Tonight, our church family took another major step forward to embrace the heartbeat of God to partner with Him to penetrate the lostness of the world. We hosted an international mission’s banquet to kick off 2010 and we begin implementing the vision of being a church that not only gives sacrificially to missions but that will sacrificially go on mission. We heard from Pastor Nathan Lino of Northeast Houston Baptist Church and an IMB trustee share the vision and heartbeat of God that His churches will be mission sending agencies, full of believers who will embrace God's desire for us to be "bi-vocational" missionaries. Pastor Nathan used Philippians 2:3-11 to demonstrate this heartbeat of God which is illustrated by the greatest missionary martyr in the history of mankind, none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus left His comfort zone of heaven to come to earth to be like us, to eat like us, dress like us, and to share with us how to rescued from the darkness; all because He was burdened for our spiritual well being and to redeem us from lostness. Many of you heard God speak to you this evening in that moment in time and many of you indicated you will go when God calls you to go on short term mission trips.
We are going to pursue the Acts 1:8 mission pattern God has already given us to follow: we're going to penetrate lostness in Bel Air, our Jerusalem, in Harford County our Judea, in the Mid-Atlantic, our Samaria and ultimately to the uttermost part of the earth. Pastor Nathan shared we must be patient as it takes time to implement the vision and see it come to pass, but we will be moving in this direction. I am developing opportunities and researching where the Lord is working, I am praying about strategic partnerships and opportunities we will have this year and in those that follow as to where we’ll go. You’ll begin to hear and see these opportunities God will be giving to us. I am looking forward to leading you in this God sized challenge of penetrating the lostness of the more than 10,000 people groups not engaged with the Gospel. To reiterate the perspective Pastor Nathan shared tonight, our IMB, the largest mission sending agency in the world is engaged with 1,200 people groups with full time missionaries. The vision is that the membership of churches just like ours will engage those unengaged people groups by answering God’s call to be “bi-vocational” missionaries like the Apostle Paul who was a tentmaker. Whatever your vocation, you can use that to support your calling as a bi-vocational missionary, ready to launch where God calls you for a short term trip.
Pastor Nathan shared so many encouraging stories of how the Gospel is penetrating lostness because people just like you and me were willing to go with God to share the love of Jesus Christ in person. It was incredibly encouraging to hear of God’s working in such amazing ways right now in His world. Think of what we’re missing out on while we stay home. But by going, you and I can see God working around the world like in the Book of Acts. An adventure awaits, a God sized work is in progress and God is inviting you to get in on it. A word of warning however is in order as Pastor Nathan so powerfully shared: “Penetrating extreme lostness does not come without extreme sacrifice.” I would add that Satan is not at all pleased with us embracing the heartbeat of God and he and his evil forces would prefer for us to just stay home. He is already working on the “what if” plan to keep you in your comfort zone and unengaged from the mission by getting you to worry about all the “what ifs”.
Some of our early trips will be exploratory and strategy trips to lay the foundation for the future. I’m planning on heading to Moscow this spring and I want to take a few of you with me to explore opportunities with an area coordinator who is a friend of mine. Closer to home, we’ll participate in “Embrace Wilmington” to help start churches with our state convention. I am so proud of you Calvary, for listening to and embracing the heartbeat of God. The vision has been launched, the adventure begins, from my little corner of the world to yours…
Pastor Ralph Green
Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church www.calvarybelair.com