‘For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles’, Mal. 1:11
Malachi’s burden was a result of the word of the Lord that burned in his heart. His prophecies concern the respect and honor that Israelites failed to give to God. So blinded by their current desires they were oblivious to the manner in which they mistreated his name. They even dared to ask ‘Wherein have we despised thy name?’ Thankfully God informed them, as he usually does when his covenant-people step out of bounds. The Lord desires that his name be preeminent and prominent in all the earth. Patriarchs, priests, and prophets were responsible to keep the faith. On most occasions they did; but often they did not. Men, women and children learned of God’s precepts as individuals submitted to his will and proclaimed his majesty. From generation to generation they heard that ‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…’, so says Ps. 24:1. It is a truth that inhabitants of the earth tend to forget. Some of them have not come to know it yet.
The account of redemption must be told. At the center of the Gospel report is Jesus Christ. When it is announced, powerful things happen. Stories of the miraculous excite one and all. Love for God and the unredeemed is the main reason that I enjoy speaking with God-appointed, missionary-minded persons. The sacrifices made by them to obey the Lord are great and numerous. The January meeting of the Missions’ Board in Dallas proved to be fruitful. Discussions on several topics were had. A number of trips abroad are scheduled for the year by various board members.
During last year’s Convocation a Mission’s panel issued global reports on what God was doing in the spheres in which some WMF members do labor. A similar session will be held during Convocation 2019. Like me, others apparently enjoy hearing all the testimonies. The supernatural activities of the Lord have not waned in these last days. They have increased, and our great God is doing wonderful deeds in the earth.
One proposal that was iterated suggested we attempt to get the youth of WMF churches involved with WMF missions. This action could be achieved by Pastors who encourage their youth to strive to raise funds annually for WMF missions, maybe through a variety of projects. The youth (or representative) then could bring the offerings to Convocation and be recognized on Mission’s night. Moreover, we would like to remind each fellowship to remember WMF missions when each 5th Sunday approaches. Let us make 2019 a year of fasting and of prayer. Good things are happening. We are pleased with all the reports we receive monthly. Be encouraged: pull hard, the end is almost in sight. Jesus is soon to come. So we must work while the work can be done.
Until the Whole World Knows His Name,
DREAMS OF A NEW BEGINNING
Mat. 1: 20-24
Ministers do not get to do things over very often. As a rule they must live with decisions they make, whether they are good or bad ones. There are exceptions, however. And that is what the passage above covers. Sometimes men of God can be stubborn. In those times, occasionally, the Lord commences to set us on an altogether different course. It is one of the great mercies of God that he does so. Joseph had heard from Mary what, seemingly, was the most unrealistic story he had heard in his lifetime: ‘she was pregnant and God was the Father of the child’. Joseph was not biblically uninformed; he was of King David’s lineage.
Joseph knew about God’s power to help barren women in the Old Testament accounts, but he was unaware of God ever aiding someone in this manner; and he certainly did not think that God would intervene so personally in his own life. Still, he was DETERMINED to cut ties with Mary. He gave a lot of thought to how to end the relationship. And this parting was to be accomplished without bringing shame to her (1:19). He was a good man, so says the Bible.
There is no doubt he was disappointed, hurt, angry etc. How would you have reacted to the “good” news? Here then we have an important teaching-point to mull over, one illustrating that even our best conceived plans may be out of the divine order that God wants for us’. Joseph thought of this issue by day and by night. One night, though, heaven sent an angel to inform him that God indeed was the primary actor in this scenario and that he, Joseph, must repent of his ways and change course now. Further instruction was given to him in the dream, to which he complied when he arose (1:24). There is no indication how long the dream lasted. Yet one dream changed him, and altered how he viewed God, his redemptive plan and his divine actions in his life.
There are times when ministers are headstrong too. In those cases, what we need is a visitation from God to change our ways. Change is not always a bad thing. To give an example, we often do not listen to our spouses, taking them and their concerns for granted or even wholly disbelieving what they say. Divine intervention is required to prevent us from permanently removing ourselves from some very significant plans that God may have for us. After all, God-possessed wives are smart. Instead of dreaming of how to get out of a situation, maybe we should begin to dream about how to make the dream a reality with the Lord’s help. Maybe then our ministries will attain [miraculous] spiritual births, and there will be greater manifestations of Christ’s glory in our ministry.
The kind of leadership that God needs could do with humble men and women who not inflexible in their viewpoints, but willing to go on with God and accomplish his mission in the earth, which is ‘to see Jesus save people from their sins’. That italicized sentence is the cusp and core of WMF missions.
May the King of Kings bless all our WMF ministers as each of them pursues their dreams of a new beginning with God in 2019!
By President, Brian Sharp
If we really stop to think about it, everyone’s a missionary. Obviously, however, this is not to be understood in the narrow sense we’ve come to know it in our modern times. In the book of Acts and other places in Scripture, it becomes quite clear we’re all to be spreading the Word and love of Jesus Christ to non-Christians, non-followers of Jesus on a continual basis.
Although most of us know this, it’s important we remind ourselves regularly that our job is to constantly “reach out as we reach up.” Biblically, our priorities for ministry are fourfold:
STORM DESTRUCTION IN FLORIDA
Dear WMF Ministers,
I returned yesterday from ministering in Panama City, Florida over the weekend. The area looked like a vast wasteland. Exceptionally large facilities had their roofs torn off; strong buildings were twisted as if they had been constructed of tissue. Millions of people are now forced to start over. I spoke with one elderly couple who had bought a lovely place (with cash; but without insuring the home) and retired there. The bulk of their retirement savings they watched blow away in the hurricane. Congregations of great size cleared their parking lots and put tents up outside to meet therein. Smaller churches have great problems. Damage along the beach shore was not so extensive. The interior of the city lay in ruin.
The stories I heard were touching. So many of them like the ones we have encountered when tornadoes touch down here within our precincts. Yet the sun does rise and there is clear shining after the rain (II Sam 23:4). As I told them, storms are not new to the earth. They are a part of the “sorrows” category in Matthew 24. Despite their presence here and there, God has always retained a people amid the rubble who have loved him regardless and who have rebuilt their cities and lives. All day as we ministered in services to hundreds of weeping and brokenhearted people we saw the hand of a loving and caring God. Each service was powerful: full of grace and glory. What a sight it was to see people whose personal properties disappeared in moments, happily presenting their tithes and offerings unto the Lord.
Pray for the people in the region, remembering Paul’s admonition, “As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good to all men, but especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10).
Your gifts to WMF missions will help to lighten the load of relief efforts around the world. Remember WMF in your 5th Sunday offerings.
Be encouraged and God bless you.
Director of International Missions
Readers of the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul will know that the grace of God operated through him and Barnabas in mighty ways. Besides the exciting teachings given by them in city after city, there were numerous examples of healings that accompanied their labors. So great were these events that reports had to be given whenever they returned to Jerusalem to see the elders and Apostles, or revisited the home church (at Antioch) or returned to one of the fellowships previously started by them. During one of these homecomings, however, Paul and Peter entered into conflict over how new believers in Christ were being dealt with by Peter. Peter’s behavior had been less than exemplary. Peter had acted in an extremely hypocritical way Paul thought. Paul confronted him because he did not want to see Peter’s conduct imitated in other Christians. Peter’s influence was great enough that Barnabas even was influenced by it.
Paul confronted the issue, rebuking Peter face to face. And when the unity of the faith was finally restored, and reconciliation between them became a reality, Peter (and James and John) gave to Paul and Barnabas the ‘right hands of fellowship’: essentially it was an acknowledgment between both groups that full approval of their ministries was being extended: Peter issued one caveat though, that Paul and his team would remember the poor. Previously, Jesus had told his disciples that poor people would always be on the earth (Mat. 26:11), even in his absence. Poverty certainly was not eradicated in Israel during Jesus’ earthly career. Yet He came to preach the Gospel to the poor specifically (Lu. 4:18). Anyone engaged in worldwide or nationwide travel will be able to take notice of the varying degrees of poverty that exist, and quickly discern that the poor remain among us; nevertheless, the Gospel can save and empower them, therein changing their circumstances.
City missions, shelters, Bible-based drug rehab centers and so forth continue to provide temporary residents and visitors with provisions useful for keeping body and soul together. However it is the Gospel that transforms a person’s thinking. Poverty in the earth exists for many reasons. The solution to every reason for it’s existence is Jesus. Memory lane is a nice road to wander down, so I’ll do it again. Years ago in an urban mission center in Tennessee, God did wonders. The site had been started by a former pimp and prostitute who had done their time and then exited different prisons simultaneously. While incarcerated they both found the Lord were and freed from their sin. I still remember walking through the facility that first day. To be blunt, meeting them was rather daunting: there were some wild and untamed souls waiting to be fed. The precondition for receiving a meal was that they must sit and listen to a Gospel message. They filed in, and I could tell by their body movements that the bulk of them did not want to be there. I preached about a Gospel, full and free to all. Midway through the sermon I knew I had struck a chord with some of them. Later, during the altar service God healed a man wearing cast in a wheelchair. They cut it off, he took off running and the revival was on. On that day God once again remembered the poor as they heard the Good News.
These things we should continue to do. I would like to remind WMF members that here at the office we welcome 5th Sunday offerings, large or small, seeing that they are utilized for the express purpose of ensuring that the Gospel is proclaimed. Both wealthy and poor are in need of the inward assurance of the faith which the Holy Spirit is able to give. God’s grace makes the biggest difference, even in the smallest of villages abroad where the fewest attendees are present at a meeting. So we celebrate the work of God in the earth that is being accomplished by our ministers. Soon Kay Baker will return to Guatemala for extensive ministry. Continuing the work she and her late husband Jim began four decades ago.
Let us hold up her hands in prayer, and may WMF be able to assist her also as she presses toward the mark of the prize just before Jesus returns!
Director of International Missions for WMF