I look forward to seeing you this Sunday. We intend to have a “practical forum” during part of the message time as we are continuing through 1 Timothy. I hope you can join us!
Instead of a normal “Corey thought for the week” and in light to last week’s “to the ends of the earth!” e-mail, the following is a clipped devotion that I read recently from a pastor named Rick Warren. It’s encouraging to me as we at LIFT- The International Church of Zug are a “living example” of international ministry that affects people both from our community of Zug and…..to the ends of the earth!
Great Commission Eyes- by Rick Warren
“If you ask me, I will give you the nations; all the people on earth will be yours.” Psalm 2:8, NCV
As we’ve been discussing, the opportunities for normal, everyday Christians to become involved in short-term international missions are now literally limitless. It’s never been easier in history to fulfill your commission to go to the whole world. The great barriers are no longer distance, cost, or transportation. The only barrier is the way we think. Your perspective and attitudes must shift – so that you develop Great Commission eyes —
Shift from local thinking to global thinking — God is a global God; he’s always cared about the entire world (“God so loved the world ….” John 3:16, KJV). From the beginning he’s wanted to call forth, from every nation, the people he created.
The Bible says, “From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and he decided when and where every nation would be. God has done all this, so that we will look for him and reach out and find him.” (Acts 17:26-27, CEV)
Much of the world already thinks globally. The largest media and business conglomerates are all multi-national. Our lives are increasingly intertwined with those in other nations as we share fashions, entertainment, music, sports, and even fast food. Probably most of the clothes you’re wearing and much of what you ate today were produced in another country. We are more connected than we realize.
These are exciting days to be alive. There are more Christians on earth right now than ever before. Paul was right: “This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours.” (Colossians 1:6, NLT)
One of the best ways to switch to global thinking is to just get up and go on a short-term mission project to another country! There’s simply no substitute for hands-on, real life experience in another culture. Quit studying and discussing your mission and just do it! I dare you to dive into the deep end.
In Acts 1:8 Jesus gave us a pattern for involvement: “You will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world.” (Acts 1:8, CEV)
His followers were to reach out to their community (Jerusalem), to their country (Judea), to other cultures (Samaria), and to other nations (everywhere in the world). Note that our commission is simultaneous, not sequential. While not everyone has the missionary gift, every Christian is called to be on a mission to all four groups in some way.
So what does this mean?
Become an Acts 1:8 Christian — Set a goal to participate in a mission project to each of the four targets: your community, your country, other cultures, and other nations. I urge you to do whatever it takes to participate in a short-term mission trip overseas as soon as possible. It will enlarge your heart, expand your vision, stretch your faith, deepen your compassion, and fill you with a kind of joy you have never experienced. It could be the turning point in your life.
Watch the news with Great Commission eyes — Wherever there is change or conflict, you can be sure that God will use it to bring people to him. People are most receptive to God when they are under tension or in transition. Because the rate of change is increasing in our world, more people are open to hearing the Good News now than ever before.
Prayer is the most important tool for your mission in the world — People may refuse our love or reject our message, but they are defenseless against our prayers. The Bible tells us to pray for opportunities to witness, for courage to speak up, for those who will believe, for the rapid spread of the message, and for more workers.
Begin praying for specific countries — World-class Christians pray for the world. Get a globe or map and pray for nations by name. Also, pray for missionaries and everyone else involved in the global harvest. Paul told his prayer partners, “You are also joining to help us when you pray for us.” (2 Corinthians 1:11, GW).
In our case in Zug, the nations of the world are coming to us!
In His grip and grace,