Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bad Times are Good for Missions and/or Foolishness to the World

Today, because our pastor was away at a retreat, one of our friends Dr. Zemede preached. It was a simple, yet uncommon message based on 1 Corinthians 1:18: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

Basically, when we choose to obey God, people are going to tell us we are foolish. We were challenged by example after example of "fools" in scripture to be fools with a purpose and to remember that Christianity is not about making sense, but about being obedient to God whether it makes sense or not. We were challenged to pray and ask God how He wants to use us for His Kingdom, and when we hear God tell us to do something, DO IT, even if we look foolish in the process. For me personally, I have heard God speak to me specifically about certain ways He wants to use me to further His kingdom, and honestly I can say that the times I haven't obeyed have been mostly due to fear that I would look foolish to others. And it's not just a fear, but actual truth that I have been told that I am not making a "wise choice." That's not to say that I have disobeyed every time that God has called me to do something that doesn't make sense, I am just ready now to go ahead and forget what other well-meaning people, even Christians, say and follow Christ no matter what the cost. (Which, compared with my persecuted brothers and sisters around the world, having people laugh and tell me I'm stupid is an extemely small price to pay).

Because I subscribe to John Piper's Desiring God blog, I have a sermon in my inbox everyday, but it is my choice whether or not I take the time to read them and be changed or just hit the delete button. I love his passion for missions and mobilizing others to glorify God with everything they have. Sometimes I read and other times I find myself skipping over them. So, after that encouraging and challenging message this morning, I came home from church to find this post waiting for me in my inbox. It has to do with how at this time when the economy is so bad, most would say it is the worst time to be involved in missions. But, as I learned earlier- that may be just the wisdom of the world. Piper is basically challenging us to be fools...

I, by the way do NOT believe in coincidence. :-)

"I believe the Lord brought this word to mind in one of our
prayer meetings on Friday:
The worst of all times is the best of all times for missions.
We were praying over Lamentations 3.

Those were the worst of times for Israel. But in that moment
they were given the best of promises,

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his
mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your
faithfulness. (3:22-23)

Today marks the close of Missions Focus at Bethlehem. So we
were praying for missions.

That is when this word came: The worst of all times is the best
of all times for missions.
Such words do not have intrinsic authority the
way Scripture does. They must be tested.

Here is the truth I hear in those words.

1. During an economic downturn we are more dependent on

That is the most fertile soil for creating missionaries.

2. During an economic downturn unreached people around the
world do not expect you to

come, but to look out for yourself. So they may more likely see
your risk as love rather than exploitation.

3. During an economic downturn those who need Christ around the
world may be less secure in earthly things and more ready to hear about eternal

4. During an economic downturn people at home may be wakened to
the brevity of life and the fragility of material things, and so may become more
generous not less. And when they give under these circumstances, it will make
Christ look all the more like the all-satisfying Treasure that he is.

And so it may well prove to be that the worst of all times is
the best of all times for missions."

So, are you willing to be a fool for Christ???

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