Monday, March 17, 2008

Commission Stories: The Art of Braving Bullets

Every Sunday, prior to our offering, a member of our congregation reads the Missionary Moment which is a short biographical blurb about a NAMB or IMB missionary who is on the field. While this may seem like a non-traditional inclusion to a worship service, it serves many purposes.

The first of which is to remind ourselves weekly to pray for missionaries and to long for the Day of the Lord by asking that God will mightily bless the Gospel that is being proclaimed in our own public worship but also around the world wherever the truth is proclaimed. This exhortation also allows us to take time in worship to explain the importance of giving as Southern Baptists. Every few weeks, one of the presenters will make sure to explain that a portion of the offering given will go directly to the mission sending agencies through the Cooperative Program. We make it clear that this missionary family we are praying for is also being supported by our tithes and offerings. Thirdly, we have a built in time to mention special mission projects within our church family and special offerings like the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering along with various state and associational offerings we support.

I serve in a mission church (a church re-plant). We are making our way toward constituting as an autonomous church but we have benefited through the CP financially and because of this, even with a tight budget and a lot of penny pinching, we manage to give 10% of our budget to the CP. But this sacrifice is realized when we hear the stories of persecuted missionaries. When we hear stories about John and Jane Doe (the missionary moments always says, "not real names") trying to reach particularly militant Muslims in Indonesia or dangerous natives in the upper Amazon with the gospel, we see how important it is to hold the ropes here, to give and to be attentive in our prayers for these missionaries.

One such missionary that we can all take time this week to pray for is Eric Reese. Eric Reese is the Strategy Coordinator for the urban poor of Rio De Janeiro, and his team of Brazilian nationals are taking the Gospel to the most violent and dangerous slums in all of Latin America, called favelas. You can see how God is allowing him to minister in a tumultuous environment by going HERE. This video is a call to prayer and a call to the gospel.

Here's how Eric sums up why he's serving: "The gospel got to get to them."
It's as simple as that.

As we are all focusing on the cross of Christ this Holy Week, remember to pray for our missionaries who are braving bullets and much worse for the Glory of Christ and the spread of the Gospel of the Kingdom and the reconciliation that was bought and sealed on that first Easter morning. And lets make a point ourselves to tell this great, true, life-changing story to as many as we can. At the end of this video, Eric says that when people ask him if he's afraid doing what he's doing, he can't help but respond that he would be more afraid if he were not doing what he knew he was called to. May we all be encouraged to live how we're called: to be making our own commission stories.


OC Hands said...

It looks like you have figured out how to post the widget on your website. I think you can re-size the picture if you post one of the articles.

Worship Leader Ron said...

Thanks! After a lot of experimenting, I finally came across the right command!


stephen lee cavness said...

the least you can do while skipping work is post a new entry.. sheesh..