Spain or bust!

Ro 15:28 (NIV), “So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.

How amazing it is to me that Paul speaks of going to Spain. Because of the Roman empire, there was the Pax Romana, Roman Peace, which enabled people to travel in relative safety. God surely used the Roman Empire as a tool.

Evangelists, as well as everyday Christians, moved throughout the empire, spreading the good news of Jesus. The very thing that was corrupt, wicked, and built by man was used by God as a vehicle to transmit the Gospel of Jesus!

The pagan Roman empire became the Holy Roman empire because Christians shared their good news with pagans. This shows that God does change the hearts of whole nations and even empires.

God can and does use whatever He pleases for the fulfillment of His will; even us!

Photo by Calvin Hanson on Unsplash

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Deep, Mommy, Deep.

When my second oldest son was just a toddler, my wife took him to swimming classes. She wisely thought it would be good for him to know how to swim to the side of a pool in case he ever fell into one.

One day, while at the pool, he did fall in. He didn’t swim, he just sank. And, of course, he fell in the deep end of the swimming pool. He didn’t panic, but my wife said that when she rushed to pull him up, he had his eyes open and was looking up at her.

When she got him out, he turned to her and said, “Deep, Mommy, deep!” We’ve teased him about that for decades.

In today’s Bible reading I read 3rd John. It got me thinking about Christians that I don’t know and, yet, they are my brothers and sisters. As it says in 3 John 5, “Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you.” If my natural family is hurting I’m going to do all I can to help. Shouldn’t I do the same, or more, with my Christian family even if I don’t know them?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to connect with my Christian family, even if they are strangers to me. This is the heart of foreign missions. I pray you would call, provide, anoint, and bless those that hear Your call and launch out into the deep waters, to those who are your children and those that will hear, believe, and become your children. I pray they would trust you with the same child-like faith that my son had. That they would look up, trusting you to save them when they are in need. I ask this in the Name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Photo by David Perkins on Unsplash

3 Things God Won’t Do

At whatever time you are reading this, stop for a moment and look around you; if it’s possible, do a 360-degree view. You need to know something. For everything you just saw, there are three things God won’t do.

At whatever time you are reading this, stop for a moment and look around you; if it’s possible, do a 360-degree view. You need to know something. For everything you just saw, there are three things God won’t do.

  1. God won’t think for you. He gave you a brain and He expects you to use it. No doubt you just saw a lot of things that need to be done; by the way, that’s #2. However, before you work you need to think, which for many of us is work.
  2. God expects us to work. Notice I didn’t say “be employed”. My wife works her tail off but is not employed. Still, if anything is going to get done, even Hover Dam or the Golden Gate Bridge, we have to work. There are a few, but very few times God has just “made” something for someone. God’s modus operandi is you do the work.
  3. God expects you to pray.  From Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Mt. 7:7) God expects us to communicate with Him.

These are exactly what Five Williams College students determined to do in 1806, up in WilliamstownMassachusetts. Here’s the timeline of what happened: Mission timeline

  • 1806 – Original Haystack Prayer Meeting by five Williams College students
  •  1808 – Samuel Mills forms the Brethren, dedicated to spreading the message about missionary service
  • 1810 – America’s first foreign mission society, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) is formed
  • 1812 – BCFM sends its first group of five missionaries to India
  • 1819 – ABCFM sends first missionaries to Near East, including Turkey and Palestine;
  • 1830 – ABCFM sends first missionaries to China
  • 1833 – ABCFM sends first missionaries to Africa
  • 1868 – Woman’s Boards of Missions established
  • 1961 – After 150 years, the American Board had sent out nearly 5000 missionaries to 34 different fields.
  • 2006 – the 200th-anniversary celebration of the Haystack event in Williamstown

That’s the kind of thing that happens when you ask, seek, and knock with your heart’s desire is for God to help you think, work, and pray for His will to be done.

Now, do a 360-degree view, again. If God can establish a missionary society from five young guys hiding in a haystack what can He do with you where you’re at?

By John Phelan – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10712350

Look in a mirror, looking back is a missionary for Jesus.

There are five things every Christian missionary must be ready to do at a moment’s notice:

  1. Preach
  2. Teach
  3. Pray
  4. Sing
  5. Die

I was very involved with foreign missions work; For many years I worked with an independent missionary organization during which time I made a number of mission trips to Eastern Europe and lived in Romania for about six months. But, I’ve never been qualified to call myself a missionary because I can’t do one of those five requirements; I can’t sing. 🙂

One of the things you learn when you spend some time on any mission field is that God gets bigger. Well, of course, He doesn’t actually get bigger, but He draws you closer, so you see more of His greatness. You see Him in all that happens around you, to you, with you, and through you. He’s the same here in America, here right now, but if we don’t approach each day as a day on the mission field for God, then we miss all those things God does for missionaries. 

For example, today, did you crawl (or leap) out of bed and proclaim, “Today is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Today, I’m a missionary ready to preach, teach, pray, sing, or die for Jesus?” No, me either.

The Apostle Thomas was living a missionary life being taught by Jesus. We find in John 11:16: Then Thomas…said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him [Jesus].” Thomas was ready for #5 on the missionary’s list.

I’m not writing this to judge anyone; well perhaps myself. What I want to point out is that to have God’s presence so big within us that we think we are going to burst we have to change our life’s agenda.

The “Great Commission” in Matthew 28:16-20 commissions all Christians to be missionaries. So, when you look in a mirror, a missionary is looking back at you.

Kodungalloor Mar Thoma Syro-Malabar Church

BTW – You know, Thomas gets a bad rap. Yes, he doubted Jesus’ resurrection, but the other disciples also struggled with this. And, Thomas went on to die as a missionary in India. There’s a large church named in his honor, and many of the twenty-eight million Christians in India are the fruit of Thomas’ work, there.

Wikipedia: Ezharappallikal or Seven and a half Churches are the seven churches or Christian communities across the western coast of India founded by Thomas the Apostle in the first century.[1] According to Indian Christian traditions, the Apostle Thomas arrived in Kodungallur (presently in the Indian state of Kerala) in AD 50…

Photo by Carlos Ibáñez on Unsplash and Photo by Sujithvv at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15459701

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