to pray and go.  Praying, going and sending glorifies God!

Important Question: If working with Christ in the gospel around the world is such a privilege, why is it necessary, so often, for the Lord to forcibly expel his laborers into the mission?  Why aren’t potential laborers lining up for this incredible opportunity?

The answer is in the next phrase.  Jesus forcefully reiterates the implications of going.  “I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”7

Jesus sends lambs out among wolves!  Is there any doubt what the outcome of that will be?  Jesus is describing a slaughter.  As we go in his name, Jesus says, we’re going as the main course meal!  That’s what lambs are to wolves.  This is a primary reason people refuse to go.  Even believers are not usually eager to line up for a blood bath!

And so, the Lord ekballoes us.  He forcibly flings us out into the world by his grace.  He does it by transforming our hearts.  He makes himself so valuable to us, that suddenly, we begin to “break the jar and pour out all of the oil upon his feet.”8 Our fears and love for this world disintegrate and morph into a passion for his name and compassion for perishing people.  So much so, that nothing else matters anymore.  Jesus becomes our most treasured “pearl of great price” and we find ourselves doing strange things.  We begin to sell homes and land and property.  We begin to take our families, even our young children, into some of the most dangerous and difficult places in the world.  And we do it with joy, because Jesus and the gospel are worth it!

This is what Jesus did.9 He saw the people and was moved by compassion for them because they were distressed, harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.  Jesus came to earth as the Lamb of God to die.  That was the plan from the beginning.  The slaughter of Christ on the cross wasn’t an afterthought or an accident. The Lamb of God intentionally came to die for his sheep.10 After Jesus rose from the dead, he turned to his disciples and said, “As my Father sends me, so send I you.”11

That’s how people become missionaries and how the world will be won for Christ.  That’s how it works.

We do not need a missionary calling.  If we are believers in Jesus Christ we are called to Christ!  If we are called to Christ we are simultaneously called to his mission.  And when we are called to his mission, we don’t “cut and run” when the going gets tough and treacherous.

I’m asking the Lord to ekballo (forcibly expel) every believer in Christ who reads these words.   Some will be ekballoed to actually go as missionary martyrs.  Some will be ekballoed into financial martyrdom, as believers in the early church did.12 First century disciples were frequently compelled by the Spirit of God and by the joy of Christ in their hearts to give in ridiculous ways.  Some of them actually sold homes; some gave land, and many hundreds of thousands of others shed their blood and guts, in extraordinary ways, in order to see to it that the gospel would go to the ends of the earth.

This is the mission of God.  Missionary martyrs going, financial martyrs sending; and all of us praying and working together, for the gospel and the glory of God to be known and enjoyed by all peoples.


1 Malachi 1:11

2 Matthew 28:18

3 Luke 10:2-3

4 John 6:39; Revelation 5:9

5 Matthew 10:1

6 Persecution is one way that workers are outwardly compelled to change locations and go with the gospel. Acts 8:1-4

7 Luke 10:3

8 Mark 14:3-4

9 Matthew 9:35-37

10 John 10:15

11 John 20:21

12 Acts 2:45; Acts 4:32-36


Will You Pray for Me? (Part 7)

Helpful Hints On How To Pray Effectively For Your Missionaries

“I urge you brother, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of
the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.”
Romans 15:30

Spiritual Life:
…That we will take sufficient time to read, reflect and pray
…That we would be protected from dark forces in spiritual realms
…For our spiritual growth and personal renewal
…That we would be encouraged and experience joy in ministry
…That we will be men and women of integrity, reliability, humility, wisdom
and consistency
…That we would maintain a healthy sense of humor

Personal Life:
…That our marital relationships will remain strong
…That the social, emotional and spiritual needs of our children are cared for
…That our basic financial requirements are regularly met
…That we would be protected from physical sickness
…That we will find time for proper sleep, rest and exercise
…That we would be self-disciplined
…That we will experience God’s protection from accidents, crime, terrorists
and dangerous animals

…That we would experience harmonious relationships with other Christians
…That our team would experience unity, love, good communication and patience with one another
…That we would develop intimate friendships with our national brothers
and sisters
…That we will resist temptations toward jealousy, envy, bitterness and pride

Language Proficiency:

…That we would make steady progress in language studies
…That God would give us grace to adapt well to new cultures and customs
…That God would give us clarity, creativity and relevance in preaching
and teaching

Evangelism And Discipleship:
…That we would be fearless and bold to preach Christ and Him crucified
…That we would be lead by the Holy Spirit as to where we go
…That God would give us supernatural discernment and wisdom
…That God would begin preparing hearts in advance for the message
…That God will open a door for His message and that it would spread rapidly
…That God would establish His Church in new regions
…That disciples and church leaders would be fully trained
…That God would raise up national missionaries
…That God would be honored and praised through our ministry

…Pray for those in government positions
…For religious freedom
…That we would have favor with government officials
…That we would be granted swift approval in our visa applications

“The one concern of the devil is to keep the saints from prayer.  He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion.  He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.”
~Jonathan Edwards

Will You Pray for Me? (Part 6)

Warfare Prayer!

As we’ve seen, the struggles of missionaries are immense and numerous.  Common adversity is deliberately increased as the enemy takes careful aim upon us.  Persecutions, trouble, harassments and hardship are all part of Satan’s arsenal.  None of this is new.  Ever since the days of our Lord, the devil has warred against God’s ambassadors.  So we must not be surprised as we are routinely pummeled by the fiery darts of the evil one still today.

This is why we need your prayer fortification so urgently.  The enemies of the cross set many snares to entrap and discourage us, and sadly, many missionaries have given up, becoming modern-day casualties of Satan’s bombardment.

But there is no reason for discouragement.  Even as I write these words, I  take on fresh courage and greater resolve that “nothing earthly will make me give up this work in despair” (David Livingstone).  Even as Satan rages, I have hope of heart because “Greater is He that is within me, than he that is in the world.”  And I thank God every day that He gives us the privilege to take our place in the ranks of those who “preach the gospel to every creature”, “making disciples of all nations.”

Pray that we will enter bravely into demonic strongholds where the enemy has gone unchallenged for centuries.  You can pray for safety – But pray even more that we would have reckless abandon in our going with the gospel.   Pray that the Lord will dismantle these strongholds and that He will do it through our preaching of Christ crucified, resurrected and reigning from the right hand of the Father.

While the final victory of the Kingdom is secure, we need the strength and encouragement of your prayers in today’s battle.  As I share these insights of personal struggle and trial, I hope that you will better understand the missionary predicament.  And most of all, I want the Lord to empower you to become more vigorous and forceful as you intercede for your missionaries.

Will You Pray for Me? (Part 5)

Financial Pressures

Financial instability is a stubborn fact for missionaries.  Unlike some occupations,  missionaries are usually unable to increase income with a job change.  And rarely do we have adequate resources to start our own businesses.  So, missionaries learn to live and minister on whatever the Lord brings in each month.

The high cost of daily living is a continuing concern.  Housing, vehicles, travel, children’s education, taxes and insurance (many missionaries have none), retirement, clothing, gasoline, repairs and replacement of equipment, the high cost of imported ministry supplies; all of this is considerably more expensive than in our own country.  Pray that God would give us special grace in all of these practical areas.

Anxiety increases with the sudden drop of financial support.  Every missionary has gotten the “Dear John” letter explaining why support is being discontinued.  One I received had a final check and a letter stating that it was no longer financially feasible to invest in the ministry, as the parking lot of the church building needed re-paving!  One of my New Guinea co-workers  encouraged us during these times by saying:  “Check and see if the sparrows have eaten today.  As long as they eat, we eat.  When God quits feeding the sparrows, missionaries will become extinct.”  How true that is.  Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Daily dependence upon God is a wonderful way to live.

Pray that your missionaries will always have the financial resources to do the work God has called them to.  Ask the Lord for special grace that our vehicles, computers and other vital equipment will function properly.  And especially, thank the Lord regularly for those faithful supporters who make significant sacrifices to keep our ministries moving along.

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