“Is food all they need?…”

 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” – 1 Peter 3:15

 

Question for the day:  What is our true mission?

Friends,

Thank you for your patience with me over the past few days.  I have never gone so long without posting a reflection, however, God has really been working with me over this time, and I have struggled to understand what He has been showing me.  I think I have the heart of it now, which I will share, but I ask your opinions.  I believe He is still trying to teach me a new way to think about missions, and I know some of your insights would be truly helpful.

Last Thursday, I ran into an old friend.  I was glad to see him, because I knew he had been through some very challenging times over the past couple of years, and I had been worried about him.

As we caught up, he proceeded to tell me an all too common story, he had lost his job, lost his home, and his family relationships were strained.  Unfortunately, with the economy of the last few years, this has been the story of many friends and family.  I was so sad for him. But he said something that stuck with me, “I have a great hope that this will be a better year.”

How is it, after having been beaten down on every front, someone can have that kind of hope and faith that it will get better?  Especially when there is no change in sight?

I have lived through this kind of devastation twice in my life: once before I was a believer in Christ, and once after becoming a believer.  I can tell you, without a doubt, the hope and faith of a better tomorrow can only come through a relationship with a gracious and loving God.

I have been there, folks.  At times, being hungry and scared with visibly no resources to help me; and at others, having no way to figure out how I would take care of myself – yet with peace because I knew that I was God’s treasure and He would find a way.

There are two ways to live this life – and I will choose the hope of being a child of God any day of the week.

As I wrestled with this concept in my head, God began to reveal to me that this is the exact reason for Christian mission activities – To show a hurting world that hope can be had, all in the name of Jesus Christ.  Even though today is terrible, and we can’t see past our problems, we have faith that tomorrow can be better because God can make a way when there is no way.  – That is our resounding message.  Who else in the world can make that claim?

When we focus on meeting the physical needs of people – that is good, everybody needs food, shelter, and clothing.  But let us never forget, that we (the church) have something to give that no other organization has : Jesus Christ – the Hope of the world.

As unbelievable as it may seem, there are millions in this world who wake up every day in dire circumstances that have no hope.  None.  They are in every country, every race, every socio-economic station.  There are people that have no confidence that their lives can ever be any better.  How can we, as ambassadors for Christ, help to change the reality of these misconceptions?  How can we  share the Good News in a way that is meaningful and transforms the world with a lasting impact?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

If you will, please join me in praying for our Appalachian Service Team.  They are currently on mission in Eastern Kentucky, repairing homes and sharing the love of Jesus with our brothers and sisters there:

Jason Smith

Jared Chappell

Randall Clark
Ben Dauphin
Schuyler Logan
William Morhard
Will Newton
Kathleen Hagerty
Ellen Looney
Mary Smyth
Claire Corcoran
Caroline Looney
Beth Hagerty
Wade Griffith
 
Gracious Lord,
We thank You for these, Your willing servants.  We pray that You keep them safe from harm during their service.  We ask that You anoint each one with Your precious Holy Spirit, and give them the boldness to share their faith at every opportunity.  May they be blessed by Your manifest presence throughout this week, and into the weeks to come.  May the hope they have in You become contagious, and spread to all they meet.
 
In Jesus’ name we pray,
Amen

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