Please prayerfully consider the exhortation and encouragement from your brothers and sisters in these prayer letters. Ask Christ Jesus to confirm what He wants you to take in to your heart and apply in your daily walk with Him as you travel this earthly life together; to bless the Family, the Church, and the Marketplace.
May the Peace of Christ be with you this new year 2023,
Bjorn and Lilian Schmid.
Blueprints for Kingdom Mission
(by Len Rossow, December 2022)
The Kingdom of God was the central focus of the preaching ministry of Jesus. He begins His ministry with a dramatic prophetic announcement:
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15 NIV)
He is saying this is God’s special appointed time – the time for the fulfilment of the prophetic promises in the scriptures (Old Testament). Isaiah 2:2-5 is one of those promises. Allow it to captivate your spirit.
It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.
O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord.
(Isaiah 2:2-5 ESV)
Jesus’ dynamic teaching on the Kingdom takes us beyond both the Old Testament concept and that of the Judaism of His day. His word is radical, revolutionary, subversive. For Jesus, the Kingdom is the realm where God is King, where His Kingship (authority, rule) is being manifested.
It is intimately tied to Jesus Himself (e.g. Matthew 5:21-22) – the Kingdom is present in Him. His words and actions demonstrate the reality of the presence of this Kingdom.
“What shall we say the kingdom of God is like… It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds… Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” (Mark 4:30-32 NIV, abridged)
The powers hostile to this kingdom plotted His arrest and crucifixion. Jesus aware of His impending death said:
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (John 12:24 NIV)
The counter-offensive began with just one, but now through that one seed sown in the ground, millions carry on the mission. Surely this was the vision Jesus had in mind as He gathered the disciples following his resurrection (Matthew 28:18-20).
The mustard bush has been growing ever since. A day is coming when the nations (the birds) will find refuge and peace in its branches.
CAN YOU SEE IT? The mustard seed has broken through into the sunlight. Now nothing can stop its growth.
PRAY IT IN
WHAT IF EVERY CHRISTIAN IN OUR TOWN, CITY, REGION:
- Understood who they are in Christ and the wonder and power of Christ in them (Colossians 1:9-14).
- Understood their identity and calling as part of the Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).
- Took time to pray the Kingdom prayer as Jesus taught His disciples and released blessing through their workplaces and communities (Matthew 6: 9-15 and Numbers 6:22-27).
The Spiritual Atmosphere needs to be impacted by His Peace.
PRAY IT IN
WHAT WOULD BE THE IMPACT – if every Christian went into their workplaces and leisure activities, their communities and their families:
- With a sense of being commissioned to carry the Kingdom in their words and actions? To be salt and light as Jesus said (Matthew 5:13-16).
- With a sense of “this is my assignment from the Lord” and “I have been placed here for such a time as this.”
- With a sense they have been sent out deliberately with the prayer support and backing of their local fellowship or even more on behalf of the church of the town, city, or region.
THIS IS AN APOSTOLIC CHURCH – sent to be salt and light, to be yeast – People of God living under the Kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ and in all they do living Kingdom values and changing the Spiritual Climate through prayer and action.
PRAY IT IN
WHAT IF EVERY CHRISTIAN WAS SENT OUT KNOWING:
- The empowering of the Holy Spirit.
- That servanthood is the path to greatness.
- That they have been chosen to be ambassadors of the Kingdom of God and are called to represent the Father in all they do and say.
PRAY IT IN
AND WHAT IF EVERY CHRISTIAN WAS SENT OUT KNOWING:
- They are going as sheep amongst wolves.
- They are to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
- They are called to bless those who curse them and to pray for those who persecute.
- That the battle is with principalities and powers rather than flesh and blood.
- Our pathway is living and responding in the opposite spirit.
PRAY IT IN
WHAT IF OUR CHURCH LEADERS UNDERSTOOD THAT: a key part of OUR ministry is the raising up of disciples of Jesus and equipping them for their work of ministry.
My task is much more than raising up people to have ministry functions in the local congregation. I must also focus even in a stronger way on the equipping of the congregation for their ministry in the various spheres of their everyday life (Ephesians 4:11-16).
PRAY IT IN
Will we pursue God and take time to be still in His presence – simply enjoying Him and being totally available and then radically obedient to what He asks of us?
Pray for God to set up encounters for you where you can share something of the love of Christ.
Read Luke 10:1-11. This passage is specific to a particular group (the ’72’) in a particular moment in time, however the instructions have a wider application in our 21st century setting, as we consider the principles behind the instructions.
Twenty-first Century Application – something to think about:
- We begin in prayer preparing the ground. The Lord’s Prayer.
- We go knowing we are going into a clash of Kingdoms – this is hostile territory.
- We go with purpose, not trusting our resources but the resources of our King and not allowing ourselves to be distracted.
- We go looking for a person of peace, an ally who will assist in releasing peace into the setting. We go – loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us.
- We go ready to take hold of the opportunities that present themselves. (Pray for the Holy Spirit to set up divine appointments.) Genesis 24:12-21
- If we are not received, maintain the witness – don’t compromise.
In every area of life within the nation Christian witness is needed to play a part in shaping the way life is expressed in the culture.
A Vision for Our Day
I see a people who are sold out to the King, totally available to serve Him and able to trust Him enough to be obedient to whatever He calls them to do.
Each person has a personal mission from the King: as a servant to others. This mission flows from the particular heart, gifting and passion that they carry. They exercise this ministry as an expression of the Kingdom of God in their family, workplace & community.
However, it’s not simply a case of each believer “feeling led” to do this or that; we all need fathers and mothers in the faith that encourage, guide and challenge us to push deeper into Christ and to discern our part in His Kingdom Mission.
We never operate just as an individual; our role is undertaken as part of the local church family, and as a family we are finding ways to support each believer to encourage, challenge and equip them in that mission, so that it is as fruitful and effective as possible. Our hearts are bound together in love – we have each other’s backs. Prayer & pastoral care is a central part of the support provided by the church family.
Remember, the disciples were sent out on mission in two’s.
In addition, as a family, each local church has a corporate call and destiny as it takes it’s place in the wider body of the Church of the City, Town or Region.
We lift up the name of Jesus in worship and prayer when we gather together. In our oneness and in our love for one another AS WE EXALT HIM, we influence the Spiritual climate over the City – darkness always gives way to Light.
Each Monday we step in to take the ground that has been opened by our worship gatherings over the weekend. We have opportunity together to impact our city under the leadership of the King.
To see His Name hallowed,
His Kingdom come,
His will done on earth,
AS IT IS IN HEAVEN!
Here in our town, city, region and beyond.
Lord, bind us together in Love and in Mission, Amen.
21 days Prayer for the Buddhist World – January 2-22, 2023
(from Liz Adleta)
Dear Friends of the Buddhist world:
God is moving in powerful ways despite the increasing challenges we see, perhaps because of them. Now is the time for movements to Christ to break out across the Buddhist world at long last!
We are calling Christians and churches worldwide to take 21 days, January 2-22, to learn about and pray for our world’s Buddhist friends. With this Buddhist World Prayer Guide on the website of 110cities.com we invite you to pray specifically that Jesus Christ will become known to the one billion people across the globe who are at least nominally Buddhist.
We are encouraging believers to ask the Father to give his Son these Buddhist nations as his inheritance (Psalm 2:8). Let’s ask the Lord of the Harvest to send forth laborers (Matthew 9:38) to key Buddhist cities as messengers of Hope, drenched with the Spirit of God, in the power of God for the mission of God!
Won’t you share with your networks and join hands with God and our sisters and brothers around the world to welcome His Kingdom in every people and place!
For the King and His Kingdom,
Family is First
(by Bjorn Schmid)
Family, Church, Marketplace: some have asked why we focus on the sphere of Family first in each calendar year. It has often been argued to us that the Church, the Ecclesia, the Body of Christ, should be listed first and take the highest priority for review, for prophetic intercession, for prayer, since Christ came to establish the Church to be His eternal bride and to be all together with Him in the New Jerusalem, as described in the book of Revelation and other places in the Bible.
Certainly many church and prayer leaders do take time for prayer and fasting in January to seek God and His revelations and instructions for their communities of disciples in the new year, and this is very good and proper. We are not trying to compete with or reinforce this activity here, we are focussed on the mission of Christ through His people to the world, and what are the challenges, and opportunities, that arise.
It is perhaps helpful first to understand that there is no eternal hierarchy or hegemony in the twelve ‘Spheres of Influence’ that we focus on in this website. The ‘Spheres’ are not eternal in themselves; they are where spiritual ‘Influence’ is centred, has authority, and are directed to the world we are born into. We do claim that God create these Spheres as such, but they are often manifested in how our earthly societies are dominated and supported by physical and spiritual authorities. Since few communities have submitted themselves and are directly led by the Holy Spirit, we are referring to the ‘Principalities and Powers’ of the enemy of God.
I hope that most Christ-followers; ‘believers’, can accept that the ‘earthly family’ is one centre of influence, possibly the most identifiable, direct and widespread of all spheres across our planet, and that the ‘heavenly family’ is another eternally significant centre of influence, of God’s power, grace and love poured out first through Christ and then through His followers onto the Earth. What we call the ‘marketplace’ though may consist of many key sources of influence, depending on the traditions, religions, and general culture and history of the communities and ‘states’ in each region of the world.
Over a number of years of prayer and revelation, we identified ten ‘Spheres’ in the marketplace of Australia. In our experience they have covered everything where ‘Influence’ is centred in our earthly societies. There are of course other lists of Spheres, or Mountains, or Domains, and these are just as valid since most have come from countries with different cultures or having different governance and law establishment and enforcement structures. Note that we have put ‘Religion and Philosophy’ as a separate Marketplace Sphere from the Church: this is because the former seeks to glorify mankind, whereas the latter seeks to glorify God, and God alone.
Putting aside the ‘Marketplace’, let us focus on ‘Family’ vs ‘Church’.
After God created the physical universe, and in it the Sun and the Earth, He populated it with plants and animals, and finally He created ‘man’ “in His image”. In the Bible account in Genesis chapter 1, God gave one command to Adam and Eve: to procreate themselves and fill the Earth with people. This was the very first command He gave them, the original command to humanity: man and woman to join together and make families to raise children. Our physical existence began here; YOUR physical existence began here: everything we have on Earth is because of obedience to this original command from God.
Why did God make us this way and why did He give this command to us? He could just make billions of humans by himself of course, but He chose NOT to: He chose to give to us participation in the responsibility and joy of co-creation. Creation of eternal beings: every child conceived is an eternal being, and made in God’s image. Wonder why the enemy of God hates us, and women in particular? Wonder why abortion of babies is such a crime against women, yes against and by women: innocent children still exist – they are eternal beings remember – but women who abort babies, and anyone who encourages and assists them, are liable for the blood-crime of murdering innocents. We have witnessed so many cases of long-term depression and guilt from abortions.
Secondly, family comes first because it is the place where men, women and children are bound together for physical and mental support of each other. We do not generally live ‘in’ our churches, but live ‘as’ the Church. Families are where everything we are and do impacts those in our family unit, whether they are exposed or not; we cannot escape from each other, hopefully because we want to be together!
Thirdly, as the saying goes: “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family”. God has decided for us which family we are born into. Which church you go to is your choice, but all churches and believers should recognise that we are part of one family: God’s family made possible through the redemption of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit to each of us. When you choose to believe and follow Christ, you choose to join the eternal family of Christ and will received all the inheritance promised by Jesus to those in His family.
So in a sense, the Church, the Ecclesia, the Body of Christ is our eternal family, whereas our earthly ‘physical’ family is temporary. We have no choice in which family we are born into, but we can choose who to start a new earthly family with, and we can choose to be a part of the Church, or not.
For all the reasons above, and with many confirmations from the Holy Spirit, we put the Sphere of Family first in January, and then the Sphere of the Church in February.
Father God, You are are our Father and we are Your children.
Forgive us please for the many times we threw tantrums
and insisted on having things our way.
Help us through Your Holy Spirit to submit always to You
since You totally love us and know best,
to listen to You and accept Your wise instructions.
Help us also to model this attitude to You before others,
especially to our family, friends, and neighbours.
We want to see all people around us reconciled to You,
in a strong relationship with You,
and even to surprise us with their loyalty to You.
We love you Lord,
and because You loved us first;
we try to mirror Your love to all people around us.
Be glorified Lord Jesus,
be glorified in our lives,
in our families,
in our homes.
Let Your light shine unhindered
by anything in us that is not of You.
Replace any such thing with Your perfect creation
and make us perfect in You we pray.