The Gospel, Missions and October 31

October 31 is a day of great celebration among Christians.  We anticipate, or at least we should anticipate, this day every year.  This day marks a great recovery of the gospel.  No, I am not referring to Halloween, but the Reformation.

Martin LutherOn October 31, 1517, an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany.  What may have seemed insignificant at the time sparked a movement across Europe and the world that impacts us still today, as the strike of his hammer would lead to the great Protestant Reformation.

What was so significant about that day?  Well, Martin Luther was essentially protesting the pope’s attempt to sell salvation to the people.  He was attempting to bring back the biblical understanding that we are justified (made right with God) through faith alone in Christ alone.  Justification is God’s way of legally declaring that we are not guilty, our sins are forgiven, and that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us based solely upon faith in Him (Rom 3:28; 2 Cor 5:21).

Justification, therefore, as another has said, is the hinge upon which everything turns.  Recovering the truth that people are made right with God by a means other than themselves is literally life changing.  This truth shook Europe in the 1500s and still shakes the world today.

In fact, missions is simply going and telling people all over the world that they can be right with God not through what they do, but through what was done for them.  It is quite liberating to be able to tell people from every tribe, tongue and nation that they must simply believe this message about Jesus and they will be made right with God.

Today we stand on the shoulders of men like Martin Luther who got it.  He got it that we can do nothing to earn God’s favor.  God’s grace is a gift that we receive through faith alone in Jesus alone (Eph 2:8-9).  While the world may look different in many respects to that day in 1517, the world is really quite the same.  People are still trying to work their way to God.  How they attempt to work may look different from culture to culture and place to place.  But they are seeking to work nonetheless.

During this October 31 celebration let’s remember that we are to call people from all nations to stop working and to start believing.  Let’s go this coming calendar year to those who are trying to earn their way to heaven and tell them that the way has been earned for them through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus if they will simply believe.

After all, the just shall live by faith (Rom 1:17).  But, with the apostle Paul, how will they know that the just live by faith if we don’t go and tell them (Rom 10:14-17)?  I am grateful that Martin Luther got it, and by God’s grace I pray that we never forget it!

The Bucket Project

BGR Buckets - 1Kentucky Baptists have a “Great Commission” opportunity at the 2014 Kentucky Baptist Convention Annual Meeting on November 11.


Bring a bucket of hope to the annual meeting.  This will help us to push towards the finish line of our 2014 goal of collecting 5,000 hospice care buckets.  These will offer compassion to people in Sub-Sahara Africa, who are suffering from HIV/AIDS.  We have set a goal of collecting 800 BGR Hospice Buckets at the annual meeting in Bowling Green.

Would you do your part by bringing a bucket, as we gather at Living Hope Baptist Church in Bowling Green?

Why buckets?

Baptist Global Response (BGR) has learned that sharing a five-gallon bucket of care is a very effective way to demonstrate the love of Christ and to open doors for the Gospel with the sick and dying.

Why Sub-Sahara Africa?

Sub-Sahara Africa has more cases of HIV/AIDS than any other region in the world.  Over 1 million will die of AIDS in Africa this year.  Many of these people are facing death and eternity without the hope of Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 25, Jesus taught us, “I was sick and you took care of Me.”

How can you get involved?

• Visit the BGR Bucket project page here.  This page gives you the project item list, packing tips, training video, planning information, and promotional ideas.  Please note that participants MUST NOT deviate from the instructions.  Not adhering to the guidelines will jeopardize shipping and distribution of the buckets.

• Carefully pack your bucket as instructed on the training video.

• Drop off buckets at a designated collection site.  Click here for a complete list of Kentucky collection points.

The Shopping List:


5 Gallon Bucket and lid that snaps on,
with wire handle.  White, green, blue or
light gray buckets are acceptable,
but white is preferred.  Found at Lowe’s,
Wal-Mart, or Home Depot.

Pharmacy & Health/Beauty Supplies:

1 – 200 tablet EQUATE or CENTRUM
Complete Multi-Vitamin.  Equate found at
Wal-Mart and  Purchase
latest expiration date.

4 Dove UNSCENTED Sensitive Skin
soap bars.  FRAGRANCE FREE soap is
VERY important for patients with sensitive
skin.  Please leave bars in individual boxes.

2 – .35 oz. SQUEEZABLE Carmex lip
balm tubes.

1 – 50 count box LATEX FREE disposable
gloves. (Found in the First Aid/Bandage aisle).

1 metal fingernail clipper.

1 – 13 oz. FRAGRANCE FREE tub of Petroleum
jelly or 2 – 7.5 oz. tube.

2 SOFT bristle adult size toothbrushes.
(Soft bristles are important for
sensitive gums.)

1 large tube of FLUORIDE toothpaste.

1 – 8-10 oz. FRAGRANCE FREE moisturizing
body lotion.  NO PUMP bottles.

Baby Bedding:

2 GARANIMALS or comparable brand
waterproof, flat (not fitted), quilted,
multi-use pads (27” X 36”).  Buy one
packet that contains 2 pads.

Bath Linens:

4 THIN washcloths, bright colors preferred.
Thin washcloths are essential so that they
may be washed easily and dry quickly.

1 THIN cotton towel.  A THIN towel is essential
so that it will dry quickly and fit well
in the bucket.  Bright colors preferred.


2 Twin, flat sheets.  200 thread count or
higher, bright colors preferred.

2 Standard pillowcases.  200 thread count
or higher, bright colors preferred.

1 TWIN SIZE fitted vinyl mattress protector.

Cleaning Products (in the grocery area):

1 kitchen scrub brush (2.5” X 6.5”), with or
without handle.

2 pairs of Latex gloves, long cuff, medium

1 thirteen-gallon sturdy plastic garbage
bag (to store kit contents in while bucket
is in use).


100 drinking straws (Flexible hospital-

1 box of Ziploc gallon size freezer bags.
(You will need six bags to pack one kit.)

2 pairs crew length cotton socks.  Medium
adult size, any color.

Buckets cost approximately $85.

What’s Your Story?

Story telling is a powerful tool for people of any age or culture. Whether it involves reading a story book to my grand-daughter or telling my co-workers about something that happened to me, a person’s interest is held captive by a story. I remember how powerful our story was after my wife and I lost our first child. God used that story of hurt, loss and total trust in Him to encourage and strengthen others going through similar trials. Telling others what Christ has done in our life is powerful. It’s difficult to refute what a person has experienced as real.
In Luke 8, Jesus healed a demoniac and set him free from many demons. This man whose life was transformed, is told by Jesus in verse 39 to “return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” The whole city would notice the change in this man’s life. I imagine as he told his story time and time again, others would want to experience the same change in their life that only Jesus could bring.KBC - Tell Your Story

A similar experience happened to me when I was on mission in Brazil several years ago. I was given the opportunity to address a group of young men in a boys home. After praying about what to share, I felt strongly led to simply tell my story. I told how I was raised in an alcoholic home and suffered verbal and physical abuse by a step-father. However, there was a life change, family change, and eternal destiny change after Christ came to live in our hearts and home. I understood more clearly what it meant to be adopted by Christ when my step-father began to love me as a son.

This was a story that these young men could relate to. I understood the importance of telling my story when twelve of these young men professed faith in Christ after hearing mine. It wasn’t me or even the way I told my story that made the difference. It was the power of God through my story when I simply told others what Christ had done for me.

If you’re a follower of Christ, you have a story too. So what’s yours? Let me encourage you to tell your story as the demoniac did, and as I did. Tell others what God has done for you. If you’d like help, tools or resources for telling your story, visit:  It could be that someone is waiting to hear your story today.

Meet the Missionaries & Ministries

Postcard Front

Want a chance to meet and talk one on one with many of our Kentucky missionaries?  Want to know more about missions and ministries in Kentucky?  Looking for an in-state mission opportunity for this fall or next year?  Or, would you just like to participate in a time of worship with mission testimonies, great music, and a challenging mission message?

Join the Missions Mobilization Team of the Kentucky Baptist Convention this Saturday, October 11th, from 10:30 AM to 2:00 PM at Immanuel Baptist Church in Corbin, KY.

Thirty-five plus displays, representing Kentucky Baptist Schools, Kentucky WMU, Kentucky Changers, Disaster Relief, and various Kentucky ministries will be on hand to share information about their ministries and opportunities to serve.

You can get to know your Kentucky missionaries and ministry leaders as you visit with them, learn about their ministries, and learn of ways to get involved in ministry across the state.  Perhaps you can even plan your 2015 state mission trip while there.

Enjoy a good down-home, country meal of bean soup, cornbread, desserts, and drinks provided by Kentucky Disaster Relief and Immanuel Baptist Church.

It is estimated that Kentucky is over 88% lost and without Christ.  We have a great opportunity and obligation to reach them with the Gospel.  Come learn of the needs and how to impact your Judea!!

For more information and to register go to  Bring 5 or more and have a chance to win a new tablet.



Missions Strategy: Establish Churches

As the world’s population continues to grow, the birthing of new churches is greatly needed. Empowering through prayer and evangelizing the unreached are necessary components of Great Commission faithfulness, as I have previously discussed.  The third necessary component of GC faithfulness is establishing churches.  As one examines the book of Acts, the strategy of the apostles and early believers is apparent—plant churches.  First_Baptist_Meetinghouse,_Providence,_RI

Since the day when a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem in Acts 8, the believers were scattered and churches were planted (Acts 11).  Interestingly, the ordinary believers who were scattered due to the persecution in Acts 8 planted the church of Antioch (11:19-26), which eventually sent the apostle Paul to plant dozens of churches (13:1-3).

What did Paul do and can we emulate his method of church planting?  Paul seemed to target cities with larger populations, knowing that the gospel can and would spread out from that location to the surrounding areas.  In short, though Paul’s length of stay in each city varied, there seems to be a common strategy he employed, which some refer to as the Pauline cycle.

David J. Hesselgrave notes several reoccurring elements of Paul’s church planting strategy (Planting Churches Cross-Culturally, 43-63).

    1)      Missionaries Commissioned- Acts 13:1-4; 15:39, 40

    2)      Audience Contacted- Acts 13:14-16; 14:1; 16:13-15

    3)      Gospel Communicated- Acts 13:17ff; 16:31

    4)      Hearers Converted- Acts 13:48; 16:14, 15

    5)      Believers Congregated- Acts 13:43

    6)      Faith Confirmed- Acts 14:21, 22; 15:41

    7)      Leadership Consecrated- Acts 14:23

    8)      Believers Commended- Acts 14:23; 16:40

    9)      Relationships Continued- Acts 15:36; 18:23

  10)      Sending Churches Convened- Acts 14:26, 27; 15:14

This Pauline cycle does not mean that Paul himself carried out every step.  Rather, there were others that Paul discipled in order to multiply the scope and impact of his church planting ministry (e.g. Titus 1:4-5).

To what extent can we emulate Paul’s cycle in the twenty-first century today?  Is this cycle really adaptable to any culture of any time period?  Yes.  Here is why according to Hasselgrave.

Paul’s message is normative.  Wherever Paul traveled, his message was the same—the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  However, the starting point at which he shared that message varied.

Paul’s life is normative.  The life of the Apostle Paul is one to be followed. Paul’s life is an example of Christian doctrine put into practice.  Paul lived out what he knew.  As Hesselgrave rightly notes, “To the Corinthians, who desperately needed an example of what a Christian should be, he could make that remarkable statement, ‘Be imitators of me’”(1 Cor. 11:1a).  Paul was not perfect and he knew it.  Therefore, he qualifies the reason why the Corinthians should follow him with the words, “just as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1b).  Paul was a man that reproduced himself in others.

Paul’s method is normative.  Paul’s method is not meant to enslave us, but to guide us.  Though we may not follow every step slavishly, we find in the epistles ample reason to carry on the pattern that Paul has set before us:

  • Go where people are
  • Preach the gospel
  • Gain converts
  • Gather them into churches
  • Instruct them in the faith
  • Choose leaders
  • Commend believers to the grace of God
  • Develop koinonia relationships (Acts 2:42)

With a global population over 7 billion people, reaching the unreached with the gospel will only occur as it first began in the first century.  Churches must plant churches in order to reach the unreached with the gospel.