Who came up with the idea of calling the Friday before Easter “good”?
When we think through the last weeks of Jesus’ life and ministry, the focus draws us to the events of Friday, the day of his death (the Bible in John 18-19). Beginning with Thursday evening we see Jesus in the agony of prayer in the garden, followed by His betrayal with a kiss by His supposed friend, Judas…then having all His disciples forsake Him and flee to save their own skins.
We see Him going through the mockery of those illegal trials during the night, the unimaginable pain of the flogging, the humiliation at the hands of rough soldiers who laugh and mock him unmercifully. We witness the horrors of the crucifixion, with its hours-long untold brutality and humiliation, leading up to that horrific moment when Jesus cries, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” There is no way we can fully capture the horror of that fateful Friday.
And we call that day…“Good Friday”?
That designation would be a terrible misnomer but for one word. That word was uttered at the very climax of those horrendous events of that day. It wasn’t a pitiful, weak, last dying gasp. It was, with all the strength that the dying God-Man could muster, a rousing shout of triumph. As Max Lucado has said, had His hands not been nailed down He would have shot a fist skyward in a gesture of victory with the exclamation of that one word!
That word is “tetelestai” in the original Greek language of the New Testament of the Bible. English Bibles translate that word as “It is finished!” (John 19:30). It could also have been translated with the accounting term, “Paid in full!”
In other words, all that Jesus came to do, all that the prophets had foretold in the Old Testament, all the penalty demanded by the justice of God for our sins, all that God had decided to provide for our undeserved redemption--all that had been fully accomplished—completed, paid in full--once and for all!
At that moment on that Friday, our salvation and forgiveness were made possible, and our eternal destiny was provided for. The enemy of our soul was defeated. Hope was restored to a beleaguered world. As Isaiah had seen centuries before, “Out of the anguish of his soul he [God] shall see and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11).
Jesus died in our place when “at the right time Christ died for the ungodly….God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8). Jesus fully paid the judicial price: “For our sake [God] made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him [Jesus] we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). With the demands of God’s justice satisfied, “There is, therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
In fact, Jesus promised that those who trust in Him for the forgiveness of their sins will receive eternal life and a resurrection body, as well! “This is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day….whoever believes has eternal life” (John 6:40,47).
It is finished—paid in full!
Christ’s resurrection was God’s “Amen!” to Jesus’ “It is finished!” “God raised Him up…because it was not possible for Him to be held by [death]” (Acts 2:24).
And that’s why we call the Friday before Easter, Good Friday. That one word--tetelestai!--triumphantly shouted, says it all! Christ accomplished everything required to gain salvation for lost sinners…for us. Jesus’ triumph makes the Friday of his death infinitely good!
Have you trusted in the risen Christ who died on “Good Friday” and rose again so you could have the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life?
“The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution
to world evangelization in history.”
The mission of advancing the gospel is the great work of the church, and prayer is the fuel that powers it.
One of the greatest resources the church has for advancing the gospel is the ability to come before God in prayer and plead for what is already on His heart—the growth of His kingdom in the world.
James Fraser (1886–1938), missionary to the Lisu people of China, once said, “I used to think that prayer should have the first place and teaching the second. I now feel it would be truer to give prayer the first, second, and third places, and teaching the fourth.”
Fraser dedicated his life to the teaching and translating of the Scriptures until he died of cerebral malaria at the age of fifty-two in Baoshan, Yunnan, China. His dedication to the Scripture was never doubted. And he recognized the absolute necessity of prayer in the missions endeavour.
With that in view, here are four reasons why churches must pray for missions:
1. Jesus taught His disciples to how to pray for missions and modelled it as He trained them.
Early in His training of the disciples, Jesus taught them how to pray (Matt. 6:9–13). Then later, after facing the challenges of ministry, they came back to Jesus and asked Him to teach them how to pray. He brought them back to the same prayer in which the petitioner first cries out, “Hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come” (Luke 11:2 ESV).
Later, Jesus would model how spiritual battles to accomplish the mission would only be won by faith through prayer as He cried out “not my will, but Yours, be done” in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42 ESV).
Before Jesus sent out the twelve or the seventy-two, He pointed their faces toward heaven in prayer and turned disciples’ hearts into labourers. Therefore, when we start churches and before community engagement occurs, we must bathe the community in prayer. The church must never lose sight that to train disciples to pray is the first step in bringing the gospel to the mission field.
2. Prayer moves the heart of the church toward the heart of God for His mission.
When Jesus sent out the disciples in Luke 10 to all the places He planned to visit, He told them to pray that God would send workers into the harvest field. Then He said, “Go! I am sending you” (Luke 10:3, NIV) as the answer to their prayer. It is important that, when we pray to the Lord of the harvest, we be willing to be the answer to that prayer.
Frank and his wife were part of a church plant in which prayer was an intentional part of the foundation. A church where men gathered weekly for early morning prayer and all-night prayer gatherings were not uncommon. In these times, God did something extraordinary, more powerful than any small group meeting or corporate worship experience. It was then that God shaped their hearts for the world. Out of that group, missionaries were sent, church planters birthed, and a church’s heart was shaped for the kingdom.
Years later, when they started a church in a different neighborhood, they sent the plant team out to pray. It was called “groundwork.” It started with prayer walking for a few months, then they went door to door praying with people for the needs of the neighbourhood and their families. It was a beautiful way for a church to bless a community. They were able to demonstrate the heart of God to people by praying for their concerns. Very few people would close a door to prayer.
3. Prayer opens the doors in the world for the gospel to advance.
In Colossians 4:3–4, Paul tells the church, “Pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ” (ESV). Prayer opens doors of opportunity for the gospel to be shared that previously seemed closed.
In prayer, the impossible becomes practical. Like when Peter was imprisoned in Acts 12, the church was praying and God released Peter, opening the iron gate leading into the city (Acts 12:10 ESV). In that experience, Peter realized that nothing would hold back the kingdom of God from advancing as the church prayed.
It is prayer that helps us connect with people who are open to the gospel. It is prayer that leads us to the right place at the right time to take the steps that only God could orchestrate. Prayer connects the church to the activity of God who is empowering His people to advance the message of His kingdom.
4. Prayer empowers those going to share the gospel clearly and without fear.
Without prayer, fear will rule the hearts of those sharing the gospel. Paul knew his own need for courage to proclaim the gospel. In Ephesians 6:19–20, Paul asked the church, “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel...Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (NIV).
Paul faced his own timidity and overcame his fears through the prayers of the church. Through corporate prayer we realize no one is alone, and we strive together through the power of the Holy Spirit. When the church prays, the Holy Spirit increases the spiritual fervour of the body that affects all its parts.
It is imperative that a church prays and engages in the spiritual work of kingdom advancement. When the church prays, Christians begin to get a clearer picture of missions. It is through prayer that God’s people move closer toward the heart of God for the world. It is through prayer that fears about sharing the gospel are defeated.
Missions moves in the wake of prayer. May we be a church that rises by falling to our knees in order to advance God’s kingdom to all nations.
We can reach our world, if we will.
The greatest lack today is not people or funds.
The greatest need is prayer.
-Wesley Duewel, Touch the World Through Prayer
Is prayer a priority in your life? Can you share of a time when God answered your prayers?
Feel free to share a comment below. We would love to hear from you.
At OMS we believe Prayer is the battlefield for fruitfulness and we depend on it for a successful ministry. Click here to learn more about how you can partner with us in prayer.
Good morning. The world has changed in the span of 21 days because of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. We have never seen anything quite like this before.
And there will probably be some long-lasting repercussions, some of which we cannot yet imagine.
For up to the minute news on the situation, visit the World Health Organization website - https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
OMS Canada takes this pandemic very seriously. Our Global office has put together a COVID-19 Response Team and they relied very heavily on Dr. P., OMS Canada missionary to East Asia. The Response Team meets often to monitor the situation and recommend actions to be taken.
Each OMS Field leader, in consultation with their International Regional Director, have developed their own monitoring and contingency plans. We are confident that the OMS workers are well monitored and cared for.
In light of the evolving situation and in order to best protect our team members, the MFM team that was scheduled to work on the 4VEH Radio/Tele building this month in Haiti was cancelled. We also called Special Assignment missionaries Brad and Caroline Buzza back to Canada from Haiti, as they were there to do preparatory work ahead of the MFM team's arrival. Subsequently, the Haitian government has essentially shut the country down upon confirmation of COVID-19 cases in Haiti.
Jesus to the Nations, the large missions conference that was to take place in Halifax March 27-29, 2020 and at which OMS Canada and MFM Canada each place a booth and where Mark and Marlowe often present seminars, has been cancelled for this year.
To protect our workers, the OMS Canada office is working remotely. OMS Canada had already been doing so for some time, both to minimize overhead costs and to be able to operate through possible future times of domestic disruptions of any kind. This means that on most days there is nobody actually in the Burlington office. They are all able to connect to the OMS Canada network and our phone system allows them to answer their phones in their home office as well. Therefore, God enabled OMS Canada to continue its home office service throughout these times of uncertainty; it is almost business as usual in terms of the back office work required to keep our missionaries well served and in place.
May we take this time to remind you that the OMS Canada work that you support, whether a missionary, a Starfish Kid or a work project, continues in spite of this pandemic. In some cases, the work has intensified and has the potential to produce greater fruit. Please continue to make your donations online at www.omscanada.org/give.html or by calling Cheryl at 289-812-0659 or by mailing in your cheque to OMS Canada, 1295 North Service Rd, PO Box 1457, Burlington, ON L7R 4L9. If you have questions about giving or donations, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, Physical Distancing may prevent physical nearness, but we are able to draw near to each other, our missionaries, those who are in need and the Creator of all through prayer. Let’s make prayer our automatic response when we hear news about this situation.
Here are some specific things you can pray in light of this COVID-19 pandemic:
May God bless you and give you peace.
for OMS Canada
In a past series of blog posts on the ‘Call to Missions’ we concluded that if one is properly relating to God and pursuing godliness, there is little to fear in terms of missing God’s call, whether to missions or any other pursuit. If you haven’t read that post yet, click here to go to it now.
We then determined that the way to ensure that one is properly relating to God and pursuing godliness is through the practice of the spiritual disciplines or habits of grace. We composed a list of ‘habits of grace ‘that are biblical, that is, they are taught or modelled in Scripture.
The first was Bible Intake. The second was Prayer. And this post is Worship.
One spiritual discipline that we are called to do as Christians, but is often confused or unclear, is worship. Often when we hear that word, our first thought is music, the singing part of our Sunday gathering. While that is an aspect of it, worship is a far greater discipline that should engage multiple areas of our lives.
Worship is difficult to define well. So let’s look at it first.
In John 20:28, when the resurrected Jesus appeared to Thomas and showed him the scars in His hands and side, worship happened when Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God.”
In Revelation 4:8, we read about four creatures around the throne who worship God day and night without ceasing and saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” Then in verse 11 the twenty-four elders around the throne of God in heaven worship Him by throwing their crowns at His feet, falling before Him and saying, “Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they existed and were created.”
In the next chapter, thousands and thousands of angels, elders, and living creatures around the heavenly throne of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, cry out with a loud voice in worship, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing!” (5:12). Immediately following comes worship from “every creature” saying, “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might forever and ever!” (5:13).
To summarize, to worship God means to ascribe the proper worth of God, to magnify His worthiness of praise, or better, to approach and address God in a worthy way. As the holy and almighty God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and the Sovereign Judge to whom we must give an account, He is worthy of all the worth and honour that we can give Him and then infinitely more.
You see, the more we focus on God, the more we will understand and appreciate His infinite worth. As we understand and appreciate this, we can’t help but respond to Him. Just like a gorgeous sunrise or a breathtaking mountaintop view sparks a spontaneous response, so we cannot encounter the worthiness of God without the response of worship.
Therefore, worship is focusing on and responding to God appropriately.
But how does the invisible God reveal Himself to us here and now so that we might focus on Him and respond appropriately?
First, He has revealed Himself in a general way through Creation (see Romans 1:20), so the right response to that stunning sunrise (I am a morning person) or the spectacular mountain view is to worship the Creator of such beauty and majesty.
Second, God has revealed Himself flawlessly through His written Word, the Bible (see 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:20-21), and His incarnate Word, Jesus Christ (see John 1:1, 14 and Hebrews 1:1-2). In response, we should seek God through Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible. As we do so and the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of our understanding, we will see God revealed in Scripture and respond with worship.
That is why all worship of God – public, family and private worship – should be based on and include much of the Bible. The Bible reveals God to us so that we may focus on Him, and to the extent that we focus on Him, we will worship Him. So if there is little focus on God, there is little worship of God. Conversely, much revelation of God fosters much focus on God, which in turn results in much worship of God.
Now, since worship is focusing on and responding to God, whatever else we may be doing we are not worshipping if we are not thinking about God. You may be singing holy, holy, holy but if you’re not thinking about God while singing it, you are not worshipping. You may be listening to someone pray, but if you aren’t praying with him or her and thinking of God, you aren’t worshipping.
Worship often includes words and actions, but true worship goes beyond them to the focus of the mind and heart. Worship is the God-centred focus and response of the soul. It is being preoccupied with God. So no matter what you are saying or singing or thinking or doing at any moment, you are worshipping God only when He is the centre of your attention. And whenever you do focus on the infinite worth of God, you will respond in worship as surely as the moon reflects the sun. This kind of worship is not in vain.
So let’s daily cultivate a lifestyle where we consciously work to make God the centre of our attention and respond appropriately in worship.
This is an especially important habit of grace for those who may be considering a role in cross-cultural missions because the missionary’s role among the nations is to create worshippers where there are none. As John Piper states in the book, “Let the Nations be Glad”, missions exists because worship doesn't. Worship is ultimate, not missions because God is ultimate, not man.
With this in view, Psalm 96 becomes an example of God’s people summoning the nations to worship the Lord. “Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; tell of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For the gods of the people are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendour and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.”
What do you think about worship? Has this post challenged what you believe? Let us know in the comments section below.
KAIROS is a foundational course on world Christian mission. It brings out God’s heart for all the nations of the world and His desire to use His people to be a blessing to them. KAIROS emphasizes the importance of ministering to cultures that still have few or no indigenous churches.
KAIROS is designed to educate, inspire and challenge Christians to meaningful participation in God’s heart for all the nations.
It is a tool God is using to help transform the worldview of believers, so they see themselves as having been blessed in order to be a blessing to all people groups.
The Kairos Course is a nine-session, interactive course on world Christian mission, designed to educate, inspire and challenge Christians to active and meaningful participation. It is ideally suited to be conducted in local churches, organizations or with special interest groups such as Christian business people.
The Kairos Course utilizes a variety of adult learning styles including group discussions, short lecture introduction, devotions, video teaching and student participation in specially designed activities.
Kairos looks at the four main areas of mission concern, which are the Biblical, Historical, Strategic and Cultural dimensions of mission.
The Kairos Course can be conducted using a number of different formats that best suits the situation or the people taking the course.
Common formats are as follows:
Other formats can be considered but must first be cleared by the Course Director.
Kairos looks at the four essential areas of mission concern.
1. God’s Purpose and Plan
We will discover from the Bible, that mission lies at the center of all God’s concern.
God – The Bible is the story of His Glory
God’s Purpose – To re-conquer His usurped kingdom and reconcile the nations to Himself
God’s Plan – To engage His chosen people in His world-wide mission of mercy.
2. Israel, The Covenant People
We will study God’s dealing with the nation of Israel in His desire to fulfill His purposes through them.
Israel’s Obligation – To bless and be God’s priests to the nations of the world.
Israel’s Opportunity – God did everything for their fruitfulness and success.
Israel’s Response – On the whole negative – but God still outworked much of His missionary purpose through them.
3. The Messiah, the Message & the Messengers
We will see that God’s concern for all nations is still His central purpose as we move into the New Testament.
Jesus, Messiah for all peoples – Jesus, ministered to both Jews and Gentiles.
A Message for all Peoples – Jesus’ preaching on the Kingdom was for both Jew and Gentile.
Messengers for all Peoples – The advance of the Church into intentional missions after Pentecost.
4 . Expansion of the World Christian Movement
We trace the advance of Christianity from its beginning to the present day
The five periods of mission history since Christ.
The three eras of modern missions
The Final Thrust
5. Mission Strategy
We consider the place, value and nature of strategy in world Christian mission.
The value of strategy in mission, combined with prayer and power.
Church planting, people movements and church planting movements.
Local churches and mission agencies
6. The Task Remaining
We look at the mission task remaining, who and where the majority of the unreached are, and what methods should be used to reach them.
The nations and cross-cultural evangelism – Understanding mission terms and the priority in missions.
The major blocs of unreached peoples.
Modern strategies and approaches in missions today.
7. World Christian Teamwork
We look at the variety of exciting ways the whole church can and must get involved in accomplishing strategic world mission.
Teaming Up with God – Becoming a World Christian and finding our role.
Teaming Up Locally – Active Local Church involvement in missions
Teaming Up Globally – Partnership worldwide to fulfill the Great Commission.
8. Cross-Cultural Considerations
We address issues, in this chapter, on communicating the gospel cross-culturally. We also look at aspects of church contextualization and its implications for seeing unreached communities of peoples discipled and won for Christ.
The Kairos Course is designed to lay a solid foundation in the life of the believer and of the local church, in world Christian mission. From this foundation, exciting and meaningful missions endeavour, can result.
If you would like more information about the Kairos course and how you might host the course, please reach out to Lorna Johnston, National Director for the Kairos course in Canada at (604)952-0050 or go to https://simplymobilizing.outreach.ca/courses/kairos/Home and contact the office in Delta, BC.
Also, if you live in a smaller rural community with two or three evangelical churches, consider cooperating with the pastors to do a community Kairos course. The course can be completed over three weekends or four Saturdays and it will forever change the lives of the participants.
If you want to know more about the course and how it has affected my life, give me (Mark Kroes) a call at 289-812-0661 and I will happily tell you about my experience.
Become a mobilizer in your family, your church and your community for the purpose of God’s global glory.
When you think of the word “connection” what comes to mind?
Today, we have many great resources that enable us to connect effectively with others.
With the touch of a click we can communicate with someone who is across the world. With
fast Internet speeds, we can have access to the latest movies, etc. quickly and with ease.
Connection is something that we can all relate to and it is important to us in one way or another. We all desire and long to feel like we belong, to feel connected. God created us that way.
In any relationship, if there is no communication it has an impact on the relationship. It starts to create distance and the only way to build that relationship again is to talk to the person, listen to them, spend time with them.
While our connections with people are very important and necessary, the most important and significant connection we can ever have is with God.
It’s also important to note that sometimes we can feel a bit distant from God and that can happen for a variety of reasons.
Let’s look at some practical ways of how we can stay connected to God, regardless of how we are feeling:
“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you.”
This is key in our relationship with God. We come to God to thank Him, to ask for forgiveness, to share our heart with Him, and to simply talk to Him. What a great privilege to know that the Creator of everything always has His ears open to His children and we have an instant connection through Jesus Christ.
" Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
God’s Word is the greatest manual of life for us. God speaks through His Word, we gain wisdom and understanding, and through the Holy Spirit we are able to make decisions according to God’s will for our life. We can never get too much of God’s Word, but it’s important that we are reading the Bible daily.
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”
Getting together with our brothers and sisters in Christ is also so important. We are there to pray with one another, to provide encouragement, and to grow together. It is so enjoyable to get together with others who are like-minded. These connections are important in our lives.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Another great way to help us stay connected to God is through serving Him. When we make every part of our lives about God and about serving Him, we will be more connected to God.
Connection to Missions
So now, the connection to Missions.
God is passionate about missions. He sent Jesus so that we can have a connection to Him through His Son. That was the greatest mission.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
“Declare His glory among the nations,
His marvelous deeds among all peoples.”
1 Chronicles 16:24
The closer we are to God, the more we are passionate about what He is passionate about.
Let’s make it a priority in our lives to connect with God daily. We have access 24/7.
How has your connection with God encouraged you lately? Feel free to share your experiences below.
At OMS Canada, our desire is to make Christ known among the nations, to declare His glory among the nations. To learn more about us, click here.
In this week’s blog post we consider the second habit of grace that needs to be built for the purpose of godliness. That habit is prayer.
Prayer is second only to God’s Word in importance when it comes to disciplining oneself in spiritual things. We know that through His Word God speaks to His church and to His people. There is nothing more important for us to hear than the Word of God. He is a speaking God and His Word is written for us.
But, not only is God a speaking God, He is also a listening God. His ear is continually open to us. He stands ready to hear every prayer of His children, even when our prayers are weak. God speaks to us through His Word and He listens to us in prayer.
However, despite its importance of prayer to the Christian, surveys and anecdotal evidence would seem to indicate that a large percentage of professing Christians spend little time in sustained prayer. Short sentence prayers get offered here and there throughout the day but it is rare that more than just a few minutes is spent in conversation with God.
We must come to grips with the fact that, if we wish to be godly, if we wish to be like Jesus, we must pray.
Prayer is Expected
Those who have been brought under the authority of Christ and the Bible know that the will of God is for us to pray. And we also know that the will of God is good.
This expectation is seen in the words of Jesus in the gospels;
Matthew 6:5, “And when you pray…”
Matthew 6:6, “But when you pray…”
Matthew 6:7, “And when you pray…”
Matthew 6:9, “Pray then like this…”
Luke 11:9, “And I tell you, ask…seek…knock.”
Luke 18:1, “And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray,”
God’s word makes it clear that prayer is expected;
Colossians 4:2, “Continue steadfastly in prayer.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”
These verses are commands for the Christian to pray. Commands. This means that too little time, too many responsibilities, too many kids, too much work, too little desire, too little experience, and so on are not excuses that exempt one from the expectation to pray.
Martin Luther put it this way; As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and of cobblers to mend shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray.
So why do so many of us confess that we do not pray as we ought? Sometimes it is just simply a lack of discipline. Prayer is never planned, time is never set aside just for prayer. While lip service is given to the priority of prayer, in reality it always seems to get crowded out by things that seem more urgent.
Often we do not pray because we are not convinced anything will actually happen if we pray. Naturally, we wouldn’t admit this publicly, but if we felt certain of visible results within sixty seconds of every prayer, there would be holes in the knees of the pants of every Christian (and not because the pants were bought with holes in the knees). The Bible does not promise a visible answer to every prayer but it does promise that every prayer is answered. Since prayer involves communication in the spiritual realm, many prayers are answered in ways that cannot be seen in the material realm.
In addition, where there is little awareness of real need, there is little need for real prayer. The truth is that we believe we can get along pretty well in Canada without any sort of divine intervention. We generally have jobs, shelter, friends, family, healthcare, and safety. What more could we need? In pride and self-sufficiency, we may live for days as though prayer is needed only when something comes along that is too big for us to handle on our own.
But this view is short sighted in that it assumes that the temporal things are the only things about which we need to pray. Listen to the prayer requests that people most often present and they will be for things like health, family, work, finances, etc., all temporal things that really have no kind of eternal significance. Why do we pray so little for the things that really count, like the battle against sin, the lack of faith, the need to evangelize, and the lack of spiritual fruit? Above these needs there is always a need to pray until Jesus returns or calls us home.
Prayer is Learned
Another reason why Christians pray so little is because they haven’t learned about prayer. If you are discouraged by the command to pray because you feel like you don’t know how to pray well, the fact that prayer is learned should give you hope. This means that it is okay to begin the Christian life with little knowledge or experience of prayer but as you are discipled, prayer should be a part of what is taught, learned and practised. I grew up on a dairy farm in Ontario and 4-H clubs were a popular activity for kids. The 4-H motto was, “Learn to do by doing.” This is certainly true of prayer.
If you have ever learned a second (or subsequent) language, you know that you learn it best when you actually have to speak it. The same is true of the ‘foreign language’ of prayer. There are many good resources to help you learn to pray but the best way to learn how to pray is to pray. Learn to do by doing.
Another way that one learns to pray is by meditating on Scripture. Here is the simple but extraordinarily powerful truth. Meditation is the missing link between Bible intake and prayer. Although often separated, the two should be united. Typically, we read the Bible, close it, and then try to shift gears into prayer. But many times it seems that the gears of Bible reading and of prayer do not mesh properly. We blow the shift (trucker talk) and lose momentum and give up on prayer.
Instead, there should be a smooth, almost unnoticeable transition between Scripture input and prayer output so that we move even closer to God in those moments. This happens when we insert the link of meditation in between. There are a couple of Psalms that make an explicit link between meditation and prayer. Psalm 5:1 says, “Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to You do I pray.” The Hebrew word translated groaning may also be translated meditation, as it is in the King James. In fact, meditation is used for the same Hebrew word in Psalm 19:14; “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Notice that both verses are prayers, pleas to God that consisted of David’s words (as we would expect in prayer) but they also involve meditation. In each case, meditation was the catalyst that moved David from considering the truth of God into talking with God.
Meditating on God’s Word can also serve to move us into a conversation with the author of the Word.
Prayer is Answered
Probably no principle of prayer is more taken for granted than that prayer is answered.
Matthew 7:7-8; “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
Andrew Murray makes the observation that asking and receiving is a fixed eternal law of the kingdom. If you ask and do not receive it is always because there is something amiss or wanting in your prayer. Hold on; let the Word and Spirit teach you to pray aright, but do not let go of the confidence God seeks to awaken. Everyone who asks receives…Let every learner in the school of Christ therefore take the Master’s Word in all simplicity…Let us beware of weakening the Word with our so-called human wisdom.
So, despite what we see in response to our prayers, let’s not become so accustomed with our shortcomings in prayer and to the perception of asking without receiving that our faith in the force of Jesus’ promise is diminished. Prayer is answered.
So, how is your prayer life? Is prayer a natural thing or is it a chore? Do you see prayers answered or are you in danger of weakening the promise of answered prayer? Let us know by leaving a comment.
And if you want some prayer requests to practice your prayer skills, click here to find out how to become a prayer partner of OMS Canada.
The Value of Scripture Memorization
There is a great need and value in memorizing scripture. It is the spiritual food in which we need to survive and thrive each day.
Let’s talk about some of the values in memorizing Scripture:
“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever. “And this is the word that was preached to you.”
(1 Peter 1:24-25)
Everything in this life will eventually fade away, and God’s Word will always remain. What a comfort to know that we can always trust in what God says to us. This is also a great encouragement and reminder for us to press forward as we serve and live for Him.
“For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
We need to remember that God’s Word is powerful. So much that it changes our motives and renews our way of thinking. By memorizing this Scripture, we are reminded of the power of God’s Word and that we always have access to it as children of God.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. I have taken
an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow Your righteous laws.
We all need direction in our lives whether we admit it or not. And not just any direction, but God’s direction. By memorizing Scripture, we can be reminded of what God has said and use it as a guide as we make decisions in life.
Why Memorize Scripture?
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Jesus said these words to the devil while he was trying to tempt Him.
Our Saviour, The Son of God, The Messiah, The Resurrection and the Life, The Way, The Truth, The True Vine. Jesus, memorized Scripture and used it all the time.
How much more should we memorize Scripture?
It’s a great question to ask ourselves.
In this world, we are constantly bombarded by many different things and it is so important and necessary to memorize Scripture.
There are times when others need encouragement and when we memorize Scripture, we can easily share God’s Word with them. We can be put in situations where we need to make a decision and then remember a verse or two that help us in that process to make the right decision.
There are people in the world that have yet to hear about Jesus. Some are lonely and desperate and have no access to God’s Word. Let us not take having access to God’s Word for granted. We have so many free available tools to us today that will help us ready, study, and memorize the Word of God.
You can download the Xplore Bible Study here. It’s a great small group study that will help you understand God’s heart for all peoples by studying the Biblical basis of missions.
Which Scriptures do you already memorize? How has memorizing Scripture
helped you in your life?
We would love to hear about it. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Raised from the Dead…Twice!
In December 1999, 700 Islamic extremists attacked Doulos Bible College in Jakarta, Indonesia. Dominggus, just 18 years old and a freshman at the time, had just become a Christian earlier that year.
The attack began at 9 p.m., catching the 350 students and faculty by complete surprise. As they saw and heard the extremists attacking, using Molotov bombs, swords/machetes, guns, and iron clubs, they ran for their lives. Many were seriously injured, and two were killed. One of those was Dominggus.
Here is his story:
After attempting to flee, the terrorists cornered him, soon capturing, torturing, and ordering him to deny Christ or be killed. The Lord gave him miraculous courage. In the presence of a deadly threat, he shouted (to his own surprise), “There is no salvation but in JESUS.”
They then brutally beat him with a club, and as he was lying unconscious, they cut his neck with a sword, nearly severing it from his body.
Dominggus then saw his dead, bloody corpse as his spirit left the body. Five angels suddenly appeared when he called upon the Lord.
They took him to heaven. He saw a beautiful garden, indescribable mansions, and other large buildings with thousands of saints worshipping and glorifying God. Then, he was shown the judgment room and an absolutely beyond words throne. He heard a voice say, “Kneel down.” He did. Then, a huge book fell open before him. All his life was written there. His sins were forgiven through the blood of Jesus. Then, he heard another voice say, “It’s not your time to serve me here.”
He bowed in agreement. Immediately, he was returned into his body. Four hours had passed. Because of the fire that engulfed the college campus and all the commotion, TV reporters poured to the scene and took video footage and these photos that Dominggus’ Christian brothers later bought copies of for Dominggus.
First responders, and later doctors, were shocked when Dominggus spoke. How was it possible with his spinal column severed? After four days in the hospital, the nerve specialist in the ICU (not understanding how he had survived this long) said that he would soon die or be a paralyzed vegetable for the rest of his life. Once Dominggus got an infection, without hope of recovery, they moved him to a morgue-like room, and he died … again.
But God had more work for Dominggus to complete on Earth. In an instant, God miraculously healed him completely. His infection was gone, his neck cracked and was in one piece again, and he could walk, talk, and breathe on his own. ONLY God’s divine healing could explain this miracle.
But there’s one more miraculous thing that happened. Friends of Dominggus met the man who had slit his throat. They shared Dominggus’ story and the Good News with him, and he accepted Christ. When the “killer” met Dominggus, he couldn't believe he had survived the attack with his poisoned sword, nor that he had been raised from the dead. But he saw the scar, and he believed.
Feel free to take a look at our Blog here where you will find other stories, updates, and blogs for your own growth.
Do you get enough Bible?
In a past series of blog posts on the ‘Call to Missions’ we concluded that if one is properly relating to God and pursuing godliness, there is little to fear in terms of missing God’s call, whether to missions or any other pursuit. If you haven’t read that post yet, click here to go to it now.
We then determined that the way to ensure that one is properly relating to God and pursuing godliness is through the practice of the spiritual disciplines or habits of grace. We composed a list of habits of grace that are biblical, that is, they are taught or modeled in Scripture.
And the first habit we will examine is Bible intake.
No habit of grace is more important than the intake or consumption of God’s Word. There is simply no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture.
And the reasons should be obvious. In the Bible we learn who God is and who Jesus is. The Bible tells us about God’s law and shows us how we have all broken it. In the Bible we learn how Jesus died as the sinless substitute for lawbreakers and how we must repent and believe in Him to be right with God. In the Bible we learn God’s way and His will. We learn how God wants us to live and what brings joy and satisfaction in life. None of this information is available anywhere else. Therefore, if we want to know God and be godly, we must know the Word of God.
While most of us would nod in agreement with the last paragraph and honour God’s Word with our lips, we must confess that our hearts (and eyes, ears, hands, and minds) are often far from it. Regardless of how busy we become with all other things, as Christian we must never forget that the most transforming practice available to us is the disciplined intake of Scripture.
So how do we take in Scripture? There are a broad range of ways to consume the Word of God.
Let’s look at a few.
Hearing God’s Word
The easiest of the disciplines related to intake of God’s Word is simply hearing it. It may seem silly to include this as a discipline, but it will usually require developing the practice of regularly attending a Bible-believing church where the Bible is faithfully preached.
Luke 11:28 - But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!” Simply listening to God-inspired words is not the point. The purpose of all methods of Bible intake is to do what God says and grow in Christlikeness. The method of intake Jesus encourages in this verse is hearing God’s Word.
Romans 10:7 - So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ. Gifts of faith are often given to those who discipline themselves to hear the Word of God.
1 Timothy 4:13 - Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Here Paul is instructing Timothy to make provision for the people to hear the Word of God by reading it to them.
Reading God’s Word
The EFC’s Canadian Bible Engagement Study published in 2014, reports that less than 5% of Canadians read the Bible every day and only 14% report reading the Bible at least once per month.
Jesus often asked questions about people’s understanding of the Scriptures, sometimes beginning with the words “have you not read…?” (Matthew 19:4, Mark 12:10). His assumption is that those claiming to be the people of God would have read the Word of God. And a case could be made that this question implies a familiarity with the whole Word of God.
Since “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), shouldn’t we read it?
In Revelation 1:3, God promises a blessing to those who read and heed His Word. But only those who discipline themselves to do so will receive the blessing.
We must draw on God’s endless store of grace from day to day as we need it, not from time to time.
Two practical suggestions are: First, make the time every day to read God’s Word. The time will never be available or convenient, so we must make it a priority. It is a matter of discipline and motivation. Second, use some sort of reading plan. A google search for Bible reading plans will yield 109,000,000 results. Pick one and stick to it.
Studying God’s Word
If reading the Bible can be compared to cruising the width of a clear, sparkling lake in a motorboat, studying God’s Word is like slowly crossing the same lake in a glass-bottomed boat. The motorboat crossing provides an overview of the lake and a speedy, passing view of its depths. The glass-bottomed boat of study, however, takes you under the surface of Scripture for an unhurried look of clarity and detail that is normally missed by those who simply read the text.
Ezra 7:10 - For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. Ezra disciplined himself to study God’s Word.
Acts 17:11 - Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
According to the late RC Sproul, we fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, or because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy. If you are new to the concept of studying God’s Word, I would suggest that you visit www.mission119.org and begin to study it there.
Memorizing God’s Word
There is probably not a Christian anywhere who would disagree that Scripture memorization is a good thing to do. But when asked to memorize Scripture, most of these same people will look at you like you have two heads. They associate all memorization with the memory efforts required of them in school. It was work, and most of it was uninteresting and of limited value. Frequently heard, also, is the excuse of a bad memory. But what if I offered you a thousand dollars for every verse you could memorize in the next week. How would your attitude toward Scripture memorization change? Would it improve?
Think about this: any financial reward would be minimal when compared to the accumulating value of the treasure of God’s Word deposited into your mind. When the Word is stored in your mind, it is available to the Holy Spirit to bring to your attention when you need it most. That’s why the author of Psalm 119 wrote, “I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (verse 11).
There is much more that can be said about Scripture memorization and perhaps we will tackle that as a separate blog post at some later date. Stay tuned for that.
Next time, however, we will look at meditating on Scripture and applying the Word of God.
What do you do to make sure your Bible intake is adequate? How much is adequate?
Leave us a comment and let us know.
What is Trust?
According to dictionary.com, trust can be defined as: reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confident expectation of something; hope.
Trust is something that we can all relate to and it’s something that we practice often and even subconsciously. We look forward to our morning coffee or tea and trust that when we turn on the machine it will work properly. We go into our vehicles and trust that we will get to our destination without any mechanical issues. You get the idea. We practice trust ALL THE TIME.
The Bible is filled with many verses about trust. More importantly, trusting in God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
This is a verse that most of us have heard several times. It is a beautiful promise from God, that as we trust Him, He makes our paths straight…He guides us into the plans He has for us.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”
Having perfect peace is something that allows us to sleep well at night. It allows us to not stress over the things we cannot control. When we trust in God, we have perfect peace.
What are you trusting God for today?
OMS Canada is looking for 20 new missionaries by the end of this year. This is our 20/20 Vision.
We are putting our trust in God and know that it is only through Him that this can be fulfilled.
Trusting God is bigger than us and our gifts and abilities. It puts the focus off of us and onto God and others who have yet to hear about the salvation God brings through Jesus Christ.
As we are obedient and faithful in prayer we will do what we can and we will trust God to do what we cannot.
Feel free to leave a comment with a story of how you’ve trusted God. We’d love to hear it.
Check out our website here to stay updated with what’s happening at OMS Canada.
My eyesight is such that I must wear glasses for distance, and for reading. It's a signal that I'm getting older. And it is a confirmation of what Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 4:16 when he says that outwardly we are wasting away.
So when I have my eyesight tested, I can expect that a new prescription will be necessary. And that means I will have to buy new eyeglasses. My Dutch heritage kicks in and I hunt for the most reasonable option.
Now, we have used an online sunglasses retailer in the past for my glasses. I ordered them with progressive lenses. Progressive lenses are like bifocals. This means I can read through the bottom part of the lens and see distant things through the top part of the same lens. They worked well, but I was always moving my head up and down, trying to find that sweet spot.
But I made a discovery. I realized that two single-vision eyeglasses were cheaper than one with progressive lenses.
Again, the Dutch kicked in, and I opted for the cheaper option; two pair of single vision eyeglasses.
They arrived in the mail and were exactly as I ordered. This is perfect. I thought. That is until I actually tried to see with them on under normal use. The glasses for distance worked well when I was looking into the distance, say from ten feet and beyond. And the glasses for reading worked well for reading. But the middle distance, between 18 inches, and 10 feet, was a blurry mess.
What I failed to take into account was progressive lenses are good for that middle distance as well. The profile of the lens provides vision improvement at any distance.
The two pair model that I had adopted left a big blind spot. It was a vision fail.
It struck me that this can be the case for congregations and missions as well.
Here is what I believe. Many congregations wear only their near-neighbour glasses. They don't see the need for cross-cultural work among the nations. This 'missions near-sightedness' does not take into account God's heart for the nations.
There are so many scriptures (hundreds) that speak of God's global purpose. That global purpose is that the nations know and worship Him.
Joshua 4:23-24 tells us why God dried up the Jordan River and the Red Sea. It was so that all peoples (nations) would know that God's hand is mighty.
1 Samuel 17:45-47 reveals why God caused David to defeat Goliath. It was so that all the earth (nations) would know that there is a God in Israel.
Psalm 2:8 tells us that the nations are the heritage of God's son, and the ends of the earth are his possession.
Isaiah 49:6 lets us know the extent to which God intends to impact the world. He went beyond the nation of Israel to become a light to the nations. And it was so that His salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
Of course, Matthew 28:19 tells us to make disciples of all nations.
Romans 15:12 shows Paul's understanding of Isaiah his message. He understood that the Gentiles, (nations) would also find their hope in Jesus.
Romans 15:20 Here Paul tells of his heartbeat for the nations. His aim is not to preach the gospel where Christ has already been named. His aim is to preach the gospel where He is unknown and inaccessible. That's why he was going to Spain.
Galatians 3:8 makes it clear that the blessing of the nations with the gospel is what Abraham was told about in Genesis chapter 12:1-3.
And then in Revelation 7:9-10 we are given a glimpse of the fulfilment of God's global purpose. It is a vast multitude of worshippers from every people, tongue, tribe, and nation.
I believe a congregational ministry strategy must include near-neighbour evangelism and faraway cross-cultural missions. Your discipleship should include both as well. They should be a regular part of the congregational diet.
OMS Canada would love to discuss a mission’s strategy with you. We would love to know what you are doing well and where you think you could improve.
And we are able to facilitate a strategy development process with your mission’s committee or leadership team.
So how is your church doing? Not sure? Let us send you an assessment tool to help you figure out where you are right now. Because a strategy is like a roadmap. You must know where you want to go and you must know where you are right now. We can help.
Feel free to contact us here.
Between Christmas and New Year OMS Canada placed a booth at the P2C Plus conference in Toronto. This is an annual event for the ministry to college and university students formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ. It is now known as Power to Change. At this event were a little more than 300 students from across Canada who were willing to give up a portion of their Christmas break to participate in a conference that featured main sessions and breakout sessions, all of which challenged these students to take seriously their call to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
It was very encouraging to see so many students on fire for Jesus Christ and who are considering how discipleship should and must touch every area of their life.
A part of OMS Canada’s participation in this event was the sponsoring of wifi access for conference participants. The password for the free wifi was OMSInternational. And, being millennials, every one of those students would have typed in the password at least once. So the OMS name is now known among this group.
Free access to wifi can also be a picture of access to the Gospel. We all need access to the Father and Creator of us all. Such access is not possible without righteousness, which we can neither create nor purchase. We are totally reliant on the goodwill provision of another to provide that access.
In the same way that OMS Canada provided free access to conference participants, Jesus Christ offers righteousness to those who require it.
But, if the conference participants never knew that wifi was available, or if they knew it was available but did not know the password, they could not access the free resource.
In just the same way, an unreached people who does not know that righteousness is available, or if it does not know how to access that righteousness, then they would die in their sins.
As Paul says in Romans 10:13-15, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
In an unreached people group, the need is for someone to go and serve as a gospel hotspot, someone who will provide the access to God’s Gospel network to a people who do not know such a network exists.
This is our purpose, to find people who are willing to be a Gospel Hotspot, providing access to the Gospel where there is no access.
OMS Canada is looking for 20 new missionaries by the end of this year. This is our 20/20 Vision. Will you become a partner with us? Our most effective tool to accomplish this vision is prayer. And I am asking you to become a prayer warrior with me.
In Matthew 9, Jesus looked out on the crowds and had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. He then told his disciples (and you and me) to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out more labourers into the harvest. In terms of recruitment, that is our main task, our main responsibility. To pray for more labourers.
If we are to have this vision fulfilled this year, it will be because God’s people prayed it to fulfillment. Join me in praying everyday for more labourers.
Give me a call or send me an email to let me know that you will pray with me:
Mark Kroes, Executive Director
Do you know that God loves you? He took such great care in creating you and He delights in you. What about missions? What is the connection between God’s love and missions?
God loved the world so much that He sent His Only Son to us. This is a great demonstration of God’s love for missions. God loves missions. We must also love missions.
Jesus had the greatest mission here on earth. It was all about sharing the Good News to all people regardless of race, social status, etc.
Let’s look at a few verses in the Bible to learn more about God’s love for missions:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
This is the greatest expression of Love. It’s pure, unconditional, eternal, and so much more. There was a great purpose for God sending Jesus and it was us that He had in mind all along. What an amazing love that truly is.
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
When Jesus died for us, it wasn’t because we are perfect and have it all together. It was the opposite- we are imperfect and don’t have it all together and we need to continuously be renewed and transformed on a daily basis.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
When people are lost, they need direction, guidance, clarity, perspective, and purpose. They also need love. The kind of love that only comes from God. A love that is non-judgmental, that has no barriers. By the power and the working of the Holy Spirit, we are able to show this love to those who have yet to hear or answer.
Jesus left us with a mission to reach those people. There is work to be done. A lot of work.
But with God, all things are possible and we just need to be willing and obedient. God loves people, and God loves missions because there are people that have yet to hear about His wonderful love and salvation.
What can I do?
This is a great question to ask ourselves and it’s one we must ask. Maybe you aren’t able to go on a Missions trip, but there are different ways you can help support Missions. Prayer, finances, and resources are some examples of how you can help. There is a lot you and I can do.
Consider making a donation to one of our missionaries or projects. Click here to learn about the various giving opportunities that we have at OMS Canada.
May God bless you as you step out in faith.
Four Myths That Keep Your Church From Having a Missions Strategy
Having a clear church missions strategy leads to more meaningful and effective ministry. So why don’t more churches have one?
I read of a survey from Gordon Colwell Theological Seminary that suggested that 40 percent of evangelical churches in America don’t have a written strategy guiding their missions work. These figures are not likely very different in Canada.
The survey also suggested that the 60 percent of churches that do have a written strategy are markedly more engaged in cross-cultural international work than those who do not have a written strategy. This should not surprise us. A vision does not always spark action, but it is still true that action nearly always follows vision.
If you need help developing a mission strategy, contact OMS Canada to investigate the possibility of a facilitated Strategy Planning for your church.
However, before you get there, it is worth pausing to think about four common myths that often keep churches from developing missions strategies. These are sometimes unstated myths, but whether you have heard them or not, chances are we’ve all believed some of these at one point.
1.“We don’t need a strategy”
The thinking here tends to be that “we’re just following Jesus,” so we can forgo written strategies and formal plans.
That doesn’t really work for a lot of reasons, such as the following.
It’s certainly true that our strategies must remain subservient to and flow from the ultimate strategies and examples in Scripture, but that doesn’t free us from the responsibility to bring that strategy to bear on our communities and the world. And that necessarily requires forethought.
A missions strategy is really nothing more than a plan, and the simple fact of that matter is that very few of us can accomplish complex tasks without first making a plan. It’s just how God wired us.
I can remember to get dressed and brush my teeth in the morning, but completing a project at work forces me to sit down and figure out how I’ll get it done. Engaging the lost world around you is much more complex than brushing your teeth, so there is no shame in planning how you’ll go about it.
Planning isn’t evidence of a lack of faith or an unwillingness to follow the Spirit’s leading; it’s the simple admission that we are fickle and easily distracted people, and that we will be far more faithful to God’s leading if we commit ourselves to a course of action before distraction takes us off track.
2.“We don’t have a vision”
This myth tends to pop up in churches that still believe cross-cultural missions falls inextricably under the expertise of mission agencies, while local churches are best equipped to do other things. Tasks like missionary assessment, preparation, training, accountability and care sometimes feel like things best left to the “experts,” so the local church takes a step back.
While it is true that a good mission agency can provide critical support to a church’s missionary-sending activity, it is untrue that cross-cultural missions is a mysterious world that the local church knows nothing about. Culture and language change from place to place, but God, His world and the human heart are the same wherever you go. This means that principles for good local ministry will generally translate internationally.
Chances are you have a sense of how God has called and equipped your church to minister in your community, which has in turn shaped a core part of your church’s identity.
That activity and identity don’t need to be set aside when you think about how to minister internationally. Instead, start by asking the question, “How has God equipped us to reach His world?” Then prayerfully consider what that means for your international engagement as well.
3.“We’re too small, too new or too poor”
This idea is usually connected to the notion that “We’ll do that when we’re bigger, more established or have more resources.” Together, these beliefs keep us from seeing what God has called us to today by convincing us that it will be easier to follow Him tomorrow.
Of course, it is true that investing ourselves intentionally requires selectivity, or saying “no” to some things so that we can say “yes” to others. But, if we make our selections today based on the belief that we will be fundamentally different people tomorrow, we are letting our strategy be hijacked by a very clever lie.
The notion that a congregation’s missions calling somehow depends on its size, experience or resources is rooted in the mistaken belief that God’s people are more limited by these things than they are empowered by the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.
In fact, our vision and strategy should boldly flow from God’s character and activity, rather than being tentatively sketched based on what our timid hearts can grasp right now.
4.“There’s so much to do here” or “We’re called to local ministry”
This is based on the mistaken beliefs that there is no difference between local and cross-cultural, that it is all missions. But, as Stephen Neill has stated, “If everything is missions, then nothing is missions.” The quite clear teaching of Scripture points over and over again to the heart of God for the nations (people groups) and His purpose to have every people, tongue, tribe, and nation present around the throne (Revelation 7:9).
The mandate to the church is Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria and the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Furthermore, it is far more possible today for North American churches to learn from and minister alongside majority world churches. The possibilities for learning and engagement are endless, but we need a strategy to direct our attention.
However, rather than writing off local ministry for the sake of global ministry (or vice-versa) a wise missions strategy will try to bring the two areas together. It will force you to look for areas of expertise in your local ministry that can be put to use around the world. It will cause you to think about the relationships that you have around the world and make connections that could improve your local ministry.
It is one thing to individually become a global Christian, but a church missions strategy will start your congregation down the path to becoming a truly global Christian community that is open to, engaged in and learning from what God is doing around the world.
So what about you? Does your church have a missions strategy? If so, does the congregation know what the strategy is? If not, why not? Can we help your leaders think through this strategy question?
We are ready to help in any way possible, no strings attached and free of charge.
Click here to contact us.
This is the final post in our missionary call series. We hope that the Lord has spoken to your heart as you have worked though the previous posts.
In the last post, we saw that there is evidence to support the claim that, if one is properly relating to God and pursuing godliness, there is little to fear in terms of missing God’s call. We made the point that, just like the children of Israel following the deliverance from Egypt, they were not responsible to find the promised land. They were responsible to follow the cloud and the pillar. God would lead them as long as they were faithful in what they knew to do.
That’s what Augustine meant when he said, “Love God and do as you please.”
Loving God will have an effect on obedience to what you already know to do and will also have an effect on the decisions you make. But loving God is the key.
So, what does loving God look like? How can we put ourselves in the spot where we can believe that the decisions we make accord with the will of God?
We know that God’s purpose in His dealings with His children is conformity to the image of Jesus Christ. Paul tells us in Romans 8:29, “For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.” That is to say, to make us Christ like or holy. Hebrews 12:14 tells us to strive for holiness, without which we will not see God. So how do I pursue this holiness? How do I become more like Jesus Christ?
We find a pretty clear answer in 1 Timothy 4:7-8: “Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Here, Paul tells Timothy that he needed to train or discipline himself for godliness, making the connection to an athlete who undertakes some physical training or discipline for the sake of sport. In the same way that an athlete undergoes physical training to become proficient at some physical activity, so the child of God must undergo spiritual training to become proficient at holiness.
The obvious question to be asked here is, so what are these training activities that will make me more Christ like and put me in a good place to follow God’s leading in my life? I am glad you asked.
There are a number of contemporary authors who have written significant books about this very topic – spiritual disciplines.
Richard Foster wrote “Celebration of Discipline” in 1978. More recently, Donald Whitney has written “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.” In his introduction to this book, Whitney states that there are three main catalysts that God uses to change our lives and make us more holy but only one is largely under our control.
He uses people to change us – the iron sharpens iron principle. He also uses circumstances – God works out all things for the good of those who love Him. And He uses spiritual disciplines. This catalyst differs from the other two in that when God uses the spiritual disciplines to change us, He is working from the inside out. And we must remember that there is a specific purpose for these disciplines and that is godliness or holiness. And this godliness or holiness is the place where we will most naturally follow God’s will or His direction for us.
Do you wonder what these spiritual disciplines are? You can probably guess some of them already, but you may be surprised by some that are in the list. We will list them to finish this blog post and then in the next year we will occasionally pull one of the disciplines out and examine it. Our prayer is that God will challenge each one of us to a deeper walk with Him resulting in holiness.
Here is the list of spiritual disciplines:
And don’t forget that the purpose of engaging in each of these disciplines is godliness. We are not saved by doing these things. Only God can save. But we are made more godly, more Christ like by the practice of these disciplines.
Do you already do some of these disciplines regularly? Which of these are surprises? Is there one or two that might be more challenging for you? Leave a comment and tell us about it.
One of the great privileges of working with a missions organization is the opportunity to see how many connections there are between missions and various parts of Scripture. And there is a connection between Christmas and missions.
So what does Christmas have to do with missions? I’m glad you asked.
Biblically, missions should never be far from the center of our Christmas celebrations, for two reasons:
First, Jesus is the greatest example of a cross-cultural missionary. For missions concerns crossing cultural boundaries, we, the church of Jesus Christ, must send missionaries cross-culturally if we are to fulfill the task our Lord gives us: Bringing worshipers from every tribe and tongue and people and nation to Him. And, think about it: Who crossed the greatest cultural divide ever? Jesus Himself! He came from the glory of the throne-room of God into the womb of a woman, and then into a feeding trough for cattle. What an example!
Second: Jesus is more than an example. Jesus became man in order to purchase for His own possession ONE people made up of all the peoples of the earth. He came so that all will see that NO CULTURAL BARRIER will keep people from God. He came so that God will be praised in EVERY language. He came so that the purpose of the creation of every people group would be fulfilled, and that purpose is to glorify God.
So for a true believer in Jesus – as opposed to someone who is simply a cultural Christian – Christmas should be a time of particular focus on the task that Christ gives His church. The task is similar to our Lord’s cross-cultural journey. The task is made possible by His incarnation. The task is crossing cultural barriers, going even to hard, resistant peoples – even when that is uncomfortable and dangerous – for God’s glory, for our joy, for the joy of those peoples.
We believe Prayer is the battlefield for fruitfulness and we depend on it for a successful ministry. We ask you to consider joining our prayer team in any of the following ways. Click here to learn more.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21
Merry Christmas from all of us at OMS Canada.
Identifying the Missionary ‘Call’
While God can certainly give us inner promptings, His will does not need finding because it was never lost. It is in Scripture.
Are you “called” to be a missionary?
Discovering God’s will for your life can be daunting. What if I miss God’s best? What if it’s outside my comfort zone? What if I can’t hear God’s voice? What if I misunderstand it? What if I misinterpret it? These questions can create some very real anxiety—or avoidance.
Nevertheless, God does not want us frozen by fear. While God certainly can give us inner “nudges,” His will does not need to be found because it was never lost. His complete, entire will is contained in His Word. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness… by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises…. (2 Peter 1:3a, 4a)
The Bible reveals God’s will: for us to disciple the nations. That is the big picture. To be sure, Scripture does not tell us everything. God’s plan for the details of our individual lives are often secret (Deuteronomy 29:29). However, if we simply obey what we know, He will guide us:
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way. (Psalm 37:23)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
We cannot decipher God’s sovereign will for every detail of our future. It is futile to try—God, after all, “frustrates the plans of the peoples” (Psalm 33:10). But God has given us a quite comprehensive guide on how to conduct ourselves in a manner that pleases Him and conforms us to the image of His son. And within those parameters, we actually have freedom to choose what we enjoy.
It is not unlike the responsibility the Israelites had as they made their way from Egypt to the Promised Land through the wilderness. They were not told to find the land of promise. They were simply to follow the cloud and the pillar, day after day after day. As they did day by day what they knew to do, God led them exactly where they needed to go.
Augustine wrote, “Love God and do as you please.” In other words, if we truly love God and are doing the day-by-day things we know to do, our aim will certainly be to please Him.
“To know the will of God we need an open Bible and an open map.” William Carey
Does that free us to live for our own pleasures? Hardly. “To whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48). We are accountable to live intentionally, wisely, and submissively for God’s glory, not selfish benefit. And if we trust that God’s will is sufficiently revealed in Scripture, we will begin to see His missionary heart bleeding through every page—and we will sense that we are all called in some way, whether as goers or senders, to engage that mission.
Therefore, as William Carey, missionary to India, stated, “To know the will of God we need an open Bible and an open map.” The question of calling is not one of waiting to see a flashing neon sign over a world map or feel a “liver-quiver” when someone mentions the right country—it’s about assessing your abilities, circumstances, desires, and the opportunities in light of the global need.
For more information about the global need, read this post about the Billion.global vision.
How are you participating in the Missionary call?
Do you enjoy taking trips? Isn’t it exciting to visit new places and simply take a break from the day to day?
We all do enjoy taking a trip every once in a while and it is important to take these times of rest. It’s also important to take a life-changing trip- a Mission trip.
What is the difference anyways?
Here are a few examples of a vacation trip and a mission trip for comparison:
We can see that there are some similarities and also some key differences that we can really be blessed by on a Mission trip.
In the Bible, we see many different verses that reveal God’s heart to us regarding Missions.
Let’s look at 4 of them today:
People are God’s most treasured creation and it is God’s heart to see all nations come into a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. We can be assured that as we go, God will go with us and never leave us. This is very comforting to know as we step into a place where we have never been before.
2. Acts 13:47 “For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Light helps us to see clearly, light brings new perspective, and we are light to those who have not yet heard or responded. What an amazing honor that the God who created the universe uses vessels like us for His work.
3. Romans 10:13-14 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
We have heard the saying before- if someone had a cure to an illness and they never shared it with anyone, how would anyone get better? The news would need to be shared. We have a relationship with the One who created everything, the One who gives perfect peace, the One who gives hope in hopeless situations. We must share the good news of Jesus Christ and the salvation He brings.
4. Psalm 96:3 “Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples.”
It’s important to share God’s goodness with others. God is holy, He is awesome, and there is none like Him. Let’s make a commitment to share this Love with others. It will change situations; it will even change us in the process.
Why Missions then?
Vacation trips are very necessary because we do need a break from our daily routines once in a while. I encourage you to go on vacation when you can and I also challenge you to go on a Mission trip if you already haven’t. There are people out there who need Jesus and God has given us specific gifts and talents to reach those people.
Take a look here at some Mission Opportunities that we have with OMS Canada.
There is also this great resource which outlines 10 Steps to becoming an OMS Missionary. You can check it out here.
You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine.
Welcome back to our second installment in the series ‘Am I Called to Be a Missionary.'
As mentioned last week, the idea of a Missionary Call is a frequent topic of discussion at missions events and conferences. People are so concerned about getting it wrong that they would rather not do something unless they know that God has not called them to do so. We hope to bring some clarity to this topic of the Missionary Call.
So let’s get to Part two.
Is Everyone Called to be a Missionary?
With missions defined, next we ask, “What is a missionary?” And Scripture has a surprising answer.
Some have said that the word “missionary” is not in the Bible, but that isn’t quite true. We derive words like missionary and missions from the Latin missio, which simply means sending. The Greek equivalent is apostelló, from which the word apostle comes. While there were only twelve Apostles—“sent ones”—commissioned by Jesus to lay the foundation of the church, in a broader sense, anyone who is “sent” carrying the gospel message is a similar type of missionary ambassador.
We would think, then, that a missionary is simply sent to win as many converts as possible. But that wasn’t the Apostle Paul’s job description. After spending only a short time traversing the Roman Empire and planting churches in a handful of key towns, Paul says, “[F]rom Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:19). How had he “fulfilled” the ministry of the gospel—as in, mission accomplished--when millions of lost people remained throughout the Roman world?
It is not the missionary’s aim, necessarily, to see every single individual won to faith. Rather, a missionary is one who serves in a culture long enough to see a healthy church form, full of converts capable of evangelizing the rest of their people. Paul established churches as beachheads to ensure that the gospel would spread. When a healthy church with qualified leaders was planted and ready to own the mission for themselves, Paul’s work was done.
In recent years, a terribly disproportionate number of missionaries have been sent to minister in places that have already been “reached”—where there are sufficient evangelical believers already present to evangelize the rest. According to the Joshua Project, more than 90% of “missionaries” serve “reached” people groups.
Meanwhile, the “unreached”—those who have little or no access to the gospel, with no churches or believers in their context to share with them—comprise about 7,000 people groups. That totals about nearly 4 billion people who have never heard of Christ. Most of these people groups live in North Africa, the Middle East, Asia, India, and the Pacific Islands, a region of the world known as the 10/40 Window (based on lines of latitude and longitude).
Unlike most unbelievers the North America and Europe who could easily hear the gospel through a Christian friend or nearby church, unreached people generally have no churches to visit, friends to call, or sermons to stumble upon on the radio. Though some may have heard of a “Jesus,” they have never understood the gospel itself. They are lost.
God may be drawing you to become a Pauline-type, pioneering missionary, “fulfilling the ministry of the gospel” among people who will otherwise perish without hearing about Jesus. Or perhaps he is leading you to be a Timothy-type missionary who comes in after the pioneer to strengthen and build young communities of faith (1 Timothy 1:3, 2 Timothy 2:1-2).
Not everyone can be a missionary. However, everyone can have a part in the bigger task—by going, sending, supporting, or mobilizing others.
Either way, a missionary is not just an adventurous, free spirit stirred by a noble social cause. A missionary preaches the gospel with the aim of starting churches that can reach people groups among whom Jesus is not yet known and worshiped.
To repeat, it is clear that not everyone can be a missionary. However, everyone can have a part in the bigger task—by going, sending, supporting, or mobilizing others. What is your role?
Do you long to devote your life to this task? Do you have the desire to cross cultural boundaries, or help send those who do? If so, God’s Spirit may be directing you. We implore you to pray, study God’s Word, and obey God wherever He leads. Eternity hangs in the balance for billions.
Check out the ways that OMS Canada can help you make an impact on reaching the unreached.
Click here to visit our website.
Stay tuned for Part three in this series!
OMS Canada is a faith-based missionary sending organization. Our primary purpose is to recruit and mobilize missionaries who will take the gospel to the nations according to the command of Jesus Christ in the gospels and in the book of Acts. Matthew 28 contains what is known as the Great Commission.
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in2 the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)
One of the most frequent comments heard at a missions event or missions conference is ‘I’m not sure I’m called to be a missionary. This misunderstood idea of a call to missionary service is perhaps the single issue that prevents people from even considering missions as a vocation. Over the next six weeks, we will consider this idea of the missionary call in four blog posts and perhaps bring some clarity to the idea of the missionary call and the process of receiving the call.
Before we do that, though, we need to be clear on what missions is. This week we will talk about what missions is and is not.
What Missions Is and Is Not.
“Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” (John Piper)
God is a missionary God. He is passionately committed to spreading His fame and His glory to all nations.
So how should we define “missions?”
First, we must start with what missions is not. God commands His people serve the poor and hungry, but mercy ministry and social justice are not missions. If we reduce missions to providing relief, education, or compassion—in other words, if everything is missions—then nothing is.
Similarly, missions is more than sharing the gospel. If missions simply meant evangelism, then we could all do that in our hometown without crossing cultures.
To define missions, we must begin with the gospel, then work out to consider what God is doing in history.
The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ’s death, resurrection, and reign to save sinners. This was necessary because, although all human cultures have knowledge of God through creation (Romans 1:19-20), every people group has rejected God (1:21-23) and is born in sin, trapped under God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3). Since God’s standards of good and evil are written on every heart, all are accountable for their sin—even if they’ve never heard of Jesus or read the Bible (Romans 2:14-15). Humans in all cultures are equally lost, in need of rescue from an eternity in Hell.
The good news is that “God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus Christ—the ultimate missionary—left the comforts of heaven, crossed into our world, died in our place, and rose in victory. Now all who repent and trust in Christ are made right with God and given eternal life.
What is God doing in history? At the onset of God’s redemptive plan, he promised that through Abraham “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 17:3). Jesus, the promised offspring from Abraham’s line, purchased “people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” on the cross (Revelation 5:9). Right now, God is making a people for Himself—bought by Jesus—from among the nations. We call that people the church.
Christ told His followers, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21). We are commanded to disciple all the nations (Matthew 28:18-20) until the earth is “full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). God’s work in history will be finished when all His people from every tribe and language are worshiping Christ in heaven (Revelation 5:9).
The gospel is the message God is using in history to save and set apart a people for himself in the church from every nationality, language, and ethnicity. Missions, then, is what carries this gospel to all the nations. It’s the job of the church that’s between Christ’s first coming and His return.
So what is missions? Missions is the task of proclaiming the gospel to every people group that has not yet heard it, in order to establish churches—churches that will carry on mission by reaching their culture, teaching others, and sending missionaries out.
For more information about people, tongues, tribes, and nations, read this post about Unreached People Groups.
Next week we will ask the question “Is everyone called to be a missionary?”
In this dark, fearful and confusing time for Haiti, God continues to do that which only He can do:
win the battles.
For hundreds of years, hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti have gone to the witchdoctor, looking for help, looking for answers, looking for something better. On Friday, one of these witchdoctors came to Emmaus instead, looking for the same thing.
Praise the Lord, something better is not far off, His hand is not too short to save. Be encouraged by this quick testimony from President Matt Ayars, bringing light to things that cannot be changed...CHANGING.
“Hi everyone. Matt Ayars here, President of Emmaus University in Haiti, and I wanted to share a quick story. With so many people who have been praying and fasting for so long for Haiti’s release and Haiti's redemption, and God buying back Haiti so these manifestations and political instability, all this stuff going on is just a result of, I believe, God bringing Haiti back to Himself and I had an experience today that I think is illustrative of that and that really confirmed that conviction in my heart.
So a few weeks ago, I visited a witchdoctor to share with him the gospel, and he's a guy that I know and I have met before. No other witchdoctor kind of gave us a tour of the voodoo temple and explain to us, you know, kind of, the talismans, and how it works, and the pantheon of deities, showed us, you know, with his mystic snake that sits up in the ceiling and explain to us how the sacrifices work and explained all the different demons and spirits that he served. At the end of our time together, you know, I very clearly shared the gospel with him, and he seemed open to me but not ready to make a decision. It's not the first time I've shared the gospel with him and not the first time that I've even prayed with him. He seemed closer this time than ever before.
And then just today, less than an hour ago, he came with his assistant who was with him at the temple. He came to tell me that he had stopped all of his activities as a witch doctor. He was no longer living there on the site where the temple was. He had moved and had found a truck and try to pick up the truck, trying to get back to work and doing some side jobs in the meantime.
So it was, there was nothing but wonderful news for me to be at a church. A graduate is the pastor of this church. And so I asked if I could pray with them. I prayed with them. And a lot of you know that every Monday night I do a Bible study with welcome from Haiti that's just about a mile down the road. A lot of young men, similar to these guys to the witchdoctor and his partner who I met today, met with today, and I invited them to Bible study Monday nights, which they were enthused about. And so I too am really excited to have them doing that Bible Study Group, progressing, I think, closer towards making a decision and growing and maturity and hopefully you know discipleship being the main goal there.
And then I also sent them away with a couple brand new Creole Bibles and a book on spiritual warfare, a book on the Holy Spirit, and that book on the Holy Spirit talks about how the Holy Spirit's uniquely different from spirits of animism which he'd be very familiar with. And also a book on the life of radical discipleship, a book by John Stott. So they left happy, enthused, encouraged, excited about joining Bible study and studying the literature I had given them. But to me it was a wonderful illustration of the power of Satan and darkness, being lifted from Haiti. Pray for revival, pray for repentance. We pray that people who have been held captive by the darkness and the lies that the devil would come to the light, and they would come to Christ, the one in whom all truth is found, and in whom all liberty is found, for the forgiveness of sins, life everlasting and for eternal, satisfying joy and peace.
So, again, thank you. I hope you find this story encouraging, as I did. Thank you.”
Stay up to date here where we have updates about what is happening in Haiti.
Canadians recognize Remembrance Day, originally called Armistice Day, every 11 November at 11 a.m.
It marks the end of hostilities during the First World War and an opportunity to recall all those who
have served in the nation’s defence.
On this day of remembrance, I would like to challenge you to remember something else as well.
It is the Gospel, and it is not just for the new birth; it is for your new life as well.
I love to find and share practical methods or techniques for living the Christian life—ways other Christians live out their Christian faith day-by-day. As I speak with people, as I read books, as I listen to sermons, I am always looking for these tips that might be called “faith hacks.” I am going to share one with you today. It comes from Jerry Bridges and deals with the importance of preaching the Gospel to yourself everyday.
Bridges has written in several of his books about the importance of the daily practice of preaching the Gospel to yourself. In “The Discipline of Grace” he writes, “When you set yourself to seriously pursue holiness, you will begin to realize what an awful sinner you are. And if you are not firmly rooted in the Gospel and have not learned to preach it to yourself every day, you will soon become discouraged and will slack off in your pursuit of holiness.” He also gives an overview of the practice: “To preach the Gospel to yourself, then, means that you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life. It means that you appropriate, again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God, that He is your propitiation, and that God’s holy wrath is no longer directed toward you.”
But it is in “Respectable Sins” that he gives the practical example from his own life. Here is how he preaches the Gospel to himself every day:
Since the Gospel is only for sinners, I begin each day with the realization that despite my being a saint, I still sin every day in thought, word, deed, and motive. If I am aware of any subtle, or not so subtle, sins in my life, I acknowledge those to God. Even if my conscience is not indicting me for conscious sins, I still acknowledge to God that I have not even come close to loving Him with all my being or loving my neighbor as myself. I repent of those sins, and then I apply specific Scriptures that assure me of God’s forgiveness to those sins I have just confessed.
I then generalize the Scripture’s promises of God’s forgiveness to all my life and say to God words to the effect that my only hope of a right standing with Him that day is Jesus’ blood shed for my sins, and His righteous life lived on my behalf. This reliance on the twofold work of Christ for me is beautifully captured by Edward Mote in his hymn “The Solid Rock” with his words, “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Almost every day, I find myself going to those words in addition to reflecting on the promises of forgiveness in the Bible.
What Scriptures do I use to preach the Gospel to myself? Here are just a few I choose from each day:
As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)
“I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin. (Romans 4:7-8)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
There are many others, including Psalm 130:3-4; Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 38:17; Micah 7:19; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:13-14; Hebrews 8:12; and 10:17-18.
Whatever Scriptures we use to assure us of God’s forgiveness, we must realize that, whether the passage explicitly states it or not, the only basis for God’s forgiveness is the blood of Christ shed on the cross for us. As the writer of Hebrews said, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (9:22), and the context makes it clear that it is Christ’s blood that provides the objective basis on which God forgives our sins.
That has been his daily practice for many years. Why don’t you make it part of your practice, and see the difference it makes to begin each day reminding yourself of who you were, and who you now are in Christ?
Milton Vincent has written a little book called, “A Gospel Primer for Christians” that could be very helpful in preaching the Gospel to yourself daily. It includes hundreds of Scripture references to reinforce the truth of the Gospel.
Do you make it your practice to preach the Gospel to yourself? If so, what have you learned?
How do you go about it? Please leave a comment below to share your experiences.
You can also check out our blog page here where you can find updates from our missionaries around the world and various blogs for your own growth!
Change is something that comes as a result of something new happening; an alteration, shift, transition, or transformation. The result can be a positive thing or even a challenge for us because it may be unusual or unfamiliar at first.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
God allows us to experience new things so that we can grow and depend more on Him, so it is important that we remain focused on God during times of change and remember that He is the One
who is in control.
In Ontario, we experience four different weather seasons throughout the year:
spring, summer, fall, and winter.
These seasons vary and as a result they impact our daily living. What activities to do and not do outdoors, what to wear, what to cook/eat, etc. These seasons can even impact our moods and how we feel.
Spiritual seasons are also very significant and things we all go through.
Let’s do a comparison with weather and spiritual seasons and see how they can relate:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Let’s be encouraged to trust God in all seasons. We can be assured that we will not walk through any season alone. God is with us and as we trust and serve Him, He will make all things work for good in our lives.
What season are you currently in? How have seasons of change in your life allowed you to deepen your faith and get closer to God?
Please leave a comment below to share your experiences with others as we all continue to grow in this journey together by God’s grace. It would also be great connect with you. Simply click here to do that.
To Him be all glory.
How much do you know about Missions?
How much do you know about missions? Are you a missions hero or a missions zero? And what about your church? Is it a missions hub or a missions flub?
Regardless of where you may place yourself or your church on the missions knowledge continuum, there is always room for improvement. And missions education is the way to improve your missions knowledge.
Missions Education falls into three categories.
Now, for those who would say that their missions education is adequate or effective, I would offer the following suggestions for what must characterize effective missions education.
Missions education may utilize the following formats;
We have some free resources available for use by yourself, your small group or you church to help further missions knowledge through missions education. Check it out here
We would also be happy for the opportunity to speak to your church or a missions group, a small group, youth group or a Sunday School class. Contact the office and we will arrange the date.
God’s heart truly is for the nations and it is our great privilege to join him in this pursuit resulting in his great glory and our everlasting joy.
“Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You!” Ps. 67:4-5