Guest article by: Eric Ames, Transformation Canada Partner
I remember the day I first met Derk Maat. After making a presentation to pastors in 2012 about the new legislation for schools called Bill 13, with my friend and former boss Phil Lees (he’ll laugh at that), I met Pastor Patty Wallace. She said we should meet this person from an organization called Transformation Canada. We agreed, and met for lunch at Williams Cafe on the Hamilton waterfront in the spring of 2012.
Over a coffee and muffin I learned about the paradigms of transformation, and a light turned on. It was like opening up a door into a wide, wonderful room that had been previously locked by doubt and disbelief. Derk’s words that day validated what was in my heart, and gave me new vision and vigour for what I was already doing. He said that politics was a place that could be reclaimed, while so many others were telling me the opposite. It validated where I was and gave me renewed passion to view my work as ministry in the marketplace.
Since then I’ve moved on to start a small business with my brother. Through it we’ve had the chance to work with Derk, Bruce Mann and the Transformation Canada team by providing communications support. I’ve been part of the Transformation team in Hamilton and have been to numerous events over the years, most recently the GTA conference in June. While I attend church, I know my calling isn’t in a church; it’s in the marketplace. TC helped me embrace that and has helped me think big about God’s plans and my place in them.
One of the things I learned about being a marketplace minister is that you need help. You have the urge to go and do what’s in your heart, but the challenges you face are often much bigger than you can handle on your own. I’ve heard it said that if your idea is something you can do by yourself, it probably didn’t come from God! Also, I have always preferred to be a giver. That’s my personality. But I realized that unless I’m also a receiver, others might be robbed of their blessing as they give to me.
Hey, did you feel that?
The spirits of religion and poverty may just have fired their darts at you, as they did me when I wrote that last sentence. What a selfish thing to say! Christians aren’t supposed to receive! Doesn’t the word of God say it’s more blessed to GIVE than RECEIVE? Don’t you hate how the devil takes truth and twists it out of shape, like he did with Eve, the disciples and even tried to with Jesus?
There’s a reason why it’s more blessed to give than receive: receiving blesses you, but giving blesses both of you. Also, the word doesn’t say that receiving isn’t blessed. Giving is just more blessed. So, now let me ask something audacious: will you ask God to give you the nations?
I know it may be hard to wrap your head around that question. It’s like asking you to picture what a billion dollars looks like. Most of us haven’t had much experience looking at things from that level. Unfortunately, since when something seems out of the realm of possibility, we’re often tempted to think that it’s not possible, or worse, that it’s foolish or even wrong to ask. There are some out there who do know what a billion dollars looks like, at least on paper. There are others who also know what it’s like to look at things from a national level (eg. politicians, military leaders, national banks, NGO’s, etc.) So it’s not that receiving the nations is impossible, it’s that for many of us it seems improbable.
It’s not. God says it’s something we should seek when he says “Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession” (Ps 2:8). This was the banner that hung behind the podium at the Brantford Transformation Conference in 2014. There was an altar call for those who felt called to transforming a nation. What that looks like will be different for each person, but it’s a call to look, think and expect bigger of God than most ever dream of. It’s not sinful. It’s transformational.
And the world needs it now.
Look at the size of today’s problems. Brexit is the result of disunity within the multi-national European Union. The polarizing and in some cases openly corrupt political races going in various countries (including our southern neighbours) affect not just communities or states, but whole countries. Terrorism is like an unholy, fear-filled thread weaving its way through the social fabric of perhaps every nation on earth. And the eyes of the world are now on Rio for the Summer Olympics, where the ills of national corruption, poverty and pollution are laid bare for all to see.
Don’t be led to believe that asking for the nations is greedy. God didn’t mean it that way. He spoke those words about His Son, about the people of Israel and, by extension, you and I as co-heirs with Christ. He is speaking to those who are His by the indwelling of his spirit and a heart of Godly love for the world. It starts in our hearts, and then goes out to the nations.
At the Toronto leader’s conference, Dr. Ed Silvoso said “today’s mess is tomorrow’s message.” These national problems are opportunities for us to go and bring light to dark places, not because we are amazing but because God is amazing, and he has chosen to work through us and equip us to make earth more like heaven, to draw all men unto Him so they can know Him, know peace and bring others who are thirsty to the Living Water.
And don’t think that, when you ask for the nations, suddenly you’ll wake up the next day in the House of Commons. God knows where you are and what you can handle. He will walk you to the next step on your journey upward and outward.
So, if God has all the water we’ll ever need and you see millions of dry, parched tongues desperate for a cool drink, how much will you and I ask God for?