Tag Archives: Missions

The Pioneer Spirit

“He went out, not knowing whither he went.” —Hebrews 11:8

Local churches don’t just spring out the ground.  They are started by someone with a pioneer spirit.  A pioneer is someone who goes where no one has ever gone or does something no one else has done.  The Pilgrims were pioneers who came to America on the Mayflower.  Roger Williams was a pioneer pastor who established the first local Baptist church in 1638 in Providence, Rhode Island.  The American settlers who came West in covered wagons were pioneers.

Paul had that pioneer spirit by starting churches all over Asia Minor in the first century (read the book of Acts). Paul said his desire was “to preach the gospel in the regions beyond…” (2 Cor. 10:16). Again he said, “I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation” (Rom. 15:20).

I think of pastors who had that pioneer spirit.  Dr. Tom Malone started the Emmanuel Baptist Church in a deserted dance hall in Pontiac, MI.   Dr. Charles Keen started the First Baptist Church in Milford, Ohio (now the home of Bearing Precious Seed).  Dr. Ken Blue came to Mountlake Terrace and started the Open Door Baptist Church with 25 folding chairs and 25 hymnbooks in his living room.   Dr. Rick Adams came to Portland, OR from Jacksonville, FL to start the Greater Portland Baptist Church.  I’ve lost count of the number of churches Brother Jim Modlish has started across America.  I’m thankful that God helped me to start two local churches (one in Redmond, and one in Barton, VT).

Our church in Port Orchard was started by a preacher with a pioneer spirt. Brother Henry King came from San Diego, CA in the late 1950’s to start the first independent Baptist church in Kitsap County—The Bible Baptist Church.

Time would fail to tell of all the pioneer missionaries who go into “regions beyond” to do God’s work!

I enjoy the Disney movie, “Never Cry Wolf.”   It is a great illustration of  the adventure of a pioneer spirit.

A wimpy government bureaucrat named Tyler is assigned to go into the Alaska wilderness and study the depletion of caribou to see if they were being killed by wolves.   It is obvious Tyler is a “duck-out-of-water” as he arrives in Alaska.

He hires a scruffy bush pilot named Rosie to fly him 300 miles into the Alaskan wilderness. Tyler is a nervous wreck as they fly in and out through tall shimmering mountains.

Rosie is casually at ease.  He begins to talk with Tyler, “You what the problem is down in the lower 48?”  Tyler meekly answers, “No…” Rosie continues, “All those people do is sit back in their living rooms and watch the boob tube.  Life is too mundane and routine for them.”  Then he asks, “Tyler, do you know why I came here to Alaska?”  Tyler again whispers, “No…”

About that time suddenly the engine sputters and konks-out.  The plane starts to descend heading towards the side of an ominous mountain.

Rosie rummages in his toolbox looking for a crescent wrench.  Finally he dumps the box upside down emptying the tools on the floor of the cockpit. He grabs the wrench and opens the door of the plane.  Poor Tyler is totally paralyzed with fear.

Rosie steps out on the wing struct with his wrench and bangs on a nut giving it a tweak, a twist, and a turn.  He climbs back in the plane, pulls out the choke, and tries to restart the engine. The engine sputters and finally starts. They just miss crashing into the side of a mountain.

Then Rosie casually looks over at Tyler and calmly says, “Now Tyler, as I was saying… The reason I came to Alaska is… adventure, Tyler… adventure.”

Amen! The adventure of a pioneer spirit!  God give us pioneer preachers who will go where no preacher has gone before!

The Hard Way vs. The Easy Way

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. —Luke 9:23

A couple of days ago I had lunch with the daughter of one of our missionaries who was visiting in the states.  She is 30 years old, unmarried, and has spent most of her life on the mission field.  I asked what her long term plans were.  She said she wanted to be a missionary.  “Where?” I asked.  She answered, “I want to go to a country where living is hard—Maybe a remote village in Africa.”  I was impressed by her answer, but also convicted.  Living in America has made me somewhat “soft.”

I am reminded about a man who wrote to the great African missionary David Livingston, asking for the easiest way to get to him. Livingston wrote back, “I’m not looking for a man who wants the easy way.  I need a man who will make his own way.”

I think as most Christians read their Bible they miss how little God seems to care for the ease and comfort of His people.  How we love to be coddled, but I don’t see God pampering His Old Testament saints.  On the contrary, they “had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented… they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth” (Heb. 11:36-38).

It was no different in the New Testament.  When Jesus prayed for His followers, He did not pray for their physical comfort.  He knew the harsh and cruel world they were facing. So He prayed, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from evil.” Jesus was not so concerned for their comfort, as He was for their character.

New Testament Christians never expected an easy life free of pain. They did not pray for an escape from discomfort, but rather greater boldness in the face of opposition. Hear them pray, “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings… Grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.”

Notice the difference in the conversation of the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus. The repentant thief prays, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”  He was not praying to be taken off the cross, but that he would be remembered in heaven. But the other thief prays, “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.”  He couldn’t care less about Christ’s kingdom.  He just wanted to be removed from that painful cross.

When Peter rebuked Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8, Simon asked Peter to pray for him.  And what was Simon’s prayer request?  For forgiveness???  No, he said, “Pray ye.. that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.”  He was more concerned about his comfort than for conversion.

Paul’s prayers are a pattern for Christians today. When in chained in prison, does Paul ask the church to pray that God would heal the wounds on his back or set him free?  No.  Paul’s prayer request was that “utterance may given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds.” He asks not for the easy way, but rather for grace to walk the hard way.

Compare the prayer requests of church members today to the prayers in the Bible.  Big difference.  The saints in the Bible never prayed for a smooth way. They took the hard road.

May the same be true of us.

Unto The End of the Word

Unto The End of the World

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. — Matthew 28:19-20

Above the Arctic circle in northwest Siberia is the Yamal Peninsula.  “Yamal” means “The End of the World.” Jesus commanded the church to  take the Gospel to that remote part of the world.

Jesus last instructions before ascending back to heaven was to be His witnesses from Jerusalem “unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  According to BIMI (Baptist International Missions, Inc.) geographically “the uttermost part of the earth” from Jerusalem is the isle of Fiji.   As Isaiah says, “Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof” (Isa. 42:10).

No matter where you are, every corner of our world needs the saving message of the gospel.  Jesus Christ died for the world—and that includes people both near and far—Your neighborhood, your workplace, your family, and those in Yamal, Sibera or inhabitants on the Fiji islands in the South Pacific.

Each of us has the opportunity to take the gospel to people in our personal “end of the earth.”  What are you doing to get the message of salvation in Christ to both those around you and around the world?

The Great Commission

The Great Commission

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. —Matthew 28:18-20

These are among the last words Jesus spoke on earth before ascending back to heaven. They are our standing marching orders.  Notice four things in this passage:

First, it begins with Christ’s POWER— “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” We operate under the authority of Christ. It is His command and we simply need to obey.

Second, it fulfills Christ’s PURPOSE— To go and make disciples among all nations. Every country is a mission field and every person is a potential disciple of Christ.  Think about this as you go about your daily business.

Third, it outlines Christ’s PLAN— We win the lost, baptize them, and then teach them to go and do likewise reproducing themselves. Thus God’s work is multiplied.

Fourth, it reassures us of Christ’s PRESENCE— “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”  He is with us at all times, in all places, and in every circumstance. We have nothing to fear.

This is not just the job of foreign missionary. It is the responsibility of every Christian.

Keep On Fishing

Keep On Fishing!

they caught nothing…  —John 21:3

After an entire night of fishing Peter and the other disciples did not catch a single fish.  They were about to pack it up their gear and quit when Jesus called to them from shore, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.”

Have you ever toiled for the Lord and felt you had little or nothing to show for it? Fear not! Jesus will reward your work for Him. His Word will not return void (Isa. 55:11).

William Carey worked seven years in India before he baptized his first convert.  While the number of actual people Carey actually won to Christ was relatively small, the number indirectly attributable to him is innumerable. America’s first foreign missionary, Adoniram Judson, labored seven years in Burma before seeing a soul saved. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Nott toiled for twenty-two years in Tahiti before they baptized their first convert on May 16, 1819. Allen Grinner traveled repeatedly to the islands of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego seeking win souls to Christ. He died of starvation without seeing one soul saved, but the South American Missionary Society he founded has been winning people to Christ for more than 150 years.

Christian, don’t quit fishing for souls. It may look like you’ve got empty nets now, but you’re doing more good than you may realize. You may only see the full results of your labor for Him when you get to heaven. It is our job to sow the seed, and God’s job to give the increase.

So, work in faith… lower your nets in obedience… and trust God for the catch!