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"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Our church, on a yearly basis, gives full attention to its supported mission fields of the world, in an event which is suitably enough labeled "Missions Conference.” We go all out. The church sanctuary walls are draped with the flags of the many countries, representing the various missionaries whom we support.
Our services are dedicated to hearing updates from these missionaries, as well as their encouraging gospel-related messages. Unlike the openness of religion in America, many of our missionaries really have it tough, facing such obstacles on a daily basis that we here in America can’t imagine.
Oftentimes, we will partake of food samples from the various countries, in fellowship with the missionaries. This I really enjoy.
Throughout our Missions Conference each participant emphasized the dictates of the "Great Commission.” They were very careful to underscore that this commission was given to both the church collectively and to us Christians individually, with the mission being a faithful witness of Jesus Christ to all, as we have an opportunity. (Matthew 28:18-20) (Romans 10:9-17) It was very obvious from the content of the presentations that all our missionaries are dedicated to their life's calling.
In one of the missionaries’ message, the gentleman seemed to get upset, just seeing empty seats in the sanctuary. He just couldn't understand why there were empty seats in our free country of America, when those in his country would risk persecution, even to the point of death, for simply attending a structured church service.
Another missionary spokesman made a fervent plea for missionary field support. In reference, he read several passages from the book of Genesis describing the great patriarch Abraham's calling to move from his country to parts unknown to him at the ripe old age of seventy-five.
It was so exciting, just seeing the various missionaries from here and abroad, being able to physically interact with those whom we regularly give support. It’s so nice to put a face with a name, so to speak. It never ceases to amaze me, the faith these missionaries enjoy. If only we would have such faith. What a country, and what a life we would experience!
While sitting in the Sunday morning mission conference service, suddenly my thought processes seemed to be directed, like a pious "ton of righteous bricks" to the fact that we are not alone in God's free gospel.
Yes, we here in America oftentimes tend to get a little greedy in forgetting that our great God is the God of all the universe. Yes, we must move out of the selfish mindset.
We are not the only nationality who will be caught up in God's Rapture. (1 Cor 15: 51-54) (1 Thess 4:13-18) What an exciting time, to see all the cultures of the world suddenly appear in the air, speaking the one language, that heavenly praise and worship language to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
We Americans are not the only people that our Savior died for on that cruel cross of Calvary, (John 3:16) and we are certainly not the only ones to whom God sent His holy Comforter, the Holy Spirit. (John 14:26) (Romans 8:26-27)
All missionaries were very careful to stress that our purpose as Christians should always be the salvation of lost souls, and the edification of fellow believers, through the world-wide proclamation of the Gospel, as expressed in the shed blood and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary cross.
I thank God for our missionaries, their dedication, their faith, their courage, and their stand for the Gospel. If nothing else was gleaned from our Missions Conference, I trust that the result will be an increased zeal for the full Gospel. (1 Cor 15:1-4) The very last direction given by our Lord before His ascension (Acts 1:9-11), was that His gospel would be given to the entire earth. (Acts 1:8).
“I am also happy to be a part of a band of believers that can freely worship God and serve our community, as well as the other parts of the world through a congregational form of church government, and at the same time, remain loyal to the fundamental principles that are recorded in the Holy Scriptures, and not being unmindful of the heritage that is ours in and through the Holy Church of New Testament faith.” (Acts 2:41-47)
Why missions? Why all the importance of missions? Simply put, it is the one and only true way of getting out the gospel (1 Cor 15:1-4), be it a mission to family, to friends, to co-workers or to perfect strangers out in the public square. You see, missions are classified either as home missions or foreign missions. So we must be about the Father’s business.
To reemphasize our introductory scripture, which is known as "God's Great Commission,” in Matthew 28:18 we see the authority of our risen and exalted Lord who promised to be ever-present with His people. In Matthew 28:19 we see the one command of making disciples, which is surrounded by three principles; go, baptize, and teach. In Matthew 28:20 we see the personal and empowering presence of Jesus Christ, being with us forever.
Having grown up within the influences of all aspects of the gospel, I have always supported the mission field. However, by divine guidance, I was directed to be much in prayer, not only for those mission fields, but for our country America as well. I guess God just seemed to use the atmosphere of missions to remind me we are also in a war, not a war of flesh and blood, of traditional weaponry, but a spiritual war. (Ephesians 6:11-12)
During our recent presidential election process, I claimed Daniel 2:19-23 in daily prayer. I know God is sovereign, and that He is in control of all things. However, evil is running rampant in our country. We must not stop now; the battle is joined.
Yes, our home mission field of America is wide open. Are we up to the task? Just look around you as you go shopping at the mall, as you attend that school PTA meeting, as you talk to that next-door neighbor, as you read the local newspaper or tune in to the national TV news, as you watch our government, local and national, at work, or even as you travel to church next Sunday morning. You will see why our country is in the shape that it is in. Evil is everywhere you turn, be it in conversations, attitudes, philosophic ideas, demographics, etc. It's in the "give me-give me" attitude or mind-set. The fight is on, brother, and the war is just beginning. I know the good will win out in the end. But for now, just keep praying and believing and take Romans 8:28 to heart.
Yes, thanks be unto God, we had a very productive "Mission Conference", as concluded below by my faithful proof writer.
Here it is. You should have been there last night. The choir sang a song with the congregation that was written during the time right around the World Wars in the context of a call by China Inland Mission (of Hudson Taylor fame) for 200 new missionaries to take up places in China after all the missionaries had been forced to leave, and 12 were martyred for the Name of Christ. It was written to the music of a familiar hymn, The Church's One Foundation. The new words were spectacular and very moving. Then we heard from Eugene Cuevas who ministers through his videos to veterans suffering from PTSD and moral injury. And then Tracy Hipps from Christian Service Mission spoke with a message of the power of God in our lives and the work that God is doing through his ministry to the inner city and poverty-stricken communities. Then we had an ice cream social with lots of other desserts. It was a great finale to our missions conference!
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