February 26, 2024
Christ, Evangelism, Church

The Kingdom of God: the workers are few

Over the 35 years that I have been working in cross-cultural missions, I have seen mission organizations highlight many different needs, opportunities, and strategies. Countries open and close. New methods gain prominence while others are abandoned. Younger generations are motivated by different themes. But one characteristic of mission work never changes. We need many, many more workers to address the opportunities before us. “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few,” as Jesus said. According to Joshua Project, 7,423 people groups with a total of 3.37 billion people remain unreached.1“Unreached” is defined as less than 2% evangelical. Joshua Project: People Groups of the World | Joshua Project Missionaries and local Christian workers to these unreached people total about 32,200 people.2 from Missions Statistics — The Traveling Team. Therefore the ratio of UPG workers to the total unreached world is 1 Christian worker or missionary for every 105,000 unreached people.… Read the whole post
Christ, Gospel, Hardship, Missionary Roles

The Kingdom of God: what you see is what you get

Gordon D. Fee | Faculty | Regent College (regent-college.edu) A few months ago, I saw the news that one of my professors in graduate school, Dr. Gordon Fee, died at the age of 88. Dr. Fee taught with fervor and intensity, often slipping unconsciously into passionate preaching in the middle of a lecture. He was also an excellent biblical scholar. For many years, he served as the general editor for the acclaimed New International Commentary series. I am very grateful that I had the privilege to learn from him. The absolutely crucial term for understanding Jesus My favourite course with Fee was on the life and teachings of Jesus. I sat spellbound in one of the front rows of the lecture hall as he unpacked the message of Jesus from the four Gospels. When Dr. Fee came to Lecture #13, “The Proclamation of the Kingdom”, he announced that this was… Read the whole post
Hardship, Christ, Resilience

The inspiration for resilience

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Missionary resilience This year, as I have thought about planning my growth and development, I have decided that I want to read more biographies. In his great book, Resilient Life, Gordon MacDonald says “deliberating exposing oneself to people who are better and smarter” than we are is part of the process of disciplining our minds and learning resilience. Definitely, we can find amazing and inspiring examples of perseverance and resilience in biographies such as Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and The Imam’s Daughter by Hannah Shah. But the greatest example of perseverance and resilience is found in the Gospels. If we are looking for heroes to emulate in the character quality of resilience, we start with Jesus. Inspiring them to persevere In a previous post, I talked about the discouragement and fatigue of the recipients of the letter to the Hebrews.… Read the whole post
Disciple-making, Christ, Contextualization, Evangelism, Gospel

Should we go to the most receptive?

As a young missionary candidate about 40 years ago, I considered various countries as possible destinations for my future ministry. One of the main criteria I used was receptivity. I wanted to go to a place where the church was growing rapidly. I was attracted to the harvest. In a harvest field, I reasoned, there would be a greater need for training of national workers, which was the area of missions I was most interested in. So, I chose the Philippines and the lowland work among Roman Catholics in particular. Experiencing the harvest Given that I was still in my early 20’s when I arrived in the Philippines, I realized that I first needed some experience and credibility before I could begin training others. My wife and I enjoyed ten years of wonderfully fruitful years in church planting and training in the Philippines. We were part of the harvest. The… Read the whole post
Theology, Book Reviews, Christ, Gospel

The Whole Christ: A review

I recently watched a breakout session from The Gospel Coalition 2021 National Conference (TGC21) discussing grace and works in the Christian life. Specifically, the question that was posed was “Does grace oppose hard work?”. However, the breakout session did not resolve the issue. Sinclair Ferguson’s book, The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance – Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters provides helpful guidance. Because these issues are vital for evangelism and discipleship, this book is an important resource for missionaries. The Marrow Controversy The historical background of Ferguson’s book is a debate in the Church of Scotland in the early 18th century. Now, the term “marrow” seems a bit strange to our ears today. Yet, in the 17th and 18th centuries, it described the seat of a person’s vitality and strength, the essence of a subject matter.1Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Whole Christ, Crossway, 2016, p.22. The controversy acquired its… Read the whole post
Cross-Cultural Living, Disciple-making, Christ, Contextualization, Prayer, Self-Feeding

Are missionaries called to be incarnational?

The incarnational model is how we often describe our decision to live among the people to whom we are sent. We learn to speak their language. We immerse ourselves in their culture, eating their foods and building deep friendships within that people group. The term “incarnational ministry” may also refer to adopting a living standard (e.g., the type and size of our house, the transportation we use, the clothes we wear) that does not create social barriers to the common people. But is “incarnational” the best word to describe our strategy of immersing ourselves in the culture of the people? Is the incarnation of Christ the model we should follow as we engage the unreached people of this world?… Read the whole post
Christ, Follow-up

Follow-up: Colossians – Avoid Syncretism

In this series on follow-up, we have been looking at how missionaries can continue to help churches they have planted after they no longer are resident where those churches are located. The letter to the Colossians was not written to a church that Paul planted like other letters we have looked at in this series. Rather, Epaphras, not Paul, planted the church in Colossae. This probably happened during Paul’s extended ministry at Ephesus (Acts 19). Paul describes Epaphras as “our beloved fellow servant” and “a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf” (Col. 1:7). Epaphras faithfully preached the Gospel in Colossae. But the new church struggled with staying true to the Gospel they heard from their missionary. Apparently, Epaphras had met Paul in Rome (Col. 4:12) and informed Paul of the false teaching threatening the church. As with most false teaching, this false teaching appears to be a form of… Read the whole post
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