Welcome to the PMF Workshop for the week of December 7, 2020. I’m your host, T. M. Moore. Each week we provide teaching, encouragement, and resources to help you in working your Personal Mission Field. By adopting the perspectives and practicing the disciplines we present in the Workshop, you can become more consistent and effective in realizing the presence, promise, and power of God’s Kingdom in your daily life.
Today’s Workshop is entitled, “New Horizons.” Our text is Romans 15.22-24:
For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. Romans 15.22-24
Paul is the example for us as we take up the work of our Personal Mission Field. He explained the concept in 2 Corinthians 10.13-16, and then in the first verse of 1 Corinthians 11, he wrote, “Imitate me…” And, at the same time, he reminded us that he was imitating Jesus, Who Himself received a Personal Mission Field call, and fulfilled it diligently and faithfully.
But let’s keep focused on Paul for now. As we read through the book of Acts, beginning in chapter 13, we see one of Paul’s Personal Mission Field principles consistently lived out: Always be looking for opportunities to expand your Personal Mission Field.
Paul began his work in Antioch, in Syria. He first expanded it to Cyprus, then to southern Asia Minor. Before long, he was moving throughout Asia Minor, in city after city preaching the Good News of Jesus and starting churches. Then on to Greece, and from Greece, via Jerusalem, to Rome.
In our text for today’s workshop, Paul is in Corinth, preparing to go to Jerusalem carrying a contribution for the famine-stricken believers there. From there, he’s already looking to Rome. And beyond. Rome was, in Paul’s mind, a stopping-point to Spain, where he would meet with and encourage the believers he found there, and would be resupplied for his mission to Spain.
So here in Romans 15, Paul is preparing to go south, then further west than he has ever been, and even further west – always looking for opportunities to enlarge his Personal Mission Field and extend the hope of the Gospel to still more people.
Is this the way we think about our Personal Mission Field?
A mindset to expand
We see this outward-looking mindset in Paul’s explanation of his “sphere” in 2 Corinthians 10.16, where he expressed his desire “to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment.” Writing from Ephesus to the Corinthians in Greece, Paul is looking past them to “regions beyond”. Looking for ways to expand his Personal Mission Field was a mindset with the apostle Paul.
How can we acquire that mindset as well?
Well, first, make sure that you have mapped out your own Personal Mission Field. If you have not, go to the website, www.ailbe.org, scroll down below the fold, and click on the “Learn More” button under the Personal Mission Field section. Watch the video, download and complete the worksheet, and you’ll be good to go.
Once you’ve completed this exercise, you’ll have before you a map of where you go and whom you see on a regular basis. That is, you’ll have mapped out the present horizons of your Personal Mission Field, so that you’ll know where God has sent you, like Jesus, to seek, embody, proclaim, and advance the Kingdom of God.
As you pray for the people and places of your Personal Mission Field, ask God to expand your horizons. Pray that He will bring more people into your Personal Mission Field, and that you’ll be alert to opportunities to reach out to new places and people, to bring the presence of the Kingdom into ever-expanding horizons.
At the end of each day, thank God for the places you went and the people you saw that day, as well as for whatever the Lord was able to do through you, by word or deed, to shine the light of Jesus in your part of His world/field. Then pray for Him to expand your field beyond its present horizons. Do this day after day, and soon enough you’ll be like Paul, thinking and planning and eagerly looking forward to new opportunities to enlarge the horizons of your Personal Mission Field.
Some enlarging actions
Here are a few more suggestions of practical ways to enlarge the scope of your Personal Mission Field:
1. Plan your day in prayer, thinking about where you’ll be going, what you’ll be doing, and the people you are likely to serve. Try to identify one faithful thing to do to seek the Kingdom and shine the light of Jesus in your Personal Mission Field. Just one thing. Then do that one thing faithfully. Remember: Jesus said that if we are faithful in little things, He would make us masters over much (Matt. 25.21, 23). If we make sure to be faithful each day, Jesus Himself will expand our Personal Mission Field.
2. Be sure to learn the names of new people you meet – at church, work, in the grocery store, in any of the “as-you-are-goings” of your life. If you have to, write the names down. Write them on your Personal Mission Field worksheet, and start praying for them. Ask God to give you opportunities to get to know them, look for ways to serve, and talk about Jesus. Remember that C. S. Lewis wrote that we never meet anyone who is a “mere mortal.” The people we encounter throughout the day might not seem remarkable or special, but they are image-bearers of God, and they all have the potential for coming to know Him. Your prayers for them could be the start of God’s work in their lives.
3. Be sure to carry along with you a few copies of “The Explanation” brochure, which you can download for free at our website. Use them to leave with someone after a conversation about the Gospel, or to ask someone to read, then to get together and talk about it.
Remember that enlarging your Personal Mission Field is one of the four goals we aim at in this work. It’s what Jesus and Paul did, and it’s what we should do as well, as we imitate them and serve the Lord.
For the Fellowship of Ailbe, and for the Personal Mission Field Workshop, this has been T. M. Moore.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.