To make Him famous

crowdGod is concerned for His fame among all the world, all peoples. Fame is the condition of being known or recognized by many people (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ fame). If God is ultimate and His glory is the purpose of our existence (as I argued previously), then this praise of God is meant to be among all nations.

The Bible is replete with passages that speak of God’s fame being worldwide. Psalm 96 is one such passage that calls for God’s fame among all the earth. In fact, the Psalmist commands all peoples to praise God. The only way for the worship of God to be worldwide is to extend His fame among all peoples. People will worship something, but the Psalmist wants them to worship the one true God who made the heavens (Ps 96:4-5).

Missionary Jim Elliot was captive to the thought that the greatness and salvation of God should be extended to the nations. He was determined to call the nations to worship the one true God through the gift of His Son, Jesus. He wrote of praying prayers such as this: “I covenanted with my Father that He would do either of two things— either glorify Himself to the utmost in me, or slay me. By His grace I shall not have His second best (Danny Akin, Five Who Changed the World, 88).”

He knew that his desire for God to be glorified in his life would best be lived out by telling the nations of God’s greatness. Writing a letter to his family, he said, “Remember you are immortal until your work is done. But don’t let the sands of time get into the eyes of your vision to reach those who still sit in darkness. They simply must hear” (Akin, 93).

Not allowing the sands of time to blur his vision, he went to South America and to the country of Ecuador. He had heard of the Huaorani Indians, also know as the Auca Indians. They had never heard of Jesus, but he was willing to live his life, so that they would hear. He was willing to give his life, so that they would hear.  He lived his life to make Him famous.  Let us be determined to live ours with the same resolve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing with my International Neighbor

We live in a world on the move.  Our cities and communities are becoming more culturally diverse.  In Louisville, for example, there are now over one hundred languages represented in the metro school system.  Thousands of students are coming from abroad to study at our American universities.  The international community is evident in many of our small towns with the presence of ethnic restaurants and local shops.  The world is coming to us.

Iraq Team

How, in this changing world, can I be part of Christ’s Great Commission?  

How can I plant seeds for the Gospel with those from other lands that God is bringing to my community?  

  • Smile.  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.
  • 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 every day 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).

 

For I Wasn’t Hungry…

Several years ago, I came home from work complaining about how hungry I was.  My wife was fixing dinner and the girls were working on homework at the kitchen table.  They asked if I had eaten lunch today. To which I replied, yes, but I haven’t had anything since lunch. They laughed at my foolish reply because no one else had eaten since lunch either.  I was embarrassed by my response because it had only been hours since I’d eaten, but I acted as if I were starving.  Truth is, I’ve never been starving, but there are those for whom starvation is a reality.

hunger-child-groceriesAlmost 800 million people around the world live with constant hunger, and 1 in 6 people in the US are food insecure, meaning, they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The tragedy of hunger is very real for many of our churches and their communities. We all wish hunger would go away, but it isn’t going anywhere and the church has a clear command in scripture to feed the hungry (1 John 3:17-18 & James 2:5-17).

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Global Hunger Relief is a very effective funding system, put in place to assist ministries and churches in feeding the hungry.  80% of the hunger relief funds are used internationally while 20% are distributed within North America. 100% of every dollar given to Global Hunger Relief goes directly for the purchase of food.  None of it is used for promotion, administration, transportation, or operation costs.

The Global Hunger Relief offering has helped rescue starving children in West Africa, provided food for forcibly displaced refugees and given hope through backpacks filled with food to children in Appalachia.  SBC hunger relief ministries provide food to the hungry and offer the Bread of Life to them as well. There were over 21,000 professions of faith as a result of hunger ministries throughout the world. That includes 142 decisions for Christ last year in Kentucky as a direct result of hunger relief ministries.

Even though we have an effective hunger relief funding system in place and every penny of every dollar goes only toward the purchase of food –  it’s still not enough because the average Kentucky Baptist church member gave less than the cost of a canned soft drink to hunger relief last year.

Southern Baptists have set aside October 9th as Hunger Relief Sunday.  Let me challenge you and your church to step up it’s giving to the Global Hunger Relief offering. Raise awareness of the offering and how it helps relieve hunger.  Encourage friendly competition between small groups in your church.  Preach a sermon on hunger relief or prepare a children’s sermon for Sunday morning.  You’ll find resources to help with these suggestions at:  www.kybaptist.org/hunger

The next time you start to say, I’m starving, stop and remember that you aren’t. But, there are many others in the world, and in our neighborhoods, who are.

Pregnancy Care Centers Make a Difference

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In downtown Greenville, KY there is an amazing ministry called Pathway of Hope that ministers to families who are facing unplanned or unwanted pregnancies.  This ministry, directed by North American Mission Board missionary Diana Anderson, helps these families to make life-affirming choices, with their main goals to love on those they serve, share factual information with them, and be Christ-like in their love for them.  “We want them to see Christ through us,” Diana says.  “We try to share Christ with everyone that comes in the door.”

Since the ministry opened, nearly twelve years ago (October 2004), they have seen 76 persons accept Christ as their personal Savior.  Several others have recommitted their life to Christ,  Pathway of Hope helps their clients to find, and get connected with, a church close to where they live.

12196Other services provided (free of charge) by Pathway of Hope include pregnancy tests, diapers and wipes, clothing (from newborn to size 5T), and anything baby-wise. They can use donated items, even homemade items such as baby blankets, etc.

Pathway of Hope works with at-risk parents through Social Services and the court system.  Those include parents at risk of losing their children due to drug issues, domestic violence, disciplinary issues, etc.  Their “Earn While You Learn” curriculum, written for pregnancy center use, is an education program that deals with many of the needs these families face.  Post-abortion Bible studies also allow them to see the transformation and healing that God provides.

Diana says there has never been a true need that God has not already provided what the person needed.  One day a lady come to Pathway of Hope in need of a car.  She had a newborn baby boy with a benign tumor on his forehead.  The father walked out of their lives and they needed a mode of transportation to get to Louisville every other week for treatment.  At 10:30 that morning they prayed specifically for this need.  At 3:30 that same afternoon, the answer came.  Another single lady called saying she had gotten a new car and would like to give the old one to someone that could use it.  The car had new tires and had just been serviced.  The two ladies met, the car exchange took place, and there was much rejoicing.

When asked about how someone could help at the ministry, Diana recommended they seek out pregnancy care centers in their own area and see if they might meet a need.  “The needs are generally for volunteer labor, financial needs, material needs and, most of all, prayer.  It is not an easy job,” she says, but it is sure making a difference in the lives of so many families and children.

Please pray for Diana and Pathway of Hope as they minister to these families.  Pray for them to be bold in their witness.  Pray for other pregnancy care centers across the state.  Then, go to http://www.kybaptist.org/pregnancycare/ to find a pregnancy care center in your area and see how you might get involved.  If you know of a center in your area that is not listed, one that is private, Christian based and Southern Baptist connected through a local church and/or association, we are interested in working with them as well.  Contact us at mission[email protected] with that information.