Healing and Hope

Refugee DR Team - Uganda - 3What is our calling as the church of Jesus Christ?

If we look to the ministry of Jesus, we see that He demonstrated equal zeal for the ministries of preaching the Gospel and bringing healing to the broken.  Luke 4:40-44 gives us a great example of the spiritually balanced ministry of our Savior:

“When the sun was setting, all those who had anyone sick with various diseases brought them to Him.  As He laid His hands on each of them, He would heal them…When it was day, He went out and made His way to a deserted place.  But, the crowds were searching for Him.  They came to Him and tried to keep Him from leaving them. But, He said to them, “I must proclaim the Good News about the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because I was sent for this purpose.”

This was a consistent pattern in the life of Jesus.  He always preached the Gospel, but He also demonstrated compassion on the sick, the hungry, and the broken.  The church is called to follow this pattern of Jesus Christ, as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission and share the life-changing hope of our Lord.

Baptist Global Response (BGR) was organized in 2006 by Southern Baptists to help implement a more effective and efficient international relief and development effort.  Global disasters and human tragedies give believers strategic doors to share the Good News of Christ, as we offer a hand of compassion to the hurting and wounded.  BGR was established as a partner of our International and North American Mission Boards to assist Southern Baptists in maximizing our resources and enhancing our opportunities to impact the world with the Gospel.

Kentucky Baptists can be part of this Great Commission effort.  You can be part of the “Preaching and Healing” work of Christ by:

  • Giving to the World Hunger Fund.  One hundred percent of the money given to the World Hunger Fund goes to meet real needs of hurting people in North America and around the globe.
  • Becoming a Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer.  Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief has entered a partnership with BGR to be a primary responder to disasters in Sub-Sahara Africa. This partnership has resulted in sending a medical team to care for refugees in Mali, an assessment team to the refugee crisis that displaced over 100,000 South Sudanese from their homes, and two teams that brought clean water to villages in Madagascar and Mozambique.  Has God given you the gifts and the heart to offer compassionate ministry to suffering people?  Contact Coy Webb in the Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief office to discover how you can become involved in this Great Commission work that opens doors for the Gospel.
  • Leading your church to get involved in a BGR Community Development Project that combines practical help to chronic problems with the life-changing message of Christ. Kentucky Baptists have been involved in ministering to AIDs victims, child-headed homes, and orphans in South Africa, a hospital renovation in Zimbabwe, construction of a mission training center in Suriname, and medical ministry in Pakistan.  Contact Doug Williams, Missions Strategist for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, to find out how your church can connect in a project or partnership that can make a difference for Christ.

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Reaching Our Judea

The Bible tells us that when the Holy Spirit fills us, we will be witnesses of Christ in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the entire world (Acts 1:8).  Jesus made it clear that the gospel wasn’t just for a specific people or only those living in a certain place.  He wanted us to share the message of salvation with all tribes and tongues.

Postcard Front

I’m encouraged by the recent emphasis in many churches to reach outward into their communities to share Christ (Jerusalem).  Lots of churches will engage in missions  in large urban areas within North America (Samaria) where millions of lost people live and work.  Most, if not all, churches will acknowledge the need to go internationally in order to share the gospel with unreached and unengaged people groups (ends of the earth).  But  “Judea” is often overlooked by churches.

“Judea” can be described as that area outside our daily routine that is accessible without the expense of substantial time and resources.  The state of Kentucky would be “Judea” for the 2,400 Southern Baptist churches in the Commonwealth.  We know from the 2010 Glenmary report that only 12% of Kentuckians attend church on any given Sunday.  Kentucky’s population is 4.3 million (2010 US Census Bureau) and Lifeway research tells us that 2.8 million of them are lost and without Christ.  Our Judea is in need of a strong Christian witness by Holy Spirit filled believers!  

ON Mission Expo has been planned … for such a time as this.  ON Mission Expo will help awaken believers to find their strategic “Judean” place in mission involvement while providing connection points for ministry service in Kentucky.  Hundreds of pastors, church leaders and missions curious Christ-followers from the Commonwealth will converge to –

  • Meet missionaries and ministry leaders from across Kentucky.
  • Visit displays and booths representing Kentucky missionaries and ministries.
  • Learn about culturally relevant new ministries.
  • Make plans for your next (or first) mission trip.
  • Develop personal connections with ministry opportunities.
  • Discover effective strategies and methodologies for reaching Kentuckians.
  • Engage in worship and powerful missions challenge to reach our “Judea”.

What will your strategic place of “Judean” engagement be as we seek to reach Kentucky with the life transforming message of Jesus Christ? 

ON Mission Expo is Saturday, October 11, 2015 at Immanuel Baptist Church, Corbin, KY.  For more information or to register – www.kybaptist.org/missionexpo



It’s State Missions Week


This week Baptists all across Kentucky are focusing on the Week of Prayer for State Missions and the Eliza Broadus Offering.  Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union so faithfully promotes state missionaries and ministries year after year and provides material for our mission emphasis.  Through the print material and videos we have an opportunity to learn what is going on in Kentucky, are encouraged to pray for missions in Kentucky, are given the opportunity to give to missions in Kentucky, and are provided with many ways do missions right here at home.

Currently 100+ missionaries serve in Kentucky in numerous ministry settings.  Those include evangelism/community outreach to children, youth, and families; serving the homeless; ministries to jail/prison inmates and their families; ministry to elementary, high school, and college students; church planting; work with internationals; disaster relief; camps; pregnancy care centers; hospitality houses; and equestrian ministry, just to name a few.  You partner with all of these through your gifts to the Eliza Broadus Offering and Cooperative Program.

There are lots of other ways to connect with Kentucky missions all throughout the year.  When asked what you can to for the missionaries their number one response is almost always, “pray.”  They are also eager for you to visit and learn about their work, then come and serve alongside them.  Whatever gift, skill, or talent you have there is a place for you to serve.

You can view a list of our Kentucky missionaries at www.kybaptist.org/missionaries.  Your church or missions organization may be interested in adopting one of the missionaries.  For information on that go to www.kybaptist.org/adopt.  To pray for our Kentucky missionaries on their birthdays go to www.kybaptist.org/interseed.  And, to find numerous opportunities to in Kentucky go to www.kybaptist.org/go.

If you have never gone on a mission trip before let me encourage you to begin right here in Kentucky.  Contact me at [email protected] and I will be happy to assist.

Thank you, Joy Bolton and staff, for you promotion of Kentucky missions.  Thank you, Kentucky WMU all across the state, for your support of Kentucky missions.  And thanks to all of you who pray, give, and go to share the Gospel right here at home.  Because of your faithfulness many of the hungry are fed, many in prison are being ministered to, many who do not have clothing are provided for and, most importantly, many come to a saving faith in Christ Jesus.

For information on the 2014 Week of Prayer for State Missions and the Eliza Broadus Offering go to www.kywmu.org/ebo.

Missions Strategy: Evangelize the Unreached

When Great Commission faithfulness begins with fervent prayer, as I wrote about last month, it leads to bold gospel proclamation (e.g., Acts 4).  The second component of Great Commission faithfulness is evangelizing the unreached.  Peter preaches his second sermon at the temple area in Acts 3.  Chapter 4 describes Peter and John being arrested for preaching the gospel.  Peter and John make it clear to the religious leaders who had arrested them that there is salvation in no one else but Jesus (Acts 4:12).  In the midst of hostility, Peter and John demonstrate gospel boldness.

The religious leaders are surprised by the confidence of Peter and John because they were uneducated men.  They further recognize that these two men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).  In order to squelch the boldness of Peter and John, the religious leaders threaten them to speak no more about Jesus (Acts 4:17).  You can imagine them being told that if they continue with their message, then they will do to them what was done to Jesus.

Instead of cowering to the threat, Peter and John reply that they cannot help but speak about what they have seen and heard (Acts 4:20).  In other words, we cannot keep silent; we must not keep silent.  They are threatened again and released.

Peter and John gather back with the church and report all that had happened (Acts 4:23).  Peter’s and John’s gospel boldness comes through their confidence in a sovereign God (Acts 4:27-28).  Just as God was in sovereign control over the death of Jesus, He is also in charge of their lives.  Thus, gospel boldness is rooted not in ourselves, but in someone else.

They pray, not for deliverance per say, but for boldness to proclaim the gospel more (Acts 4:29).  While we might think that their prayer would revolve around asking for a way out, they actually pray for boldness in the midst of hostility.  The gospel spreads from Jerusalem and beyond as the church prays, the Spirit fills, and the believers are emboldened.

photoWhy such a change from chapter 1 where the disciples are locked up in an upper room?  Well, it’s really quite simple.  Jesus was dead, but now He is alive . . . and they knew it.  Jesus left them in order that He might send another comforter who would fill them with power (John 14; Acts 1:8).  Still yet, the disciples really believed that Jesus is the only way to be saved.  That means any other way besides through Jesus alone is no way at all.  They were gripped by this truth!  They lived, breathed, slept and ate this truth.  Men and women, boys and girls are eternally lost without Jesus.  Whether as an individual in a remote tribe in Indonesia who mixes animism with Islam or a cultural Christian in suburban Kentucky, all are lost who do not forsake their sin and trust in Jesus alone for salvation.

Ultimately, to be unreached is to not know Jesus as Savior and Lord.  Peter and John were gripped by the truth that Jesus alone saves.  They lived their lives seeking to make Him know, even if it cost them theirs.  May we, too, be gripped by the truth that Jesus alone saves and pray for gospel boldness to reach the unreached.