Henry Martyn once remarked, “The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.” I wholeheartedly agree. We are all grateful for God giving us a place to worship as a faith family and to study His life-giving Word. The vision and thought that gave us such a campus were extraordinary. Yet, we are reminded of that truth that Dr. Magee spoke some twenty-two years ago as he challenged the congregation to reach out: “We are a light set upon a hill.” As he reminded the Temple family then, we cannot retreat behind the columns of a church building; we must bring Jesus into our community and beyond. And we will become missionaries “in spirit and practice” as we draw near to Him.
Every day, I see our members exemplifying that missionary zeal. You may be volunteering at LifeChoices and doing the ever-important work of encouraging life itself. You may be delivering backpacks to our schools or tutoring students. You may be helping a battered wife find shelter from years of abuse, or you may aid a drug-addicted husband find healing through a Christ-focused rehab. You may be sitting with a fellow Bible study member at the hospital, or you may be cooking a meal for a bereaved family. You may be working with a spiritual revitalization effort at The Springs, or you may be leading a study at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center. And in all these instances, you are having Gospel conversations—sharing the good news of Jesus! (Don’t forget to bring your green pit ball back to the church as we celebrate/pray over those conversations!) We are seeing the results of these conversations as people continue to come and follow Him through the public declaration of baptism.
And what’s more? We are able to extend that missionary effort not only to our local community, but we are also able to promote it among the cities and nations around the globe. We have a global mission because we have a global God! Through our praying, giving, and going, you and I are touching eternity! Last year, we contributed a tremendous amount of resources to our state, national, and worldwide missionary causes. In our special offerings alone, we gave $34,379 through Georgia Barnette (state missions), $75,011 through Annie Armstrong (North America missions), and $161,018 through Lottie Moon (international missions). That does not account for the $280,000 given through the Cooperative Program, the direct support for church plants and missionaries, or the amount many of us personally expended in short-term mission trips. Wow! God is faithful! We not only gave, but we went! And we are still going! Our East Asia team just returned from a fruitful trip; and later this week, another short-term team will depart for Puerto Rico. Working with the North American Mission Board, this group will take part in the disaster relief effort that continues after the recent earthquakes there. Pray for these men and women as they impact Puerto Rico for our Lord!
John Piper put it strongly and succinctly: “You have three choices in world missions: be a joyful, sacrificial goer, be a joyful, sacrificial sender, or be disobedient.” I am so grateful that I pastor a faith family that is committed to obedience in going and sending. No doubt, He is blessing our efforts and empowering us through His Spirit! Indeed, He is on the move, and He is bringing us with Him! Let’s hang on for an awesome ride! See you Sunday!