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.
By Terri Clark
World Missions Assistant Director
I recently checked off the very top “must do” item on my bucket list—Visit Israel. What an amazing journey through the land I’ve read about in the Bible for over forty years! Familiar names and places came to life.
Before actually traveling through the Holy Land, I imagined Israel to be so much bigger. In fact, I was taken back by how short the distance was from place to place, where the stories I’d read about took place. Well, something in particular struck me as we drove along the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Traveling along the water’s edge, our guide, (a Messianic Jew), explained that we were on the Gentile side of the lake. I had no idea there is a Jewish side and a Gentile side of the lake. Pointing across the lake, we could see the Jewish side, where Jesus did a lot of His ministry. “For instance,” our guide explained, “we are driving right now where the demons came out of the demoniac into the swine. These are the steep embankments where the pigs ran down into the lake and drowned.” He said they knew this was the place, because of the nearby tombs the demoniac came out of, they don’t raise unclean animals like pigs in the Jewish communities, and these were the only cliffs that go into the Sea—across the lake from the Jewish side. You can read the story in Mark 5 and Matthew 8.
What does this have to do with “missions” and this WMF “missions letter”? Well, I have to ask why Jesus crossed over to “the Gentile side” of the lake. I believe Jesus saw this as a training opportunity for the disciples, knowing he would be sending them to preach the Gospel and make disciples in all the nations. The Gospel of Mark tells us that the man who was delivered of the legion of demons went back to “his people” and shared the good news in the Decapolis, a region of 10 roman cities. Mark tells how these “Gentile” people were amazed at the work of Jesus.
Jesus is still asking us, (His disciples), to get into our boats and cross over to the other side of the lake and share the good news of the Gospel, heal and deliver people from Satan’s hold in Jesus’ Name. Yes, there will always be plenty of ministry for us to do at home, but I believe God is still asking us to push out from our comfortable communities and cross over to the other side of the lake. We are, after all, World Ministry Fellowship—a fellowship of ministries in the world.
There are roughly 200 nations in the world, and our fellowship has full time and short-term missionaries serving on nearly every continent. Today, the distance between nations grows smaller and smaller every day. We just need to get into the boat with Jesus and cross over. Many of our WMF missionaries would love for you to consider joining them in their work. Opportunities to preach the Gospel or be Jesus’s hands and feet in the nations are always open. But, even if you are unable to travel across the lake yourself, you can still get into the boat and “cross over” by supporting WMF Missions. Our missionaries around the world need your prayers, financial support and encouragement. Contact WMF for opportunities to get into the boat and impact the world for good in Jesus’ Name.
Jesus gave some very explicit instruction when he said “GO!”. Each of the eleven disciples needed to learn about evangelism in order to do it in a manner that pleases the Lord. Coming from different backgrounds and having different temperaments, one only can imagine why with Jesus as their teacher, the Gospels would have on record some of the surprising statements made by them: e.g., Jesus was God-in-the-flesh, and once declared that ‘he that has seen me has seen the Father’; but Philip still said “Show us the Father.” You wonder what exactly he assumed Jesus had been doing up to that time. Indeed each disciple gives witness to the fact that imperfect men were perfected incompletely even though they had been tutored by Jesus. Pastors, it seems there is hope for us after all. Be encouraged. Shepherds inspire personal evangelism through their own individual testimony. Although a few fail to pay attention, people will observe the change made in you by God and often follow the example set before them.
Galilee was an area containing diverse ethnic groups: ‘Galilee of the Gentiles’ as it was then known. There, Jesus appointed a place wherein he could meet with his disciples after his resurrection. All attended but one, Judas who was now dead. On that mountain in Galilee they worshipped him, and heard Jesus say that ‘all power had been given to him in heaven and in earth’. Such a thought is a comfort when one is considering the command to go and teach the Gospel amid the nations of the world. The sphere of Jesus’ authority knows no bounds. Different languages, customs and cultures require varying approaches: only one Gospel is needed however. The command ‘to go’ is of importance. Despite the difficulties involved, God’s Gospel cannot be proclaimed unless learned people, who acquired knowledge of the Kingdom of God beforehand, surrender themselves to embark on their journey in faith.
There are roughly 200 nations in the world. Jesus doesn’t ask his followers to go alone. He promises to be with them unto the farthest outposts round the globe. I offer this account of Ann as an example. She was a woman who spent 50 years on the India/Nepal border. The King of Nepal’s daughter had been ill. All the gods of the area were of no value. God touched the girl through the faith of Ann, the missionary, and made her whole. Afterwards, one day this same missionary drove her jeep into a nearby village. Suddenly a lady appeared who came running alongside her vehicle yelling ‘the light has come, the light has come’.
Well, months prior, this local resident had been a dedicated follower of Hinduism. But when her husband died, a witchdoctor told her that she should go to the top of a close by mountain and throw her two children into the river to appease the gods. Obviously they were angry at the family. In despair, she climbed the hill and just as she was to dispose of her children, a ball of fire appeared in the sky. Out of that fire was heard a voice saying ‘Go down the mountain and wait. The light will come!’. Weeks later, when the missionary came driving down the road, the lady said she saw the same light (earlier viewed atop the mountain), now on top of the jeep. Thus she began to rejoice and shout, saying ‘the light is come’. She came to saving faith and inevitably went down into the waters of the river, not for death but for baptism.
WMF minister, you are the answer to someone’s problem, both here in the States and abroad; but you will not know it until you get there. So get going! And preach and baptize just as Jesus said to do it: in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Baptism should evidence a real change of heart in someone, and it confirms the mighty covenant of God which exists between the Godhead and the redeemed, signifying a life of sin cleansed of sin by God. Untold millions have converted and later faced hardships and persecutions because of Christian baptism. These adversities should not hinder believers. In John 4:1, even Jesus baptized his disciples or they were baptizing others in the river.
This initiation seems to have been preparatory to their ministerial outreaches. God’s expectation is high in heaven; yet the demand placed upon Christians on earth is great. The Good News should be told to everyone and in all places. Crossing borders and traveling to and fro requires funds and other resources. Missionaries who sacrifice so much are obliged to believe God for greater things still in the eternal world to come; but each person is not prohibited from enjoying here the comforts which may accompany him or her as they go. Whether one is standing under a bamboo tree, in a mud hut, cinder-block house or in a dwelling place with a thatched roof, if God is there to help someone proclaim the Gospel, then that patch of earth becomes ‘holy ground’. So get on with the business of evangelism and preach it sister!
The month of April had a 5th Sunday. Please remember WMF missions in your giving.