Going is NOT an Option

Going as a witness to our community, state, nation and world, is not an option, it is a mandate given to us by Christ himself.  Matthew 28:19-20 says that we should go into all the world and make disciples.  Acts 1:8 tells us that after receiving power, we will be His witnesses everywhere we go.   Given these and other scriptures that tell us to proclaim His name among the nations, going as a witness is something expected of Christ followers.  It is not an option.  Going is NOT an Option

We don’t need to wonder IF we should go because The Great Commission is very clear that we are to GO.  Gordon Fort, Vice President, SBC International Mission Board, has said “the only question we should ask is where.”

So, let’s ask that question, WHERE will YOU go?

Opportunities for ministry exist in the very community where you live and work.   God has gifted and equipped you to serve as His witness in your “Jerusalem” and very close to you are pregnancy care centers, homeless shelters, clothing and hunger relief ministries, after school programs, nursing homes, hospitals and local churches.

Will you go to places 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.  Trained Disaster Relief workers will be needed to go following the recent outbreak of deadly tornadoes in the plains states.  For a complete list of current opportunities, visit www.kybaptist.org/GO or www.kybaptist.org/DR.

Will you go across “the pond” or to the utter most part of the world?  Missionaries in London, England are needing churches to adopt boroughs for prayerwalking, evangelization, and church planting.  Villages in sub-Saharan Africa need volunteer teams to drill wells for drinking water, deliver hospice buckets for AIDS patients, care for orphans, train local pastors and plant churches.

These are only a few of the many opportunities to go that I’m aware of. The question, “WHERE will you go?” has been asked.  Since going is not an option, I have another question:  “WHEN are you going?”

Called and Commissioned

DSC_0349On April 4, Keith Decker was recognized as the Kentucky Missionary of the Year and twelve new missionaries were commissioned during the Kentucky WMU annual meeting at Central Baptist Church in Winchester.  It was a special day to honor one who for the past 21 years has served so humbly and faithfully in ministry to the physical and spiritual needs of literally thousands of families.  Many (300 during the past few months) have prayed to receive Christ through the outreach of Cedaridge Ministries, where Keith serves as Director.


As Keith continues his service there are 12 new missionaries just beginning in ministry positions from the Illinois border to the Tennessee border and all across our state.  These missionaries serve children, the homeless, those in jail, persons seeking help with recovery, families and those in ministry who may need a little respite, families living in poverty, and in a Christian camp settings.  All twelve have responded to God’s call and are using their varied giftedness to serve.  It is not an easy job but, as Keith would attest to, it is most rewarding.

Please commit to pray for Keith and for these twelve as they reach out to share the Gospel message.  May they, like the “twelve” of the New Testament turn Kentucky and the world upside down for Christ.  May we see God do “exceeding abundantly above all they can ask or imagine.”

Please consider adopting one of these new missionaries and begin partnering with them in their new calling.

Finally, consider how God may be calling and leading in your life.  Could he be asking you to join the Kentucky missionary force to get the Gospel across our state?

If we can help in any of these areas please contact us at 502-489-3530 (1-866-489-3530 toll free in KY) or email us at [email protected].  We would love to help you live out God’s call in your life.

The Call and Commission of a Disciple

RunningIt does not take one long to see the seriousness and magnitude of Christ’s call to discipleship as one examines the call of Christ’s early followers. In fact, Jesus calls His followers to radical living.  Well…I may say normal living because all Jesus followers are called to this kind of living.  Furthermore, this call of Jesus results in our mandate—making disciples of all nations. This radical living is not simply a new way of life or the newest self-improvement strategy. Rather, this radical living is quite simply running hard after Jesus. The call to discipleship is the call to follow Jesus.

Unfortunately, in 21st century, Westernized Christianity, we have substituted our call in the Christian life for church involvement. We have been convinced that the more involved we are with activities of the church, the better Christian we become. So, we become involved with this ministry and that organization and this committee, and quite frankly we have taken our eyes off of the One we are to be following.  James M. Boice bemoans,

“Even in the church we are far more often encouraged to join this committee, back this project, or serve on this board than we are counseled to examine our relationship to God and His Son Jesus Christ. So long as we are performing for the church, few question whether our profession is genuine or spurious” (Christ’s Call to Discipleship, 15).

Discipleship is not about performing, but about running. Where is the running hard after Jesus?

As mentioned above, the result of running hard after Jesus is a full-hearted embrace of our mandate—the Great Commission. The Great Commission, which can be referred to as the Christian’s “marching order,” is simply the bi-product of our call to “follow” Jesus.

The call of the Christian is to follow Christ without reservation. Notice what Jesus says in Matthew 4:19, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Fishing (our Commission) is the bi-product of following Christ. Our first responsibility as a disciple is to follow hard after Jesus.

I say hard after Jesus because men like Peter forsook everything to follow Christ. Not every Christian is called to vocational Christian living, but every Christian is called to full-time Christian living. The problem is that we have said that “if we are not vocational Christians, then we can be vacational Christians.” There is no such understanding in the Bible as vacational Christians.

The call of the Christian is to follow Christ at any cost. Our primary responsibility is to follow Christ, to learn to be like Christ. Performing, as mentioned earlier, is only the bi-product of following Christ. Many Christians have reversed Jesus’ call. For many, today, the call in the Christian life is “fishing,” “teaching,” “serving,” “advising,” etc. These are the bi-products of the call. The call is first to follow. I may add here, too, that the bi-product is Jesus’ doing.  He will make us fishers of men.

Are you following hard after Jesus? If so, is there evidence that you have gone fishing?


Trampled Grass

Refugee DR Team - Uganda - 3The man shared despondently, “The only thing that is trampled when two bull elephants fight is the grass between them.”

These words sum up the despair of tens of thousands of displaced refugees.  Sadly, many of them have been forced to flee their homeland in South Sudan, as civil war erupted last December.

A few weeks ago, I traveled with a team of four disaster relief leaders and three field strategists from the International Mission Board to evaluate the needs of refugee camps in Uganda.  Our team drove over 2500 kilometers, assessed 20 refugee camps, and witnessed the tragic deprivation of more than 100,000 displaced people.  The vast majority of these driven from their homes and living in these hopeless camps were women and children.  Every person we encountered had experienced unbelievable loss and trauma.

The images seared into my mind have left me a bit broken.  The camps are overflowing and short on resources.  People are drinking contaminated water because they do not have a decent well.  The food never lasts long enough.  Some water tanks have been dry for days. Families are living under USAID tarps.  Orphaned children are trying to survive alone.

The media has moved on to the crisis in the Ukraine and other breaking stories.  Fighting in Sudan is old news, and those in the camps feel forgotten and forsaken.  Again and again, I was asked, “Are you here to take a few pictures or will you help us?”

I promised that I would not forget them.  I gave my word that I would lift their needs to the God of glory, and share their story with followers of Christ.  Please hear their cries and:

  1. Pray for the people of South Sudan.  Pray for peace in this land of unrest.  Pray for our missionaries living in this difficult place of service.  Pray that God would use this time of brokenness to awaken people to the Good News of Christ.
  2. Give to help those who have so little and who need a Gospel with hands and feet.  A gift through Baptist Global Response or Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief of $25 could provide a hoe and seed to a mother trying to feed her hungry children in a camp; a gift of $500 could provide blankets, care kits, and hope to the elderly living under tarps.  A gift of $10,000 could drill a borehole providing clean water to an entire settlement.  Your continued support of the Cooperative Program, through your local church, enables missionaries and ministries like Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief to offer help, healing, and hope to the hurting.
  3. Engage by leading your church to connect with an unreached people group.  Tribes in South Sudan and across the globe continue to wait for someone to bring them the hope of Jesus Christ.  God continues to ask, “Who will go for Me?”

My heart was broken over the need that I witnessed, and I was reminded of a word from Isaiah, “And if you offer yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted one, then your light will shine in the darkness, and your night will be like noonday.”