Missions Launch

Helping those who help the world

What About Those Who Have Never Heard?

by Carol Grace |

Should I Go?, Spiritual Issues, Theology

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Photo by Katie Tegtmeyer

For those of us interested in missions, the answer to this question is of utmost importance.  After all, missionaries are usually motivated by 2 main factors, obeying the commands of Christ and concern for the lost.  So, if the lost are just fine never hearing about Jesus, then 1 of our top motivating factors would be removed. Of course, since Jesus commands it, some would still go, but it would definitely be less motivating if the lost can get to heaven while we stay home.  

On the other hand, as Christians we certainly can wish that there was some other way for people to be saved besides someone telling them. After all, there are 2 billion people still who haven’t heard, and it sure doesn’t seem like there are enough missionaries right now to reach them all. It is horrifying to think of all those people who don’t have the same chance that we have, who don’t have the good news.

Also, there are some interesting stories out there of God reaching out to the unreached Himself. In many unreached countries and Muslim areas there are many many documented cases of people seeing or hearing of Jesus first in a dream. It does seem like those people are then led to find Christians to speak with or literature and films about Jesus that help them understand, but it also seems like there are some who come to faith only through their dream.

But still, the question remains…

What happens to those who have never heard?

There are some great articles out there that shed insight and give biblical foundations on this question.  

There is one point, however, that several authors, including John Piper and David Platt, point out – no one is innocent. People aren’t going to hell for rejecting Jesus. People are going to hell for their sins. Jesus is the only way to save them from their sins.

Also, it is important to remember that God desires for none to perish.

With these 2 points in mind, here are some interesting articles on the topic that include some slightly differing viewpoints.

Bible.org

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This article lays out a very simple biblical foundation of verses on the topic.

 

Desiring God

dglogo
This is a John Piper article that comes to this conclusion: “Missions is what the truth demands.”

 

Small Town Pastor

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This blog lists 5 different views on the subject with a list of famous Christians who adhere to each view.

                     

Shoreline Church

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This article by Steven Binos addresses people coming to faith without missionaries.

 

What do you think?

Please tell us what you think. What motivates you to go? What do you think happens to those who have never heard? Please send us a comment, and we will post it to the article.

March of the Unqualified

by Carol Grace |

Should I Go?, Spiritual Issues

Think you have to be perfect to be used by God? A lot of people are disqualifying themselves and waiting and waiting until they are perfect until they allow themselves to be used by God. However, there are a couple of problems with that logic.

First of all, no one on this earth will ever be perfect. If you are waiting for that, you will be waiting till the day you day.

Secondly, it’s not your strength but God’s Spirit that will perform his work. He just needs those that are willing, and He will take care of the rest. He can even use your mistakes to accomplish His will.

Thirdly, if you look at the Biblical “greats” of the Bible who did amazing things for God, you will see that they all had tons of flaws, imperfections, and sins… yet God used them anyway.

Watch this video from Igniter Media for a great reminder that God doesn’t use the qualified, but the willing.

If you want to find more great videos, Igniter Media has many to choose from on their website.

Lost and Found

by Athelda Ensley |

Spiritual Issues

original artwork: prospectorMost missionaries will never have the grand stage of Billy Graham from which to minister to the world. They will have smaller forums and different settings. They share the desire of great men like him, to have the Gospel spread across the entire world.

Missionaries work in a gambit of ways, using a variety of methods, but toward a common purpose. That purpose is to add to God’s Kingdom as often as they are able.

Through a basic Christian principle, they are driven to show the lost the way to heaven.  They follow the directions given to us from Scripture, take them and apply
them to the areas of ministry in which they work. Missionaries are blessed with a
global vision and not simply a community one. Their training and experiences allow them to see the world in two categories, lost and found.

New Testament accounts speak of the disciples commitment to share Christ. After Jesus’ assent to heaven, they took up the cause and mission to spread the Good News far and wide. Many references say they added to the kingdom, when souls were won for Christ. This is the same work that missionaries around the world are doing right now, town to town, village to village.

They overcome barriers of race, nationality, education and language in order to perform the work of the mission. Just as the disciples knew that not every hearer would accept the message, missionaries today know as well. But the mission is about telling, watering the plants and trusting God for growth. What a happy reunion heaven will be, seeing all of those who entered the kingdom through the
sharing of the Gospel!

Artwork by ToOliver2

Missions Twitter 6/5/09: Advice to New Missionaries

by Melissa Chang |

Missions Quotes, Missions Twitter, Should I Go?, Spiritual Issues

compass trinketHere at MissionsLaunch we decided to ask all of those missionaries out there, who use Twitter, to give us their best advice or words of inspiration to those just starting out or thinking of starting out on the missions field. Here is what they had to say:

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YWAM Missionary: billhutchison
Words for Missionaries – Don’t let others tell you that you are crazy to go into missions. God will provide in amazing ways.

Missionary to India/Pastor: stevehutto
Know that you have a very, very special calling and that God will move mountains to uses you! Also know that the hunger for God “out there” will sustain you through every circumstance

Wycliffe Missionary: woodwardmw
Time spent learning language and culture is vital. Also important to realise generally you’ll learn much more than you teach

Missionary to Peru: CharXime
The word I want to give to new missionaries is,”Remeber it is easier to change one person than it is to change thousands, so start with yourself, adjust to where you are.”

Missionary to Tanzania: mamaafrica
To those starting out on a mission field: People will let you down all over the world. God will not. Take time to listen.

E3Partners Organization: carolw70
Remember your calling! Satan will attack you in many ways to get you out of the field. Fight him w/ scripture and God’s call.

Christian Quote: lyka_m
“There are three indispensable requirements for a missionary: 1. Patience 2. Patience 3. Patience.” Hudson Taylor

1040 Window Proponent: Angelamz40
Take a Perspectives class b4 you go! www.Perspectives.org or @PerspectivesWCM

Missionary in Africa: christfollower
If I’d wanted to do something easy, I wouldn’t have answered the call to the mission field (found not sent in)

Christian Marketplace Proponent: money_ministry
“advice…those just starting out on the mission field” Study and understand fully God’s gift economy.

Missionary in Latin American: chrisleake
Be a learner of language, culture, and of what God’s doing and has already done *before* trying to do things.

Missionary in East Africa: missiondiary
that it Is God’s ministry and That they need to trust Him. And trust In God power. Acts 1:8 :D

Former South American Missionary: simpleorange
“language learning” – a great excuse for frequent stops at corner markets/street vendors for pastries & other yummies :)

Preacher: preachershane
Missions is not about sending missionaries, but about sending the truth of God to a people (found not sent in)

Story4ALL Organization: bt4jc
Gen 12 says that Abraham followed not knowing where going; don’t expect ducks in a row! Won’t happen! Hear God about your choice of ministry, record the words and stand on them. At times that’s all that will keep you there. After the honeymoon and nightmare periods you will come out to meaningful effectiveness; stay the course! Make sure it is his word that guides you; not mammon (support raised). He who called you is faithful and will do it! NEVER let the need determine your investment! Your ability to invest daily is linked to intimacy with Jesus ONLY! Hudson Taylor said ‘God’s will done God’s way will never lack God’s supply’. It’s true!

Photo by psd

Mission Trip Impossible: Dumb Excuse #7 – Imperfection

by Lori McCarthy |

Should I Go?, Spiritual Issues

Face with Color“I can’t take my pregnant teenager with me.”

Translation: “If my family isn’t perfect, if I am not perfect, then I’m afraid that other people will ultimately see me as a failure.

As Christians, we often feel that we have to “clean up” before we are able to do something extraordinary for God.

Truth is, it’s really less about who we are and more about who He is and what He is able to do through one ordinary, imperfect person that is willing to go.

Besides, if we’re constantly worried about what other people are going to think of us, then we’re probably more focused on pleasing man rather than God.

The unfortunate thing about people pleasers is that they ultimately miss out on tons of really cool stuff that the Lord has in store for them because they’re too busy trying to make other people happy. Instead they wind up making everyone around them miserable because they’re so miserable. We’ll call this the “fear of man” factor, because the Bible says the fear of man proves to be a snare. (Prov 29:25)

Who cares whether I’m perfect or not? If I’ve been called to go into the mission field, isn’t it more important that I’m willing to heed the call – warts and all?

Start being a God pleaser today by relinquishing your need for everyone and everything around you to be perfect- including yourself. Then excuse #7 will no longer matter anymore.

View Original Article: TOP 10 DUMBEST REASONS NOT TO GO ON A MISSIONS TRIP

Photo by Chaparral [Kendra]

Mission Trip Impossible: Dumb Excuse #5 – Addiction

by Lori McCarthy |

Should I Go?, Spiritual Issues

cigarette lighter“I can’t give up the 4 packs of cigarettes I smoke every day.”

Translation: “I don’t want to give up my addiction.”

God designed us all with an innate need to be in a close personal relationship with Him. If we fail to fill that empty spot in our lives by having a relationship with Him, we will ultimately begin to look for other ways to fill those empty places. Some people take on bad habits such as overeating or smoking. Others allow them to take a foothold in their lives until they become idols. Finally, if we allow them to become a stronghold in our lives they can turn into full-blown addictions.

Addictions can take on several forms. Instead of nicotine, your addiction might be to alcohol, drugs, sex, or even pornography. If your addiction has become your excuse for not fully devoting yourself to the Lord or becoming a better witness, then perhaps it’s time to get rid of it. Perhaps you’ve even thought about going on a mission trip but decided against it because you couldn’t possibly go that long without a cigarette, a beer, a pill, or a peek.

With God’s help it is possible for anyone to break an addiction. If you’re using yours as an excuse not to serve on the mission field, please stop right now, drop to your knees, and humbly ask God to help deliver you from your addiction. Then watch as excuse #5 becomes a thing of the past!

Admin Comment:
As a sidenote, I need to let you all know that I actually worked at an orphanage in war-torn Burundi with a lady so addicted to smoking cigarettes, that she had cases and cases of Nicorette gum shipped to her each month!  But I tell you what, she ended up staying on full-time, adopting 3 children, and running the entire school!  God does not demand someone perfect, just someone willing.

View Original Article: TOP 10 DUMBEST REASONS NOT TO GO ON A MISSIONS TRIP

Photo by viZZZual.com

Mission Trip Impossible: Dumb Excuse #2-Inadequacy

by Lori McCarthy |

Planning to Go, Should I Go?, Spiritual Issues

Dunce Cap“Like Moses, I’m afraid I might stutter.”

Translation: “I’m a bumbling idiot! I’m shy, I’m incompetent, I’m afraid to talk to people, and I’m afraid I might embarrass you.”

Just like Moses, we can try all we want to convince God that we aren’t the best candidate for the job, but let’s face it. God knows better. If God already knows everything about us, then it’s not like he’s surprised by any personal weaknesses or limitations we might have. In essence, what we’re really trying to do is talk God out of sending us, isn’t it? It’s as if we’re saying, “You’ve got it all wrong, God. I’m much too (fill in the blank). Are you sure you don’t want to send someone else more qualified for the job?”

Fortunately, that didn’t work back in Moses’ day, and it won’t work for you or me today either.

Can’t you hear Moses now?

“But God, I’m not an eloquent speaker! I’m much too slow of speech and tongue. Please send someone else to do it.”

And what was God’s response?

“Go, and take your brother, Aaron, with you, and he will do all of the speaking for you.”

It’s pretty clear. God already knows in advance whether we’re equipped to handle the job or not. Otherwise he wouldn’t ask us. Besides, whatever areas we might be lacking in, God is more than able to fill in the gaps for us. Hence we must conclude that excuse #2 is ultimately irrelevant.

View Original Article: TOP 10 DUMBEST REASONS NOT TO GO ON A MISSIONS TRIP 

Photo by  Elizabeth Welsh

Mission Trip Impossible: Dumb Excuse #1-Flaws

by Lori McCarthy |

Planning to Go, Should I Go?, Spiritual Issues

mirror reflectionExcuse #1: “I’m afraid I might miss out on my monthly auto-shipment of Proactive.”

Translation: “I have flaws. Therefore, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be considered perfect enough to become an ambassador for Christ.”

So what’s your excuse? Instead of acne, yours might be, “I’m too short,” “I’m too fat,” “I’m too old,” “I’m too young,” or “I just don’t fit in.”

Most of us can relate to having feelings of inadequacy about certain real or perceived flaws and imperfections which we see in ourselves. So whether it’s the battle of the bulge or our battle is with blemishes, we’re all essentially fighting the same battle. If we allow ourselves to give in to an inferiority complex we begin to believe the lie that we aren’t meant to be Christ’s ambassadors.

However, Isaiah 53:2-3 tells us, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (NIV)

Yet in verse 5 it says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities: the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (NIV)

The truth is that even Jesus didn’t look the part of an ambassador, and certainly not a Savior! If God didn’t expect Jesus to look perfect, then he doesn’t expect us to appear perfect either. Hence we have just exposed excuse #1 as an untruth which means it no longer has any control over our lives.

View Original Article: TOP 10 DUMBEST REASONS NOT TO GO ON A MISSIONS TRIP.

Photo by notsogoodphotography

Put on Your Spiritual Armor

by Beverly Cooper |

Missions Training, Spiritual Issues

suit of armorDo you believe that there is a war for your soul? Do you believe that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”? (Ephesians 6:12)

Sound like something from a horror movie? Yes it does, but this is real. Satan does not want us to succeed in advancing the Kingdom of God. He will attack you while on a mission trip, so just expect it and put on your spiritual armor to defend yourself against it.

Satan does so love the sneak attack. We can put in place safeguards to protect ourselves from the obvious attack, and we should. We may get vaccinated to prevent disease and drink only bottled water and we never travel alone. These are good things and offer physical protection, but Satan will sneak in and attack where we are not prepared.

One of his favorite things to attack is team unity. He will detect and zero in on areas of rivalry, jealousy, discontent, discomfort, and bad habits. Let me give a real life example.

blue dragonThe first mission trip I ever took was to Romania in 1999. Our mission was to plant a church in a tiny town that had been praying for 50 years for a building to worship in. The trip was planned out expertly and every detail in place.

As the team worked, it became more and more obvious to me that an enmity had developed between two members, a man and a woman. Actually, It would be more accurate to say the enmity was totally one sided. The man had no idea why the woman was treating him so rudely. It was very uncomfortable and distracting for us all.

Satan, seeing this, ran with it. Soon there were two women treating this man and all who would act friendly towards him, rudely. Does this sound childish? Absolutely and there is no room for it in kingdom work, at home or abroad. Was it embarrassing? Absolutely.

So how do we fight this attack? Here are three practical things to do.

sword of iraqKnow your enemy
As the Bible tells us, our fight is not against flesh and blood. It is in the spiritual realm and it is against Satan. He merely uses us against ourselves. The best way to recognize Satan is to know God and His character. Then you will recognize what is not of God.

Dress for Battle
God has given us the spiritual armor that we need, both defensive and offensive. We have the breastplate of righteousness to protect our heart. With the belt of truth we can discern truth from the lies that will be hurled at us. We have the shield of faith to deflect fiery darts and the helmet of salvation to guard our minds. Our feet are fitted with the readiness to serve. And best of all, we wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Fight back
Fight back by praising God. On another trip I took when team unity was threatened, we gathered the team together for deliberate praise and worship, and a miracle happened. As we sang and prayed, division became unity, strife became harmony, and the entire place was flooded with peace. Everything changed. I will never forget it and still today I call on that time to remind me of God’s faithfulness and power.

So anytime you are working for God, expect an attack. Be prepared and fight back. You have the Book and know how the story ends. Jesus wins.

Armor photo by  wili_hybrid
Dragon photo by Gaetan Lee
Sword photo by jamesdale10

Spiritual Preparedness: During the Trip

by admin |

Spiritual Issues

Luggage During the trip…

You and your luggage have arrived safely to your destination. Maybe you are feeling a little woozy from an eight hour plane ride, but you breathe in deeply foreign air and you know that you have arrived. You are confident that God has sent you to this place.

You even had the opportunity to share your testimony and the gospel with a curious seatmate on the plane. “Where are you all going and what are you going to do there?” the gentleman inquired. One thing led to another and before you knew it the gospel of Jesus Christ was pouring out of you. It’s a very good thing you were spiritually prepared for that opportunity.

So, how do you stay spiritually prepared amid all the distractions of unfamiliar surroundings and culture? Some of it will come naturally. It is amazing how loudly we call to God when we are way out of our comfort zone and out on a limb.

But, we must also actively pursue spiritual preparedness while on mission. Mission work is physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting. We need to take actions to fill up with the Holy Spirit and keep our eyes on Jesus.

Team time

Every morning and every evening take time to come together as a team for prayer, devotions, and worship. Hopefully someone packed a guitar! Team members can take turns presenting a brief devotional. The morning is like a sort of pep rally to get the team jazzed up and ready to take the world for Jesus.

Save the evening for a wind down. Team members can share something that pricked their hearts. Discuss where and how you saw God working. Was He working in you or through you to touch someone else? Don’t forget to praise, worship, and adore Him for all He is doing.

Letters from home

Assign church members to write letters of encouragement for each team member. Give the members a calendar of events for each day, so they can pray specifically for the events of the day. Have mail call after morning devotionals to distribute the letters.

Read a letter of encouragement written for the team from church members back home. Do this every day. This is a simple thing to do and is incredibly encouraging.

Prayer walk

Walk through the neighborhoods and worksites (in small groups, never alone) praying for the people as you go. Notice the people and their situations and intercede for them to the Lord. Use this time to hand out flyers and invitations to Bible School or other activities you have planned.

Hopefully, during the trip, you have begun to see people as God sees them. Speak to God often in little breath prayers. And always remember that you are representing Christ. He is the source of your spiritual preparedness.

Photo by geishaboy500

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