A desire to see change for someone else (those who are without Christ) is birthed out of a benevolent soul. Compassion is the starting point to action.
The summer before my senior year of college (2001), God gave me a new missions mentality. I spent the greater portion of that summer serving among unreached people in a floating village on Tonlé Sap Lake, just outside of Siem Reap, Cambodia. During that time God began to truly shape my heart and mind for getting His Gospel to those who were without Christ, and He used several unsuspecting voices to shape my thoughts. There are three value statements that encompass what was impressed upon me.
Nina Gunter, at 86 years old, said … “If you take missions out of the Bible, you won’t have anything left but the covers.”
At the core of Haggai International’s vision — to see every nation redeemed and transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ — are followers of Jesus joining God in His mission. God’s mission for those who are without Him is woven throughout the fabric of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. It is a Holy Spirit-inspired book about the all-out pursuit God has for His lost children.
My direct encouragement, no matter your vocation — music teacher, financial consultant, software engineer, student, retiree, stay-at-home mom, medical sales rep — is God is either calling you to go, or He is calling you to a life of profound prayer and generosity from where you live right now. The story of the Bible must become the story of our lives as well.
Samuel Zwemer, who went to be with the Lord in 1952, said … “The history of missions is the history of answered prayer.”
Change is made possible through the avenue of prayer. In the process, change is plausible among the nations and will transform your soul, too. I like to say that God has the whole thing rigged. If you are not already doing so, I invite you to the privilege of engaging daily in praying for the nations. Pray for the international leaders already in those countries who are seeking to serve their own people. Click here to download a simple app that will help you pray for the ends of the Earth daily.
The brutal facts are that 1 out of 4 people have not heard the Gospel. It is our shared conviction that Gospel poverty is one of the greatest injustices in the world today and it exists wherever people are deprived of hearing about Jesus. Talking about these facts is one thing, being moved to action is an altogether different notion.
Jon Tyson, a pastor in New York, said this … “The main barrier to turning knowledge into action is the tendency to treat talking about something as equivalent to actually doing it.”
A desire to see change for someone else (those who are without Christ) is birthed out of a benevolent soul. Compassion is the starting point to action. When God breaks our heart for the nations, He will begin to shape in us a desire to act. Our tears must move us to tactics while our sorrow must incite us to strategies.
It has been 22 years since that significant summer and I am still working through these three statements, allowing them to remold how I approach missions. I continually seek to apply them to my journey of seeing people without Christ experience life with the joy and hope that only Jesus can deliver. So far, it’s been worth it every step of the way.
This article was written for the Winter 2023 edition of Impact magazine. To read or download it, click here.
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