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Archive for the ‘Missions’ Category

Yesterday I completed a one-week intensive course called, “The World Mission of the Church.”  I certainly learned much about the processes and methodologies, along with many various aspects of missions (giving vs. non-giving, training nationals, the proper interaction between short-term and long-term mission, etc).  However, the most profound result of the class was its opening my eyes to the circumstances of people around the world.

There can be no doubt that God has a heart for the world, an intense love that compels Him to action.  He tells Abraham that he will be blessed, so that all the nations will be blessed through him (Gen 12).  The OT is full of references to the worship of the nations (175 in the Psalms alone), and a broader biblical theology demonstrates this universality as well (Dan 7; Matt 28).  God’s heart for the world (as opposed to Israel alone) is manifest most powerfully in Jesus Christ, by whom He brought the nations (the Gentiles, non-Jews) into His covenant people.

This mission of God to reach the world with the gospel obtains in the world through us, the Church.  As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:

For the love of Christ controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have died.   And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised.  So then from now on we acknowledge no one from an outward human point of view.  Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view, now we do not know him in that way any longer.   So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away–look, what is new has come!  And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation.   In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation.   Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us.

So you see that it is our responsibility to take the gospel of the kingdom of God to the nations!  God is trying to save the world through us. Do we not care?!  Do we not know?!  And it isn’t enough to throw money and tracts at the problem.  Jesus was deeply concerned for basic social needs as well.

If we say, “Forget about your hunger, thirst, lack of clothing and shelter, the fact that you have no job and your children have been taken into the worldwide industry of human trafficking.  All you need is to believe what I am teaching you from the Bible,” our message will be marginalized and all our credibility lost!  It is perhaps cliche, but true: no one cares what you say until you show that you care.  But this must be more than a mere strategic plan to make the gospel spread more quickly.  WE MUST FIGHT FOR SOCIAL CHANGE AND HUMAN RIGHTS BECAUSE THESE ARE PART OF WHY WE AS THE CHURCH EXIST.

Please take a few minutes to watch these videos.  It will take less time than a TV show and be far more profound.  Just copy and paste the links below.

http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/conversations/detail/11658

http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/conversations/detail/11671

http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/conversations/detail/11415

I am convinced that much of the problem is the lack of exposure of the problem.  In the United States, we are very much isolated from the pain-stricken lives of those around the world, such as in the videos above.  We don’t understand their plights because: 1.) we are not global citizens.  We are not made aware daily of the many, many injustices taking place.  Very few have basic knowledge of world geography and political-religious situations of various countries; and 2.) we have none ourselves.  Most of us are so worried about how to spend our money that we don’t consider those who have none to spend…on basic necessities.  We live relatively cushy lives with no persecution or mistreatment, but this is fiercely not the case in many places around the world.

So, let’s do something small.  I was convicted Wednesday after I bought a drink from the vending machine, and I began thinking about how much money I waste.  Sure, I get something in exchange for the money, but compared to the standard of living of most around the world, they aren’t things I really need. Why do I need four jackets, when others have none?  Why do I need a drink from the vending machine when the water fountain is free.  Free?!  So many people DON’T EVEN HAVE CLEAN WATER TO DRINK AT ALL!  Do you hear me?

So here’s the challenge: begin praying that God would show you ways you are unnecessarily spending money.  Vending machines when you have groceries at home, eating out excessively, Starbucks…HELLO!  Yes, I said it.  All these things affect me; that’s why I listed them as a start.  Once you have your list, do two things: 1.) make a commitment to make sacrifices.  Start small: $1 a day.  Find $1 a day you can sacrifice for the work of the Kingdom of God.  Skip that afternoon vending machine drink.  It doesn’t always have to be the same thing.  The important point here is that you are finding ways to give out of intentional sacrifice, rather than out of your abundance.  You’ll soon realize that you could easily find even more ways to sacrifice.  Skip your morning Starbucks blended drink and that could be as much as $5 a day.

The math is easy.  At $1 a day, you have an additional $365 dollars a year by which to help advance Kingdom work.  At $5 a day, the results are even more astounding: over $1800 dollars a year!  Do you understand how much difference can be made with that?!  If you want ideas, check out this link: http://gifts.compassion.com.

And this leads to the second thing to do.  Pray for how you should contribute this sacrificial offering, and invest it in the people of the world because their plight weighs greatly on the heart of God.

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