“He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” Ecclesiastes 11:4-6
I was recently reading these verses from Ecclesiastes, and the Lord truly spoke to my heart. This concept has been a devastating discouragement to so many Christians around us.
Many times we put in the work, yet we see little return. Instead of gritting it out, many Christians tend to either quit altogether or come up with their own plan instead of being faithful to God’s plan. The following points will explain some areas in which this can be the case.
Bible Reading – I may not know when God will use scripture to mold me, but I do believe his word will never return void.
Prayer – I may not know when my prayers will be answered, but I do know God is willing to answer my faith-filled prayers.
Soul-Winning – I may not know who will truly get saves when I witness, but I do believe in the power of the word of God.
Church Attendance – I may not know which service will be life-changing, but I do know that assembling is detrimental to my Christian life.
Deputation – I may not know which phone call will turn into a meeting, but I do know that making phone calls is the key to getting meetings.
I may not know which meeting will turn into support and a partnership, but I do know that God will use meetings to get our family to Turkey.
Language School – I may not know which language school class will make the language understandable, but I do know that immersion in the language and a humble spirit will end in fluent preaching of the word.
Church Planting – I may not know which flyer will turn into a visitor, but I do know that outreach is the key to getting a church off the ground.
Men Training – I may not know which young man will actually live his life for Christ, but I do know that discipleship is the key to training men.
I could continue listing these scenarios, but I think you get the point. We do know that God blesses hard work. And with that, I want to give you 3 points to close on this thought.
Why should one consider taking the gospel to the Muslim world? I mean it will be difficult and hard. Why not consider going somewhere else? I would tell you that if God has called you to missions, go where God has called you but would you at least consider taking the gospel to the Muslim World?
The size of the Muslim world— With over 2 billion people claiming to be Muslims there is a great need to go and take the gospel to the Muslim world! The number of Muslims alone should motivate us to try to take the gospel to them!
The great need— The reality that they are in need of the gospel and so few are willing to go there. This is one of the most needy mission fields in the world. Based on numbers and then the number of missionaries going, there is such a need for people to take the gospel to the Muslim world.
The work being done— It has been noted and written about that in many Muslim countries, God is moving. People are being saved and coming to Christ, the time to go is now! We need people that are willing to give their lives to go to these countries!
The ability to go— In ages past in many of these countries it would be near impossible to get into. Now there are open doors and ways to get in. If businesses and businessman are going and taking money to these countries why can’t we take the gospel to these countries? Why can’t we take the good news to the Muslim world? There are open doors and the ability to go has never been greater! We must send missionaries and go take the gospel to the Muslim world!
Time is running out— Every day we sit idly by more souls die and go to hell in the Muslim world. Christ is coming back and every day we get closer to His return. We are almost out of time and we need to go to the Muslim world!
Now is the time to raise up laborers to go to these countries. Now is the time to take the gospel to the Muslim world! Will you give your life to go and take the gospel to the Muslim world? There is such a great need and an open door wide before us, why are we not willing to go to these needy people?
The Missionary Problem is a Personal One! Every Believer, a Soul Winner!
Up to this point, you may have been reading and thinking there is a great need in the world, but nothing has changed. Maybe you have been thinking of others and churches, but not yourself. Well, today it becomes personal. If we stop looking at others and take world evangelism personally, we can see a great change. Our watchword in each and every church needs to be, “Every believer, a soul winner!” If we would get serious and make reaching the world personal, we would see a change! If you went out and won one person to Christ within a year and then you went out and both of you won one person to Christ, within 35 years the whole world would be reached with the gospel. But it starts with us taking soul winning personally. If we take serious, the command of God and realize that it is our job to reach the world with the gospel we can and would see the world reached! Let’s look over the next few articles about how we can implement “Every believer, a soul winner!”
The Moravians are one the the most striking examples of a group and individuals with a great interest in world evangelism. If we, as churches today, would give and go like them, we could see a vast fortune given for the sake of the gospel and countless numbers of people giving their lives to go! The battle cry of the Moravians was “ To win for the Lamb that was slain, the reward of His suffering.” This is what spurred them on to reach the world with the gospel. They made the missionary problem a personal one, but oh, if today we would make the missionary problem a personal one! If we could fill the hearts of people with a personal love for the Saviour that died for them, we would see the indifference in Christianity disappear and the world reached with the gospel! The Moravian church lived their lives with Christ at the forefront and the love of Christ constraining them to give and to go! Not only was that the heart of the church, but so was prayer. There was a great calling out for God to send laborers and for revival. Oh, that we as a church would call out for God to work in our hearts and lives and that the love of Christ would constrain us! The Moravians were just a small group to start out with, but they had great faith in God. They lived their Christianity out loud where everyone who met them knew that they were Christians. They gave more money than should have been possible for the cause of missions and sent more for the number in their group. God used them in a mighty way. May they be an example to us that if just a few would commit and give their all, God could use it in a mighty way. If we, as Christians as a whole, get on board and get our hearts right towards God, what a might move of missions we could see in this day and age!
Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission
What a man of faith was Hudson Taylor, but that can also be said of those that joined him at the China Inland Mission. He took God at His word and stepped out in faith and saw God work in great and mighty ways! They realized, though, that nothing could be done outside of the power of God, but that God’s power was available to any Christian. Meaning that not only then, but even today we can still see God’s power move in our lives to see the world reached with the gospel. The only way to really see God’s power, is through faith! Time and time again Hudson Taylor stepped out in faith to prove God in his life and time and time again he came through. Today, many Christians live in their comfort zones and never want to step out in faith, they never want to see God work in their lives, but we must, if we are to see the world reached in this generation! As Hudson Taylor studied the word of God and the needs in China, he began to see the utter helplessness and the need there greatly burdened him. If we would seriously get into the word of God and begin to look at the world through the eyes of God, a heavy burden to see the gospel all around the world would be laid upon us! Hudson Taylor realized that the missionary problem is a personal one and that if the world is to be reached with the gospel, then it can only be solved by each individual believer giving himself, personally, to the work! As Hudson Taylor gave himself fully to the work of God, he saw the power of God in his life and that gave him a great sense of faith! If we are to grow our faith we must be willing to step out and see God work in our lives and in turn, realize we serve a great God!
What an amazing month! Since our last letter, the Lord has provided $121,060 more toward the purchase of the land for the Center for World Evangelism. $105,000 of that was given through a special Share-a-thon at the start of May. We now have $506,061 of the $640,000 we need to raise by July 31st. Thank you so much to everyone who has given to make this dream a reality.
Please continue to pray for God to provide the remaining $133,939 we need over the next two months! Would you please pray about what you can do to help us? Your donation will help us buy land and build a building where more missionaries will be trained to go around the world with the life-changing message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
You will have a part in helping more young men like Sebastian get saved. Sebastian was led to Christ a few months ago by Vision Baptist Missionaries, Miguel and Mariangela Sanabria, who are planting a new church in Medellín, Colombia.
Thank you as well for continuing to pray for Pastor Gardner who is in the hospital right now with Covid and pneumonia. Many of you may have heard that he was hospitalised about 10 days ago. When he comes out of the hospital, what a blessing it would be for him to hear that we are well on our way to having all the funds for the Center for World Evangelism. This has been a dream of his for many years, and we are looking forward to what the Lord is going to continue to do!
It seems to be a normal and popular idea in our day to have a “fall-back plan” before going into ministry. Some of the top fall-back plans are learning medicine, carpentry or other skills. The idea seems pretty legit – learn something so you can use it in case full-time ministry does not work out. It might not be said in those exact words, but this is the real meat of the matter. Parents, family members and friends are asking young people to set aside a few years to learn a specific trade before going into ministry. They want them to be prepared to use their fall-back plan if ever needed. The idea is even spiritualized by saying that the apostle Paul was a tent maker. The problem is that we only find Paul’s tent-making trade mentioned two or three times in the Bible, and later Paul even asked forgiveness because he made them an inferior church by not accepting their funds. If we run to Scripture, we find that the Lord was not a “fall-back plan” promoter. So let’s do a small search on God’s thoughts concerning a fall-back plan:
Let the dead bury their dead (Luke 9:60)
In this passage, there was a man who wanted to follow Jesus, but he asked if he could first go bury his father and then follow Jesus. Jesus responded by saying, “Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” Let’s be honest – this seems pretty harsh! The guy just wanted to take care of his dad (most believe his dad wasn’t dead yet), yet Christ was telling him that his duty to follow Him was more important than his relationships. There are no good excuses for not following Jesus, not even family.
The verse immediately after tells of another guy who wanted to follow Jesus but wanted to run home first to say good-bye (vs.61). Our Lord told him that he was unfit for the kingdom if he was going to look back (vs.62). The attitude of Jesus was that nothing else in this world should parallel to serving God; just drop every plan and go serve Him.
Hate your father, mother, and your own life (Luke 14:26)
In this passage we see that there were great multitudes following Jesus. He didn’t beat around the bush when He tells them they cannot be His disciples if they are going to love anything or anyone more than they love Him (vs.26). But isn’t family important? Shouldn’t you love your family and help them or honor their wishes? According to Jesus, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks or says, absolutely no one should be loved more or heeded to more than Him. It might seem right to honor the parent’s wishes, the wise counsel from loved ones or continuing the family business, but if it stands between you serving God, it should not even be considered.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and then all these things will be added onto you (Matthew 6:33)
Isn’t it only right to plan? After all, I need to know about my future, where the money is going to come from and how I’m going to live. But according to Jesus, what you wear, eat or drink is not to be your concern (vs.31), in fact, that’s what the lost people are concerned about and consumed with (vs.32). As a Christian, you are to only seek God and His Kingdom, and He’ll take care of the secondary issues (vs.33). “Now don’t get all spiritual on me,” many parents would say, but God may want your son or daughter to sell all out and serve Him. God wants and deserves all of our trust. Our faith is in an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-seeing God. He can take care of you. He has enough money and knows our future. Our part is to trust Him completely, placing all of our faith in the One who never fails.
Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6)
If we are not careful, we plan out our lives and leave no margin for God to work. James warned of making all your plans and not realizing God is the holder of life and plans (5:13-15). Do you really think that God would let you starve for trusting Him or stepping out on faith? Do you fear God would allow you to fail miserably if you follow Him? What really is behind the “fall-back plan”? Is it money, failure, protection, status, embarrassment or fear? God didn’t give Abraham directions or details when He told him to go to a land He would show him (Genesis 12:1), yet Abraham obeyed. Abraham could’ve been “smarter” when God told him to offer his only son, but he obeyed. David should’ve thought it through when he jumped in front of Goliath. Daniel should’ve prayed in private so he wouldn’t have been thrown in the lion’s den. The three Hebrew children should’ve faked a bow so the king wouldn’t have gotten mad and thrown them in the fiery furnace. Paul should’ve just avoided going to the cities that didn’t want to hear the Gospel. Logical? Absolutely none of these were all that smart, but they all had one thing in common: they believed that God was real and would take care of them. Will you quit figuring out all the steps and details before you will serve Christ? Do you really need a “fall-back plan”? No, all we need is a faith that believes that the God who calls is big enough to sustain.
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Written by: Jeff Bush, Director of Vision Baptist Missions