Monday, July 28, 2008
MISSIONS MINDED FAMILIES
Do you believe that every believer (people who have accepted Jesus as Savior and believes every word in His Word) is commanded to "go?" In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commanded His disciples to "go" and make disciples of all nations. He even left them with the promise that He would be with them always. Who do you suppose (I know some of you already know the answers to this; just hang in here:)) Jesus was talking to? Was this a request of Jesus'?
Well, it was not a request, it was an emphatic command. You know, Jesus can do any job we have been privileged to do all by Himself. But He has chosen the fearfully and wonderfully made creation of His, us humans, to do what He wants and will get done. What a privilege!! We're getting to join Him in His work. Besides, if we love Him, we'll keep His commands. And remember, I just said that to take the Gospel to the nations was a command. God is so good, faithful, and just though, isn't He? He commands us to do something, but, He promises to be with us, to guide us, comfort us, speak through us, and anything else we need to get the task done. He would have it that no man would perish. He won't allow us to fail (even if we don't know the results or see the fruit of our labor) getting anything on His agenda done, if we just commit (and submit) to obey Him. This gives us confidence in the task. God is incredible!
Well, what does all of this have to do with the title? If God commanded us to go, did He mean our children too? Well sure! If you and I have children who have already commited their lives to Christ, even though they're not as spiritually mature as someone who has been walking with and obeying Christ for a long time, they still know more than someone who doesn't know Christ at all, so...God can use them, and..HE WILL. Wouldn't God be pleased, and wouldn't you love to see your children grow a heart to boldly tell others about Christ? Our first step is to teach them to love the very souls of others. Teach them to care about the eternal future of those around them. Pray to God that they grow a heart for sharing the Gospel and missions in some form or another. Then, teach them about this command in Matthew 28.
Missions, as you may already know, doesn't have to be trips to the remotest jungles of Africa or even to another city in the U.S. Missions can be in your neighborhood, and really, it should be. We don't want to miss the opportunity to minister to those around us and pursue just those far away. Everyone is not called to foreign missions, but EVERYONE is called to be a missionary, a carrier of the Good News, a lover of others' souls. You can do that at work, at school, on vacation, at church, etc. Do we convey this message to our children? Do we think, even without consciously thinking it sometimes, that missions is just for grown-ups? When we don't teach our children about missions, far and near, we cause them to miss great opportunities, we neglect to obey God as parents and Christian stewards of the Gospel, and our children miss out on sharing in God's work and the blessings that come with that. Missions work can be so easy, although it isn't always. Our children can do so much, and they can grow a heart to love it.
We feel that God has called us to go, as a family, on a missions trip in August. We are going to the state of Louisiana and partnering with another church there to go out and meet the needs, spiritual and physical, of a specific community there. We have commited to praying, as a family, about this trip and God's agenda and will concerning the trip and it's outcome. We have even decided to fast today, with the entire group of believers that are going. Usually I don't publicly admit that, but please use this information to pray with us. We are committed to HIM. I have young girls (one pre-teen, one new teen), although my boys are older teens and can understand better, and even they (the girls) understand so early the benefit of preparation to take the Gospel to unknown and/or unfamiliar territory. We have talked to them about missions and just recently, we talked about fasting-- doing it properly, how God strengthens you for it and the task ahead, when and how we were going to do it, and anything else about fasting I thought would be helpful. There attitude, because of Christ, was one of understanding and readiness to do it. All praises and honor to God.
I feel so spiritually happy that we are doing this as a family, the fasting just until 2:00pm today, and going on this trip. They are even growing in faith, faith that God will provide the provisions for us to take the trip and all that we need while we're there. They realize that we are in no financial shape to just go to the bank, withdraw all of the funds we'll need for the trip, and then go. But they do know that if God wants us to go, He will provide. In this truth, we are all confident. So, rather than focus our minds on what we don't have, we're focusing our minds on Jesus and the road ahead. It has been a sweet time in the Lord. We've even decided that if God closes the door for us to go, He has grown us so much through this process, and groomed us for something else. We've done a lot of individualized missions work or partnered up 2 or 3 of us, mostly locally in our city, but this will be the first time we will go out of town as a family for missions work. We're all excited!
My husband and I are praying that this will grow a tender heart toward God and things concerning Him, that our children will grow a heart towards missions, that they will see people through the eyes of Jesus (won't that change your perspective?!), that they will grow in grace and obedience. Will you pray with us as we pray these things as a family? Will you consider, if you haven't already, intentionally teaching your children about Christ's commands on their lives and ours, show them where and how they can fit in the missions , and praying that they have a heart for God and others? Will you pray that that heart for God and others will take them places outside of the "norm" or their comfort zones, but that God promises to be with them always? Will you teach them that God ALWAYS makes good on His promises, that it's all up to Him, not them, that they're to just trust Him and "go?" Will you pray these things today? It's always "the time" to spread the Good News. Teach them that this can be done literally anywhere.
I pray that you have fruitful family discussion time concerning this and other things today. May you be strengthened, convicted, and emboldened by the Holy Spirit to share the Good News of Jesus every opportunity you get.