Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
In the previous post in this series, God’s Heart for the Nations, we saw that at the end of everything God does is the purpose to reveal His glory, to show Himself glorious. And we saw that this means that mankind is not at the centre of God’s plan and the Bible is not about us.
In this post we hope to see the Bible not as 66 books that happen to be bound by one cover, but as one book. The Bible has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction is the first 11 chapters of Genesis, the body starts at Genesis 12 and goes through to Jude, and the conclusion is Revelation.
Do you read the Bible as a collection of 66 different books that are just collected and bound together? Or do you read the Bible as a single book with a beginning, the main body, and a conclusion?
Now, in a well-written book, the author will begin to reveal major themes in the introduction. One of the keys to the correct interpretation of the Bible is to detect these themes and follow how the author develops them throughout the book. It is silly to try to interpret the Bible without some idea of its emphasis and purpose. This post looks at two fundamental themes that first appear in Genesis 1:28.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
The first theme is that God wants to bless His creation. In the context of the blessing, we discover the second theme, dealing with God’s purpose for the blessing which involves man’s responsibility.
The two themes are restated in Genesis 9:1 and further defined in Genesis 12:1-3. Before we go to Genesis 12, here is a summary of what happens in the introduction of the Bible.
This is the backdrop from which God calls Abram to leave his country and declares His covenant with him.
Genesis 12:1-3, which begins the main story of the Bible, outlines the covenant God makes with Abram. And as you might imagine from the introduction, there are two elements to the covenant. There is the blessing element and the responsibility element. Don Richardson, who wrote the book “Eternity in Their Hearts” calls these two elements the top line and bottom line of the covenant. The top line is God’s blessing and the bottom line is Abram’s responsibility.
So God promises to bless Abram by giving him land (v1), making him into a great nation (v2) and a great name (v2). But along with the blessing comes the bottom line, the responsibility. Abram was to be a blessing (v2) and that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed (v3). And so the implication is that Abram is blessed in order to be a blessing. That’s the top line and the bottom line of the covenant God made with Abram. You will be blessed but you must be a blessing.
God later confirms His covenant with Abraham and repeats it to his son Isaac and grandson Jacob, giving clarification of its themes. Check out the following passages.
As you read the Bible you will discover the parallel nature of the two themes of blessing and purpose/responsibility. The danger is in failing to keep these two themes in their parallel tension. Our tendency is to see God’s blessings apart from our responsibility and His purpose for the blessing. That failure leads to an egocentric faith with ourselves at the centre of everything.
I want to challenge you to look at the following four stories and think about what God was doing in each instance. We will look more closely at these questions in the next blog post.
Oh sing to the LORD and 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 marvellous works among the peoples! (Psalm 96:1-3)
Why did God create the heavens and the earth? Why did God create men and
women? What is the chief aim of God? Not His only passion or motivation,
but His ultimate passion for which all other passions are subordinate. When
every other reason is eliminated but one, what is this one? This one
would be His ultimate design for creation and indeed for every action He takes.
As was pointed out in the introduction, there is a very real tendency to place ourselves (mankind) as the ultimate passion or motivation of God. We tend to think that this Christianity is all about us, as though we are the centre of God’s universe, and that our needs form the basis for His actions. We think that God’s ultimate purpose is to grant us salvation and enjoy us forever. And this perspective leads us to believe that the ultimate objective of missions is man.
As you look at the Scriptures in this blog post, ask yourself these questions: What does the Bible say is the ultimate goal of God? What is the ultimate goal of His activity in the world?
“He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:5-6).
God created the natural world to display His glory: “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalms 19:1).
“You are my servant Israel in whom I will be glorified” (Isaiah 49:3); “. . . that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory (Jeremiah 13:11).
“He saved them at the Red Sea for His name’s sake that He might make known His mighty power” (Psalm l06:7-8); “I have raised you up for this very purpose of showing my power in you, so that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth” (Romans 9:17).
“I acted in the wilderness for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out (Ezekiel 20:14).
After Israel asked for a king “Fear not . . . For the Lord will not cast away His people for His great name’s sake (l Samuel 12:20-22).
“Thus says the Lord God, It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act [in bringing you back from the exile], but for the sake of My holy name…And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name . . . and the nations will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 36:22-23, 32). “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another” (Isaiah 48:11).
“Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy” (Romans 15:8-9).
“Now is My soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again” (John 12:27, 28).
“He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:15).
“God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
“I am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).
“Whoever serves [let him serve], as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified” (1 Peter 4:11).
“Immediately an angel of the Lord smote [Herod] because he did not give glory to God” (Acts 12:23).
“. . . when He comes on that day to be glorified in His saints and to be marvelled at in all who have believed (2 Thessalonians l:9-l0).
“Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given Me, may be with me where I am, to behold My glory, which thou hast given Me in Thy love for Me before the foundation of the world” (John l7:24).
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).
From these Scriptures, we can now answer the questions asked at the beginning of this post. Why did God create the heavens and the earth? Why did God create men and women? What is the chief aim of God in everything He does?
The answer is that the ultimate purpose and chief aim in everything God does is for the praise of His glory and His grace. God’s passion for His name and should be our central motivation in everything we do, including missions. God is not receiving the worship that is due His name; therefore, the mission of the Church is to call out worshippers from among the nations. Every church and every follower of Jesus Christ is called to participate in this global activity.
As author Joh Piper puts it in his book Let the Nations Be Glad, “God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshippers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. He has an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the supremacy of His name among the nations. Therefore, let us bring our affections into line with His, and for the sake of His name, let us renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join His global purpose.”
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? What steps can you take to bring your affections more in line with His? What role could you have in the goal of gathering worshippers from every people, tongue, tribe and nation?
Leave a comment and let us know how you answer these questions.
Do you remember a time when you travelled somewhere to go and visit family or friends?
I remember as a child, we would often go to Hartford in the United States to go and stay with family. It was a bit of a drive, but it was always special especially when we arrived at our family’s home. We were all so excited to see each other and they would often make special arrangements and preparations for us. The rooms where we would sleep would be ready and the fridge would be stocked with delicious food to share with us. When we are expecting company, it is special and there is a lot of effort, time, and love that goes into it.
In John 20:21-22 Jesus said, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
As Jesus speaks to the disciples, He is preparing them to receive the Holy Spirit whom they would receive shortly after on the day of Pentecost.
Before Jesus came to be born of the virgin Mary, God made of all of the necessary preparations beforehand. Everything came to pass just as it was promised.
I briefly shared about travelling to a familiar place but alternatively, when a person is travelling somewhere for the first time it may not be so exciting at first. It may be a new and unfamiliar place, and you may not know anyone. That can be a bit intimidating and maybe even scary.
Are you called to be a missionary? If you have not read this blog series, be sure to check it out.
Not everyone can be a missionary. However, everyone can have a part in the bigger task—by going, sending, supporting, or mobilizing others. Jesus is allowing us to take part in some way.
As we play our part in the process, it’s important to remember that there is a connection between being sent and receiving the Holy Spirit. Wherever God sends us to share the good news of Jesus Christ, He makes preparations for us. He prepares hearts, opportunities, relationships, and even divine appointments. Through prayer, we can make it a priority to seek God and trust that He will prepare the way for us.
When we remember that God makes preparations for us, we are more at peace. When we remember that we have the Holy Spirit, we are more confident. Not because of our abilities, but because of what the Holy Spirit can do through us. Lives can be transformed, people set free, and we can also be renewed and changed. It is a wonderful blessing to experience God and to be able to share that with others.
As some of our missionaries face the reality of travel restrictions, let us continue to pray for them. Jesus has sent them to various places around the world and many of them are still waiting. Let’s pray that God would continue to give them opportunities right where they are and that He would be glorified even through the waiting process.
Where is Jesus sending you? Have you ever been on a missions trip? Please share in the comments. We would love to hear from you.
Have you ever been convinced that you knew something? Have you ever had a discussion about what you thought you knew for sure? Have you ever argued with someone who disagreed with what you thought you knew for sure? Have you ever realized that what you thought you knew for sure, what you had argued for, turned out to be incorrect? Or incomplete?
I’m afraid this of the case for some of us who call ourselves Christian. We think we know what God is up to and believe that we are cooperating with God in His purpose and activities on earth. Everywhere you look in the Bible you see God’s all about blessing us. He loves to bless us and we love to be blessed. So let’s all enjoy the blessings of God.
What we have done is turned the Word of God into something that is all about us. But I don’t think that is true. The Bible is God’s Word and in it He reveals Himself to us and His purposes on the earth. And you know what? It’s not about us. We are in the story but the story is not about us.
We certainly are blessed, but it is not just so that we can be blessed. There is more to it than that.
How do I know? Because the Bible tells me so.
Let’s take a test. If I were to say the first few words of a well-known verse of the Bible, could you complete the verse for me? Here’s the start of the verse…
Be still and…
I expect that as you read these three words, other words came to mind and you easily said, know that I am God. Of course you did because we all know and love that verse. Psalm 46:10 is a favourite verse because it speaks of perhaps the greatest blessing that God has given to those whose sins have been forgiven. To know God is the very best.
There’s just one problem, though. You didn’t complete the verse. Be still and know that I am God is just ⅓ of the verse. So you were not incorrect, just incomplete.
Here’s the whole verse.
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth (Psalm 46:10).
The first part of the verse is about us (if we have been born again). But the second part, fully ⅔ of the verse is about God. Without even thinking about it, we made a verse mostly about God into a truncated version that is about us. The blessing of knowing God has global implications, dealing with nations and the earth.
The major focus of North American Christian thought and practice may seem to be, “What can God do for me?” Our lives and our prayers reflect the belief that God’s ultimate priority is to make His disciples more comfortable. Don’t misunderstand me; I believe that God does want to bless us and that God’s desire to bless His people is a major theme of the Bible. But if we focus on the theme of blessing alone, we distort the truth and lose the context in which God’s blessings are given.
Over the course of eight more blog posts, I hope to create an awareness of one of the most ignored themes of the Bible - God’s global purpose: His desire and activity of redeeming mankind, the nations, to Himself. It involves the active pursuit of worshippers from all the peoples of the earth that will give Him the glory that is due His name. God’s blessings and His global purpose are beautifully woven together in the Bible. My belief is that in order to correctly interpret and apply Scripture, it is necessary to understand the connection of these two themes. To ignore either one leads to misinterpretation and faulty application. Ultimately, lives will be misdirected.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to the truth of His Word as you read and think on the next eight posts on this topic of God’s heart for the nations and that you will respond to His guidance in applying His truth.
Take a few moments to think of two or three people you know who might want to go through this series of posts. Share this with them. Maybe you would go through this together, as a group. If you do, please let us know.
And don’t forget to share this on your favourite social media channels as well. Let’s get the word out and then do the work of missions until there is no place left where Jesus is not known (Romans 15:23).
Waiting in our “daily”
Today we are going to be talking about waiting. We will look at some examples of things we wait for, some reasons why God allows us to wait at times, and a story in the Bible that demonstrates the most important message about waiting.
The average person on a daily basis spends approximately 2-3 hrs of waiting in a day. Now this is very approximate because our daily routines are all very different. But, we all do spend time everyday waiting for something.
Some examples of things we wait for everyday are:
-waiting for our food to cook or warm up
-waiting for our coffee to brew
-waiting for our phones and computers to load
-waiting for someone to get back to us
Now with most of these things we typically wait for on a daily basis, they end up turning out ok. We finally get to eat that delicious meal, the coffee finally brews, our computers load, etc.
The truth is that even in these moments of waiting in our daily lives, most of us don't like to wait because it can generally make us feel frustrated, confused, impatient, and unsure.
But what do we do with those feelings?
This is a very important question we need to ask ourselves especially during times of waiting on the Lord.
Purpose in Waiting
Have you ever waited on God for something? Maybe right now you are in a season of waiting.
Be encouraged today because God does often allow us to wait on Him because there is purpose in the waiting.
Let's look at 4 reasons today why God allows us to wait at times:
1- Waiting allows for God's perfect timing and will to be done.
2 Peter 3:8
"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."
God is not limited by our time and schedules. He has all of the resources for every possible thing and we need to trust in His perfect timing in our lives.
Abraham in the Bible was waiting for a son. God had made a promise to him (Genesis 15:5) and he had to wait. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born (Genesis 21:5). Isaac was the promise child that Abraham had to wait for. This was God’s perfect timing and will that was brought forth, as promised.
2- Waiting builds patience in our lives.
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
We've heard the saying, if we ask God for patience, He will allow us to be in situations that give us the opportunity to be patient. Waiting is one of those things that definitely allows us to build our patience.
3- Waiting transforms our character.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
While waiting is often out of our control, we can choose to have a positive outlook and attitude in seasons of waiting. This process is important because it reveals what's inside of our hearts. It's certainly not easy to wait, but it can truly be transforming for us if we allow it to.
4- Waiting brings us closer to God and allows us to fully depend on Him.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine."
When we are waiting on God for something, sometimes His answer is:
And sometimes its:
I have something better in mind for you. Just wait a little bit longer.
What are you waiting on God for today?
I want to encourage you today that God's got your back, He's got this. He's going to work it out. Not only that, but He's going to do beyond what you can imagine. That’s His Word.
We need to wait well. We need to worship while we wait. We need to remain thankful while we wait. We need to remain faithful in prayer while we wait. These are very important and key.
The Father is Waiting
We've been looking at different examples of waiting and why God sometimes allows us to wait in situations. There is a well-known story in the Bible that demonstrates the most important message about waiting: The Prodigal Son
Most of us know that story well and what a wonderful demonstration of the compassion and love a father has for his son.
This story is an amazing demonstration of God's love for us and as much as we are all waiting for something, in the middle of it all, God our Father is waiting for us. He is waiting to hear from us, for us to spend time with Him. For us to share His love with others.
The Father is waiting today...
The Father’s will is that none would perish, but that all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). People out there need to hear about Jesus and He can use simple people like you and me, if we are willing and obedient.
Would you partner with us in prayer for those who have yet to hear about Jesus?
The mission of advancing the gospel is the great work of the church, and prayer is the fuel that powers it.
Would you pray for our missionaries as they wait on the Lord to return to their fields?
“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”
God bless you as you wait patiently on the Lord.
At One Mission Society we are excited when a congregation take steps to become more intentional about their involvement in cross-cultural missions work because we see this kind of world evangelization as the key to meeting the requirement Jesus gave in Matthew 24:14; “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” This is how we complete the Great Commission, preaching the gospel of the kingdom to all nations. And we know that nations does not refer to political entities like Canada or Cameroon or Croatia or Colombia. It means ethno-linguistic people groups like the Ansari in India, the Arain in Pakistan, the Uygher in China and the Fulani of Nigeria.
So we encourage congregations to develop a strategy to become more intentional about resourcing the cross-cultural work with funds and with people.
The strategy serves as the roadmap to get from where they are presently to that place of greater intentionality and impact.
However, in order for a map to be of any kind of a useful tool for charting a course, there are two critical pieces of knowledge that we must possess. The first is the knowledge of where we wish to go, that destination to which we wish to go. That’s usually quite obvious if we have taken the time to think it through. The second piece of knowledge that we must possess is perhaps less obvious and less simple to attain; where we are presently. Think about it. You cannot plot a course from point A to point B unless you can find both point A and point B on the map. And it’s been our experience that point A is the more difficult point to get correct.
Perhaps you have had this experience. You are playing a round of golf and as occasionally happens, you hit your driver off the tee and lose sight of the ball. You have an idea of the general area where it landed. And so you strike out to where you think your ball should be. You look and look, gradually moving further and further away from the spot you thought it should be in ever widening circles until you find the ball much closer to the tee than you thought it went. You were sure it went 230 yards, but it actually only went 185.
I think it is a universal principle that we estimate our progress to be further than it actually is, we estimate our drives to be longer than they are and we estimate our value to be greater than it really is. So how can we be more accurate in determining what our Point A actually is?
What follows are 19 questions to help us determine where Point A really is. These questions are designed for Pastors and church leaders, but any church member can find the questions helpful. So give them a go.
So how did you do? We would love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below. And, if you feel it is appropriate, please share this blog post with your pastor and church leaders. We really do want to see congregations become more intentional about their role in world evangelization.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14
Are you perfectly content where you are right now? Or are you the individual that is unsure about what they should do with their life? No matter which one you are, or if you are a mixture of both….You should consider being a missionary.
It may not be the path you thought you would take, and honestly, it’s not what a lot of people see themselves doing.
You probably have a set picture in your mind of what you want your life to look like. Maybe getting married, kids on the way, the white picket fence, and a puppy running around? Or maybe there is another picture in place, either way, the truth is… being a missionary is more than just giving your life to God in order to see Him do amazing things. It’s a decision that every Christian should at least consider.
God’s Heart Lies Amongst the Ruins
Have you ever prayed this prayer: “God, break my heart for what breaks yours”?
Well, let me tell you something, God’s heart breaks for those who are lost and hurting. His heart hurts for the ones that don’t know Him, and have no one to tell them the glorious truth.
Jesus once said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40) The “least of these” are those who are alone; the ones that no one wants to be around. The ones that are still out there waiting for you to come and be their friend.
Have you ever heard that song, “Do Something” by Matthew West? (I really encourage you to listen to it.) The song starts off with the things that are wrong with this world; it talks about the hurt, the pain, the disgusting attributes that give you a sick feeling in your stomach. Then a question is asked, probably one that we have all asked at one point in our lives: “God why don’t You do something?” The response? “I did… I created YOU.”
There is a lot of hurt in this world, and we can’t go on believing that someone else will fix it, especially when God created you to be able to do amazing things. Being a missionary allows you to serve God while serving others. It’s an act of laying down our lives so that the Lord can work in us and through us.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. — John 15:13
Your Calling Awaits
According to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), if you are a follower of Christ, you are called to go.
How would life look if all Christians went like God commands us to? How amazing would it be to have Christians step out in faith and say, “God, I’m going to go unless You stop me”? So many people claim that God couldn’t want them to go because He blessed them right where they are, but that’s not always the case.
Loren Cunningham once said, “You’re either a missionary or a mission field.”
Although it seems like such a simple statement, there is so much weight in it. If you are a Christian, you’re called to being a missionary. If you are not, then you are the mission field that the missionaries should be pursuing.
There’s Still a Need For More Missionaries
Consider this assessment from the Traveling Team.
“If everyone is obeying God’s “calling” to be a missionary wherever they are then God is calling 99.9995% of people to work among the 44.3% of the world population that already has the gospel, and calling virtually no one (.0005%) to relocate among the other 55.7% of the world population that are not Christian. You have a better chance of being in a plane crash than being one of the few missionaries to the unreached out of the total 2 billion Christians in the world.
In light of God’s word, this seems unfathomable and it appears to be almost complete disobedience on the part of the Church worldwide to go make disciples of all the nations. Financially we are hoarding 99.99% of our income to ourselves and what little is given is mostly directed toward reached people groups.
The current status quo is to do virtually nothing to reach the UPG’s of the world. The percentages of man-power and money focused on UPG’s are almost undetectable they are so small. The amount of resources that fall off the Christian table for unreached peoples is more comparable (I Googled it…) with the number of skin cells you lose over a month’s time: something hardly worth calling a sacrifice of the body.”
God isn’t simply calling those who are on the field, now, but countless others that allow other things to get in the way of this call. Maybe it’s their job, or their family, or making money. There are so many people who allow the short time on earth to consume their eternity. Being a missionary is all about humbling yourself before God, offering Him your all, and surrendering your life to Him.
Yes, it is a large sacrifice. Of course, it’s hard to do; but, think of all the things that God did for you. He made you. Loved you. Held you when you rejected Him. Died for you. Cared about you. God changed your life, isn’t the least you could do is allow Him to work through you to do that for others?
“Any church not involved in the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.” — Oswald J. Smith
It’s NOT About You
This life isn’t about you; you are simply the one who is living it.
Max Lucado says it best when He says, “God does not exist to make a big deal out of us. We exist to make a big deal out of Him. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about Him.”
So many people seem to believe that this life is a possession that belongs to them, but that’s not the truth. Your life belongs to God. He has a set path for you to follow, but a multitude of things have gotten in the way of this idea.
Your life is not your own. It’s an instrument that God blessed you with.
“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” — C.T. Studd
Every aspect of your life points back to God—or at least it should. We live in a world that is doing a better job of loving people than the church is, and it’s up to you to change that. The best way to do that? Keep in mind that your life is not your own and be willing to give your life to the God who changes lives and people.
I challenge you to consider being a missionary. It’s not all about what you end up doing as a missionary, or even how many people you reach, but it’s about Him and your obedience to Him.
We are Christians, called to be God’s instruments, but it seems like a lot of us like to march to the beat of our own drums. The moment you gave your life to God, you gave Him rule over every aspect of you. Don’t think about what you could lose by being a missionary, think of everything you can gain for the kingdom. Isn’t that worth it?
You might be wondering about the title of this blog, so I would like to start by defining the two key words: maniac and missionary.
A maniac can be defined as: a person exhibiting extreme symptoms of wild behavior, especially when violent and dangerous.
A missionary can be defined as: a person who crosses cultures to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
A person who is a maniac is very different from a person who is a missionary and today we are going to look at a story in the Bible that talks about a man who had this very experience of going from a maniac to a missionary.
Jesus had come to the other side of the sea, to the country of Gadarenes and immediately after He got off the boat a man with an unclean spirit was there to meet Him (Mark 5:1-2). This man could not be controlled by anyone. He was bound with shackles and chains, and he was constantly crying out and cutting himself with stones (Mark 5:4-5). He was being tormented by demons, who even themselves acknowledged Jesus as the Son of the Most High God (Mark 5:7).
What is interesting with this particular interaction of Jesus with someone who was demon possessed, was that Jesus actually had an extended conversation with the leader of the band of demons (Legion). Usually, Jesus would immediately cast out demons but we see some conversation here as they all beg Jesus to send them into the pigs (Mark 5:12).
Jesus goes on to give permission for the demons to enter into the pigs and they run violently down the steep place into the sea, and they drowned (Mark 5:13).
The man was now free, he was no longer bound, he was clothed, and in his right mind. After an encounter with Jesus, He went from being a maniac to a missionary (Mark 5:15).
Jesus instructed the man to go home and tell others the great things that the Lord had done for him (Mark 5:19) and as he began to proclaim all that Jesus had done, the people marveled at what they heard (Mark 5:20).
Let`s be encouraged by this story. God can take the worst situation and turn it into something that is so beautiful and meaningful. We can sometimes make excuses about why we don`t think God can use us for His purposes. Having this mentality can actually prevent us from becoming all that God has created us to be. It`s not about our qualifications or even our strengths. It`s about God working in and through us to accomplish His plans. He is God and only He can transform a person`s life radically.
As Christians, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ is something we are all called to do (Matthew 28:18-20). Are you called to be a missionary? You can read this previous blog series to help answer that question in your own life.
We also have some other great blogs to help you learn more about missions: Accessible Missions Education, Not Just an Ordinary Trip, Four Myths about Missions Strategy, and Missions Vision Near and Far.
God is passionate about missions and He has a heart for missions. Jesus Himself came to teach us one of the most important things: to spread the gospel. And we are all called to do that.
While you may not be able to go on a missions trip for one reason or another, there are other ways that you and I can help support missions. One very important way is to be praying for our missionaries. They need our constant prayer. Here is a guide to help you with some specific prayer points.
Have you been on a missions trip? Please share your experience with us below. We would love to hear all about it.
Have you ever been asked to do something you felt you were not qualified or equipped to do?
I’m sure we have all felt like that at one point in life, so today we are going to talk about living our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s start by looking at God’s Word and see what the Bible says.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26)
In this passage, Jesus is promising the disciples that the Holy Spirit will come. Jesus was also preparing His disciples for when He would no longer be with them physically. The Holy Spirit would come to teach and remind them about Jesus and everything He had taught them.
This is a very important and significant promise for us today as well because we need to constantly be reminded about all that Jesus said.
So what about living through the power of the Holy Spirit? What does that mean exactly?
We must first realize that we cannot do anything through our own power or strength. We need to live our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.
“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)
Our might and our power gets weak and tired, so as children of God we need to remember that we cannot do it on our own strength. When we choose to be obedient to God’s Word, we start to see a wonderful move of God happening.
Let’s look at 3 things that happen when we choose to be obedient and live our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit:
1. The Holy Spirit helps us Pray
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)
Many times we don’t know what to pray for or how to pray. Thank God for His Holy Spirit, who helps us pray. This is such an encouragement to know that no matter how we may feel at times, we always have the Holy Spirit to help us.
2. The Holy Spirit comforts us
“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” (Acts 9:31)
God comforts us through His Holy Spirit. We all go through different challenges and seasons in our lives and we need to be comforted. We can always be assured that God will never leave or forsake us, and that He will give us great comfort. Let us be encouraged by this today and let us also encourage someone else.
3. The Holy Spirit leads us to a life of righteousness
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)
The Holy Spirit sanctifies and enables us to bear good fruit. It’s a constant battle between our flesh and the Spirit, but as we surrender to the Holy Spirit and allow sanctification to occur, we begin to start bearing good fruit and our desires change, which then changes our behaviors and actions.
Connection to Missions
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
It’s not by our own might or power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. We need power from God especially when we are reaching out to others. The Holy Spirit helps us to pray for others, reminds us of God’s Word which is truth, and enables us to be patient with others, and to love, forgive, and be kind to them. These things are sometimes not easy to do with some people, but we need to remember that it’s not by our own doing and in our own strength; it’s through the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Let’s be encouraged to live our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. At OMS Canada, we have wonderful missionaries who have been obedient and committed to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. They need our constant prayers, encouragement, and support. Please click here to learn more about them and how you can offer your support.
“May the Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)
A seminary professor says that when he teaches on the Great Commission, he often begins by asking the students what is Jesus’ primary emphasis in the Great Commission. Typically, most students reply that evangelism is the main focus. Then he asks them to read the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20, after which he asks his question a second time. The students quickly see that although the Great Commission includes a call to evangelism, it doesn’t actually contain the word evangelism. What the students come to understand through more careful study of the Great Commission is that Jesus’ main focus is on making disciples.
So, while making disciples certainly does include evangelism, it is by no means limited to evangelism. The sort of disciple-making to which Jesus commissions the church involves much more, including baptism and teaching. Simply put, if we have only evangelized a people or a nation or a congregation, we have not been obedient to the fullness of the Great Commission.
In addition to evangelism, Jesus provided us with specific instructions that we are to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and that we are to teach people to obey everything that He commanded us.
Plus, if we have only evangelized, baptized and received a person into church membership, then we have not been obedient to the fullness of the Great Commission. Both baptizing and teaching are the ministry of the local church around the world, and this is why the local church sends people out to make disciples. As missionaries, preachers and teachers we go to all nations to plant, equip and disciple the church of Jesus Christ. We are called not simply to evangelize and move on, which it seems that many Canadian evangelical churches consider the extent of their Great Commission responsibility. We are called to stay on course and to do the hard work of teaching Jesus’ disciples to obey all that He commanded, including the command to go and make disciples of all nations.
The Great Commission is a call for the church to be the church and to do the work of the church by making disciples of all nations. And we must remember that Jesus never called it the Great Commission. It is indeed a great commission, but it is a beautifully ordinary commission that we have the great privilege of fulfilling in part as we gather together with every people, tongue, tribe and nation to worship with our families every Lord’s Day. Then we partake of and bear witness to the ordinary means of grace in the building up of the church in the preaching of the Word, growing as disciples and learning from the Scriptures to obey every command given by Jesus. Then we enjoy the communion of the saints in communion with God in prayer, observe baptism in the name of the triune God, and partake regularly of the Supper that our Lord provides at His table. This is the extraordinarily great and greatly ordinary work of the church being faithful to the faithfulness of the Great Commission.
So don’t think that the Commission is so great that it is beyond you. If you are a part of the church, then it is for you. Discipleship is the engine that drives the purposes of God on the earth, whether you are in Edmonton or Edirne, Hanoi or Hamilton, Montreal or Malang.
So, please tell us; what is your experience with the Commission of Jesus? Were you discipled? Are you making disciples? Does that discipleship include the element of obedience to everything Jesus commanded?
Leave a comment and let us know.
The word spread can be defined as: the development or growth of something so that it covers a larger area or affects a large number of people.
As we live in this time of pandemic with the coronavirus, we know that it has spread globally. It is something that has changed all of our lives and something we will never forget. We are being advised to stay at home and only go out for essential reasons, we are not able to gather at church, and the list goes on.
Although this pandemic has caused so much impact in everyone’s lives in a drastic way, let’s be reminded that it will also eventually come to an end. I am not saying that in an ignorant way of those who have lost their lives or jobs or those who are infected. There have been other pandemics and they have ended so this one will also come to an end. Different pandemic but same miracle-working God.
As children of God let’s be reminded of things that are even more powerful and are of eternal value. These have miraculous power and do not come to an end. Let’s talk about these today.
As we reflect on the life of Jesus, let's be reminded and encouraged of what Jesus was constantly spreading when He was here on Earth.
Let's look at 3 things today:
1 Corinthians 13:13
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Everything that Jesus did, was always done out of love. It didn't matter who He encountered, He always displayed Love.
He was always spreading Love. This Love still has power today and will always have power.
Are we expressing our love to God and others?
Even with the social distancing requirements, we can still spread love to others. We can call someone or message them to encourage them or even make them laugh. We can pray with other believers which I am so thankful we have been able to do through technology. It is truly a blessing and an encouragement.
2- The Gospel
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
This is a wonderful verse that demonstrates the importance of spreading the gospel- not only to certain people- to all creation.
Wherever Jesus went, He shared the gospel. Not only did He share it but He shared it with authority, power, and love.
The Gospel brings salvation, truth, and it never fails. God's Word is always accurate and without fault and it will always be.
If you’ve heard the news lately, sometimes there are reports that are slightly inaccurate, etc. This is understandable and obvious as people make mistakes. Thank God the Gospel is always accurate and we can fully trust everything that God has said to us.
1 Corinthians 15:57
"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Jesus constantly displayed victory over and over again. People were miraculously healed and transformed. People were set free from sin and helplessness and so much more.
Today, we still have these same victories through Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let's ask ourselves today what we are spreading....
Maybe we are watching the news too much and therefore spreading what is being reported. I'm not saying to be ignorant and not watch the news. Let's be wise and informed but let's not let the news dominate our tvs and households.
More than ever, the world needs us to be strong, but not in our own strength. Victory brings us hope. Let’s not forget how far God has brought us and the past victories we have experienced. The victories will continue to spread and God will get all of the glory.
Let's be an encouraging voice that prays, hopes, believes, and keeps moving forward because God is with us and God is for us.
Let's spread the love of Jesus.
Let's spread the gospel which is the truth.
Let's spread this victory which we firmly have in Jesus.
Let’s spread what Jesus spread.
“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”
Connection to Missions
By God's grace, One Mission Society unites, inspires, and equips Christians to make disciples of Jesus Christ, multiplying dynamic communities of believers around the world. Our desire is to declare God’s glory among the nations.
This is what we are spreading and our prayer is that God would continue to be pleased as He uses this ministry for His glory. Click here for some FAQ where you can learn more about us.
What have you been spreading?
How have you remained encouraged during these times?
We would love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below.
In this week’s blog post, we are considering the habit or discipline of evangelism. In past posts, we have considered Bible intake, prayer and worship.
If you have not seen these posts yet, go ahead and click on the following links to catch up:
And remember that the primary motivation for these spiritual habits or disciplines is taken from Paul’s instruction to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:7, where he says, exercise or discipline yourself toward godliness. This applies to us just the same today and makes it clear that, if we wish to be godly, it will take work, discipline, and exercise. Just as an athlete, musician, or artist must exercise disciplined practice to become more proficient at their chosen field, so a disciple must exercise disciplined practice in these activities as means’ of grace to become more proficient at being godly. That is to say that, as we become more disciplined in the practice of these habits, more of God’s grace is available to us which will change us.
Only the joy of being lost in the worship of God is as exhilarating and intoxicating as telling someone about Jesus Christ. And those who do embrace this habit or discipline report that some of the most rewarding times have been during missions trips when they have done nothing but talk about Jesus, on the streets and in homes, with one individual or group after another, all day long. I can put you in touch with several MFM team members who will tell you that this is true.
Yet, nothing causes more foot-shuffling eye-shifting anxiety among disciples like talking about our responsibility to evangelize. I know many believers who are confident that they are obedient in the area of Bible intake, giving, or serving, but I don’t think I know of a single person who would say, “I am as evangelistic as I should be.”
What I want us to see is that godliness requires that we discipline ourselves in the habit of evangelism. I’m convinced that the main reason that most of us do not witness for Jesus in ways that would be effective and relatively fear-free is simply that we do not discipline ourselves to do it.
Evangelism is expected
Most of us reading this post will not need convincing that Jesus expects each of us to be involved in sharing the gospel with those around us. Because there are many methods of evangelism, it is not expected that believers would all do it the same, but He does expect all disciples to be fishers of men.
What do I mean by evangelism? It is always good to make sure that we are all on the same page in terms of what we are talking about and having a common understanding of the terms will help us understand what is being said.
Evangelism is presenting Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit to unbelievers so that they might come to put their trust in God through Him, to receive Him as their Saviour, and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His church.
More concisely, we could say that all New Testament evangelism is communicating the gospel. Anyone faithfully relating the essential elements of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ is evangelizing. Evangelism occurs whether the words of the gospel are spoken, written, sung, or recorded.
Jesus has commanded us to witness. Consider these five references:
And consider this final exhortation from Peter. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) I think that we usually view this reference in terms of establishing the priesthood of all believers. But we may also identify it as one that challenges each of us to a kind of prophet-hood of all believers. God expects each of us to “proclaim the excellencies” of Jesus Christ.
Evangelism is empowered
So, if it is so obvious that we are to evangelize, why do almost all western Christians seem to be disobedient?
Some may think they need a lot of specialized training to witness effectively. They might be afraid to speak about Jesus until they are confident in their knowledge of the Bible and/or their ability to deal with every potential question or objection.
Think about the blind man that Jesus healed in John 9. What if he had felt this way? Would he ever have felt ready to witness to the hoity-toity Pharisees? No way! And yet, within hours or minutes of receiving his sight he gave a compelling witness to his new reality; “He put mud on my eyes and I washed, and I see.” “Once I was blind, but now I can see!”
Sometimes we may be afraid that if we speak about Jesus that people will think we are strange and reject us. And for many, this will probably be true. Jesus told us that this would be the case in at least some of our interactions with unbelievers. But it is not a good reason to do nothing.
Another reason for inaction might be the fear of not being successful in witnessing. So, what exactly does it mean to be successful at witnessing? When the person you are witnessing to comes to Christ? I mean that’s what we want to see, isn’t it? But if we measure evangelistic success only in terms of conversions, does this make Jesus or Paul or the other apostles unsuccessful when many people rejected what they preached? Obviously not. So we also are not failures. We will not be held to a higher standard.
We need to learn that sharing the gospel is successful evangelism. Certainly, we should also be passionate for souls, and plead with God to see more people saved, but ultimately only God can produce the fruit of evangelism called conversion. We are like the postal service. They measure success by the careful and accurate delivery of the message, not by the response of the recipient. Whenever we share the gospel accurately and clearly, we have succeeded. In the truest sense, all biblical evangelism is successful evangelism, regardless of the results.
Remember this; the power of evangelism is the Holy Spirit. From the instant that He indwells you, He gives you the power to witness. Jesus made this very clear in Acts 1:8 when He said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Jesus expects evangelism from every Christian because the Holy Spirit has been given to empower every Christian to evangelize. All believers have been given the power to be witnesses of Jesus Christ.
Not only is the witness empowered by the Holy Spirit, but the very gospel we share is also embedded with the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul said in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” This is why people can be converted whether they hear a teenage teacher at VBS share the gospel, or a seminary trained PhD; whether they read it in a book by a scholar like CS Lewis or a simple gospel tract. The gospel is empowered by God. Therefore your evangelism is empowered.
We can be confident that some will believe if we will faithfully and diligently share the gospel. Abundant gospel sowing is our responsibility. And the seed we sow, the gospel, is empowered by God Himself.
Evangelism is a habit or a discipline
While evangelism is a natural overflow of the Christian life and every Christian needs to be able to talk about what God has done for him or her and what He means to him or her, it is also a discipline in that we must discipline ourselves to get into situations where evangelism can occur. We must not just wait for witnessing opportunities to happen.
Jesus told us in Matthew 5:16 to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” The implication is that you will be in a place where this light can be seen.
Again, I think the main reason we don’t witness is that we simply do not discipline ourselves to do it. Yes, there may be those unplanned or unexpected opportunities that God brings our way to give a reason for the hope we possess (1 Peter 3:15). But I still believe and contend that unless we make evangelism a discipline or a habit, most Christians will seldom share the gospel.
So let’s make evangelism a discipline and a habit. Let’s all become recipients of the soul-winners crown.
Since evangelism is expected, will you obey the Lord and be a witness?
Since evangelism is empowered, will you believe that God can use your words in the salvation of others?
Since evangelism is a discipline, will you plan for it?
Without discipline, our best evangelistic intentions often go unspoken. May we discipline ourselves to live so that we can say with the apostle Paul, “I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:23 ESV)
As evangelicals, we all understand that the lost need to be saved.
Jesus came into the world to seek and to save the lost. And, as the Father sent the Son, so the Son sends us.
This process is built on the understanding that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and it is at the heart of what the church is to be doing both at home and cross-culturally.
But have you ever thought about what sin is, really? I mean, we talk about it pretty easily, but, really, what is sin? How would you define sin to someone who has neither the religious language nor background?
The most extensive treatment of sin in the Bible is found in Romans 1–3. And even when the word isn’t used, we know that is what Paul is dealing with because when he comes to summarize it he says, “What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin” (Romans 3:9). And he leaves no doubt about his conclusion in the next verse: “None is righteous, no, not one” (verse 10) and in verse 12, “No one does good, not even one.”
So we back up then to Romans 1 in search of the essence of sin. By essence I mean: What’s at the bottom of it? What makes all sinful actions sinful? What is wrong with us at our core that gives rise to so many different kinds of evil?
This question is making an assumption that sin is more than simply what we do. It is an attempt to go beneath our doing to a root or a condition.
The reason for going beneath our doings to a root of sin is because Paul does. And he does so not incidentally but vigorously and forcefully. Paul sees that the essence or the root all sinning is a presence, a force, in us, part of who we are, called sin. For example, in Roman 7:8 he says, “Sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness.”
Now everyone agrees that covetousness is a sin. “Thou shalt not covet” (Exodus 20:17). It’s a sin in the heart. A heart-sin that might produce outward sinning like stealing. But notice, Paul says, “Sin produced covetousness.” Well, covetousness is sin. Right. And so there is a sin beneath sin that produces sin. That’s what I want to see. I want to know at the root what is wrong with me.
What is at the bottom of all my evils? And all the evils in the world?
Let’s go to Romans 1 and start with verse 18, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Here humanity in general is described as “ungodly and unrighteous.” John says in 1 John 5:17, “All unrighteousness is sin.” Therefore, we are talking about sin here. In addition, Paul chooses to talk about it first in terms of ungodliness and unrighteousness.
Now, the first thing he says about it is that is that it causes people to suppress the truth. Sin repels the light of truth and runs to the darkness of falsehood. Jesus said that we are guilty sinners not because we are victims of the darkness but because we are lovers of the darkness. John 3:19, “Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light.” Sin by nature inclines and empowers us to suppress the truth.
What truth particularly does sin hate? The next verse tells us (Romans 1:19). The reason we know that men suppress the truth is “Because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” Knowledge of God is repulsive to sin. So, Paul says, when this knowledge is suppressed, we have no excuse. Why? Verses 20–21: “So they are without excuse. For [because] although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or give thanks to Him.”
So the root of suppressing the knowledge of God is the desire to avoid glorifying and thanking God. Sin does not love to glorify God. Sin does not love to thank God. Sin hates glorifying God and thanking God. That’s what “ungodly” meant in verse 18. In “ungodliness and unrighteousness,” he said, we suppress the truth — namely, the truth that God is infinitely worthy of glory and thanks from our hearts. Sin hates that and therefore suppresses that truth.
But sin is not just a hater. Sin is a lover. When the hated truth is suppressed, the loved lie is embraced. This is described over and over in the rest of chapter 1. Look at verse 22–23: “Claiming to be wise, they (that is, those who suppress the truth and have darkened hearts) have became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images.” They don’t just bury truth; they embrace alternative lovers. There’s no vacuum. When the real God is rejected, images are embraced. They “exchanged the glory of God for images.” Sin hates the real God and loves his God-substituting images.
Is this the root of sinning? Now, if there ever was an age devoted to images, it is our age. We spend most of our leisure time looking at images. Watch how Paul describes now the relationship between this exchange, this suppressing of true God and this embracing of replacement gods—the relationship between that, and the outpouring of sinning in the world.
Verse 24: “Therefore [because of this exchange in verse 23] God gave them up in the lusts [desires] of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves.” Because of the exchange of verse 23, God goes hands off and godlessness and unrighteousness of the human heart goes unrestrained into sinning.
So here is a working definition of sinning: Sinning is any feeling or thought or speech or action that comes from a heart that does not hallow or treasure God above everything else. The bottom of sin, the root of all sinning, is this kind of heart — a heart that prefers anything above God, a heart that does not hallow or treasure God over all other persons and all other things.
This would be a more descriptive way to quantify what sin really is:
The glory of God not honoured.
The holiness of God not reverenced.
The greatness of God not admired.
The power of God not praised.
The truth of God not sought.
The wisdom of God not esteemed.
The beauty of God not treasured.
The goodness of God not savoured.
The faithfulness of God not trusted.
The promises of God not believed.
The commandments of God not obeyed.
The justice of God not respected.
The wrath of God not feared.
The grace of God not cherished.
The presence of God not prized.
The person of God not loved.
This is the essence of what it means to hallow the name of God. When you pray the Lord’s Prayer and you make the request that God cause His name to be hallowed, you are praying that, all over the world, and in every tongue, tribe, people and nation, there would be people who hallow and treasure God above all things and find their eternal joy in the Him alone.
And this really is the task of missions, to make disciples of all nations who hallow and treasure God above all things and find their eternal joy in Him alone.
How do you treasure God above all things? Feel free to comment below. We would love to hear about your experiences.
“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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Oh sure, I support missions. I send in a cheque every month, or I have a recurring donation come out of my account every month. What more is there? Have a look at this list and be challenged to do more.
Your missionaries need so much more than just your financial support.
Have you ever wondered what to talk about with a missionary that visits your church or that comes for a meal at your home? Good questions are the fuel to a great conversation. They are the door by which you can discover who a person really is.
You may have thought, “I don’t really have much in common with these missionaries. They live in a foreign country and do something I would never dream of doing.” Or maybe you think that missionaries get tired of answering questions. However, the truth is that most of them are excited to talk about the people and country they love.
If you have ever thought any of these things before, then here are some great questions to ask next time you are with a missionary.
Ask about their calling
1. How did God lead you to become a missionary?
2. What did you do before you were a missionary?
3. What advice would you give somebody who have felt that God may be leading him or her to become a cross-cultural missionary?
Ask about their country
4. How would you describe your neighbours and the people that live in your town?
5. What were some of the biggest adjustments and challenges you had to make when you started living in your place of service?
6. What do you miss most from Canada while you are on the field? What do you miss most from your country while you are in Canada?
7. How do people in your country view Canada? What are some cultural differences or barriers that you have had to overcome?
Ask about their work
8. What is the best part about being a missionary? What are some of your favorite things you get to do in your work?
9. What does your typical week look like?
10. What are some of your biggest victories from the past year?
11. What were some of your biggest challenges during the past year?
12. What are some of your big goals and desires for your future ministry?
13. How can people and churches here in Canada better help your work?
Find out who they are
14. Tell me a funny story about something that has happened to you as a missionary.
15. Have you read any books that have been particularly helpful to you? Do you listen to any podcasts or preachers that are an encouragement to you?
16. What is one of the most encouraging things somebody has done for you while you were on the field?
17. How is your family doing?
18. What are some activities that you like to do as a hobby or to relax?
Find out what you can do for them
19. How can I pray for you? If the setting permits, ask to pray with the missionary that very moment. Surprisingly, there have been very few occasions that people have done this for us, and yet we deeply appreciate it. It is powerful to have people not just pray for you, but with you.
20. Is there something I can do to help your family right now or while you are on the field? Again, you may be amazed at the response to this question. Most times the needs are very simple – getting to do a load of laundry, mailing a small package, or recommending a good place to take their kids for the afternoon.
You may be surprised. The more you talk with a missionary, the more you may find out that they enjoy many of the same things you do. They may share similar struggles with you. They may be more like you than you thought at first glance.
So the next time you are with missionaries, don’t hesitate. Go talk with them, Your thoughtful questions just may open the door to a terrific conversation, an encouraging moment, and even a new friendship.