Would you plant a tree if you believed you would never enjoy its shade?
There’s nothing like a child to force a dad to ask this question. Here’s what I mean.
Our Lord Jesus is doing remarkable things around the world. His body is exploding in growth across the globe. This has not been true in America – until now! What many of us have prayed for and longed for most of our adult lives is now beginning to come to pass in the land of our birth. A mostly younger, passionate core of Christ followers, not shaped by our traditional western church structures and habits, are seeing the beginning of disciples multiplying in America.
Consider a note we received from our son Jared…
“…Recently the Lord has been allowing me the joy of seeing people put their faith in Jesus for the first time!
…On a recent Sunday night, three of us went to a tea lounge in Austin to meet people and share the love of Jesus. We ended up meeting a dating couple and one of their friends. As we sat and shared our stories one of the girls named Ellie blurted out, “I struggle with depression and anxiety and that’s why I see a therapist!”
We shared our testimonies with her about how Jesus has given us peace and offers His peace to everyone.
She broke down in tears stating, “I feel so lost, like water has washed away the path in front of me that leads to God!”
The Holy Spirit prompted us to share God’s story of redemption with her and about how Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and that He shows us the path to God.
As we shared, Ellie ended up turning to Jesus and placing her faith in Him! After she did so her boyfriend asked us, “If I start following Jesus that means I won’t need weed anymore, right?”
We assured him that Jesus would most definitely be better than weed. Ellie’s other friend responded immediately afterward and said that she wanted to host a group in her home so that they all could learn how to discover God together! The Holy Spirit was changing hearts right in front of us.
That night Ellie made the best decision of her life in responding to Jesus’ invitation to be with Him and since then Thomas (her BF) has also placed his faith in Jesus. They both have now been baptized. The following day after giving her life to Christ she wrote us saying, “Thank you for inviting me to finally be with Jesus.”…”
And then there was Matt…
…in another recent note from Jared…
“…This past weekend I had the pleasure and opportunity of going to a conference focused around seeing South Asia reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was able to meet many missionaries from South Asia who, by God’s grace, are seeing movements of the gospel sweep their regions of focus. A speaker at the conference put it this way, “A missionary’s job is to go where there is no gospel presence and wave the flag.”
On Monday night after the evening session four of us went out for some tea. As we were fellowshipping and talking about what we are seeing God do around the U.S. in our lifetime, a middle-aged man leaned over from the table next to us and asked, “Are y’all youth ministers?” We responded by telling him no but we love Jesus.
That began a dialog about Jesus that lasted an hour and a half, constantly in the conversation the gospel was being shared. At one point in the conversation I could feel the Holy Spirit giving me the words to share. By the end of the night he said, ‘I’ve never heard about Jesus this way before, but I’d rather be my own god’. Matt didn’t turn from his ways and trust in Jesus that night, but pray he would in the days to come! We left our contact info with him; pray he contacts us saying he decided to trust Jesus.
Matt had never heard the true gospel of Jesus Christ. He didn’t know that a right relationship with God came through knowing Jesus. All around us people have never really heard the true gospel. So I’ll end with this question. Where is there no gospel presence around us, and are we willing to wave the flag?
Until there’s No Place Left,
Jared Roberts is a full-time Christ follower, hospital employee and college student. He’s busy. He enters his junior year with a consuming dream of sharing Jesus oversees. Until then, he and fiancé Elizabeth Roensch (wedding this August!) are busy locally leading missional communities, making disciples and training others to do the same. She is a graduate of the University of Texas and currently employed as a medical engineer in Austin, Texas.
Jared’s recently accepted the designation as a City Strategist with the e3partners organization. E3partners trains and develops leaders for global church planting movements. After Jared finishes school he and Elizabeth plan to be part of a church planting movement to an unreached people group.
Jared wants to quit his job at the hospital and work full-time as a City Strategist while he finishes college. He would be able to work locally planting churches as well as travel and train others on weekends. It’s our privilege, his mom and dad’s, to financially assist him in this God given passion. Dee and I have committed to the monthly support of this work. We can’t think of a better use of God’s resources. In fact, it’s like a father’s dream come true.
So, would you plant that tree?
God inspired dreams are so powerful in our lives. They change the course of events. They change history! That’s why I confess my surprise that some of my God shaped dreams will not be fulfilled in my lifetime but in the lifetime of my children. That’s why I’m “planting trees” in my old age. I may never “sit under their shade” but others will. These are the ones who along with you and co-workers like Jared and Elizabeth will be welcomed into our Lord’s eternal dwelling place. Let’s go “plant some trees”!
Here are some ways you and I can join God in this work. There’s something here for everyone.
- Join others praying for Jared and the young adults committing themselves to plant healthy disciple making churches. Email Jared and ask him how to pray and to keep you updated on what God is doing in and around him. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ask our Lord to help you believe the local church truly is the hope of the world. Ask yourself what better use of God’s resources is there than planting churches that make disciples to Jesus?
- Ask our Lord to use Jared and Elizabeth for this purpose.
- Ask our Lord to give them strength and faithfulness to His calling.
- Ask our Lord to provide the financial resources to do this work.
- Ask our Lord if you should invest in this work.
- Follow Jesus into His work wherever you are. We can never do more and we’ll never do better.
I once dreamed of my sons and daughters joining me on staff in a local church. I dream now of the next generation planting disciple making, healthy churches in every corner of their world – and I get to help them! Let’s go plant some trees!
Learn more about Church Planting Movements.
Learn more about e3partners.org.
Learn how to give to this ministry through Allegro Solutions.
Jared and Elizabeth have chosen Allegro Solutions to receive and dispense to them your tax deductible charitable contributions. Why Allegro? That’s a good question. They expect to spend much of their adult lives living and working in countries where churches and mission organizations are not allowed. Individuals cannot receive funds from out of country churches or mission organizations. Allegro Solutions allows non-profits to receive funds and allows donors to receive tax breaks. You may read more about Allegro here. Feel free to ask Jared about this method of supporting his work. If you choose to send a one-time offering or monthly support using Allegro Solutions, please use NoPlaceLeft-Astn.JER in the Account Designation to specify support for Jared.
Phone: (512) 923-4739
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For those who will be eternally grateful,