Monday, February 24, 2014

Quotes on Missions

By Jennifer R.

The Missions Conference begins this Friday night, so our new Quotable Quotes bulletin board is sporting a set of quotes on missions. If you haven't had a chance to read them on the board, the quotes are listed below. If you don't have time to read them all right now, print them out and just read a few and discuss them at the dinner table each night this week in preparation for the conference.

When James Calvert went out as a missionary to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands, the ship captain tried to turn him back, saying, "You will lose your life and the lives of those with you if you go among such savages." To that, Calvert replied, "We died before we came here."

The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed. ~ Hudson Taylor

So, you have three possibilities in world missions. You can be a goer, a sender, or disobedient. The Bible does not assume that everyone goes. But it does assume that the ones who do not go care about goers and support goers and pray for goers and hold the rope of the goers. ~
John Piper

"I will go down, if you will hold the ropes." [his missions philosophy] ~
William Carey

"Does it not stir up our hearts, to go forth and help them, does it not make us long to leave our luxury, our exceeding abundant light, and go to them that sit in darkness?" ~
Amy Carmichael

Missions is not about “What can I spare?” The question is “What’s it going to take?” Risk. Abandon. Sacrifice. Radical dependence on Christ. Everything. Are you passionately committed to God’s glory among all peoples? ~
AsiaLink Worker

"People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives ... and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted."~
Nate Saint, missionary martyr

"We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God." ~
John Stott

"If you take missions out of the Bible, you won't have anything left but the covers" ~
Nina Gunter

"A God-centered theology has to be a missionary theology" ~
John Piper

"Missions is the overflow of our delight in God because missions is the overflow of God's delight in being God." ~
John Piper

"God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshipers 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." ~
John Piper

"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't." ~
John Piper

"We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first." ~
Oswald J. Smith

"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

"No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once." ~
Oswald J. Smith

"If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?" ~
David Livingstone

"If God would grant us the vision, the word sacrifice would disappear from our lips and thoughts; we would hate the things that seem now so dear to us; our lives would suddenly be too short, we would despise time-robbing distractions and charge the enemy with all our energies in the name of Christ." ~
Nate Saint, two weeks before he was martyred by the Aucas

"As we have a high old time this Christmas may we who know Christ hear the cry of the damned as they hurtle headlong into the Christless night without ever a chance. May we be moved with compassion as our Lord was. May we shed tears of repentance for these we have failed to bring out of darkness. Beyond the smiling scenes of Bethlehem may we see the crushing agony of Golgotha" ~
Nate Saint, two weeks before he was martyred by the Aucas

"It's not that God has a mission for his Church in the world, but that God has a Church for his mission in the world" ~
Chris Wright

O Christian! do not falter,
The harvest field is white,
And many souls are sinking
Into eternal night.
William E. Penn

”I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done for China. I don’t know who it was. It must have been a man—a well–educated man. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn’t willing. And God looked down… and saw Gladys Aylward. And God said, ‘Well, she’s willing.’” ~
Gladys Aylward

"I am ready to burn out for God. I am ready to endure any hardship, if by any means I might save some. The longing of my heart is to make known my glorious Redeemer to those who have never heard."~
William Burns

Friday, February 14, 2014

You Are His Valentine

By Jennifer R.

As I was reading Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous recently, I came across the quote below. As I considered each phrase, it almost took my breath away. Read it slowly, and mediate on the amazing truth that the God of the universe loves unlovable and undeserving people such as us!

Christ calls us His bride. Savor these truths: He desires you, pursues you, purifies and delights in you! He moved heaven and earth so He could be near you. He’s gone to get the house ready, and waits anxiously for your arrival.

If that doesn't make you feel loved, nothing will!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Fear and “Little Faith”

By Kim. M.

True confession: I often find myself afraid. I think of the classic book Hinds Feet on High Places. The main character in the book was named “Much Afraid.” Fear is often my first reaction to a change or new situation. It’s the first emotion I must usually deal with. I hate that! I hate living that way. The unknown - that which I can’t control - often acts as a catalyst for fear to rise up in me.

The Bible tells us many times over not to be anxious or afraid. This morning as I was reading in Matthew 8, I came to the story of the disciples in their boat being tossed by a violent storm. The fearful disciples woke Jesus from sleep (imagine that - able to sleep in a storm!) and cried out to Him for help. I was struck by Jesus’ words to the disciples in a desperate situation. He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?”

I have pondered that statement, turning it over in my mind. Why would Jesus say that? Jesus connected their fear with little faith. In my pondering, I thought I would see if there were any other times in the Bible where Jesus addresses fear and little faith. I discovered four situations. Each time Jesus asks about fear and anxiety and connects it with “little faith.” I am comforted by the fact that He doesn’t say “no faith;” but He does confront their “little faith.” In my search, I discovered all four of these situations have principles that apply in my life today, too.

  1. In Matthew 6:25-34 – There is anxiety over of the necessities of life. Will God provide what we need?
  2. In Matthew 8:23 - 27 – There is fear over danger: the “storms” of life that are out of my control.
  3. In Matthew 14:22-31 – There is fear to follow where Jesus is leading, the temptation to fear when I put my eyes on the surrounding circumstances rather than fixing my gaze on Jesus.
  4. Matthew 16:1-12 – There is fear when I don’t understand the greater purpose of His words and His works, when I lose the “big picture” and get bogged down in my own agenda.

In each and every one of these circumstances, those involved were afraid, worried, doubting, or anxious. And in each one of these circumstances, Jesus asks them a similar question, in some form of, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”

Oh, how often I react in exactly the same way! I worry about all the same things. And when I worry, I am tempted to take my eyes off the Savior and fix my gaze on the circumstances, to play the “what if” game, to get it ALL backwards. The truth is God does not give me grace for “what if,” but He does give me grace for “what is.” When I am afraid, I must talk to myself rather than listen to myself. I must let the truth of Scripture settle my soul and counsel my heart to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Christ says, “Do not be afraid. Do not fear. Do not be anxious.” How do I battle fear when my emotions want to rule over truth? Here’s how I counsel my heart:

  • Know. Know God…not just know about Him. A story from a dear friend of ours illustrates this truth. When Dr. Carl Wenger left to serve in the Middle East, his daughter Ann was too young to really remember him. So while he was away, Mrs. Wenger often pointed to the portrait of Dr. Wenger that hung in their home and told little Ann, “That’s your daddy.” Ann was only two years old when her daddy returned home from service, and she was not quite sure about this man in her home. In fact, a man had never spent the night in her home that she could ever remember, so after dinner Ann was quite sure it was time for him to leave. Of course, Dr. Wenger stayed the night at home. In the morning, he and Ann were the first ones up. He sat on one end of the sofa and she sat on the other. Little Ann pointed her tiny finger to the portrait on the wall and said, “That’s my daddy.” Then she looked at Dr. Wenger and looked up at the portrait… then she knew something... she knew someone... and then she said, “That’s you.” She crawled up in her daddy’s lap and in his arms! As Dr. Wenger says, “And we have had a good thing going ever since.” See, all of a sudden she didn’t just “know about” the man in the portrait, she knew him. Do I know God or do I just know about Him? Who is God? What is He like? To know God, I need to spend time with Him to learn about Him: who is says He is, what He does, what He loves. I don’t have to fear when I know God.
  • Trust. Trust that God is who He says He is and does what He says He does. Trust is a choice. Psalm 56:3 sums it up well: “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.”
  • Remember. Remember His faithfulness to all generations and recount His faithfulness in the past as recorded in Scripture and evidenced in my life.
  • Pray. Thank God for the gift of faith and pray that He will grow my “little faith.” In Mark 9:24, a father asked Jesus for healing for his son. Jesus tells the father that all things are possible to him who believes. The father cries out to Jesus, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” I find my heart echoes this same prayer – “Jesus, I do have faith; but help my ‘little faith.’” I pray that He would help my little faith to grow into a faith that is pleasing to Him.

How grateful I am for a Savior who is gentle, compassionate, and kind; one who teaches me that my name doesn’t have to be “Little Faith” or “Much Afraid”; one who meets me in my fearful, frail state and provides all I will ever need; a God who is not only present in every storm of life but who is in control of the storm; a God who is trustworthy and I can follow wherever He leads; a God who has a plan for my good and His glory. Who is like our God? Praise be to Him!