Friday, February 29, 2008

Until All Have Heard

People. They are everywhere. They are tall and short; fat and skinny; fed and starving; sheltered and homeless; clean and filthy; well and sick, dark and light; rich and poor; evangelized and lost. And they are ALL eternal.

Definition: people group- A people group is a collection of people who share a common culture, language and sense of identity.

According to the Joshua Project there are 27,000 cataloged people groups in the world. (Read this article for more info!) This is a high number based on all of the following distinctions that a people group could possess:

  • Language / Dialect
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Caste
  • Culture
  • Education
  • Politics
  • Ideology
  • Historical enmity
  • Customs
  • Behavior
Definition: language-1. a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition, 2. Communication of thoughts and feelings through a system of arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols.

There are 6,912 know languages in the world. The International Bible Society states that the Bible has only been translated into 392 languages. That means 6,520 people groups do not have God's Word in their heart language. Some may be able to read a cousin translation or a second langauge, but that would be like an American reading a Spanish Bible. It is not the same.

Definition: missions- to make God known where He has not been previously known. There are two types of missions- 1. local (sharing the gospel with your own people) and 2. cross-cultural (sharing the gospel with someone of another culture).

The end of Romans 10 is one of the hallmark "missions" passages of the Bible. There are many more (like Jesus' command in Matthew 28), but a few verses in Romans 10 are key! Paul is writing with a heart for HIS people, the Israelites, but the principles fit us all!

v14: How, then, can they (the 27,000 people groups of 6.1 billion individuals worldwide) 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?

v17: Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ (the Bible is the Word of Christ and 6,520 languages lack the Word!).

Definition: mobilization- act of assembling and putting into readiness for war or other emergency: "mobilization of the troops" (mobilize-to assemble or marshal (armed forces, military reserves, or civilian persons of military age) into readiness for active service.)

Many missions organizations have adopted the word mobilization. It is active equipping and encouraging people to get involved in spreading the gospel at home and around the world. Many people think of missions as two things-
1. going to a dangerous country and dying for Jesus
2. giving money

Those are both good and needed, but they are only a small part of what missions TRULY is. God has called all of us where we are do tell people of Jesus. If we love Him we will want others to love Him. If you are a believer then you should want to be apart of missions somehow!

Definition: method- a procedure, technique, or way of doing something, esp. in accordance with a definite plan

If we want to see all peoples come to know and love Christ then we need a plan! We need to know our own gifts, callings, limits and abilities in world missions. There are 6 ways that you can be involved:

1- Learn
2- Pray
3- Send
4- Welcome
5- Go
6- Mobilize

I am going to take 6 posts and expound on each. This is my heart because I have tasted the grace of God and I want the nations to treasure Him- through me and YOU!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Four Years Old

Four years ago today I was in the hospital. I was my mom's birthing companion/ coach. The labor was difficult, as they all are, but relatively short. Watching a baby be born is one of the most incredible things you could ever see. This may sound weird, but if you get the chance to watch a birth, do it.

And so, here he is... the funny, energetic, loveable, cuddly, four-year-old we celebrate today!


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sight Unseen Part 2

I work for OMF, right? I do payroll and taxes, right? I sit at a computer all day answering emails and making sure people get money, right?


But that's not all.

I see inside the lives of servants in East Asia that no one else gets to see. I do their taxes, for goodness sake! I answer questions about investing, remittances, stipends and W-2's. There are so many mundane things about my job from opening mail to filing. Some days I grow weary of the routine. My eyes gaze out the window longing to be the one on the field.

And then I get emails that humble me to the core-

"Happy Valentine's Day! (Not that I think that receiving our tax information will exactly make your day... but, at least we sent you something for Valentine's Day! Hooray!, as you wrote below.) Seriously, we appreciate your hard work serving our Lord and us in this way (taxes). You have freed us up today to mentor and teach Chinese seminary students! More trained and committed workers for the harvest! You helped! Thank you!"

"Thank you for taking upon yourself this relatively thankless task. I am sure
that there will be some sort of special reward for your efforts in heaven."

"Hi. I'm glad I can make you glad about doing taxes ... yeah, that does sound kind of crazy, but I know what you mean. I have about 300 prayer bulletins to send out today (maybe 14 groups, and 10 or so 'by hand' (one by one); so notes like yours encourage me to do my part here."

Can you even begin to imagine the humbling effect receiving emails like this cause? Thanks for trying, but I am sure you cannot understand. The feeling inside me is a mixture of awe, guilt, honor, humility and joy. They are thanking me for doing taxes and reminding me that it is helping do their work!!! God's redeeming nature certainly spreads to everything! Taxes=rewards in heaven!

I know it is true, I just need reminded day in and day out that what I am doing is having an eternal impact on the world, even if it is as simple as opening mail. The intense joy that brings cannot be compared to anything else! I am not working for American Family Insurance anymore where the tasks are purposeless for eternity. I am serving God with every email, with every mail opening session, with faxes and staff meetings.

The longer I work here the deeper the joy becomes. The more I understand. The more I see how valuable my part is.

So, back to taxes I go... storing up for myself treasures in heaven!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sight Unseen

"And the doors of the King are thrown wide....'

Father, forgive me for I have not believed!

I forgot your grace..."

-Caedmon's Call

Oh, oh, oh how sweet it is to be reminded of the grace God has lavished on us. How can we keep it to ourselves? How can we say that we love God and yet NEVER ever share it? We blame insecurity, we blame busyness, we blame incompetence and we deprive ourselves of the truest joy we could ever have- leading someone to Jesus.

Why don't we? Is Jesus life to us or not? Do we understand the reality of hell? Have we forgotten that there are millions hanging in the balance between life and eternal seperation from God?

And we drive our new cars. And we wear expensive clothes. And we live in plush houses. And we build elaborate churches.

And the church in India suffers as their pastors are murdered. And the believers in China are tortured for owning a Bible. And Laos Christians are burned at the stake.

Father, forgive ME...