“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13 (NIV)
My two sisters and I always wanted brothers.
Prayed for brothers.
Begged our parents for brothers.
So when the decision was made to adopt two boys from Africa, my sisters and I were in awe the miracle was happening! Our mom and dad assured us it was real and God was behind it all-He had tugged at their hearts, He had prepared these boys and our family, and He had called us all to say “yes.”
Our saying yes to God as a family to adopt our brothers made me want to say yes to Him in all areas of my life.
That’s when I promised God my life would be His mission field and I’d be sold out to serving anywhere He sent me.
When I was 14 years old, I went on my first mission trip to Nicaragua. I fell in love with the whole experience. Even though I had happily said yes, the trip was difficult. I was totally outside my comfort zone. But any initial craziness and chaos gave way to great joy and peace.
The following summer I went to Ethiopia where I got to see a different way of life on the other side of the world. I experienced jitters being in a foreign land with a language, culture, and food I didn’t understand, but the adjustment time was short and my passion grew great.
Since that trip I have taken several more to Nicaragua, including one where I helped run a foot-and-shoe clinic. We welcomed everyone who visited the clinic, washed their feet, prayed for them, and then helped them choose a pair of shoes. It was incredibly humbling to serve the people from these two countries.
They are grateful for their lives. Very few have anything of material value, yet their gratitude and joy flows without ceasing. They laugh, sing, dance, and give generously without holding back … even to a stranger like me. I went to give. Yet, I was the one who received.
I’ve found that when I say yes to God, a joy fills me and motivates me to be close to Him and to walk in His will. It makes me want to keep asking Him how He can use my life as a mission field, any where from my home to my hometown to around the world.
We don’t have to go overseas to do missions work. Opportunities are all around. Who has God placed in front of you that needs help? Who in your family needs support? Which friend has been struggling with a temptation or a broken heart?
When God works through us to meet the needs of others-that’s missions.
Let’s turn our everyday life into God’s mission field. I think we’ll be amazed at what He does as we step out of our comfort zone and partner with Him!
Dear Lord, I want You to use me to love and bless someone today. Show me exactly how I can serve Your people, even if it’s in the smallest way. I’m trusting You to move in my heart and in the hearts of those around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
May We Look Upon the World as Our Parish
By: Anne Ferrell, cbn1
In the early 1700s, a small group of religious fugitives formed a village in a part of Germany called Moravia. They named their village Herrnhut which means “The Lord’s Watch.” While Herrnhut had become a community of religious exiles, many spoke different languages and creeds. There were Lutherans, Separatists, Reformed, and others, living side by side. Disagreements developed. Relationships deteriorated.
The community was on the way to ruin when the people decided to “give themselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (see Acts 6:4) They began to study the Bible, hold all-night prayer vigils, and confess their sins to one another.
On August 13, 1727, an amazing miracle happened. There was a baptism and communion service, and the Holy Spirit moved through the room. A spirit of love came over the attendees. Differences dissolved, and they all embraced one another in love and forgiveness.
They established a 24-hour around-the-clock prayer vigil which lasted 100 years. Their vision was based on the passage in Isaiah 62:1-7.
“O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord.” Isaiah 62:6 NLT
The influence of the continual prayer was far-reaching. Their burden for mission work was birthed. Missionaries were sent all over the world. Many people were influenced by the dedication and commitment of the Moravians including John and Charles Wesley, founders of the Methodist Church and William Carey, missionary to India.
The early church understood continuous prayer was necessary because spiritual warfare is continuous. Prayer became their priority. Shortly after Pentecost, the number of disciples multiplied as did their obligations. It became clear the disciples needed help with responsibilities like taking care of the widows. Instead of sacrificing the ministry of prayer, deacons were chosen to care for the church and its people. The ministry of prayer was paramount, and as the church grew, they understood even more prayer was needed.
The same is true for us today. The ministry of prayer and the ministry of the Word should be a top priority. Can you imagine if we all made prayer a priority? Can you imagine if we all committed to the ministry of the Word? What would our families or communities look like if we all “gave ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word?”
Knowing Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever inspires me to look back and see the work of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am encouraged and motivated to continually pray and seek opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
John Wesley said, “I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation.”
Let us adopt the calling, “all the world is our parish.” The world is hurting. The world needs the good news of Jesus Christ. Continual prayer and ministry of the Word is the answer. We can learn from the early church. We can grow as the Moravian Church. We are here for such a time as this, and the more we continually seek God through prayer, the more He will accomplish His purpose through us.
The Apostle Paul reminds us of our responsibility in 2 Corinthians 5:20,
“So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’” (NLT)
The Three R’s In Evangelism
By: Charles Spurgeon
A few months ago, I led my church in a community evangelism effort. Our outreach was a little old-fashioned: we knocked on doors and talked to people, hoping the Lord would draw some to himself through the gospel.
Executing door-to-door, “cold call” evangelism has many challenges in the modern context. Rejections of the gospel run the gamut from angry to flaky: One man told me that he hated religion, hated religious “zealots” like us, and believed hell was built especially for those of our ilk. Another woman said that she adhered to Jewish religion in which her father taught her that faith in any object, “even a rock,” would punch her ticket to heaven. None of my questions about the monotheism of the Old Testament and the Torah’s prohibition of worshiping idols made a dent in her rejection of Christ. I even told her that the Scripture called Jesus the rock, but she at last politely said goodbye and returned inside the door to her cats.
Still, I am thankful that God’s gospel can subdue the rebellious heart, whether seething or silly.
Use of Means
For training purposes, Christian leaders have long sought a good outline to help us recall the gospel when we are witnessing to lost people. Indeed, many thoughtful, careful, and biblical outlines have been used effectively—Two Ways to Live and Evangelism Explosioncome immediately to mind, and I know there are others.
But recently, in my regular reading of C. H. Spurgeon’s sermons, I have discovered an excellent and pithy approach to the gospel, one that is fully biblical and establishes both man’s universal dilemma and God’s antidote in Christ: Spurgeon’s “Three R’s”: ruin, redemption, and regeneration. I like Spurgeon’s outline for several reasons: it is simple, the alliteration makes it easy to remember, the biblical texts all surround the number three (another aid to memory for the throes of nerve-busting, face-to-face evangelism).
Also, the three R’s cover three things a gospel presentation needs to establish: the problem, the solution, and the response. Spurgeon told young students in his pastor’s college that these three doctrines must permeate their evangelism and preaching. I agree and thus commend it to modern readers. Spurgeon was a gifted, tireless evangelist whom God used to win untold thousands to Christ.
Three Core Doctrines of Evangelism
Spurgeon called them “three doctrines that must be preached above all else,” and he drew as texts for them “three third chapters (of Scripture) which deal with the things in the fullest manner.” Let’s consider Spurgeon’s three R’s.
Ruin (Gen. 3:14-15). This is what man has done. “How did man get in this miserable condition?” Spurgeon asks. R. C. Sproul frames it another way, and his question is one I hear often in gospel conversations: “Saved from what?” In our post-postmodern culture, we must begin here with creation and the fall. Biblical illiteracy appears to be spreading, thus many have never considered that there is something desperately wrong in our world. Beginning here establishes the problem into which God has launched his rescue mission: Man has rebelled against his maker, broken his law, and now lives under a curse that will one day incur the white-hot, unmediated wrath of God. But in the second half of verse 15, we hear the faint promise of God’s solution, one that will grow louder as history advances and as the redemption story of the Bible unfolds. The seed of the woman will crush the head of the seed of the serpent. The serpent will bruise the heel of the woman’s offspring, but this promised one will deal the death blow to the snake, killing him as one must a serpent: a smashed head. As Spurgeon pointed out, this background leads quite naturally to the good news of God’s rescue mission.
Redemption (Rom. 3:21-26). This is what God has done. This is the good news that trumps the bad news. In the scope of five verses, Paul articulates what some commentators have called the thesis of Romans or the magna carta of salvation. In these glorious verses, Paul establishes the demands of God’s law, the futility of salvation by works, the law’s definition of sin, the righteousness of God received by faith in Christ, justification by faith through the redemption of Jesus Christ, and his satisfaction of God’s wrath against sin. This paragraph contains the entire matrix of the work of Christ that he accomplished on the cross, work that provided full pardon from the guilt of sin for every sinner who believes. It is perhaps the most glorious paragraph in human history.
Regeneration (John 3:1-8). This is what God must do in sinners to enable them to believe. Spurgeon, along with Reformed evangelicals throughout the ages, taught that regeneration precedes faith. In other words, God changes the sinful human heart, sets it free from bondage to sin, and enables it to believe that Jesus is indeed the way, the truth, and the life. Regeneration, like the entire work of salvation, is a unilateral work of grace. It was a central theme of Spurgeon’s preaching and evangelism, and it must be foundational to ours as well, particularly as we think through issues of “results” in evangelism. The reality of regeneration urges us to call sinners to repentance and faith while resting in the work of God who alone opens blind eyes and unstops deaf ears. It removes the pressure from us and frees us to boldly share the gospel while knowing that the results are in the hands of a sovereign, benevolent God. Out of a biblical understanding of regeneration, we may call on sinners to repent and be reconciled to God while leaving the results to him. Thus, I hold out hope for the lady with the Jewish background and all others whom I have engaged over the years.
Spurgeon’s “Three R’s,” whether you use them or not, should undergird all our evangelism. And like Spurgeon, pastors today should make certain that these three doctrines regularly appear in the diet of biblical exposition they feed to hungry sheep.