During Friday nights of SWO13, Brody Holloway teaches from Acts 1:1-11."Be my witnesses" is the promise to the believer. We have the truth of the Gospel. Nothing would be more wicked than to keep the truth to ourselves and not proclaim the Gospel.
I don’t know why, but “missions” is a subject that seems to make people nervous. It seems that whenever we start talking about reaching the unreached or seeing the Gospel spread to the ends of the earth, folks start squirming. For most American Christians, the thought of “having” to go to some other part of the world and minister to a people group of a different culture and language is scary. In fact, it stirs in most of us a tight-fisted attitude of rebellion.
There is, no doubt, a Jonah-type syndrome in the American church. The need is obvious, and the fields are white for harvest. And everyone seems to be looking for the first ship to Tarshish. There really are only a few laborers. I think that the very word “missions" still conjures up images of spear-chucking natives bent on killing and eating foreign human flesh. And that scares people. But we will be held responsible for what we do with the Great Commission.
Jesus gave us clear instructions before he left to have a seat at the right of God the father: We are to baptize people from EVERY language and nation. We are to teach them the commands of Christ and scripture. The American church needs desperately to realize that no other generation has had the resources that we have to reach the world.
Technology is amazing, and rather than using it simply to keep in touch with old high school teammates and ex-girlfriends, we should be seizing the opportunity it gives us to make a global impact. Through websites like www.joshuaproject.net, we can learn of needs of foreign people groups and pray and give to the work of the Gospel to reach those groups. If we are too weak-spirited to go, we should first repent of our attitude of self-preservation, and then learn how we might give to the work and support of those obedient to go and do what God has called us to do.
We can pray for these groups, pray for missionaries, and write letters of support to those who are serving in the field. We do this as a family, and many of you have taken part in our letter writing campaign at SWO Underground. There are so many opportunities to give our resources and to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are willing to forsake all for the sake of the Gospel. We ALL have a responsibility to close the gap on the 3 billion who have never heard.
This past year, we saw students from all over the United States raise more than $30,000 so that part of the Bible could be translated into the language of an unreached people group. Many of you participated in this, known at SWO as the Garia Project. I am excited to share with our readers that the project — Phase 1 — is complete. The Gospel of Mark has been successfully translated into the Garia language!
For the first time in history, this South Asian people have the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus, in their language! This is a good reminder that there are things we can do from right here at home. The fields really are white, and for the first time in history, we have the means necessary to begin the harvest. Pray about how you might give if you are not able or willing to go. SWO has opportunities for partnership in the global work of the Gospel. To find out more, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I read some stats today, and I am still trying to wrap my mind around them. In December 2012, the world population was estimated to be 7.1 billion. That is enough people to hold hands and wrap around the planet a couple of dozen times. More than one-third of them have never heard the Gospel or even the name of Jesus.
There will be an estimated 55.3 million deaths this year, while the birth estimate is double that at 131.4 million. That means the population keeps exploding. I remember when we hit 5 billion when I was in high school, and everyone was freaking out.
The most accurate estimates from the U.N. report that in 1 A.D., the earth’s population was 300 million. It took 1,250 years to get to 400 million. Then we hit 500 million in the year 1500. The world population finally hit 1 billion in 1804, rose to 2 billion in 1927 and, in 1960, was at 3 billion.
Think about this: the world’s population has more than doubled in the last 50 years. In fact, we hit 4 billion in 1974, 5 billion in 1987, and 6 billion in 1999.
Numbers, numbers, numbers. What do they mean for us?
We have more resources than any generation or society in history to reach the world. There are 4 billion people in Asia alone! The current death rate means that every minute, 105 people die. That is almost 2 per second. But every time one dies, two are born.
Again, why so many numbers?
I have heard people “resolve” to do everything in 2013 — from losing weight to getting married. But as Christians, we need to literally become OBSESSED with reaching the nations. People are coming and going at a staggering rate, and we are “business as usual.”
“I’m gonna get to the gym more often.”
“I’m gonna eat fewer calories, or drink less coffee, or watch less TV…”
Blah. Blah. Blah.
“I am resolving to pray for and learn about specific people groups in the world who don’t know the Gospel of Jesus Christ!”?
So the plan Christ has to reach the world is not only doable, but IT WILL HAPPEN. The question is, will you and I be a part of it? Get off the stinkin’ church pew, get over commercial American Christianity and get obsessed with the Gospel. Let you heart break for the 7 billion! Let’s be a part of what Christ has promised He is going to do.
In the next post, we will look at some practical, hands-on ways we can take part in reaching that 7 billion.
For now, think about this:
The world is growing. The world is dying. Do you care?
(photos by 'India Wallpaper')
Brody preaches Friday night of SWO11 Summer Camp on the purpose of the Church as it relates to global missions. The purpose of the Christian's life is tied to Christ’s purpose in coming to earth, and it will not be thwarted.
On Friday night of SWO10 Summer Camp, Brody challenges students with what they are going to do with the Gospel in light of the fact that more than half the world has never even heard the name of Jesus.