God’s work or mine?
My wife, Janet, and I had just arrived home exhausted from a ministry journey to Romania. We had gone there to help young adults discern God’s specific vision and plans for their lives. We immediately received a message from our neighbor, Bob, asking us to call. He wanted us to pray for him because he had just found out that he had aggressive pancreatic cancer and would have major surgery the next morning. We had come to love Bob and his wife Barb over the last few years through eating, walking, and praying together. Bob was raised Jewish and sometimes we have been able to share about our love for Jesus, and we longed to see them more interested in a living experience with our Lord.
Janet and I were overwhelmed with all we had to accomplish in the days leading up to our departure for Japan. We were going there to support our pastors and members prayerfully seeking God’s vision and leading in reaching a very secularized culture. Janet came under strong conviction she should drop everything and go to the hospital and be with Barb and her daughter. They were quite anxious and appreciative of her presence. The surgery lasted much of the day, but the results were good, and we now have a much deeper relationship with them. We thanked God for the opportunity and wisdom to go where God was already at work.
Our Lord is always at work to seek and save those who are lost (Matt. 18:11; John 5:17, 19). He has been working in each person’s life, family, and people group for a long time. Our call as disciples is to seek Him to reveal what His specific mission is for us, our churches, and our people groups. Sometimes God’s mission requires major breakthroughs in salvation history, as John McVay points out in his excellent lead article this month on Peter, Cornelius, and the mission to the Gentile world. At other times, God’s mission requires a breakthrough in our relationships with family or a neighbor. Too often we just take a method that has been successful somewhere else and try to humanly impose it on our territory. We need to seek God’s heart and vision for our mission.
I think of Keith and Tammy Mosier. Keith was a very spiritual and gifted young missionary’s son taking theology. We called him to be a pastor in Central California, but he heard the Lord call him to the Congo. He married Tammy, a missionary’s daughter. They knew the Lord wanted them to go to Kisangani, one of the most isolated and undeveloped parts of Northeast Congo. While they knew that human comforts would not be there, they were convinced that the Holy Spirit was already there. So they raised funds and established Frontline Congo Missions. Twenty new churches have been organized for our Northeast Congo Union Mission. This young, Caucasian couple, now with four very happy children, have another 50 church planters establishing new church plants in an area filled with violence and disease. They talk with passion about the massive challenges with major portions of the Congo still unreached with the gospel. The Mosier family thank God for the opportunity, gifts, and wisdom to go where God was already at work for years.
Last December, we spent time with our church pastors and their spouses from the South Sudan field. Because of the civil war, they have been through deep distress, often coupled with the agony of family separation. Some of the spouses lived in refugee camps in Uganda. They told of the traumatized women they found there. The Lord led these ladies to gather the women to pray together. The field president’s wife then suggested they make purses to be sold. These women prayed, worked, and laughed together. They grew to be close friends. Their testimony at the ministers’ meetings was that through these friendships and “Come We Pray” gatherings, there are now 117 newly baptized believers in that refugee camp.
God is always at work, and if we seek His plan and join Him in His work, amazing results will come!
Sidebar: Seven Realities*
- God is always at work around you.
- God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal.
- God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.
- God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.
- God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
- You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.
- You come to know God by experience as you obey Him, and He accomplishes His work through you.
* Henry Blackaby, Richard Blackaby, and Claude King, Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2008), 63.
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