Monday, July 10, 2006

Invest in being CONNECTED

What would be a better investment?
(1) Giving $2,400 to Gospel for Asia to provide the full financial support needed for a Spirit-filled evangelist with a family to devote an entire year taking Christ to one of the most unreached parts of the world
(2) Spending $2,400 on a two-week mission trip to India


If you are like me, you are, for the most part, disconnected. If you are like me, you sometimes don't really care about people on the other side of the world, or what Missionary X is doing in the Philippines, or that your coworkers are not believers, or that the youth in your church are bored out of their minds with God stuff because most of the rest of the people in their church are pretty bored with it all too.

But there is hope for disconnected people.

Come with me:
One person. One person in India--John--hears the gospel. He is so excited that the first few weeks of his reborn life are full of so much fasting, praying, praising, evangelizing and Bible study, that his family thinks he's nuts. But his wife gets saved, too, and she experiences new life in Christ as well. And then so do their kids.

Before long, John learns that people--millions and millions of "one person"s--in the northern part of his country have never even heard of Jesus. The word "Jesus" is not a word they use.

John reads in his Bible that those who do not have Jesus in their lives are destined for a lost eternity. Unlike me (often), John practical-ly believes this... to the point of crying out to God for their salvation. And although his heart goes out for the people around him, John longs to go where no one else has been willing to go--to one of the most Christ-less and unreached places on earth--to a village just 500 miles north of him.

John fasts and prays. Somehow, God links him with people who can help. People from Gospel for Asia. He is trained at their training school. They give him some money (money that someone on the other side of the world gave to them), and he goes. Full of the Holy Spirit, yet aware of his weakneses, John moves with his family to that little village in northern India.

In this village, John shares Christ with individuals, loving people unconditionally, believing that Christ will raise up a church here - where, last year, not one person even knew who Jesus was.

To John, life is short, and eternity is long. He sometimes gets discouraged, but he keeps going. It is hard on his family, but his wife and children understand. Despite the hardship and persecution and discouragement, it is worth it.

John keeps going. He spends hours with one person. Hours with another... one person. One person. One person. And one person gets saved. One person. Another one person. Slowly. One person. Now, there are a handful of people. And for the first time ever, there is a church--a little church--in this village. It is weak. But it grows. One person gets stronger in her faith. One person gets saved, and tells her child about Jesus. One person takes John's Bible and uses it to help John teach the children. And one person--his name is Rajan--grows and grows, in a special way. John disciples Rajan, and trains him, and gives him more responsibility. One more person gets saved. One more person gets baptized.

The church is stronger now, and John feels that the Lord is leading him to another village - to begin again. Rajan wants to come too - to help. But John says, No, there are other villages that need to hear about Jesus: Rajan should go to one of these. God will be with him. So Rajangoes.
When I stand before God one day, although my sins will have been washed away by Jesus' sacrifice, I will have to give an account for my life. For how I used the one or five or ten talents I was given. For how I used the minutes, the hours, the weeks, the years. For how I used my emotional energy. For my job. For what I did with my free time. For what I did with what God gave me.

If I live a disconnected life, I will be ashamed on that day. That means the only hope is to get connected. Through prayer. Through obedience. Through deliberate decisions that, often very costly, will connect us with what God wants to do with the rest of our lives.

Scenario: "Missions is not your thing," but you find yourself going on a two-week mission trip to northern India anyway. The mission organization you go with matches people up with full-time national workers. You end up with a guy named Rajan and his family. Giving up their bed for you, Rajan and his wife sleep on the floor of their hut. They welcome you into their lives and ministry. Little did you expect what that would mean... For the next few days, you see people get saved, baptized, discipled. It changes your life. You go home a different person. You keep growing. You keep changing. God gets a hold of you. The rest is history.

Now, let's look at that opening question again:

What would be a better investment?
(1) Giving $2,400 to Gospel for Asia to provide the full financial support needed for a Spirit-filled evangelist with a family to devote an entire year taking Christ to one of the most unreached parts of the world
(2) Spending $2,400 on a two-week mission trip to India

There is no right answer.

But it's the right question.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot (and John, and Rajan)
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1 Tue (1) 9:30am mtg (KBr), (2) 7:30pm patch prayer mtg
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