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
WMF MISSIONS REPORT
Convocation 2018 was a rousing success. The speakers each brought a forceful word from the Lord. Multitudes were encouraged and certainly heard from the King of Kings: a word that was specific to each individual’s calling and need. As for missions, we instituted a mission’s panel. The panelists gave reports and testimonies regarding the move of God around the world.
Thursday evening I gave a report of things we are implementing for the missions department of WMF. Two of the changes are noted below, the first of which was agreed upon by the Executive Board.
10% of WMF dues now will be designated for missions.
The mission's board believes that a Facebook page for our missionaries would be useful for global contact and strategy.