I have been thinking about Johann Dober and David Nitschmann who were so determined to minister to the slaves in St Thomas and St Croix that they were willing to sell themselves as slaves. I don’t think they ended having to do this, but they were willing to go the distance. I have also been thinking about Gladys Aylward who was so determined to get to China to be part of the ministry there that she worked for years as a maid to pay her own way. She was willing to go the distance. When I think missions, I think a lot of things, and one of those things is that we must be willing to go the distance. We must be willing to do whatever it takes (biblically) to reach the people we so desire to serve. What cost is too high?
Paul says 1 Corinthians 9:22 I have become all things to all people so that some might be saved. Yes, this means we take interest in the things that interest other people and yes it means we give up things so not to as offend but it also means we are willing to go the distance and be uncomfortable. In Acts 18:3 it says Paul was a tentmaker in Italy because the people he was with were tentmakers (he was also a tentmaker). In 2 Corinthians 11:7-15 Paul says he did not take money from the Corinthians because he did not want to offend or burden. Paul was willing to go the distance.
I don’t exactly know what it means for me to go the distance and I more certainly don’t know what it means for you to go the distance in missions. But I do know we must be willing to do it. We must be willing to sacrifice and live a life that gives preference to the call of God. It can be hard, and it can be tough, but it will always be worth it.
When we serve God when we are willing to take up our cross when we are willing to go the distance people and things change. Yes, the people around us see Christ and find hope and healing but we also change. We become filled with less of us and more of Him. We pour out our lives as a drink offering and in return, God fills us with more of Him.
So as Dober and Nitschmann said as they left for the West Indies “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering”
Just a thought,
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever would believe in Him would not die but have everlasting life.
There is a constant theme that runs throughout the Bible that God has been and is calling people to Himself. He desires a relationship with creation. That is His desire and His will. That is the reason behind the sending of Christ to live, die, and rise again.
I want to show you the reason that France needs churches. So, we are going to compare Houston and Paris because they have the same population.
In Houston, there is 1 church for every 1,000 people. These are people who have the opportunity to gather together to rejoice, find love and hope, they can come and hear the words of life, they can come and sing songs of praise to their creator. They can serve the community. They have the opportunity to find the truth and be Gods called people. This is beautiful and wonderful. This is powerful and we should celebrate that this is a possibility.
In France, there is 1 evangelical church per 30,000 people in France. This 1 lone church for 30,000 people is overwhelmed. These are people who do not have the opportunity to gather together to rejoice, find love and hope, they cannot come and hear the words of life, they cannot come and sing songs of praise to their creator. How can we expect this 1 church to reach 30,000 people? It does not have the resources, the people, the funds, the time, the energy to do this. On top of that to do it on hard soil.
France is often called the missionary graveyard because of how hard it is. In France, most people have no idea about the Christian faith. They have never heard basic Bible stories and in times of trouble, hardship, fear, and doubt they have nowhere to turn. In France, it is a battle for the hearts and souls of people. This, of course, does not even touch the problem they face with Arab refugees. Men and women who have had to leave their homes because of wars and political uncertainty. People who have lost everything and fled to France for safety. Thousands who left everything and now live homeless in a new land where they cannot speak the language and have little to no access to help. In some areas, there are children as young as 10 wandering around in groups who have no parents no structure no hope. That 1 church cannot help. There is just too much to do. Their world is just too hard. Just as we should celebrate the situation in Houston, we should mourn the situation in France.
Missions can and should be a lot of things. It can be digging wells, creating education programs, job training, teaching English or French or whatever. It can be medical and psychological help. We know that because we can look at Jesus and see that He did many of these types of things. Jesus was amazing at medical missions. It can be all these things, but it must also first be Jesus. It must first be for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. If missions is anything it is first a message of reconciliation to God.
Julie and I more or less grew up in New England under the shadow of post-Christian and secular ideals. We were like those who did not care for the things of God but because of what God brought us through we are called to go and serve those who not only know nothing of the great and mighty Savior but also those who are alone and left to fend for themselves. We are called to go and minister to the lost, the hurting, and the left the behind. My question is seeing this need can you call yourself called along with us. If you are, then click here and partner with us as bring Christ to France.
Just a thought,
We have spoken about fight time. That magical moment when it is go time. We have also looked at what we can do when the going gets hard. Those times when we feel like quitting or we if not quitting when we just don’t understand why it has to be so hard. This week I want to look at why. Why do it at all?
In the Bible (Luke 7:36-50) there is this story about a woman who washes Jesus feet with perfume and tears. When I read this story, I cannot help but stand in awe. I stand in awe of Jesus who loved her, I stand in awe of the woman who wept her tears on His feet, and I stand in awe at the religious who would have cast her aside. This woman serves as an inspiration and an example to me.
She is an inspiration because she did not care who else was around. She was going to give the Master the respect that was due to Him. She did not care what was going on or who might see her. She knew who she was, and she knew what she was doing. She was a sinner. She knew this. Simon the Pharisee knew it. More importantly, Jesus knew this. It does not say what her sin was that got her labeled a sinner, but it does say that her sins were many. I think that the simple label of sinner is for our benefit. She was a sinner that is all we know. Is it not the same with us?
We are all sinners. Don’t take that as an attack or an accusation from me. It is just a simple statement of fact. It would be the same as me saying we are all human. We sin. Sin is anything that goes against the nature of a holy and perfect God. It is not an attack but a statement. It doesn’t really matter what your sin is. Some are big and some are small. Some carry more consequence than others, but we are all relatively in the same boat. We all sin against God. The point I want to make is this woman knew that but more importantly, she knew what to do about it.
What good does it do to know you have a problem if you are not willing to do anything about it? If I find out I have some illness that does not really help me. I need to know what the illness is and how to fix it. I broke my wrist once. It was swollen and I was in a good amount of pain. Because I had never broken anything before, I thought it was just a bad sprain. After some encouragement from my wife, I went to the hospital and low and behold I had a broken wrist. That was good information. Bad situation but good info. My first question was “ok now what?” I needed to know what to do with the information I had.
This woman had the information. She was a sinner. That did not help her. Knowing you are a sinner, knowing that you are separated from God, knowing that the entire community looks down on you, knowing that you cry yourself to sleep does not help. Knowing what to do about that problem does. So, she went to Jesus because she had heard all about Him. She had heard about how He went around healing people. She heard stories about how He healed the lepers, restored sight to the blind, and healed withered hands but she also heard that He forgave sins. This woman came to Jesus and washed His feet with her tears and perfume before He ever said I forgive you. She was confident that He would because of what she heard about Him.
When I think about the question, why missions the only answer I can come up with is because both Christ and you are worth it. I cannot stand that some people don’t have that confidence in Jesus. There are all sorts of theological reasons and I could give you some, but the simple truth is that there are so many people who have never heard His name or know that He loves them. That even while we were sinners Christ died for the ungodly. Why missions? Because they have to know, and I have to tell them. There are millions and billions of people who don’t know the story of Jesus. There are millions and billions of people who don’t know that God loves them. How can I be expected to sit in my home and do nothing about this? I was once a person who did not know this. I know what it is like to feel alone and outcast. But not anymore. So why missions? Because Jesus and you are worth it. Because I must!
What about you? Can you answer your why question? Why are you involved in the ministry you are involved in? Or why are you not involved? You have to be able to answer the question of why? God does not create sideline Christians. We are all called to serve in some area. Some are called to multiple areas, but we are all called.
Just a thought,
I just finished reading Mark Oestreicher’s book Youth Ministry 3.0, and yes I know it is old news but guess what I don’t care. I buy my books from the used book store and I figure if the information is any good it should still be relevant. Everyone is always like “hey did you read that new book by blah blah” and I’m all like “hey have you heard of this guy Watchman Nee? I’d like him to sign my book.”
Anyway that has nothing to do with anything. I just want to take a minute of your time and tell you why you should read or not read this book (Youth Ministry 3.0). I think the information is good, I think the messages on the sides of the pages are helpful, and I think that by and large you can put into practice a lot of the things in the book even if you are not in youth ministry.
You are willing to change
You are willing to grow
You desire to see maturity in your life and the life of your students
You are somewhat tired of coming up with a new and exciting game for youth every week
Don’t Read If:
You love being the Messiah
You really enjoy being the Rock Star of the church
You think that numbers equal fruit
You are dyslexic
Everyone has a different major take away from reading a book and my major number one takeaway from reading this book was missions. If a kid is allowing you in their life then understand you are a visitor not a resident. Think back to your own childhood / adolescence. You might have let some adults in but not all the way in. If they got too close you changed the rules so they could not longer be close. It is the same nowadays only worse (I think). So if we are going to minister to youth we need to understand we do not have all the info most of the time. Most of the time they only give us what they want us to have and if we take to much they lose interest.
Music is a great example because it is always changing. My daughter was really into Adele for a while. She would sing it in the shower and on her karaoke machine. She would ask me to play it while we drove somewhere it was all she listened to. However once I started to listening to it on my own she no longer had interest. I had taken something she liked and made it my own so she could no longer have it. I had accidentally stolen part of her identity. It was an honest mistake but a mistake nonetheless. Now she has moved on and is trying to find something new but won’t let me know what it is. Now of course I do know because she does not use headphones so I hear almost everything. But she is guarding that part of herself.
What I learned (or was reminded of) is even though she is my daughter she is a mission field to me and if she lets me in on something I need to be careful not to take her things on as my own. I think to some extend and this is just a hunch that some of the problems we see youth facing today are in a way our fault as leaders for taking what they like as our own. They are into this so we put it in church, or watch it, or pin it, or post it, or whatever. So the only response they have is to go somewhere we are not willing to go. This way they have their own person-ness (just made that word up).
I am in no way suggesting we should not know what they are into, but we do not necessarily have to embrace everything they like after all we are the adults maybe we should learn what we like by now. Maybe instead of conforming to their culture we just need to know about so we can lead them out of the dangerous stuff.
I know the videos she watches because I go through her devices. I have learned what / who Miranda Sings is and we have spoken about some of her videos. We know what she listens to and my wife has spoken with her about some song choices. But I have also decided that I need to let her have some things so that she will not try and go to an extreme just to be unique.
My daughter is a mission field, and if I am to help her grow and learn what it is to follow Christ then I need to learn about her, study her, and find out what makes her tick. But like being a missionary that does not mean I become a native but instead I choose to be an ambassador to her. Are the other youths I lead any different?
Just a thought,
Thank you again for your prayers and Support.
Love in Christ,
Yesterday was the my wifes first full day back from her missions trip to Haiti. I had been prepping for her return by doing some reading on how to help them cope with being back in the States, getting ready to just listen, ramping my self up to assure her to take her time not to rush and share what she is not ready for. I was ready for this. I knew my strengths and weaknesses but I was ready, or so I thought.
Something that was missing in the articles and advice was something that hit me hard, and kept on hitting. My wife had a smelly face. No she did not need a shower because this smell could not be washed off. It wasn’t just her face though. All over her she just smelled. She smelled like Jesus. I was not ready for it either. She started with telling some stories, and then showing some pictures. That was all fine and well, but something started to hit me. The more she spoke the more it filled the air. Then she did something that just filled the house with the smell she started putting some stuff away and I do not think her feet hit the ground. She simply float around the house. Singing and praising God.
I have seen my wife in a wedding dress, and in pregnancy (the two most common stages of glowing) and neither of these glows could match this one. It was hard to look at.
See in 2 Corinthians 2:15 is says
“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”
It means that people should be able to smell God on you. You should stink with so much Jesus that people either hold their nose around you or smell you like a fresh cake to be blunt you should stink.
While 2 Corinthians 3:18 says
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Which just means when people look at us they should see something different. It is a little harder to explain but think of it like the glow of love. People look at you and just know there is something there, something different.
Well my wife came back from Haiti fully polished and pungent, and I did not expect it. I did not expect that her mere presence would make me feel like Peter when he told Jesus to go away because he was a sinful man, or when the leper broke custom and approached Jesus for healing. I am not saying my wife is the Messiah but I am saying she has Jesus all over her. It broke me some to be honest. I knew in an instant that I need to do exactly what God says and exactly how He says it even though I am still not sure what He is saying.
The hard part now is trying to stop the world from trying to cover up the smell on my wife.
Just a thought,