The Blessing of the Gospel

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE GOSPEL
This is a pretty meaty post. Sorry, getting a bit theological here!
1. The Simple Truth of it: We can know God!
 
The gospel is the truth that God paid the price to reconcile us to him, and because of that, we can be personally loved by him.
Knowing each of us closely is all he desires! Knowing Him doesn’t make life on this earth any easier or less painful, but it does make it count for something. And choosing not to share that, is denying someone else the chance to know that.
 
2. The Gospel is a story
 
The great narrative. The story of a world, full of meaningless lives. A God, that desperately longs for intimate relationships with each and every one of those people. The meaning of life is, To be Found. Found by a relationship with God. This life is about the spread of this story. This world is about it. Suffering and healing are thrown into the mix but they aren’t the focus. The focus is on God desperately trying to woo each and every one of us through millions of unique ways, and the moment we have been caught by his love, we are sent out to share it so he can use us to reach the rest. This story is about the gospel racing against time to rescue as many as possible before the clock runs out. This life is our one shot at finding love in God.
Everyone deserves that shot. That is why I share the gospel. That is my part in this story.

3. The Gospel does not stop Going

Even when we refuse to voluntarily share it, God puts us in situations that will spread the gospel with or without us. God designed it to be inherently mobilising. Think about it.
Built into the great commission is the piece of ‘going’. And all throughout the history, when God revealed the gospel to a people, they had to go share it. Whether they went voluntarily, (Like Abraham, or Paul, or, or Celts, or the Christian crusades) or because of circumstances beyond their control (Jonah to Jericho, Naomi, Joseph, captives to Babylon, Arian Christians, Jews in World War ii).
4. With the blessing of the Gospel, comes the responsibility to share it 
 
The gospel is self-spreading. But we are called to share it anyway. There is such a momentum behind it. We are missionaries because we are sent by the gospel. It compels us!

We must never get complacent. We must never stop owning up to the responsibility we have to share the gospel. It is not enough to minister to those who already have it. That is important but it is not the true nature of the gospel. The gospel is always seeking to be found by those who have yet to discover it

5. It is our hope. 
This I learned first hand, in my time of sickness. Not only a hope for heaven, or a hope for healing and sactification, but a hope and a reason to keep going in this life. People lose hope when they have duties or responsibilities they cannot complete. But the sharing of the gospel is never complete.
So we are never without hope, because hope is built into our responsibility–into the Gospel. When I was sick, the one thing that kept me going was the knowledge that there are others yet that God has for me to share the gospel with. Therefore, there was no giving up. Because I still had a responsibility. A taste of “to live is Christ, to die is gain”, I think. Missional living until our part in the narrative ends!
6. The Gospel is designed to be brought by crossing a cultural divide 
Why is it important that the gospel cross cultural barriers? Because without those divides, we wouldn’t see the unifying factor. The gospel transcends culture. The ramifications of that are hard to explain to Americans, because we are generally so ignorant of the nature of culture. We know what we know, and anything outside of that is just different from us. We often don’t take the time to learn to respect other cultures.
When you understand the weight that cultural divides have, you understand how meaningful it is that the gospel transcends them.

This is why I think God designed his Gospel to be spread cross culturally. To show the incredible reality that God’s family exists in spite of all cultural differences, and that the gospel is really a message for all of humanity, not just a chosen people.

This is why missionaries will never lose their value. God will never stop sending them as long as there are people who have not heard. Being someone who has crossed a cultural divide to bring a message, is oftentimes enough proof to the listener, that the message truly matters. After all, why would anyone leave their own culture, to share a crazy story, if they didn’t believe it was true, and that it was worth sharing?
 
Also, if you think about it, in our own culture, we are a part. We stick to societal norms, we try not to bring attention to ourselves. If I asked you to go into your favorite coffee shop, and approach a stranger and offer to pray with them, there would be certain concerns that would immediately come to mind. “You can’t just do that, people will get upset!” “What if they ask me to leave?” “You can’t just walk up and introduce yourself to a stranger! Let alone try to pray with them!”.
 
But consider that I asked you to do this in a culture or country different to the one you know? You are already the odd one out, no one expects you to fit in anyway, so why not be bold and be a little uncomfortable? The value of a missionary lies in his inability to fit in. When a missionary begins to feel at home on the field, they have begun to lose their edge. 
 
 
7. The gospel by nature, both transcends and embraces culture. 
The spread of the gospel can only succeed if two elements are involved. Transcending truth, and enculturation. For a culture to accept the blessing of the gospel they must first recognize that it is a truth and salvation available to every people (that is why it’s handy to have the message come from someone who has crossed cultural boundaries) and then they must be shown that discipleship and worship can be shaped in ways that fit into their culture. Meeting both these elements shows a culture that they are invited to join something bigger than them, and that not only are they acceptable in their culture but that their culture is valuable and has something to offer the bigger picture.
 
The Gospel has certain constants that do not change. God bent the ways of this world, and sacrificed his son because he loves us and wants a relationship with us. Not just a chosen people, but all the peoples of the world. That is a universal truth, that everyone deserves the chance to hear. The transcendent nature of that message is powerful, because on its own, it unifies and connects all the peoples and cultures of the world.
That being said, the gospel is also a message that embraces cultural differences. Every people and nation, to accept the gospel, have to make it their own. Enculturating it into their nationality allows them to call it theirs, to make it a message that came to them, that they chose to receive. Without this piece, the gospel would just remain a message from outsiders. Being able to worship God in ways that make sense to one’s own culture and language is so critical. 
8. The gospel demands our action
 
What culture or demographic or people group has god uniquely shaped molded and equipped you to reach? Find out and then take the gospel there.

Whether it is one block over, or a continent over, go! There is no pretending that God didn’t create you to share the gospel. You cannot follow Christ and not be missional.

That is the inherent clause within the gospel. It cannot and will not stop moving. That’s how god designed it. He designed it so that just having the good news is all you need to keep it going.

So share it! Reach those that only you can reach. Because if you don’t, who will?

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Benefits for Raising our Funds

Why ask for Support?

Many people are given the assignment to raise funds, and yet the reality is they have never raised funds before. So it is fair to ask the question “Why raise financial support?” I want to unveil for you the benefits of raising funds, and there are many.

“I grew up in a missionary home, where I saw faith at work. I attended Moody Bible Institute and heard every conceivable missionary message. I talked with many missionaries and read missionary biographies. However, it was not until I personally raised funds for our ministry that I comprehended the important reasons for developing a base of consecrated supporters. After nearly forty years, I have come to understand that raising financial support is necessary for many reasons.”

1. Raising Financial Support Attracts a Base of Prayer Support

If you worked on staff in a salaried position, few people would commit themselves to pray for you. However, when you serve in a missionary capacity, the people who invest financially in you are inclined to pray for you. Prayer follows financial investment.

2. Raising Financial Support Stretches Faith

To those about to begin raising funds, David Tucker of Regions Beyond Missionary Union International says: “You are about to embark on what can be one of the most maturing and spiritually fulfilling ventures of your life.”

Raising financial support can be a spiritual adventure. We love many aspects of it. But we rarely grow and mature by doing what is easy. When friends we expected to give do not, it’s discouraging. When days go by and our level of support does not increase, we have been tempted to question our call. Those are the days when we have to step forward in faith, trusting that God has called us and that in His time He will supply every need. Raising financial support is teaching us what it means to walk by faith.

3. Raising Financial Support Stimulates and Encourages Vision in the Body of Christ

Raising financial support calls for the missionary to interface with other believers who make up the body of Christ. When Christians meet face-to-face, they communicate vision, and their call. Another person’s enthusiasm and dedication will stimulate your interest and involvement in kingdom work.

In his article “The Tin-Cup Image Can Be Shattered,” Daniel Bacon describes the missionary who raises financial support as accomplishing three goals.

First, the missionary is a model for missions.  In essence, we are a walking testimony of God’s coveted plan for world evangelism. Bacon says, “The presence of a missionary is a living illustration of obedience to the Great Commission.” In raising support, it keeps God’s priority of ministry in front of the body of Christ and help others become mission-minded.

Second, the missionary becomes a mobilizer for kingdom work. It provides believers the opportunity to participate in God’s program for world evangelism financially and through prayer. Because of our deputation ministry, some may sense God’s heart for mission and join the work force.

Third, the missionary serves as a minister for missions and ministry. We work to facilitate effective communication that will bring together the mission agency and the local church. Bacon says, “The missionary obviously needs the church for support, but the church needs the missionary to extend, in obedience to the Great Commission, its ministry worldwide.”

 

4. Raising Financial Support Develops You as a Person

Bud Taylor of Source of Light Ministries, International, offers this perspective:

There are many things that God will teach you that you could not possibly learn anywhere else. You learn how to work with people and how to adapt under divergent, difficult, and sometimes desperate circumstances. That is when the realization dawns that we are so limited and God is so limitless! It is not as is so often misrepresented a punitive measure, but a privilege. It is not a promotional gimmick, but a prerequisite. In the process one learns poise, polish, and proficiency and how to use time, tact, and talent to [one’s] best advantage.

5. Raising Financial Support Stimulates Fellowship Among Other Believers

As we contact our network of people and add friends to that network, we become involved with caring, praying, and burdened people. Rewarding times of fellowship result as we interact with believers through the fundraising process.

6. Raising Financial Support Opens Opportunities to Witness

As we travel from place to place, making new contacts, God gives divine appointments with the unsaved world. And through those opportunities, we can begin to participate in others’ call to fulfill the Great Commission.

 

 

Scott Steele and Tom Frieze of International Missions say, “Missions was and is God’s idea, and it is a real privilege to speak to God’s people about God’s program and to enlist their petitions.”

Raising financial support is far more than raising money. It is ministry. It is relationships. It is watching God work His eternal program for the ages in a practical way.