God is seeking men and women of reckless faith today...to be reckless in your faith does not mean to be unthinking, but the reverse - concentrated, single-minded in your concern that God should be glorified and souls won.
The bottom line in mission work is people work... loving them, serving them and helping them become strong disciples of Jesus.
The Great Commission is more than a call for you or me to leave where we are and go somewhere else. There is of course a great need for people to go, but there is a greater need for each of us to take up our own responsibility as part of the church's response to the Great Commission; to be personally involved in it whatever our particular role may be.
After failure, do you sometimes feel you have missed plan A for your life? If you do, then thank God for His sovereignty and the reality of Romans 8:28: We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Plan B or C can be just as great as plan A. You may think that you have made a lot of mistakes and taken a lot of wrong turnings in your life. Perhaps you feel you are on plan F or G. I say, Praise God for a big alphabet and press on! No matter how many heartbreaks, disappointments and difficulties there may be, we need to keep a positive, grace-awakened attitude and keep moving forward in our response to the call of Jesus to be His witnesses throughout the world.
I am sure that God is already using many of you more than you realize. Be aware of the subtleties of putting yourself down in an unbiblical way, just as I am sure you would beware of allowing yourself to be puffed up. Be aware that God is doing great things in the world today. He is working through older churches, newer churches, older agencies and newer agencies in an exciting way. God's unity is certainly in the midst of diversity, but meanwhile we need a greater biblical, compassionate strategy for releasing finance. At the same time, we need the highest level of reality and integrity in all our fund raising.
One of the greatest ways to stay on the cutting edge of world missions, is to be involved in evangelism yourself, especially with people from other lands who may live right in your midst. Beware of the struggles you will face as you launch into this: there will be failure; there will be disappointments. But remember that disappointment in evangelism can often be God's appointment to teach us something greater and something better. We have to stand against the fiery dart of discouragement. I have wrestled with this all my Christian life. God's grace is sufficient. Great biblical, mountain-moving faith does not happen without doubts, struggles and discouragement or even sin. It happens in the midst of those things. When we claim the cleansing of the precious blood of Christ, renew ourselves through the work of the Holy Spirit and come back to the cross, He will enable us to obey His commission to take the gospel to others.
What we need are tasks in which we can see a combination of the "possible" and the "impossible". We want to be filled with faith and be realistic.
God can use anyone who loves Jesus.
Prayer is at the heart of the action and a world-wide prayer movement must run parallel with any kind of world-wide mission movement.
We need a constant work of the Holy Spirit. I often tell the story about D L Moody who would emphasize the need to be filled with the Spirit again and again. One day when asked, "Mr. Moody why do you keep saying we have to be filled again and again?" he replied, "because I leak". Thank God for free refills.
You do have to be aware of the needs and opportunities throughout the world as you consider your own future.
This is a challenge to consider seriously your own
personal response to the command and the
promise of Jesus in the Great Commission.
You are called to make a decision.
If you are discouraged by your "humanness" in the face of the Great Commission, overwhelmed and paralyzed by the size of the challenge then consider for a moment Paul's approach to his weakness expressed in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10. We tend to forget that however filled with the Spirit we may be, there is still the human factor. We are ordinary people who struggle, make mistakes and have weaknesses. I have become more and more convinced that God fills and uses different types of people, many of whom may not look very promising by normal standards.
Whether you make
shoes or microchips,
God can use you.
Without faith and love your Christianity
will be a hollow thing, no matter what
its intellectual credibility.
The Great Commission is more than a call for you or me to leave where we are and go somewhere else. There is of course a great need for people to go but there is a greater need for each of us to take up our own responsibility for the church's response to the Great Commission; to be personally involved in it whatever our particular role may be.
A missions mobiliser is a Christian who not only wants to get involved in evangelism and missions work but who wants to get other people involved as well.
Wisdom and discernment are essential as we consider
taking action on missions. A. W. Tozer said that the greatest
gift we need in the church today is the gift of discernment.
This sometimes comes like a supernatural lightning bolt,
but more often as we become saturated with scripture
C.S. Lewis said that we have the tendency to think, but not to act and to feel, but not to act. If we go on feeling and thinking, but not acting, then one day we will be unable to act.
People overreact to extremism and end up in the deep freeze of tradition, judgementalism, legalism, dead orthodoxy and inaction.
If at this moment you are not walking with God and doing God's will, then you are in fact hindering God's great program.
There are four warnings that I often give to people who are considering missionary work. Firstly your heart will be broken many times and you will face many disappointments. Secondly you will face financial pressures, battles and problems and also a wide range of differences of opinion on life-style and how money should be spent. Thirdly you will discover that it is sometimes relatively easy to get started on a project but unbelievably hard to keep it going and at the same time keep the loyalty of the people with whom you are working. Fourthly you will discover that roots of bitterness can come in very easily in Christian work, which sometimes, due to satanic opposition, can be more difficult and complex than in secular work, especially when money and other motivating forces are absent. This is not intended to be discouraging. There will also be, of course, blessings and joy over breakthroughs in answer to prayer. Missions work can mean a lot of fun. Many of the missionaries I know are grace-awakened people who know how to get the most out of their lives. Keeping a balance though between faith goals and unrealistic expectations is part of the process of counting the cost.
We need to learn how to agree to disagree and get on with the basic living out of the Christian life, mobilising people for missions and presenting the gospel to the whole world.
Consider Mexico City moving towards the 25 million population mark; India now has over 1 billion people and China over 1.3 billion. Consider the population explosion in the Muslim world, such that soon one in six people in the world will be Muslim. Then put alongside these facts the estimated 200,000 Christian missionaries in the world. Not only are the raw numbers daunting, but so is the fact that there are many people groups in the world where there are no, or very few, Christian missionaries. Many of these people groups are in the 10/40 Window.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon