Sunday, January 22, 2012


“This Jesus of Nazareth without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed and Napoleon; without science and learning He shed more light on matters human and Divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of schools, He spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since the produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, He set more pens in motion, furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions…than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times.” Philip Schaff, Swiss-born U.S. biblical scholar, 1858.

Religion is the attempt of mankind to seek and earn the favor of God in hopes of attaining eternal life. Religion is all about performing and seeking to earn the favor of a hard to please God.  It's like walking on an endless treadmill because no matter how hard you try, it’s never good enough!

The Messiah was not seeking to establish a new religion of rules, regulations, and norms of conduct! Jesus’ mission was to seek and rescue those who knew they could never perform well enough to earn eternal life. He came to seek those of us who may have given up hope that life could ever be any different. He turned religion upside down and inside out by seeking the downtrodden of His generation!

Interestingly, Jesus was scorned as the “friend of sinners” by the religious of His day. These were the same people who ended up crucifying him:

“For John didn’t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.”  Jesus speaking in Matthew 11:18 (NLT).

I like the way The Message expresses the above verse: “John came fasting and they called him crazy. I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riffraff. Opinion polls don't count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

Jesus didn’t come to build communities of elite performers who brag about how well their lives are going and appear to be have it all together. He instead came to establish healing communities where the hurting and broken would feel welcome and deeply ministered to. That is why the prostitutes and sinners flocked to Jesus, but felt excluded and repulsed by the Pharisees.

The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost (Matthew 18:11). He came to bring healing to the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1 & Luke 4:18). His mission was to free those who’d been taken captive and were living as though they were imprisoned (John 8:32). He wanted to deeply minister to them to free them from many of the consequences of growing up in a broken and dysfunctional world (Matthew 9:36). And guess what? His mission is the same today as it was in 30 AD!

His focus is not on outer appearances. He doesn’t only go after those who are performing well, who are highly educated, or who have fewer problems than most. His team is composed of those who society might think of as “the least” in order to “confound the wise.”

“Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of ‘the brightest and the best’ among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these nobodies’ to expose the hollow pretensions of the ‘somebodies’? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ” 1 Corinthians 1:26-30 The Message.

There’s a very interesting progression within the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 61. It tells of how the Messiah is the bearer of extremely good news to those who know they're poor and destitute of Spirit. The Messiah’s passion is to heal them inwardly and to free them in those areas where they’ve been taken captive (addictive habits and practices, seeing themselves as losers with little or no worth, struggling with deep shame, guilt, anxiety, fear, etc.).

But Isaiah went on to say that these broken people the Messiah would heal would become the oaks of His righteousness that He would use to accomplish His long-term mission. These healed and in the process of healing wounded ones would be used of Him to “rebuild the ancient ruins, restore the places long devastated, renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations” Isaiah 61:4. And He is continuing to accomplish His mission in each and every emerging generation!  

"Who is like the Lord our God, who has His seat on high, who humbles Himself to regard the heavens and the earth! The Lord raises the poor out of the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap and the dung hill, that He may seat them with princes, even with the princes of His people. He makes the barren woman to be a homemaker and a joyful mother of [spiritual] children. Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!" (Psalm 113:5-9 Amplified Bible).

The video at the beginning of this post is entitled Discipleship from the Inside Out. It highlights six areas of ministry that have been neglected in past generations but which are urgently needed in today’s churches, communities, and ministries around the globe.

Take a look at this post and presentation. As always, I’d love to hear your feedback.


  1. Rusty,
    We don't know each other, someone at church (I can't remember) gave us a copy of your prayer/newsletter. We have been on a similar healing journey during the last several years.

    We resonated with the things you said about the two men who came to Christ in college years but fell away because of deep, extreme wounds that were never healed, much less acknowledged or addressed.

    We are especially glad to see the Navs have turned from the very cerebral, accomplishment based discipleship we (and many other fellow Navs) experienced in the late 70's and early 80's.

    We are glad to know you are co-laboring with us for the healing of souls who can then walk upright with God, free from the lies, doubts and fears of their painful pasts. Bless you!

    Tena and Bob Miller

  2. Tena & Bob,

    Great hearing from you and to know we've been on a similar healing journey. I was wondering what part of the country you live in. In His Grace,


  3. I was recently at a Mike Breen/3DM Discipleship & Mission conference in Denver. This video/post reminds me of a question that was asked. Are we victims OR the rescue team in our broken world that is experiencing seismic shifts? God bless you, Navigators and PRT for being part of the rescue team!!!

  4. Thank you "anonymous" for your comment. I understand the dichotomy of whether a person is a victim or on the rescue team.

    At the same time, there is only One who can truly rescue and heal the victims of growing up in our badly broken world. We need growing numbers of people who have learned to take the broken people of our day to the foot of the cross in such a way that they can experience His inner-healing touch. This is the need of the hour for this generation.

    Has God be calling you to be part of the rescue team?

    1. As I listened to the Lord this morning, he told me to resist the devil. This is often what comes to mind when I ask the Lord what it is that he would have me do for the day. This morning, I probed further and asked God what this meant. The sense that I got was an invitation to stop being ashamed. Instead of thinking and dwelling upon the aspects of my life, character, and experience that don't measure up and need work, I felt like Jesus was telling me to trust in his finished work on the cross that makes me "OK."

      The devil loves to get me focusing on the problems, whereas Jesus wants me to focus on living and trusting him to take care of me.

    2. Well said, JB! As Keith Green sang in "Make My Life a Prayer to You:" .... "it's so hard to see when my eyes are on me."