27 June 2011

new beginnings...

so for those of you who haven't heard I'm moving to...

Bangkok, Thailand

For the next 2 years I will be living in Bangkok and ministering and evangelizing among university students. I will be going with United World Mission (UWM) and partnering with long-term missionaries already on the field. This past month has been a whirlwind but I am so excited for this next stage of life. This is something that has been on my heart for about a year and through a lot of prayer it has finally come to fruition. It is definitely not where I thought I would be but God has proved more than faithful in this journey. He has been speaking to my heart and giving me a lot of wisdom and insight into His will for my life.

For some of you this may come as a shock. I mean I am not a missionary. I am not capable. I am not equipped. I never even wanted to be a missionary. But I am willing. Its funny what God does when you are actively seeking Him and are finally obedient to His calling. I could have never in my wildest dreams even imagined I would be doing this a mere 2 years ago, but God is faithful. He has changed my desires to become more like His own and He has completely broken me. I couldn't be more excited about this new journey in my life.

After taking Perspectives about a year ago, I was broken over my personal walk and how I had failed to do the exact thing that God commanded me to do.

"And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

I finally saw how the entire Bible from beginning to end was God's story of redeeming all people for His glory. My walk of faith had always been so selfish and my eyes were so fixated on me that I was blinded to my purpose on Earth. By the grace of God I came to the realization that the purpose of my life on Earth is to glorify God and share His gift with everyone around me. Everything else was inconsequential. In all honesty I didn't have time to do that because I was so obsessed with myself.

I grew up thinking that people were "called" to missions but now I know that is such a cop-out. Where in the Bible does it ever say that only certain people are supposed to go make disciples? We as Christians have done ourselves a disfavor by creating our own Bible based on the things we want to believe and ignoring the hard things. We choose to believe only the things we want. We are not "called" to missions, we are "commanded' to make disciples. It is not optional. Why else would God leave us here on this Earth after we came to know Him? If we weren't supposed to spread the good news then we would have been taken immediately to Heaven upon believing.

The best thing about being commanded to make disciples is that everyone plays a unique role. Not everyone has to go. Some have to stay. Some have to give. Some have to pray. Some have to mobilize. Some have to send. There is a place for everybody but we must all play a part. Where do you fit in?

Coming to this realization I was convicted as to what part I was playing. I had this gift of knowing the one true God who loves like no other and I was hoarding it. I was depriving people of knowing God and experiencing the true life that comes with it. Did I not love people enough to want to share this God? There were people who had never heard the name of Jesus. People, unlike Americans, who were persecuted for speaking of Jesus. People who would never be able to know the limitless love of God because no one cared enough to tell them. Wow. Was I so selfish in that everything in my life was more important that this?

Then I found out some stats. Even if every Christian talked to every single person they came in contact with about Christ and then every one of those people believed, there would still be 1/3 of the world who was lost. Those 2 billion people would never come in contact with Christians therefore would never hear unless someone went and told them. They are unreached. As of now only 10% of our missionaries are amongst these 2 billion unreached. Even more shocking is that only 1% of money that comes through the church is given to unreached missions. 10% of missionaries and 1% of funds to the unreached. I was broken when I heard that. I was burdened by the way I spend "my" money and how my spirit can be so unwillingly to give. My heart was broken knowing that we as Christians are not doing a very good job at reaching the unreached. Why? Because its hard. But we are blessed to know Christ so nothing could ever be to hard for us!

"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:14-15

So where did I fit in? I knew the part He was calling me to was to "GO". He didn't want me to stay. I had to make a decision in my life. I was at a crossroads and had to decide whether I was going to obey God's commandment or live for myself. God was at work and I was desperate to be a part of it. I knew that this could change the rest of my life. I kept imagining myself sitting at the throne of God and being able to say that I played a role in reaching every tribe and every tongue for His glory. After much prayer and relenting of my will, I am going. There is no greater peace or joy than knowing you are doing exactly what God wants you to do.

Don't get me wrong I'm scared and nervous and every other emotion in between.
But if God can take my selfish heart, love me unconditionally, and change it to be more like His then He is able to use my life for His glory.

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

"faith without deeds is dead"