Friday, August 22, 2014

Getting Ready to "Go."

Jesus commanded his followers to "Go...make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19).
Beautiful Himalayan children. 
I'm not really sure if this it is a good idea to post about this or not... but here goes. I'm about to go on a very important trip. For years our church has been wanting to take the gospel and plant a church in a truly unreached people group. There are, according to estimations, about 1000 people groups (Greek: ethne = usually translated, "nations") in the world that are yet untouched by the Gospel. That means there are "nations" that must be reached before Jesus will return (Matthew 24:14). If every American evangelical church our size and larger would just take responsibility to reach one of these groups, we could easily cover them all in our lifetimes. We (our elders and our church) have prayed, researched, talked, talked, talked. How do we determine where God wants us to go? How do you prepare? What about the many risks? What will it cost? When do we pull the trigger? Truth is, (in my opinion) those questions can't be answered with absolute certainty (barring supernatural communication from God). As I read the New Testament, having answers to these questions is not a prerequisite or even the priority. We are called to go. Christians in the New Testament just went. No culture-training, no plan for when things go wrong, no classes, no fundraising campaign. They just went.
We Americans tend to over-think things. We set our objectives, prepare, train, and execute. We attempt to do it all in a timely fashion. Some of us (me in times past) set unreasonably ambitious goals. The rest of the world--or most of it anyway--doesn't roll like that. Their days creep by. Change comes slowly. Something different (like say, following a God about whom they have never heard, whom they can't see, yet who desires the total surrender of their lives) takes time to sink in.
I'm not advocating recklessness or ignorance or arrogance in proceeding. I'm advocating proceeding. Wisely, carefully, lovingly, with determination and intentionality. Is it dangerous? Maybe. But Christians must be willing to face danger. Dying is gain. We are called to give our lives for this gospel. We do it with joy, knowing that there is incomprehensible joy that awaits us and all those who receive Christ because we told them. Additionally, this is how we change this world. We can be dismayed at the state of the world, vote for politicians who have a plan to help, and even pray for world peace. But going gives the world the Prince of Peace.
This is a church planter in the region near where we are going.
God is moving among some of the people groups in the
Himalayan area, but there are many more yet unreached.
God is at work in the region where we are going. But we are going to some of the spiritual frontiers, where he has not yet been known. This is a pioneering, "first contact" reconnaissance trip. God willing, there will be many more intentional trips to the area in the future. I know many of you (especially among our Providence men) are biting at the bit to take part. I love our church.
Want to help us? Yes, pray for smooth travel (it's monsoon season there) and health so that we can accomplish our mission. But even more, pray that God will open doors and prearrange the right contacts. Pray that we will be wise listeners and learners. Pray that we will have opportunities to share the good news, that God will raise up new disciples, and perhaps even a future indigenous church planter (that would be a huge miracle). Pray that we will come back with a God-inspired strategy for reaching one of the many truly unreached groups in the area (Himalayan Asia) where we (Jesse, Madison, and I) are going.

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