We are gearing up for our annual (so they tell me) missions conference at the Haven! This is my first experience with our members to have speakers coming in and local missionaries preparing to share as we seek to be the missional church that God desires for us to be. While I don't know how God will use it and what impact will be made in the lives of our members, I'm already seeing a blessing in my own life.
In preparing for the time for my wife and I to share, I have poured once again through years of pictures (mostly on Facebook) to sum up a little of my experience living the mission.
In taking this stroll down memory lane I saw pictures from Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Portugal, Uruguay, Peru, Yemen, Oman, Jordan, India, and China to name a few. It's mind boggling to consider that I have been able to visit so many countries and participate in the advance of the Kingdom among so many people in so many ways. Looking at the pictures I also noticed that I was rarely alone in those adventures. Many times my wife, children, or friends from around the world were right there at my side and growing in their faith as we shared the joy that has been placed in us.
It gives me great joy knowing that these friends and family have journeyed with me through the years seeing the faith spread through many divine appointments that we discovered along the way. It is those divine appointments that God has used to touch and impact lives globally in ways that we will never fully comprehend. We continue to hear from people who have been touched as we have served in these global venues thanks to social media and we are amazed by the lives that are changed as a result.
So what does all of this have to do with being rich? Do I have an infomercial that will reveal the latest craze in American materialistic hedonism? Sorry to disappoint, but I don't. What I have is more along the lines of "Christian hedonism" (to borrow a phrase from Piper). To realize that we may not have the finest of clothing, cars, houses, etc. is a reality that many pastors and/or missionaries have come to grips with, but we embrace this reality knowing that the Kingdom of God is worth so much more. Settling for anything less is selling out...virtually selling our souls to gain the whole world. Yet, what does it profit those who have done so?
Speaking with those who have gained the whole world, you will hear one common theme. They will eventually say, "If I could have just a little MORE." That one word has proven to be an obstacle to so many who ran the race of faith and yet found themselves distracted. I do not know what God has in store for our Missions Conference buried deep in the heart of Wilkes county, but I pray that he once again helps us as a church to awaken to the great calling that he has given each of us to serve boldly for the Kingdom.
I will close with the words that I read recently from an author and speaker who I respect greatly, Nik Ripken, who wrote, "How did we take Jesus’ COMMAND to go to the Nations & convert it into some kind of mystical “call?” If it is a command, no one gets a pass."