Tag Archives: missions

Go…wherever you are called, just go!

go

Just a few short hours ago I was flying over the Black Sea leaving behind a 10-day experience in Odessa Ukraine.  In those 10 days I was part of an amazing group of teenagers seeking after God’s heart while serving the people of Ukraine.  We came along side our brothers and sisters in Ukraine to provide a Bible Camp to 70 children from villages around Odessa as well as refugees who have been displaced by the conflict in the Eastern part of the country.  God moved through that camp and in the end, several children accepted Christ as savior and forever changed their lives and eternal destiny.  I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve my Lord in this country, and am blessed beyond measure to have the chance to help lead our teenagers as they discovered the joys and challenges of foreign missions.

Derek Belcher - IMG_0940On the flight home, I was reading a book that has sobered me to a painful point in my life and made me look at my past Christian walk.  I have been heartbroken by the choices I have made and where my priorities have been.  There is so much more I could do for the Lord and so many opportunities I have lost.  But I remember the words of Paul in Philippians 3:13 – “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,…”  God isn’t interested in what I haven’t done. He is focused on what I can do…today, tomorrow and the rest of my days.  In reading this book, Crazy Love by Francis Chan, he made this statement: “Some people claim that we can be Christians without necessarily becoming disciples.  I wonder then, why the last thing Jesus told us was to go into the world, making disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that He commanded?  You’ll notice he didn’t add, “But hey if that’s too much to ask, tell them to become Christians – you know, the people who get to go to heaven without having to commit to anything.”Derek Belcher - IMG_1175

That’s powerful truth, staring you in the face. If you claim to be a follower of Christ then you have to be willing to go wherever he leads you.  We have one super simple job…teach others to follow Christ, so they can join our super simple job – teaching others to follow Christ.  This mission experience reaffirmed this simple call in my life.  I love foreign missions. It’s scary and exciting to visit a new place, to learn about their culture and see how God uses their different approach to life to accomplish His purpose, bring glory to His name and develop personal relationships with those that trust Him.  But my heart is burdened beyond that.  I realized, this week, and through reading the gospels and this book that the call is there for all of us, whether it be in a place like Ukraine or around the block in your neighborhood.  If we really want to call ourselves followers of Christ, true Christians, it’s time to open our eyes and answer the call to go.  Go to the local outreach, go on the short-term trip, go to the next county or state, go wherever God provides an opportunity to share His message of hope through Christ.  Just Go…wherever that may be…just Go!

Derek Belcher - IMG_0972

Father, I thank you again and again for your love and mercy in my life. I thank you for the grace we see in you, and for the indescribable love you show each of us everyday.  I thank you that you are not concerned with what I haven’t done, but with what I can do for you.  Make me the disciple you want me to be.  I pray that I will never miss the opportunity to Go!  In your name I pray – Amen.

It matters to this one

starfish

I was searching google for something today…not even really sure what it was now, but came across an image with a familiar story on it.  It goes something like this:

An old man was walking along the beach one day when out in the distance he could see someone frolicking and dancing, bending this way and that way.  As he got closer, he realized it was a young woman picking up starfish and throwing them back into the surf.  He became curious and asked what she was doing.  She explained,  “the sun is up and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die.”  The old man chuckled and said, “don’t you realize there are many miles of beach and thousands of star fish?  You can’t possibly make a difference.”  The young woman listened politely, then bent down and picked up another star fish and threw it into the sea.  “It made a difference to this one.”

It made a difference to this one.  What a powerful statement.  I have read this story before, but today it really made me think of the similarities to what we are called to do as believers.  My church has been on a crazy big push to bring awareness and interest to missions, especially foreign missions targeting un-reached people groups (those that have never heard the gospel message).  According to the Joshua Project nearly 2.1 billion people have never heard of Jesus.  That number is overwhelming.  Just like the story mentioned above, it would be real easy to become discouraged when you read the words of Jesus and think about what he commanded us to do

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mathew 28:18-20)

Go and get them ALL. Simple instructions.  He said, I have one job for you.  Tell EVERYONE about me.  But then you remember that number.  2.1 billion people who have never heard.  How can I possibly make a dent in that?  What difference does it make?  I am only one person and I can’t possibly reach everyone, or even coordinate an effort to reach them all.  You cannot possibly make a difference…

Remember the words of the young woman above.  Without hesitation, she bent down, picked up another starfish, flung it into the sea and said, “It made a difference for that one”.

We CAN make a difference for every single individual we come in contact with.  We CAN help lead single individuals to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  We CAN make a difference in the eternal destination of our family, friends, and strangers we meet on the street.  We CAN make a difference in the lives of an un-reached people group.  Jesus only gave us one task.  He could have given us a list of things and set the expectations high, but He only gave us one thing to do.  With a heart full of Christ-like love, go out and tell everyone about me.  Tell everyone what I did because I love them and don’t want them to live an eternity in hell – separated from me forever.

Lord, I know that I complicate things.  I know that I make being a Christian so difficult sometimes.  I make it about all that needs to be done, and how I need to live, when you have called me to make it all about how I share your message.  You are all powerful and all knowing.  You have given us the holy spirit that will surely help with the growing part when someone chooses to accept your salvation.  Help me to remember that I am to model your love and never miss a chance to share your message with those you place in my life.  It matters to EVERYONE that I tell.  – Amen.