NO Excuses!

It’s a pretty straight forward command, GO!  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, Matthew 28:19.

Since we’ve been commanded to go, we need permission in order to be excused from going.  Unless you’ve received special permission not to go, you better find out where God is sending you.  Jesus left the comforts of heaven and His place at the Father’s right hand to come to earth and He became our substitute on the cross at Calvary.

He told His disciples to go and acknowledged that many excuses would be given for why they couldn’t. The lame excuses that were given 2,000 years ago are the same ones we try to use today.

Here are some of the excuses given for not going –

  • Have to care for elderly parents (Luke 9:59–60).
  • Need to get everything in order first (Luke 9:61–62).
  • Must know what I’ll be doing before I commit to go (Luke 9:57–58).
  • Enjoying success where I am (Luke 5:1-11 & Acts 8:25-40).

Do any of those sound familiar to you?

It’s much easier to go when we don’t have family to take care of, I get that.  But it doesn’t excuse us from going if He has called us.

Waiting till everything is in order doesn’t excuse us from going when God calls either.  Delayed obedience is still … disobedience.

We can’t always know the details concerning the how, when and where of our call in advance. Many times those things aren’t shown to us until we’ve said yes to Him.

A successful ministry can be one of the greatest hindrances to going where Jesus wants us to go.  We may try to excuse the call to go elsewhere if we are comfortable and our current ministry is going well.

Jesus hasn’t given us permission to be excused from going where He leads.  We are to follow hard after Christ and He determines the timing and direction.  We are to adjust our lives and obediently go as He has commanded.  Have you adjusted your life to follow Him? Or would you prefer He make the adjustments?

He may lead you next door to share the gospel with your neighbor or to the other side of the world.  I’ve heard it said, “if it is important to you, you will find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse”.  Nothing is more important than taking the gospel to lost people in obedience to Christ’s command for us to go!  Will you go with NO EXCUSES whenever and wherever He sends?

by Eric Allen, Leader, Missions Mobilization Team, KBC

Mission Hope for Kids – Touching Hearts & Changing Lives

These two pictures (cardboard testimonies) tell the story.  The first one reads, “Before Mission Hope for Kids…Depressed, Worthlessness, No Friends, Thoughts of Suicide!!”  The second one, “After Mission Hope for Kids…Depression Gone, I am Worthy, Have Friends, I want to Live!!!! Thank You Jesus.”

Mission Hope for Kids is touching hearts and changing lives and the future of an entire generation of children and youth in Hardin County, KY.  They invest in the lives of at-risk students from low-income families and offer them a weekly sanctuary, a place where they can come as young as 4 years of age and continue to receive services through high school.  The students have their educational, spiritual, physical and emotional needs addressed by caring mentors.

Directed by KY-MSC Missionary Nelle Thomas and a large group of dedicated volunteers, this ministry has been serving the children of Hardin County since 2007.  The ministry began as an outreach of a local church, when a handful of church members volunteered to transport the children to the church facility to reach and care for them in a weekly Bible study.  Immediately after the program began, volunteers realized that the children were hungry and started a local chapter of Kid’s Café, to provide for both the physical and spiritual needs of these children living in poverty.  They were soon providing a meal, Bible study, and activities for 150 children in Elizabethtown.  With such a large growth, and a desire to do more for the kids, Kid’s Café dissolved, and Mission Hope for Kids was officially established in May 2012.

On a recent visit to Mission Hope for Kids, I learned that they currently serve over 250 students from pre-school through high school and offer food, access to clothes and hygiene items, support, care and mentoring by engaged adults, and continue to give hope to kids in Hardin County, so they can experience a better day and the brighter tomorrow that they deserve.

They serve alongside the schools and other county entities to develop a comprehensive program with a vision to make a positive impact by giving the students opportunities to become Godly, responsible and community-minded citizens with a bright future.

Students enrolled in the Mission Hope for Kids program are provided with tools, skills and year-round support to help them overcome the many challenges they face at home, school, and in life.  Every student qualifies to attend the program once a week, year-round, and to attend special events like a Back-to-School Bash and Christmas Party.

Mission Hope for Kids is truly making a difference.  Would you like to get involved?  MHFK can continually use volunteers and resources.  Some of their current needs are:

  • Someone to assist with computer skills
  • Computer updating
  • 50 plastic chairs
  • Dave Ramsey material for youth
  • Volunteers to help the students as they shop, to build relationships, and pray with the students.

For more information about Mission Hope for Kids, to see a video of the ministry, or to volunteer to serve, go to http://www.missionhopeforkids.org/media/.

Cooperative Missions and Racial Reconciliation

I can’t remember a time in my life when the tensions between “races” has been so high.  The hatred at times seems like it is swelling to the point of bursting.  From politicians to athletes, everyone seems to have an opinion and a response to the injustices and protests against inequality.  The church of our Lord must not remain silent on this issue.  More so, the church of our Lord must not remain passive on this issue.

 

In 2015 the Kentucky Baptist Convention passed a resolution on cooperative missions and racial reconciliation.  In essence, the resolution affirmed our creation by God from one bloodline and our command to make disciples of all nations.  The resolution further confessed our misappropriation of “race” as sinful against black, brown, and yellow image-bearers throughout our nation’s and state’s early history.  In fact, we erroneously “defended the right to enslave African peoples, treating them as chattel, stifling their ability to pursue life, liberty, and economic autonomy.”  Because of our racialized thinking, we hindered multi-ethnic cooperative missions for the first one-hundred years of Kentucky Baptist existence.

 

Therefore, as a convention, we are resolved to unite together for the advancement of the gospel as a “symphony of multiracial voices who glorify the slain and risen Lamb (Rev 5:9-10).  In acknowledging our past sins of racism, we further resolve to live out the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit “in relationship with black, brown, and yellow brothers and sisters in our great Convention.”  Furthermore, we commit to “intentionally pursue at least one ethnic minority congregation in mutual friendship and love in order to reach our world for the glory of God.”

 

Resolutions are good insomuch as they have feet.  The gospel of Jesus compels us not simply to place ink on paper for resolutions, but to link arms and to serve together for God’s glory among the nations.  It’s one thing for us to vote on resolutions or even to “amen” the truth that Jesus breaks down the dividing wall of hostility that exists among differing groups of people (Eph 2:11-22).  Yes, the world needs to hear our denials of racism (all forms of racism) and our affirmations that all people are created equal and are thus image-bearers of God.  But it is altogether different for them to see us live these denials and affirmations out to a watching world.

 

Our brother James was pretty plain about truth without any action.  He said the two are not mutually exclusive.  Rather, they go hand in hand.  “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).  In other words, it’s one thing for us to pass a resolution; it’s another thing to live it out.

 

I am encouraged by what I see among Kentucky Baptists seeking to live out not only a resolution, but what gets at the core of the gospel.  Jesus “reconciles us both (all groups of people) to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Eph 2:16).  What the world needs to see in the midst of continued hatred across differing ethnic groups is the change that the gospel brings.  The world needs to witness the joining of arms and the serving of feet that are red, yellow, black, brown, and white.  For indeed, each of these are precious in His sight.  Kentucky Baptists, let’s live out the gospel by serving together as one new body in Christ, and demonstrate to a watching world that Jesus restores what was once broken.

Written by Doug Williams,  Kentucky Baptist Convention Missions Strategist.