by Peyton Jones, adapted from his new book Reaching the Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art.
The success of the apostles began with their willingness to “wait.”
Wait for what? God himself. He sent us out on a mission, but he never expected us to go it alone. Let’s ponder for a minute, exactly why the apostles needed to cool their heels in Jerusalem before heading out to the harvest.
The apostles had to be told to wait because, contrary to what you may have been told, they weren’t scared and hiding in the upper room. You don’t need to tell wussies to wait. Besides, Luke doesn’t even hint that they were scared. Acts 1:3 tells us they’d spent forty days with the risen Lord as he downloaded the secrets of the universe into their souls. Their hearts were burning, just as the hearts of the disciples on the road to Emmaus were! They were chomping at the bit to get out and take on the world! Nevertheless, despite the preparation of three years with Jesus and forty days with the risen Lord, they still weren’t equipped to tackle the world on their own. The best intentions of mice and men often lay to waste, and so would theirs without plugging into the right power outlet.
Years earlier, when the father of the demon- possessed boy turned to the disciples for help, they exerted themselves for hours, “but they were not able” (Mark 9:18 ESV). Doesn’t that summarize our current state? The church has been going through the motions, but despite our best efforts, technology, marketing, and antics we lack the power to reverse the downward spiral. As embarrassing as it was for the disciples to be ineffective, we suffer the same incompetence in accomplishing our mission. Perhaps the difference was that the disciples were bothered by it—they wanted to know why they couldn’t do it (Mark 9:28–29). After many failures, and abandoning Jesus at the cross, they knew their dependency upon him was a real thing. Similarly, a veteran lifeguard knows to hang back until a swimmer has exhausted their own efforts to struggle. In God’s case, we could be waiting a while for the church to give up and surrender. I don’t think it even realizes it’s drowning yet.
What happened when the apostles waited for God’s power instead of moving out on their own? What would happen to believers if they were willing to do the same today?
Waiting empowered them to accomplish eight different aspects of their mission, and it will still do so today.
- They Would Be Empowered Despite Their Weakness
Jesus tells the disciples that good things happen to those who wait on the Lord. He says wait here (Acts 1:4) before you go there (Acts 1:8, Matt. 28:19) We haven’t learned the lesson that not being ready doesn’t work against us, but for us. In our insufficiency, facing a task unfinished, Jesus supplies us with his power.
- They Would Become Fearless Risk Takers
Waiting is not a pass for continued inaction. The apostles waited ten days, not ten years. Waiting is not permission to hide behind theological platitudes like God’s sovereignty, or a distraction while we analyze the culture. Nor is waiting an excuse to mask a distrustful disobedience stemming from fear.
- They Would Be Contagiously Consumed with Him
In an age where talk is cheap, and the world is tired of hearing it, actions speak louder than words. The apostles modeled the power of a life consumed with the Holy Spirit, and they fully lived for God, which shouted louder than their words. Lives like that cannot be underestimated, or ignored, like the early church who lived out Acts 2:42, so that they enjoyed “the favor of all the people” (Acts 2:47). And the Lord added to their number. Daily.
— Peyton Jones, adapted from his new book Reaching the Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art. In the book you will discover 5 other ways that “waiting” empowered the apostles—and how it can empower your ministry today.
How To Use This Book
This book will help your church reach those who no one else is reaching.
You will discover how Jesus’ mission can convert pew jockeys into missionaries and reawaken the sleeping giant of Christ’s church, one person at a time.
Share this book with your leadership and staff, and consider having your small groups read it too. Your church will not be the same, as the mission of Jesus is recovered and your church attendees become “raiders of the lost art.” (If you think that’s a reference to Indiana Jones, you are right. One of this book’s unique features is its amusing, but powerful, examples from pop culture.)
What Others Are Saying
“Peyton makes a compelling case to not settle for the status quo, but to recover the lost art of reaching the lost as the first-century did,” writes author-pastor Dave Ferguson. “If you have a passion for the lost to be found, you’ll want to read this book!”
“Peyton Jones knows how to reach people in the everyday stuff of life,” adds author Jeff Vanderstelt. “He is not only a great example to follow, but is also very skilled at training and mobilizing others to do the same.”