Category Archives: Missions

articles on Missions

Are You Cowardly?

I have been reading in the Gospel of Mark.  This morning, I read the following:

“And he [Jesus] said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40 NASU)

In Mark 4:35-41, is the story of Jesus calming the sea.  He said to the twelve, “Let us go over to the other side” of the sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35).  A storm came up, and it became dangerous.  Jesus was asleep and the men were fearful. They woke Him and He calmed the sea but then asked, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).  The word here for afraid is “cowardly.”

Brothers and sisters, as men and women called to go to the other side, to take the gospel to the world, are we sometimes guilty of acting cowardly?  To be fearful, is almost a daily occurrence for some of us, but do we also act cowardly?

None of us like to raise support, be responsible for funds for ministry, to leave family and friends, work in the heat or cold, but the Savior has called us to the other side, so let us not act cowardly!

Yes, it is fearful to face the task of taking the gospel and compassionate care to the masses.  How can we possibly reach 13 million orphans, 160 million street children, 25 million people in Mexico City, make a dent in the needs of the 8 million people in Bogotá, the 15 million in Manila, or restore the lives of children of war in Uganda?

But, in faith, (yes, even a fearful faith), let us not be cowardly!  The support needs are overwhelming (it is embarrassing to ask for support), the task seemingly impossible, the waves may be breaking over our little personal and ministry boat (Mark 4:37), and even though it seems as if the Savior is asleep, it is He, the Sovereign Lord of the universe, who has called, commissioned and sent us to row (as difficult and stormy as it may well be) to the other side!

So, dear co-worker in the gospel, do not act cowardly!  Write that letter, schedule that meeting, pack your bags, quit your job, sell your house, say your good-byes to your family (Mark 10:29, 30), get in the boat, and row to the other side of the world in faith. Do not be cowardly!

I’m a Coward and Possibly You Are Too!

In the Philippines, I had breakfast with one of our older missionaries who, along with his wife, works in the international community in Metro Manila.

This gracious, loving couple also has a burden for the poor and are engaged in a very effective but difficult ministry among the 20,000 prisoners in the national prison on the outskirts of Manila. What brave people they are! Such a ministry would be very hard for me, and possibly for you too.

In the Philippines, I had breakfast with one of our older missionaries who, along with his wife, works in the international community in Metro Manila.

This gracious, loving couple also has a burden for the poor and are engaged in a very effective but difficult ministry among the 20,000 prisoners in the national prison on the outskirts of Manila. What brave people they are! Such a ministry would be very hard for me, and possibly for you too.

I am 67 years old and over the years I have worked in and started ministries in dangerous places including jails and prisons, but I am basically a coward and (again I repeat) possibly you are too.

At least we can recognize our cowardliness and pray for a measure of fearlessness to do what needs to be done, brave or not. We can also trust God to raise up fearless men and women with a holy boldness to work in dangerous situations for the gospel and compassionate care for His glory.

 

Let’s you and I, as cowards, also pray that God would continue to raise up men and women, like you and me, who are still cowards but who will trust God anyway to be used for His glory, fearful or not.

 

“O give us help against the adversary, for deliverance by man is in vain. Through God we shall do valiantly, and it is He who will tread down our adversaries” (Psalm 60:11-12 NASB).

Obedience, Comfort, Heat and Traffic

One often hears from Christians, “Oh, I could never serve in that city or in that country” and then they list the reasons why. There are too many or too few people, it’s too cold or too hot, do not like large cities or small towns, too close or too far from malls. In other words, it seems as if one would only serve the Lord in a certain place if it is comfortable!

For example, the city of Manila: it is hot (today December 18, 2013), it is about 90 degrees with 100 % humidity), the traffic is the worst in the world (seems like there are 139 cars per inch), and it is the most densely populated world class city with a population of 20-25 million!

To reach this city with its teeming millions in slum areas, the millions of middle class, as well as the thousands and thousands of rich, may be difficult, expensive, and not very comfortable, but obedience to our Lord’s Great Commission to take the gospel to all is necessary whether being comfortable or not!

 

Should We Send Missionaries or Only Support Nationals?

Years ago I had a long conversation (and later much correspondence) with Bob Finley, Founder and Director of Christian Aid Mission, during a conference in Europe for evangelists.  I spent quite a bit of time with him discussing needy pastors in the Philippines and requesting support for them.

Bob said repeatedly that all missionaries, myself included, should “leave our ministries” in the Philippines, Asia, Africa, Europe, and all around the world, to get a job and simply support national workers.

I pleaded with him to understand that while his view may be appropriate in some situations, we could not ignore God’s Word and that most of his views were made from “experiences” that he had witnessed.

In his book “Reformation in Missions,” Bob does not include any true Biblical teaching on our responsibility to the Great Commission. Instead he gives many anti-missionary illustrations. He names leaders and quotes them out of context. All the examples I read in his book were exceptions, and although his assertions were true in some rare cases, they certainly were not true of the majority.

The book is racist and does not look on mankind as a whole.  It does not teach that all Christians are responsible for the whole world, but that we are only responsible for those who are geographically near with the same color of skin.   

On one occasion, Bob was asked to speak at the missions conference of a church pastored by a friend of mine. While the other missionaries were speaking, Bob showed contempt for their messages by lying down on a front pew of the church and pretending to be asleep.  This terrible , rude, non-Christian behavior is the exception, since not all who preach “support nationals only” would do such a thing. 

This illustration, however, seems to be quite typical of the actions and language of Bob Finley. The Word of God teaches us to be kind, considerate, understanding, compassionate, and respectful (Colossians 3).

As brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s work together.  If the elders and leaders of your church have a burden to send missionaries to Haiti, Philippines, Malawi, or Indonesia, then pray together and trust God for the funds to send those who are called. At the same time, we should be concerned about pastors and Christian workers in Haiti, Philippines, Malawi, or Indonesia who are not able to properly support their families and do ministry unless they receive funds from ministries such as Christian Aid Mission, Partners International, Gospel for Asia, ACTION, HeartCry, and many other ministries who support national workers.

We all are a church called to fulfill the great task of world evangelism by sending missionaries in obedience and supporting nationals.  So, let’s do it, brothers and sisters!