missions

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Feeling The Exposure 

As Pastor Tim has been preaching on different gifts and roles within the body, I had a brief and intriguing conversation.  This person’s job required them to work outside; sometimes the weather was bitter cold.  At the same time, they had to have their index finger exposed to operate a handheld device.

A Part of the Body; Isolated and Exposed

Sherri and I have recently returned from visiting FCC’s missionaries in Africa.  We observed their isolation from fellowship and family, their daily challenges, along with the persistent dangers they face.

I appreciate the imagery of the exposed finger and our missionaries because “they” are not alone in their susceptibility.  The truth is – “we”—the local body of Christ—has part of “our” body isolated and exposed.

Consider the implication of the outside worker’s exposed finger.

The body feeling the distress and discomfort of the finger’s exposure is a good thing.  If the body ceases to feel the sting and ache of the finger, that is convenient but dangerous.  I encouraged the person who works outside, to do everything they can to make sure they always “feel” the exposed finger.

 

Jack Colwell is an elder at Faith Community Church. 

Posted in: missions, Uncategorized

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The Mission of the Church

by William Judson

What is the role of the church in the Great Commission? Her role is to go out in the power of the Spirit, in the name of Christ, for the glory of the Father to make disciples of all ethnic groups in the world. Jesus, having been given all authority, promises to be with us as we seek to make disciples (converts) among all the nations. But that raises the question: to whom do we go? Do we go to those who already have access to the gospel, a church on every corner? Are the people in our offices and worksites “unreached?” To understand these questions, we need to go to the Scriptures.

The Great Commission is given to us in Matthew 28. Jesus sends us out in his name, to proclaim his death and resurrection. We see this authority and power manifested in the book of Acts. Specifically in Acts 1:8, Jesus recommissions those gathered by telling them that they will be his witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. As Acts unfolds we see the apostles going into every town, proclaiming and reasoning with the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah and that he has risen. This proclamation results in persecution, which serves as God’s catalyst to send out workers into his harvest of the nations (Acts 11:19; Matt. 9:37-38).

By London Missionary Society, National Portrait Gallery, via Wikimedia Commons

Bechuana Congregation and David Livingston, via The London Missionary Society

God’s plan has always been for the nations. From his covenant with Abraham (Gen. 15; 17) to the Great Commission (Matt. 28; Acts 1:8), from Peter’s vision in Acts 10 to the return of Christ (Rev 5; 7). God is seeking to glorify himself among all peoples, tribes, and languages. God has promised that there will be a people from every tribe, language, and nation that will confess that Jesus is Lord and that the Father raised him from the dead. So we go to those who have never heard.

The unreached and unengaged are those with little to no access to the gospel. To bring their utter plight into view I want to paraphrase something I heard David Platt, President of the International Mission Board, say at a conference. He said, “If every Christian in the world were to go out and share the gospel with every person they knew, and that by God’s grace every person truly repented and believed, and then they told every person they knew, and so on, there would still be 2.9 billion unreached and unengaged peoples in the world.” Currently, there are 2.9 billion people in the world who are not giving the glory due to God. There are approximately 7.5 billion people in the world, most of whom, if we’re honest, aren’t Christians. But within that group, about 40%, have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. They have no access to the Scriptures or a local church. They have probably never met a Christian. They stand condemned before God unless they repent and believe in Christ as Lord and Savior.

In Romans 10, Paul states: “How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” As a church, we need faithful senders and faithful goers. We need those to be sent to those who have never heard. We need one another to reach the unreached. We need one another to accomplish Matthew 28 and Romans 15:20. Our aim should be to reach those where Christ has not been named until we have no more work left in this world.

William Judson is a member of FCC.

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Heading Up the Road and Killing the Snakes

By Matt Greco

Have you ever met and visited with someone who is considered a legend?  Someone who has risen to the top in his or her field and is now or has been considered one of the best ever?  I have been blessed to meet several “legends” in my lifetime.  Some of those individuals are famous and some of them infamous, but all of them would be considered legends in their respective fields.

While I was in college and a bouncer at a disco club (over 30 years ago), I met and spent several hours with Wolfman Jack.  Parents and Grandparents—you may need to explain who Wolfman Jack was.  My family and I met and had some BBQ with C & W superstar Tim McGraw, which I wrote about in the church’s newsletter several months ago.  I also spent about 30 minutes talking football with all time NFL great Anthony Muñoz.  He was recently voted the top offensive lineman ever!  Anthony and I talked after my son Gil worked out with him. These individuals would be considered legends.

But, I think the greatest legend I have ever met and spent time with is an unassuming 80-year-old man who you all know.  In fact, about 250 of you had dinner with him and his wife the other night.  The legend about whom I speak is missionary Frank Drown.

There is not enough time or space to tell you all the things that Frank has done in his 67 years as a missionary.  You could purchase several books that have been written about his life and his ministry and learn a lot from them.  You could watch the documentaries and the films that have been produced of which Frank plays a major part.  You would be able to learn more about him through those productions.

You could meet with and talk the thousands or even hundreds of thousands that have been impacted or influenced by his and his wife Marie’s faithfulness to proclaiming the Gospel to the nations.  He is probably most famous for rescuing the dead bodies of Jim Elliot and his team, after they were slain by the Auca Indians in Ecuador.  We will not know all that Frank has done for the cause of Christ until we all stand in glory.

If you were to ask Frank if he thought he was a legend, he would probably just look at you and flash that ready smile.  He would probably talk to you about his most recent missionary project in Canada, or about the Huaorani New Testament which is written in the language of the Auca‘s, or about some other project on which he has been working.  In all my conversations with Frank, it has never been about Frank, it has always been about proclaiming Christ and His kingdom

Master Sergeant Bret Holder perhaps said it best.  While visiting with Bret after Frank had spoken at the Missionary Banquet, he said, “If that guy were a Marine, he would have stripes up and down both arms”.  Well said Master Sergeant, well said.

My granddad used to talk about people who had, “… been up the road and killed the snakes.”   I think that Frank help make the road that those guys went up.  He has served in missions for 12 years longer than I have been alive!

There is a saying in Spanish, “The years don’t come by themselves.”  As we age, some things don’t work as well as they once worked.  The Drowns sent me a letter after the banquet saying they wanted to do a better presentation.  Perhaps the next time Frank and Marie are our guests we will do a type of interview with them.  But please don’t lose the importance of Frank’s message, which for me was simple and profound:

  1. Mission work (God’s work) is very hard work, but if God has called you to do it, He will help you do it!
  2. You might have to learn a new language, or go to a different country, or leave comfort behind, but if God has called you to do it, He will help you do it!
  3. Some things might not go like you want them to go (90% of your stuff might not make the trip), but if God has called you to do it, He will help you get through it.

So we can take Frank and Marie’s message about mission work and apply it to mission work or any Christian endeavor.  We can take a look at a couple whose lives have been totally dedicated to serving Christ and understand that if God has called us to do something similar, then He will help us do it.

Matt Greco is the headmaster at FCA and serves on the missions committee at FCC.

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Holy Savior, The Savior = San Salvador, El Salvador

By Matt Greco (from 2012)

2 Corinthians 5: 20 “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.  We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 

There are many excellent reasons why everyone from the USA who is a born again believer should go on at least one short–term mission trip.  Here are three that come to mind.  You can probably think of several others.

  1. A short–term trip can open a person’s eyes to Christianity and the opposition to Christianity in another part of the world.
  2. A short–term trip can expose someone, at least partially, to what missionary work and a missionary lifestyle are like.
  3. A short–term trip can get a person outside of their comfort zone and take away their ability to be resourceful.

20 short–term missionaries, 17 from Faith Community Church (FCC), just got back from a short–term mission trip to the Central American country of El Salvador.  We spent a total of nine days on the trip and most of the time was in Chalchuapa, a small town in the western part of the nation.

The Lord put together a very interesting team; 11 were under the age of 20, of the 11, four were 13 years or younger.  We had three sets of one parent with one child, two elders/pastors, one deacon, a college student, a seminary student and two complete families.  The group was not a typical short–term mission group, but the group worked well together and represented FCC and the body of Christ in a God-honoring way.

AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST – In 2 Corinthians 5:14 –21, Paul encourages believers in Corinth to be ambassadors for Christ.  As true members of the body of Christ, all of us at FCC are ambassadors for Christ.

Most of you have probably never met an ambassador of a nation.  Generally speaking, an ambassador is an official representative from a nation that has been sent to another nation.   The ambassador has been given the authority to speak for the president or ruler of the sending nation to the president or ruler of the host nation.  During the 14 years we lived in Argentina, there were five different U.S. Ambassadors to Argentina.

So, as ambassadors for Christ, what are our responsibilities?  We are given the responsibility to bring the message of salvation in Jesus Christ (Paul calls it the word of reconciliation) to the “nation” where the Lord has sent us.  As  short–term missionaries, we were acting as ambassadors for Christ.  We were focused on bringing the message of salvation in Jesus Christ to the nation of El Salvador in a variety of ways.  Some of our activities were to:

  • Build a children’s sanctuary
  • Do some street evangelism
  • Have training classes on how to teach
  • Have training classes on how to prepare Bible lessons
  • Teach cooking classes
  • Meet with all the students of the Christian school that the church sponsors
  • Have a vacation Bible school
  • Preach, sing, give testimonies, lead devotionals, etc…

But if you are not a short–term or long–term missionary, how can YOU be an ambassador for Christ?

ALLOW GOD TO WORK THROUGH YOU – Paul writes, “…God making His appeal through us…”  Maybe you did not go to the nation of El Salvador, but suppose God is sending you as His ambassador to the nation of An Ungodly Workplace?  Or perhaps you are an ambassador for Christ to the nation of The Non-Believing Family?  I understand that there are usually openings to be an ambassador for Christ to the nation of Living Out Your Christianity While Going Through Tough Times.

What I mean to say is that wherever we are and whatever we do, we are ambassadors for Christ.  The best way to have success in being an ambassador for Christ is to allow God to work through you.  Another great thing about a short–term mission trip is that it allows you to focus primarily on allowing God to work through you.

I would encourage everyone to go on a short–term trip.  Do not allow excuses of age or finance to stand in your way.  On our trip to El Salvador, we had an eight-year-old on the team and I have served with 80-year-olds!  If money is the problem, plan a year or two in advance and earn the money to go.

And whether going on a short–term trip is in your immediate future or not, be the best ambassador for Christ to whatever nation He sends you.  We will be praying for you!

Sincerely and in Christ,

Matt Greco

Matt Greco is the headmaster at FCA, a member of FCC and is on the Missions Committee.

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