Tag Archives: missions

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Mark’s #6 – When God Comes Calling by Ted Fletcher (2010)

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Ted Fletcher had climbed the corporate ladder and had achieved the American Dream. Yet God began to burden Ted’s heart for something far greater than these worldly benchmarks.  God gave Ted God’s passion for the nations. Though later in life, with older kids, Ted and Peggy Fletcher sought out ways to go to the mission field to bring the gospel of grace to all the peoples of the earth.  However, as they applied to several mission agencies at the time, they were turned back and told they were not suited to join these organization due to age, or family, or formal training.  The Fletcher’s discouragement turned to joy when a friend suggested that they start their own mission organization – Pioneers (which I am now a missionary with).

This book is the story of that calling and the early days of seeking to fulfill this godly vision.  While it is great to read the stories of missionaries from bygone eras, it is also tremendously encouraging to read about modern day Pioneers and their faithful God.   If you wan to be encouraged and challenged, read this book.

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JRF’s #4 – Adoniram Judson: How Few There Are That Die So Hard by John Piper

This short, free ebook is a converted transcript of one of John Piper’s biographical sermons that he gave for many years at the annual Desiring God Pastor’s Conference.

Though it is short, it packs a punch.  I was expecting more biography and less exhortation, but I was pleasantly surprised and challenged.  Piper weaves in glimpses of Judson’s life, suffering, and fruitful death to his call for followers of Jesus to embrace suffering as the God ordained means of bringing the lost nations into the joy of glorifying Christ.  A great read.  I will be handing this out to anyone interested in joining us on the field.

“My question is, if Christ delays his return another two hundred years – a mere fraction of a day in his reckoning – which of you will have suffered and died so that the triumphs of grace will be told about one or two of those 3,500 [unreached groups of] peoples who are in the same condition today that the Karen and Chin and Kachins and Burmese were in 1813?…Most of these hopeless peoples do not want you to come.  At least they think they don’t.  They are hostile to Christian missions.  Today this is the final frontier”

 

“Judson wrote to missionary candidates in 1832:

Remember, a large proportion of those who come out on a mission to the East die within five years after leaving their native land.  Walk softly, therefore; death is narrowly watching your steps.

The question for us is not whether we will die, but whether we will die in a way that bears much fruit.”

 

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JRF’s #35 – Deny Yourself by Steve Gallagher

I was given this short book(let?) at last years’ Desiring God Conference, Finish the Mission.

It is a collection of 20 short biographical excerpts ranging from the early church to the 20th Century that highlight extraordinary examples of Christian missionary faithfulness, even faithfulness unto death.  We have been reading a chapter every saturday morning as a family.  It has been convicting and steeling to be reminded of the faithfulness of those who truly understood the value of the Gospel for themselves and for the lost, and literally loved those trapped in darkness to death.

When missionary to China, Jack Vinson was asked by his executioner, “I am going to kill you.  Aren’t you afraid?”  Vinson simply replied, “Kill me, if you wish.  I will go straight to God.”  Inspired by Vinson’s sacrifice Presbyterian minister wrote a poem entitled “Afraid? Of What?” that went on to become the theme of all missionaries in China during that period.

Afraid?  Of What?

To feel the Spirit’s glad release?  To pass from pain to perfect peace, 

 The strife and strain of life to cease? Afraid – of that?

Afraid? Of What?

Afraid to see the Savior’s face, To hear His welcome, and to trace

The glory gleam from wounds of grace?  Afraid – of that?

Afraid? Of What? 

A flash, a crash, a pierced heart; Darkness, light, O Heaven’s art!

A wound of His a counterpart! Afraid – of that?

Afraid? Of What?

To do by death what life could not – Baptize with blood a stony plot, 

Till souls shall blossom from the spot? Afraid – of that?

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Mark’s #50 – Unto Death: Martyrdom, Missions, and the Maturity of the Church by Dalton Thomas (2012)

Gripped by fear and an overriding goal of self-preservation, few Christians today will pursue dangerous or even “risky” situations to advance the Kingdom of God

Unto Death is 27-year-old Dalton Thomas’ passionate plea for Christians today to turn their eyes to Jesus, see His all surpassing worth, and joyfully and boldly go to the most difficult places on earth with the proclamation of the gospel.  More than just an emotional plea however, Thomas grounds his convictions in the Word of God and the testimony of followers of Christ who “loved not their lives even unto death (Rev. 12:11)”.  Along the way, we are reminded of the worth of Christ, the continual presence and purposes of God in the martyrdom of His saints, the joy, love and grace of martyrdom, the role of martyrdom in the fulfilling of the great commission (Mt. 18:19-20), and how the maturity of the church of Jesus hinges on our growth toward embracing the cost of following Christ, even unto death.

In spite of his youth (27 – I’m 37), Dalton Thomas writes clearly and convincingly about an essential issue for us in the church in the west today.  I stumbled upon this book when my friend Buddy posted on his Facebook wall as a free kindle book.  I almost didn’t read it because it was free and I had never heard of the guy. However, when I saw that one of the recommendations of the book came from David Sitton, I decided it would be worth my time.  I’m glad I did.  This is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Here’s a few more quotes that grabbed my heart while reading:

“Death is a means.  Christ is the end.  Joy is the motive.  And glorious is the journey.”

“Though not every believer is called to give a martyr-witness, every believer is called to embrace a martyr-mentality, every Church a martyr-mandate, and every ministry a martyr-theology.”

“The gospel is so valuable that no risk is unreasonable”

Here’s a short trailer for the book by the author:

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JRF’s #33 – The Nudge in My Side: Stories from Indonesia and the Philippines by Bob McCroskey

A friend gave me this book, knowing that we are interested in missions in Indonesia.  Overall its a good book, filled with short stories of God’s work in Indonesia and the Philippines.  It was exciting to read about how the Lord has called former Muslims, Animist canibals, and nominal Christians to faithfully proclaim His Good News and plant churches in this “closed” country, often with little to no resources.  It was also informative to read about how vital the pastor’s training schools were in these stories.  Reading this has definitely got my wheels spinning about future ministry models.

I would probably hesitate to recommend this book to many others however, due to it being a publication of the Church of the Nazarene.  As such, there are many references to unfamiliar traditions, squirelly doctrines, and Finney-esque methods (“holiness” preaching, alabaster offerings?, words from the Lord, accepting Jesus into my heart…etc) that would probably be confusing to some readers.  Also there seems to be no acknowledgement in the stories that there are any other churches, missionaries, or believers in these areas other than those in the Nazarene church, which I know is not the case.

 

 

 

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