Taking Care of Your Heart

“Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

I have served in active ministry for the sake of my Lord for forty years, and in my role as Disaster Relief Director for the last decade.  Ministry is not for the faint of heart, weak, or timid.  Our calling often requires us to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of Christ and others with long hours and stressful days.  This can wear on us spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

I was reminded of this in May of 2017, when I began having some neck pain and numbness in my left arm.  When this continued for several days, I decided to call my cardiologist.   I was quickly scheduled for a heart catheterization, and the result was three stents placed in my coronary arteries.  I am thankful for God’s sufficient grace, and that I could catch this health problem before it caused more serious issues like a major heart attack or stroke.  God has reminded me afresh that I cannot serve him well if I do not take care of my own health.

I would encourage you as a minister to:

  1. Develop a regular discipline of exercise.  I have found a morning 30-minute exercise regimen to be best for me as I often lose control of my afternoons and evenings as ministry needs arise during the day.  Find a type of exercise that you enjoy and can maintain. For me, it is walking or riding a stationary bike.
  2. Maintain a healthy diet.  It is easy in ministry to eat on the “go” and to make less than healthy choices.  I am disciplining myself to watch my portion size, to eat more vegetables and fruits, and to watch my cholesterol and fats.  I thank God that eating healthier has increased my energy for His sake.
  3. Get Proper Rest.  We all need a good night sleep.  God recharges the body when we allow it to rest and trust the events of the day to Him.
  4. Take time to get away from ministry for brief periods and to allow God to restore you.  Unlike the Energizer Bunny, we will run down without some down times to relax.  Ministry can be demanding and stressful, even when things are going good.  Burnout and Compassion Fatigue are damaging to us and our families, and can be deadly to ministry.
  5. Rely on the strength of God’s Holy Spirit to help you begin and maintain good health practices.  If overeating is a weakness for you, then ask the Spirit to help you fight the urge to make unhealthy food choices.  If lack of exercise is your problem, then ask God to help you set your alarm and get up a few minutes earlier.

God has reminded me that I cannot minister effectively if I neglect my own physical, emotional, or spiritual health.  God cares about our bodies.  He gave them to us.  He wants us to do all we can to keep our bodies healthy and active for His sake for the days that He has appointed us.  Take care of yourself for your sake, but even deeper for His sake!

“For you were bought at a price.  Therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

What’s a Lollapalooza?

I recently had the privilege of attending a lollapalooza put on by Dexter Baptist Church in western Kentucky.  Pastor David Little led his church to plan and implement the lollapalooza event as an effort to reach out to their community. I had never attended a lollapalooza and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. In fact, I’m not sure I could’ve spelled lollapalooza without googling it on my computer.   

So where did this word come from?  Legend and Encyclopedia Britannica have it that musician Perry Farrell claims to have named a large international music festival Lollapalooza back in 1991 after hearing the word.  The popularity and use of the word grew.

People have developed this positive association with ‘-palooza’ and it’s become kind of shorthand.  People have hosted a saleapalooza, gameapalooza, kidzapalooza, doggiepalooza and a variety of others you’ve no doubt come across.

Webster’s dictionary defines a lollapalooza as one that is extraordinarily impressive; alsoan outstanding example”.

What Dexter Baptist did was indeed, “extraordinarily impressive”.  This church that normally averages around 60 in Sunday morning worship had 89 people attend their lollapalooza that included music by a Christian band, free food (and lots of it), door prizes and giveaways, bouncy houses and games, and a presentation of the gospel.  The most exciting thing about their lollapalooza was that four individuals committed their lives to following Christ and another person recommitted his life to Christ.

Dexter Baptist also set “an outstanding example” of how a church can reach out and touch more people through a community event like a lollapalooza than they do on any given Sunday morning.  Yes, it took lots of planning, work, promoting and inviting.  But it was worth it to see so many spiritual decisions made.

The church went outside, the community was engaged and it was a great evening together.  But nothing was more “extraordinarily impressive” than the life transformation I witnessed as people experienced the salvation of Jesus Christ.  Let me challenge you to follow the example of the Dexter church and plan something extraordinarily impressive to reach your community for Christ.

The Kathy J. Strange Answer Center – Sharing Christ Through Social Ministry

 

For nearly 18 years men, women, boys, and girls have heard and seen the gospel message lived out through the efforts of the Kathy J. Strange Answer Center in Henderson, KY.  In the year 2000 a couple of churches in the Green Valley Baptist Association saw the need for a social ministry in their area, and the Center was started in September of that year as a ministry of the Association.

The Answer Center is named after its founder, Kathy J. Strange, a retired social worker who had a vision and a heart for ministering to the people of Henderson, Union, and Webster counties.  She wanted a place where people could come and shop for needed items and have the gospel of Christ shared with them.  A place where they could see and feel Christian love.  Kathy served as Director of the ministry for a nearly 15 years, before being diagnosed with cancer.  She passed away in December 2015.

The Center continued and, according to Director of Missions Bill Patterson, has been a strong ministry for a number of years.  “It is like the face of the association now,” said Patterson.  “It is the number one social ministry of the association and has a great evangelistic outreach.”   Last year (2017) 31 professions of faith were reported as a result of the ministry and so far they have seen 6 professions of faith in 2018.  “That is why we do what we do,” said current director Jeff Burke.

Jeff, along with Nancy Brown, a retired school teacher, and nearly 90 volunteers from the Green Valley Baptist Association churches, serve on the average of 105 – 110 persons each week by providing clothing and household items to those who have a need.  They are on pace to serve nearly 4200 in 2018.

The Center is open every Saturday (except for the fifth Saturday of the month or holidays) from 9:00 – 10:30 AM.  Clothing is laid out just like a department store and the families come in to “shop” every other month.  When the family enters the Center they are given one bag for each person in the household, and can fill the bags with as much clothing as they can put in them.  Donations have been very generous, which allows them to give out extra bags to the families if needed.  The clothing includes coats in the winter months and they are beginning to carry school uniforms for the children.

In addition to clothing, the Center also has household items such as towels, sheets, pots & pans, dishes, etc.  Director Jeff Burke shared about a couple who recently had 5-year old foster twins placed in their home.  They had gotten help with clothing but did not have beds for the twins.  There were no beds at The Answer Center when they came in but, the very next day, Habitat for Humanity called saying they could provide $100 vouchers for families to come and buy anything out of the Habitat store, which “just happened” to include beds.  The family got their clothing, the beds they needed, and the family is now regularly attending church.

Another success story was told of a lady and children that came from a local shelter to get clothing.  After working with her for about three months, the lady not only got clothing, but found Jesus.  She was saved, baptized, and continues to be active in a local church.  She moved into her own apartment, and the center helped her with household items, cleaning supplies, hygiene items, and a fan.  She got a job at a local fast food restaurant, then went to school to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.  She now works full time in a nursing home.

Each year mission teams come to serve at the Center.  Recently 160 young people with World Changers came to serve and some of the students said, “we just feel the presence of the Lord in this place.”

The Center has close ties to the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the North American Mission Board.  Both Jeff Burke and Nancy Brown are Kentucky Mission Service Corps Missionaries in their roles at the Center.  They receive grants from the Eliza Broadus Offering which helps meet the needs of the families they serve.  In May 2019 the Center will be hosting a free medical and dental clinic in conjunction with the North American Mission Board dental trailer and the Kentucky Baptist Convention Missions Mobilization Team.

“It is a great blessing to serve at the Center,” says Nancy Brown.  “Every day it is amazing to watch God meet the needs.  As a teacher I prayed ‘for’ my students.  Now, when they come to the Center I can love them, hug them, and can now pray ‘with’ them.”  How rewarding.  Needs are being met and lives being changed at The Kathy J. Strange Answer Center.  Kathy’s vision lives on.

To see how you might volunteer or assist this ministry contact the Green Valley Baptist Association office at 270-827-9867.

Discipling short-term mission teams

As the eleven apostles wait on the Mountain in Galilee for Jesus, they are filled with mixed emotions.  No doubt they wonder, “What will Jesus say and what will we do next?”  When Jesus appears to the them, the heart of His message is “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19).

Short-term missions is for the purpose of making disciples, not just somewhere else, but among our own church members.  Pastors and church leaders should view short-term missions as a two-point prong—making disciples locally and globally.  We go elsewhere to assist missionaries in their work of making disciples in other places, but we also understand short-term missions as a vital part of making disciples of our own church members.

There is something incredibly valuable about pouring into our own church members while they are away from normal routines and distractions.  Don’t miss this opportunity through short-term missions to have long-term discipling impact on your church members.

Here are some suggestions for discipling your short-term mission teams.

  • Encourage team members to enlist prayer partners. These partners can be within the church, family members, or other believers outside of the church.  Lead them to give weekly or monthly prayer matters leading up to the time of the mission effort.  For the time of the mission effort have your team members give a daily prayer point guide to their prayer partners before they leave.  Also, encourage team members to have at least one prayer partner that prays with them each week leading up to the mission effort. They can pray through Facetime, in person, over the phone, etc.
  • Develop personal time in God’s Word and prayer. Nothing prepares the team member more for missions than his/her personal time with God.  Several months before the mission effort, teams can be encouraged to read through certain passages or books of the Bible.  For example, reading through Acts prior to and during the mission effort is a great way to prepare the team spiritually for what they are about to do.  Providing specific prayer guides for the team member’s own spiritual preparation is essential as well.  This might be the first time these team members develop an intentional personal time in God’s Word and prayer.
  • Teach them how to share the gospel. Missions is not missions if the gospel is missing.  There are many tools that can be used to teach teams how to share the gospel.  The point is not one particular method as much as making sure each team member can articulate the gospel concisely and clearly.  Spending time with the team not only teaching them how to share the gospel but giving them opportunities to practice on one another and even in the community before the team leaves is critical.  The goal is not teaching them to be an expert in winning arguments, but simply telling the “old, old story” of Jesus and His love.  The gospel is the power of God for salvation, not our presentation or method (Rom 1:16).  Share the gospel and trust God to do His work!
  • Utilize your time on the field for discipleship. While on the mission effort, being intentional about pouring into the team members is essential.  Taking them through a study in the Bible (like Acts) or a book is a great way to have deliberate discipleship time while on mission (there are a number of short, but impactful books that could be used for this purpose).  Either in the morning before the team leaves out for the day or in the evening when you settle down from the day, walking the team through a planned study time is a valuable way to point the team to God’s Word and apply both the Word and their daily mission experiences to their Christian life. Amazingly, God often uses His Word and the experiences of the team while on mission to grow them exponentially.  Take advantage of that time for team discipleship.
  • Don’t forget when you get back home.   Pray for new habits and convictions that begin to form while on the mission effort to remain once you are home.  Team members often ask themselves and their churches, “now what?” when they return home.  The experiences are often overwhelming and can cause frustration when others back home don’t quite see things in the same way as the team members upon their return.  Learning to leverage one’s experience for personal growth and influence of others is a delicate but important step.

Short-term missions is valuable for assisting missionaries in their strategies to reach other peoples and places with the gospel, but also crucial in raising up mature believers in our own congregations.  It’s not a matter of which of these two impacts we desire for short-term missions; it’s that we pray for both.

Embracing the Stranger Next Door

It was estimated that last year over 50 million people were displaced from their homes, with around 19.5 million forced to live as refugees. These people have been driven from their homes by war, violence, persecution, and disasters.  They have lost their culture, friends, security, sense of community, and often their dignity.

These are people with names, dreams, and hopes. These are people just like you and me. These are people loved by God. And they are coming to our communities.  Every year refugees, students, and other internationals are coming to our communities.  They are becoming our neighbors.  God is bringing the nations to us, and the church has been called to take the Gospel to all peoples.

How can we embrace the nations and reach out to those from other cultures that God is bringing to our communities?

  • Smile and welcome them.  Grace and kindness work in any culture.
  • Open your eyes to those that God has brought to your community.  Take time to see the server at the restaurant, the cashier at the convenience store, the nurse at the hospital, the new person in your office, or the neighbor across the street who may look, dress, and speak a little different from you.
  • Consider adopting a refugee family through your small group or church family.  The Kentucky Baptist Convention Missions Mobilization Team can help you connect to families through partnering ministries.
  • Start a conversation.  It can be as simple as asking someone their name and where they are from.  Ask them about their family or homeland.  Inquire about religious beliefs in their country.
  • Be a good listener.  Seek to be a learner.  People tend to listen to others who really listen to them.
  • Pursue genuine friendship.  Many internationals would love a real friend in a new land.  You are called to share with folks in a relationship, not sell the Gospel.
  • Be an ambassador for Christ.  Let them see Christ in you.  A good ambassador knows when to talk and when to listen.
  • Practice hospitality.  Share your phone number if they need a friend’s help or guidance. Invite them over for tea or coffee.  Drive them to the doctor or help them at a grocery store.  Have them over for a meal at your home.
  • Pray for them.
  • Share your faith story.  Tell them what your life was like before Christ, how you came to Christ, and what Jesus means to your life now.  Try to work on being able to share this in two to four minutes.  Avoid church words like lost or saved, as unbelievers often do not understand the internal language of Christians.
  • Remember the goal is not to win debates, but to passionately share your faith.  Stand strong on what you believe in a loving manner.
  • Finally, be ready for the day when your new friend wants to know how they can have a relationship with God through Christ.  Be prepared to share in everyday language what sin is, who Jesus is, and what the Gospel is.

 “Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.  Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person” (Colossians 4:5-6).

How to Uniquely Involve the Uninvolved

Have you ever felt that only a small number of church members were doing the majority of the work?  It’s pretty common in churches, at least the ones I’ve been a part of, for us to depend upon the same few individuals to teach Sunday School, sing on the praise team, lead the men’s ministry, serve as deacons and coordinate the discipleship ministry.  When this happens, we are observing what is called the 80-20 rule or Pareto principle.

The Pareto principle, named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian mathematician and economist,  states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the inputs or causes.  What if we’re observing the 80-20 rule in our churches because we don’t provide opportunities for the uninvolved 80% to be involved in ministry that utilizes their gifting, skills and experience?  Ephesians 4 teaches that believers have been gifted and should be equipped for the work of the ministry.  Ephesians 2 reminds us that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  So, what if we’re not seeing more believers involved in ministry and missions because we’ve limited the ministry opportunities made available to them?

An example of this was recently seen when one of the international missionaries with whom we partner needed someone to come alongside them to help with the artificial insemination of dairy cattle on a Muslim island where a plaque had killed most all of the cattle population.   Several Kentucky farmers with the experience and knowledge stepped up to meet the need, and provided a Christian witness too! These farmers may not have volunteered to lead a VBS class or sing in the choir, but God had gifted them uniquely for “such a time as this”.

There are many unique missions opportunities that allow believers to find joy and fulfillment in serving because they’re using the talents and gifts God has equipped them with.  Christ followers want and need to serve – but not all are given the chance if ministry opportunities ONLY exist within a very narrow window of mission experiences.

Here are just a few of the many ways that Christ followers can use their passion, skills, talents and experience to be uniquely on mission.

  1. Athletes are needed to help with sports camps (football, basketball, archery, etc). 
  2. Help is needed with literacy classes or after school tutoring
  3. Farmers are needed to help with artificial insemination of cattle & crop production
  4. Business and leadership classes for professionals in other countries
  5. Cooking and food service help is needed in disaster relief work
  6. Business owners can help with the development of micro-businesses that provide income for indigenous church planters and missionaries
  7. Volunteers can learn how to install and repair wells that provide remote villages with fresh water
  8. Those with construction experience are needed to provide ramps or make repairs for the handicapped and elderly
  9. Plumbers and electricians have skills that can be utilized internationally or here at home as a witness
  10. Skilled chainsaw and heavy equipment operators are needed in disaster relief work
  11. Car mechanics could provide assistance to single mothers and the elderly
  12. Medical professionals can serve through clinics in remote villages or in areas of poverty here in the U.S.
  13. Small motor repair courses can be used as a ministry in many cities throughout the world
  14. Woodworking, leather or metal work may provide income for church planters in many places if they are trained and provided start-up resources
  15. Retirees have years of experience to offer and should prayerfully consider using their unique skills and gifts for an extended period of time
  16. Students should consider giving a month or a summer to serve in a mission opportunity related to their major or degree program

Every skill or talent can be used for God’s honor if we give it to Him through missions opportunities.  The next time you observe the Pareto principle happening in your church, let me challenge you to consider how a unique missions opportunity would involve that unengaged believer to use his passion, gifts and talents.

Kentucky Missionaries Impacting their Community for Christ

Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, on the southern edge of the Daniel Boone National Forest and the northern end of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, is scenic McCreary County, Kentucky, a county with numerous gorges, waterfalls, rock shelters, and natural stone arches.

Kentucky missionaries Grant & Gina Hasty serve in this beautiful area.  Grant is the founding pastor of Crossroads Community Baptist Church and, along with wife Gina, they direct a “free” restaurant called The Lord’s Café.

Crossroads CBC began when a small group of individuals met in the Hasty’s living room on September 5, 2010 for Bible study.  From this small group, the church was birthed.  Today they meet at the former “Blue Heron Restaurant” building, where they gather on Sunday mornings for coffee, Bible study, and worship, and on Wednesday evenings for Bible study and dinner.

Although rich in beauty, McCreary County is poor economically, and poor spiritually.  Considered by some statistics to be the poorest county in Kentucky and in the United States, McCreary County has a 41% poverty rate, which is more than double the 15.5% national poverty rate.  23.8% of the people affiliate with a religion, while only 5% are reported as actual attenders.

Grant & Gina, along with new self-funded staff members Josh & Bobbi Chesser, are helping to make a difference in the physical and spiritual lives of families in this area.  Less than a year after the church was planted, The Lord’s Café was begun, and the first lunch was served on June 6, 2011.  Each year over 17,000 free hot lunches are served, every “customer” is prayed with, and the gospel is continually spoken and lived out.  On Wednesday of each week they also have a Grocery Giveaway Day, with over 100 families receiving free groceries.

In May 2017, Crossroads secured 13 acres of land to develop into a new area of ministry called The Light Community.  Their God-sized vision is to build 20 tiny homes that will be a safe-haven for individuals and small families to regain traction in life.  These may include individuals that have gone through rehab and need a place to get traction, families that need a safe home environment, or families that have experienced burn-out.

The goal for The Light Community is to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ, and to not be a “shelter” but a place to live and to care for1`.  The desire is for the families to work, either on the farm or to find jobs where they can make a living for themselves.  The farm currently has horses, goats, a mini-pony, a mini-donkey, and chickens.  They hope to have a crafting center, a blacksmith shop, and other items as resale for artisans.

A chapel, made from reclaimed lumber, has been erected on the property and, when finished, will be used for a place of serenity and prayer, and small group Bible studies.

What can I do?

Life on mission at Crossroads depends on volunteers and mission teams.  Over the past seven and a half years, God has allowed this ministry to impact lives in the area.  They have on-going ministries throughout the year, and are seeking individuals, churches, or businesses to come alongside.  Whatever gift, skill, or talent you have, more than likely Crossroads has a place for you to serve.  For more information to http://www.crossroadscommunitybc.org/.

Supporting the Sent

Missions is at the forefront of who we are and what we do as Southern Baptists.  By God’s grace, we support thousands of missionaries across the globe.  However, if we aren’t careful and intentional, it would be easy for us simply to give our money as a denomination and detach ourselves from the reality that our missionaries are real people with real needs.  How can we not only support our missionaries financially, but make certain we are also supporting them beyond simply our dollars?  The apostle John helps us see the important role churches and individuals play in the ongoing support of missionaries from 3 John.

John writes to a believer named Gaius.  John rejoices in the growth of Gaius’ life and prays for his health to prosper as much as his spiritual life apparently prospers (v 2).  I wonder how much our physical health would prosper if it were to prosper in comparison to our spiritual health?  It seems that John’s connection to careful and intentional mission support is tied to one’s own spiritual health.  When word got back to John about Gaius “walking in the truth,” he was ecstatic (vv 3-4).

For John, walking in the truth, or “acting faithfully,” involves a care for furthering the gospel and supporting those who do so (v 5).  John hears of Gaius’ love for missionaries (traveling teachers) (v 6a).  John commends Gaius for supporting the sent in a manner worthy of God (v 6b).  John reminds us that those who travel to further the gospel go “for the sake of the Name” (v 7a).  Their support comes not from the “Gentiles” (outside financial support), but from within the church(es) (v 7b).

John’s word of encouragement to Gaius is to “support such men,” in order to be “fellow workers with the truth” (v 8).  Gaius and the church supported these traveling missionaries with lodging, food, money, encouragement, and prayer (Danny Akin, Christ-Centered Exposition, 3 John).  In other words, cooperative missions is a cooperative effort.  Some send. Some are sent.  All are involved.  We accomplish more for the gospel not on our own, but together.  We send the sent, but we support the sent.  How might we tangibly support our sent?

  • Provide salaries so that gospel work can be the primary focus of the missionaries. As Southern Baptists, the Cooperative Program allows us to unite our resources for maximum impact and support missionaries who can give full attention to reaching the unreached.

  • Provide lodging both on the field and when “home” for rest. For Gaius, it seems he both received and provided lodging for these traveling missionaries.  A place to call home away from “home” is an essential component for missionaries living in another culture.  Further, when able to travel back to the states for “rest,” missionaries need an oasis to recoup and recharge.

  • Provide meaningful care packages. On occasion, perhaps every other month, churches can send gift cards or care packages filled with favorite snacks and thoughtful gifts.  This builds a personal connection with church members and missionaries.

  • Provide continual encouragement through texts, emails, skype calls, etc. Loneliness is a reality for those living overseas for the gospel.  New cultures, new languages, and often extreme isolation can lead to battles with discouragement.  A simple message of encouragement from a passage of Scripture or just checking on the missionary’s family goes a long way in building them up.

  • Provide intentional prayer (and let them know it). Regularly praying for missionaries by name not only provides the spiritual support they need, but also gives the church a tangible connection to those serving on the field.  This puts a face to “Lottie” and “Annie” when we pray by name for our missionaries.  So, pray for them but then let them know you are praying for them.

Supporting those we send as missionaries involves more than our dollars.  It requires our personal time and investment in their lives.  In do so, John informs us that we are “fellow workers with the truth” (3 John 8).  Some send. Some are sent.  All are involved cooperatively as workers with the truth.

Are You Prepared for a Disaster?

Studies indicate that those who are prepared for disasters have a greater chance of survival than those who are not prepared.

So how can your family be prepared for a disaster?

  1. Be Informed.  What are the most likely disasters that could occur in your community?  What are the best safety practices that our family should enact if disaster threats happen in our community?  What risks do they impose on my family?   How can I mitigate the risks?
  2. Make a Disaster Plan with your Family.  How will we respond in an emergency? Does everyone know what to do if a tornado siren is heard, if flash flooding is occurring, or what to do in an earthquake?   How will my family get to a safe area?  How will we get in touch after the disaster to ensure everyone is safe and accounted for, or where will we meet if phones or computers are not working? And remember, practice insures everyone understands how to implement the plan.
  3. Put Together an Emergency Kit.  An emergency kit should include:
  • 3-5-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day).
  • 3-5 days of ready-to-eat food supplies
  • a first aid kit
  • paper plates, cups, and utensils
  • toilet paper
  • garbage bags
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • plastic bucket with tight lid
  • disinfectant
  • household bleach
  • battery operated radio with extra batteries
  • 3-5 days of cash
  • essential medications
  • non-electric can opener
  • pliers
  • duct tape
  • matches in waterproof container
  • aluminum foil
  • pencil and paper
  • signal flare
  • wrench to turn off gas and water
  • water hose for siphoning
  • candles
  • good, sturdy shoes
  • rain gear
  • blankets or sleeping bags
  • warm clothing
  • box for important papers
  • whistle for signaling

No one knows when a disaster will strike.  However, we can and should be prepared in the event a crisis happens. Being prepared, may save you and your loved ones.

One last note, even secular disaster entities concur that those with a spiritual foundation, survive better and recover in healthier ways during disaster events than those lacking a spiritual refuge.  So, the greatest way to be prepared for a disaster is to rest your life on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ!

“A shrewd person sees danger and hides himself,
but the naive keep right on going and suffer for it” (Proverbs 27:12).

To BE or Not to Be

BEing a witness to our community, state, nation and world is something we are, not something we do.  Being a witness is a mandate given to us by Christ himself.  Acts 1:8 tells us that after receiving power, we will BE His witnesses.  Yes, we do things to witness, but most importantly, we are to BE a witness.  You don’t have to be creative, educated, innovative or make it up as you go.  You simply tell what Christ has done for you, what you know of Him and what you have learned from Him.

Opportunities to BE a witness exist everywhere.  You can BE a witness in your “Jerusalem” as you go to the grocery, bank, school, park, work or for a walk in your neighborhood.  God has gifted and equipped you to BE His witness and very close to you are pregnancy care centers, homeless shelters, clothing and hunger relief ministries, after school programs, nursing homes, hospitals and community events.

Will you BE a witness in your Judea (Kentucky) or Samaria (North America)?  Missionaries and ministry leaders need help from people like yourself who are willing to go and meet needs related to church planting, evangelism, construction, church strengthening and community outreach.  The witness of trained Disaster Relief workers are needed following a tornado, flood, hurricane, or ice storm.  For a complete list of current opportunities, visit www.kybaptist.org/GO or www.kybaptist.org/DR.

Will you BE a witness across the pond to or to the utter most part of the world?  Missionaries in Greece and Europe are needing people to come a BE a witness by prayerwalking, evangelizing boroughs, planting churches or ministering to refugees.  Villages in sub-Saharan Africa need volunteers to BE a witness by drilling wells for drinking water, delivering hospice buckets for AIDS patients and caring for orphans.

These are only a few of the many opportunities to BE a witness that I’m aware of.  To quote William Shakespeare, “to BE or not to be”, that is the question.  If His power is upon you, it’s not a choice you make.  The command is to BE.  If we’re not BEing a witness, one must ask, “is His power upon me?”