I’ve been captivated by the Live Dead missionaries’ way of thinking. I suspect it is because, from my perspective, their thinking is most like the mindset the early disciples and believers espoused. When prophets repeatedly told Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, …in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me (Acts 20:23, ESV), with deep felt conviction he said, …I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24, ESV).
The only way Paul could say that with such conviction was because he actually believed what he had been teaching and preaching; living it out by taking serious risks on a daily basis. By the same token, the only way our Live Dead Missionaries can take the risks to go into countries that threaten the lives of missionaries in order to reach the unreached people groups is because they actually believe what they say they believe.
Perhaps the reason such a perspective of life is so captivating is because 1) intuitively we know that is how Jesus lived; and 2) it is so contrary to how we normally live out our daily lives here in the USA. Instead, we are fearful and anxious about many things. We lean more on our own logic and emotion in making daily decisions in life, and we are more obsessed with living than dying and going to be with our Lord. There must be a doctrinal disconnect from our default thinking therefore in the choices we make. Whatever the driving factors have been that have led to our current mindset, our lifestyle and cultural thinking are dramatically different from that of our Lord as well as the early church believers.
Perhaps it would be healthy for us to commit to making notes as we read the Bible, especially the New Testament, listing the variety of choices the early believers made and beside each one write down what you think may have driven those people to make such a choice. Ex. When the early believers were persecuted, they suddenly quit their jobs; left their homes, family and friends; and scattered to other parts of the world with hardly more than the clothes on their backs. They didn’t have a job or even friends or family waiting for them to help them get settled and on their feet. Nevertheless, they continued to tell those who would listen how Jesus changed their lives and thereby turned their world upside down. Imagine what type of faith and level of love for God it would take to compel you to make such decisions.
After you have listed a dozen or more examples in the Bible, make a list of the big choices you have made and how they have required divine faith. Are the claims of what you say you believe about Christ, His ways and teachings, actually revealing the depth of faith the early believers lived out in their daily lives? As for me, my faith and commitment to my Lord falls far short of that of the early believers. That makes something rise up within me to want to more diligently seek to have the same heart for Christ that Paul and the early church lived out. Holy Spirit, please do whatever You need to do to reshape the passion in my innermost being to be like that of those through whom You forged the Church of Jesus Christ! And, I ask that you help me to inspire and encourage more in Nebraska to do the same.