Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Challenge to Take the Gospel to the World

My, how time flies! I started this post on the 27th of August and am just now able to get it's already Sept 10th. [These first couple paragraphs are something God's just spoken to me as I type. More bloody toes...] My delay in completing this post is a reminder to me of the many good intentions that we have throughout the day or week. They somehow get pushed aside until "tonight", "tomorrow", or "as soon as I get time."

I'm preaching to myself as I'm typing this post. It's so important that when the Lord speaks to us to do something, that we don't put it off. So many times it gets forgotten completely. I did that last month with an offering that the Lord told me to send in to a certain ministry with which I'm partnered. I was busy. I tried calling it in, but it was after business hours. I said, "Lord, I'll go online when I get home and do it." But, I forgot when I got home.

A week later I thought about it again. "Darn! I still didn't get that offering sent in! I've got to get that done this week!" Then I heard the Lord say something that cut to the bone. "Don't bother. The need they had was a 'right then' need. I used someone else to meet it that gave when I asked them to." I thought about all the 'right then' needs that I've had over the years. What if God didn't switch to a Plan B (someone who hears and obeys right away) to meet them. NO CONDEMNATION, but certainly a challenge to come up higher!


Hi, Everyone! What an exciting week this last week has been at Valley Word! For those readers who are "Home Folk" (a.k.a. Valley Word members or attenders) you probably know that Pastor Solomon Mwesige from Kampala, Uganda was here the weekend of August 20, 2006. This time he was "the Main Event", and if you were here for that service, you know that he really kicked some bu...uhm...stomped on some toes! (What's left of my toes are still a little bloody ;D )

Over the course of the last few days I have really had a tremendous opportunity to meditate on many of the things of which I heard him speak, not only during service, but during the several conversations I'd had with him while he was here. A special thanks to the Lord, my Pastors, and Greyhound (for changing their bus schedule). Because of a change in the bus schedule, Debbie Robinson and I had the opportunity to drive Pastor Solomon to his next engagement in Pittsburg, PA and spend six whole hours soaking up information and wisdom from him! God is so good! I want to re-cap a few things that Pastor Solomon shared with us about Uganda and then share some of what God has spoken to my heart.

Although the nation of Uganda is 90% Christian, there is a strong Muslim foothold. During the Idi Amin regime, most of the businesses were turned over to the Muslim community. So, the economy of Uganda is still strongly controlled by non-Christian business owners.

Then there is the educational system. Pastor Solomon shared the following information (from a news article) with me in an e-mail: The Ahmadiyyah Muslim Association plans to build about 250 primary and secondary schools in Uganda. The plans are similiar to what they have already done in Ghana. “Our target is to transfer the same development to Uganda and we are now in the process. We shall construct and renovate as many schools as possible to see that the education sector is boosted in this country,” an Associatioin representative, Amir Inayatullah Zahid, said. Each school compound will also include a missionaries’ house. Ninety-percent (90%) of the scholarships that they have given out so far have been to non-Muslims.

Pastor Solomon commented: "Here is a challenge we are facing as Muslims target kids and, as their plan is explained, they build a school and a missionary house. We Christians wait for kids to grow into adults and then we spend on Evangelism, training soulwinners etc. [Emphasis mine ~SLB] With our one school, we have 450 kids... Muslims are planning to build 250 schools. [You do the math! ~SLB] This is a challenge indeed, and we, as Christians, cannot watch and see our Country and continent slip out of our hands."

During the message that Pastor Solomon brought us Sunday morning, he shared that of the 450 children who attend King Solomon's Academy, almost all of them have received Christ. Now turn that around. In a school that is run by Muslims, teaching a Muslim doctrine, what would the numbers show?

Adolf Hitler made the following statement in his speech on November 6, 1933, "When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already. . . . What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.' "

I have heard it said that it only takes one generation to turn the heart of a nation...either towards God or away from God.

We MUST get busy being about Kingdom business. Today's generation of Teens (called the Mosaics) are the Church of Today, NOT Tomorrow. According to the Barna Group (a Christian research group), "Commitment to the Christian faith changes considerably with age. Of those who attend church, only 27% of Mosaics say they are absolutely committed to the Christian faith, compared to 43% of Busters, 58% of Boomers and 68% of Elders. (2006)" Did you see that? Only 27% of our church-going young people admit to being committed to the Christian faith!! Add to that the number of non-church-going teens...what will the numbers be like in another generation?

The battle-cry has been sounded. It has given a loud and certain sound. It can not be about us and our agendas any more. We have been given a challenge to take the Gospel to the World. God didn't ask us if it fit our schedules. Or if we'd mind penciling Him in sometime in the next month or two. David, in Psalm 11:3 (NKJV), asked the question, " If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do? " When you think about it, a nations' young people are the foundation for its future. If we lose THIS GENERATION, "what can the righteous do?"

What can we do? Lots! Here are just a few suggestions in regards to missions.
  1. GO! Remember, the mission field is everywhere, not just in a remote part of Africa. It even extends into your own back yard.
  2. SEND! If you don't feel the call to go to some far away land, support someone who has been called to short- or long-term missions. The whole world has to be reached with the Gospel before the Lord comes back for His church.
  3. SPONSOR a child! Your gift of $25.00 per month not only helps to feed, clothe, and educate a child, but also provides an opportunity to draw them into the Kingdom of God.
  4. PARTNER! Through ministries like Pastor Solomon's, John Jacob's, and so many more, your giving helps to preserve this generation for the Lord.

[My soapbox is stuck, I can't seem to get it kicked back in... ;D ] We could all probably "write the book" on excuses for not going or doing:

1. "not enough money"... 2. "not enough time"... 3. "I can't get off work" (have you tried?)

4. "I have small children at home"... 5. "I don't have any skills that could be used on the mission field",

6. "I'm afraid to fly"... 7. "there are snakes and bugs over there"... 8. "What about the water..."

Here are some responses: 1. God says, "I'm your Jehovah Jireh [the Lord our Provider], your All Sufficient One. I see ahead to the need and make provision for it before it ever comes to pass." 2. He told the people through the prophet Haggai that it was time for them to stop saying, "It's not time." 3. Throughout the Psalms we're told that we have favor with God (and with man-i.e. your employer) He is our Jehovah Elyon [the Lord, the Blesser] . 4. Get your kids involved in missions projects, too! 5. Q: Have you checked to see what skills are required? 6. "Fear not!" [Jehovah Shalom- the Lord, our inner and outer peace!] 7. Pastor Solomon said, "We have snakes everywhere. We have bugs everywhere," but God is Jehovah Sabaoth- the Lord, our Protector! 8. Mark 16:18 addresses Excuses #7 and #8.

Isaiah says this in chapter 6, "1In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple." What are the King Uzziah's in our lives? What is holding our attention and keeping us from seeing what the Lord wants us to see? It wasn't until King Uzziah died that Isaiah saw the Lord in all of His majesty and glory. Is there something in our lives that needs to die in priority so that we can see the Lord and how He wants to manifest His glory in and through us to a lost and dying world? Jesus said, "If you've seen me, you've seen the Father. " When the world sees US they should see the Father!

Well, I've preached long enough. Are you ready to take the Challenge? Let's get ready and take the Gospel to the World!

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