Sunday, February 11, 2007

Missionary Edition

From "The Pastor's Pen" in the February 2007 Voice of the Valley, the monthly newsletter of Valley Bible Church, by the Reverend Frank C. Emrich. Re-posted here with permission.

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As you have been hearing, our annual missions conference is just around the corner. One of the excisting things for me is that this is our twenty-fifth consecutive year of having these conferences. Over the years we have met some of God's best servants and have been able to send them on with our prayers and sometimes financial support. We have built some close relationships with these precious folks as well. And we have heard about God working in all parts of the world. Not only that, but we have been given the privilege of being a part of what God is doing.

It continues to be a thrill for me to pastor a church that sees reaching the world with the gospel as a high priority. And yet at the same time, I have a concern that not all of us have this priority.

In the book Six Dangerous Questions To Transform Your View Of The World, author Paul Borthwick quotes this challange from Peter Kuzmic of Croatia:

"Why should we concern ourselves with the human tragedies of Bosnia, Somalia, and Bangladesh? Why should the holocaust taking place in Rwanda touch our lives when it is obvious that the sovereign LORD has placed us so as to be secure from these dangers and other winds of adversity? Should we worry about restoring democracy to Haiti, ask questions about human rights in [Red] China, or be concerned with the plight of human emigrants?

"Why should we burden ourselves with the burdens of the world and allow ourselves to be disturbed by statistics of war, disease, and poverty? Why should the turmoil of the world disrupt the tranquility of our hearts and surroundings?"

And to this I would add, "Why should we be concerned that every day hundreds of thousands of people slip into a Christless eternity?" Again Kuzmic says: "May I suggest that there is only one compelling reason: 'For God so loved the world...."

Borthwick then adds the following:

In response to this love, will we forge a faith that takes on the challenges of our world with energy and zeal? In light of Jesus' sacrifice, will we expand our outreach to include people outside our normal cultural, social, economic, or ethnic framework? Because of the compassion of Christ, will we deepen our faith so that we are willing to step outside of our comfort zone?

Beloved church, I believe that if we understand that Jesus is the only Savior, that heaven and hell are very real, that our world needs people who will preach the gospel, that God wants to use our lives and that Jesus Christ is LORD, then our answer will be a resounding "Yes".

In light of our conference coming up, please be in much prayer, be in attendance at all the meetings, and be open to how God may use you in serving Him.