Christmas Gift and International Missions

October 29, 2009

Our church focuses on International Missions at Christmas time–makes sense.  At Christmas we celebrate God giving the gift of His Son.  Why not give a gift so others can know this Gift of eternal life?

This year we are taking the lead in this emphasis by offering a way to multiply our gifts.  KK and I have purchased 500 devotional books. We came up with this idea earlier in the year when I was asked to be a contributing author for this book. We believed that you might want to give someone this book as a Christmas gift.

If you would like to multiply our Christmas offering….pick one up on Sunday and throw $20.00 into the basket. This will allow us to start off our International Missions offering with $10,000 and you can give a family member or friend a leather-bound book that will encourage their walk with God during 2010. 

Although the book has a list cost of $23.00, it appears you could buy it cheaper “on sale” at LifeWay. However, you can’t multiply the gift in a better way!

Click here to check it out.

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BIG lesson on “Partnership”

October 24, 2009

 

God is giving us a great opportunity to learn more about Partnership in the Gospel. 

When Paul wrote to the Philippian Church,  he spoke of their fellowship (partnership, participation) in the Gospel (see Phil 1:5).  Because they had connected their lives to Paul, they could sense they were a part of his ministry as he poured out his life to spread the Good News of Christ.  We have new friends who are prepared to pour out their lives for the Gospel and we must connect our ministry to theirs.

This new partnership follows a path that looks like this:

Our Missionaries-in-residence, Steve and Ruth Nolen, direct an organization called Conexion 10/40.

Our relationship with Conexion 10/40 has helped us to develop a partnership with the Baptist Convention of Western Cuba  (Convención Bautista de Cuba Occidental)

Through this partnership we are able to join Cuban Baptists in sending their first two missionaries to the 10/40 Window. (if you are not familiar with the 10/40 window click here)   

Sunday, October 25th, we celebrate this partnership by welcoming the leaders of the Baptist Convention of Western Cuba in our morning services.  We will join together in thanking God for this missionary partnership.  As these first two missionaries prepare to leave for the South Asia, I pray you will understand this historic moment and rejoice in the hand of God making it happen!

God is moving us to learn more about partnership.  God is moving the Cuban Baptist to see the lost Peoples of the 10/40 Window…like never before.

This partnership helps us see the WHOLE more clearly:  The Whole Church, the Whole Gospel, The Whole World. 

We are learning more of how God intends for the People of God to partner together to reach the Peoples of the World.


Divine Appointments?

October 17, 2009

Do I really notice how God is moving the Message of Messiah? 

Am I expecting that God is at work in the lives of people I meet every day? 

Do I see His hand at work?  Do I sense Him arranging opportunities for me to be His representative?

Do I expect Him to place people in my path who need Christ? 

Do I notice the deep needs of people I  encounter?

Do I notice how God is already working in their lives?

Reading Acts 8, and the account of Phillip and the Ethiopian stretches me!  Although we are not expected to reproduce what happened to Phillip on the desert road, we can pray for our lives to demonstrate the qualities we see in him.

When true believers look at Phillip it stirs a sense of anticipation that God is at work.  We do know that He is working in the hearts of people we encounter everyday. Right? We are anticipating that God may put someone in our path…  someone like this Ethiopian who is hungry to know Jesus. Right?

Join me in asking God to:

  • Give us a burden to be His representative
  • Give  us eyes to see and ears to hear those we will encounter this week….people who have already experienced the stirring work of God in their lives
  • Give us the boldness to ask loving questions when we recognize a Divine Appointment He puts in our path

Did Anybody Cry?

October 10, 2009

 

In January of 1973, I was a busy college freshman.   

I’m not sure what I was doing on Jan 22 of that year, but I do not remember hearing a thing about the Roe v. Wade decision that forever changed our nation. 

I don’t remember a hearing single pastor speaking out.  Was the church asleep?  Perhaps some leader, in some church, paid attention to the news and cried out.  But I didn’t hear it.  Later, when I began to understand this sin of our nation, I had to ask, “Where was the church?  How did this happen?  Did anybody know what was going on?  Why didn’t the Christians grieve and cry?”

The events of this evening may not be as dramatic as the Roe v. Wade decision, but it seems that someone should say something.

Our President just finished his speech before a “human rights” dinner addressing a large crowd of citizens associated with the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgender (GLB&T) community.  Although the position he took was not unexpected, hearing his words broke my heart!   I have to go on record as one who is grieving over what happened tonight.

The man holding the highest office in our nation spoke against God’s created order.    The President said:

 “My expectation is that when you look back on these years you will look back and see a time when we put a stop against discrimination…”  He went on comparing our objections to these lifestyles to racial discrimination, moving the audience to interrupt with repeated standing ovations.

I began to weep as I a listened to our country’s leader mock God’s created order before a cheering crowd.

I cannot be silent.  My children’s children will look back on these days and ask: “where was the church?  What were the pastors saying?”  Let them hear my tears.  I am not mad—I am grieved.  My heart is heavy.     

The words of Paul echo through the chambers of my heart…

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.” (Eph 4:11-12)


Is it already happening? *

October 5, 2009

A  Great Commission Resurgence is already happening…at least that’s what I hear when I talk to the next generation of pastors.  They are passionately committed to permeating the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

This Missional movement is already taking place…it is inevitable.  It is a movement to the population centers; a movement focused on church planting; a movement to take the Gospel to the hard places and the hidden Peoples of the world.

A Great Commission Resurgence is underway…The only question is whether or not we will adjust our lives and get in on this movement or watch it pass us by.

This movement has deep theological roots.  It is driven by God’s heart for the nations and the Biblical imperatives that seek to restore the centrality of the local church.  It has a clear cry for every individual and every church to lay aside anything that will hinder… and run the race that God is putting before us.

Recently, I met with two men who are pastoring thriving churches…they are seeing lives transformed by the Gospel and their people seem to be willing to adjust their priorities to find ways to serve others.  

These pastors had many questions they wanted to ask me.  Their questions arise from a deep concern that we are stuck in the past.  They questioned the overall effectiveness of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).  And, they wanted to know if we are really willing to change….

While the gospel never changes, the world does. We must admit that the culture and opportunity of our day is entirely different than it was in the day when the SBC structure was first developed.    

I responded to these men by asking them to join us in looking to the future of the SBC and praying for genuine change.  We will, with great urgency, examine every strategy and put everything on the table.  We will adjust and refocus our effort to fulfill the stewardship God has entrusted to us.  We will find more effective ways to reach those around us, and the peoples around the world.

There is a Great Commission Resurgence already taking place.  And, by the Grace of God, we will make the adjustments necessary to get in on it.

*taken from the transcript of my video posted on  www.Pray4GCR.com