Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some missionaries need your help

As a follow-up to my previous post, I want to ask for your help.

The Lord has blessed me by placing me in an office whose job it is to promote what God is doing in people's lives around the world. One of our recent assignments was to create promotional resources for an offering that will help send missionaries to unreached people groups all over the world. It will also help keep many missionaries on the field.

The International Mission Board (IMB) is one of the largest missionary sending agencies in the world. The only way it is able to send missionaries is through the giving of Christians like you and me.

At Christmas time every year, an offering called the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is taken up in churches across America. Last year, that offering fell $30 million short. This shortfall has resulted in the suspension of critical missionary endeavors and the reduction of full-time missionaries they can send. There are missionaries who are called by God, trained and ready to go, but the funding is not there to send them.

The "Christmas in August" offering is a grassroots movement to make up at least a portion of the $30 million. It's simply a call for people to give whatever they can during August to make it possible for more missionaries to bring the Gospel to people all over the world.

You can visit for more details. The video above is available for free on the site so anyone can download it and use it in their churches, on their web site, or to send out as an e-mail. There are also other free resources available on the site and instructions on how you can give.

We have a critical mission, and it will take all of us to make it a success. For those willing to help I would ask that you consider which of the following would be appropriate for you:

1. Contact your pastor and ask him to raise an offering at the church during August.

2. Make sure the Mission’s Committee at your local church knows about the effort.

3. Send an e-mail to all of your friends making sure they know about the offering and the available resources.

4. Download the video and post it on your church’s website, your personal website, or anywhere else you can to raise awareness.

5. Pray that God would use this to heighten awareness of our missionary endeavors bringing unity and revival.

6. Skip lunch one Sunday after church to pray and fast. Then give the money you would have spent to the Christmas in August offering.

7. Give whatever God lays on your heart to support our missionary endeavors.

Romans 10:14-15

14How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Christmas In August

There are 6.5 billion people inhabiting planet earth. Of those, 1.6 billion have never heard the name of Jesus.

At the same time, Southern Baptists gave $12 billion in 2008 to buildings, missions and budgets. Of that $12 billion, only 2.5% of that went to the IMB for international missions.

In 2008, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions fell short of its goal by nearly $30 million, resulting in the suspension of crucial missionary endeavors and a reduction in the number of full-time missionary appointments.

SBC President Johnny Hunt and others have challenged Southern Baptists to rally around the Great Commission and take up a Christmas in August offering. The Christmas in August offering is a special emphasis designed to draw awareness to last year’s missions giving shortfall and to ask churches to make a special effort to give in August as well as December this year to recover the deficit.

Southwestern Seminary has created and launched several videos and other free promotional resources to support local churches in partnering together for this unique offering.

What is the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering?
Southern Baptist churches collect the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for the sole purpose of supporting international missions. Every penny of the offering goes to the International Mission Board’s overseas budget, thus supporting our missionaries and their work.

How to Give to the IMB Lottie Moon Christmas in August Offering
Churches and individuals can give to the Christmas in August offering just like they do for the annual Lottie Moon Christmas offering.
IMB encourages Southern Baptists to give through their local churches to the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. IMB does, however, offer an online option for those who want to make a gift now.

If you would rather give by check or money order, make it payable to IMB and reference the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in the memo section. Send to:

Development Office
International Mission Board
3806 Monument Ave
PO Box 6767
Richmond, VA 23230-0767

Friday, April 10, 2009

Explaining Christ's Death to a 4-year-old

Tonight after our church's Good Friday service, I took the opportunity to explain Jesus' final days on earth to Will and Blake. Will seemed riveted as I started with Jesus' final meal with his friends, washing their feet and celebrating the Passover. I had to give a quick explanation of Passover, but that didn't faze him.

We then talked about Jesus going to the mountain to pray and Judas' betrayal, followed by Peter's denial. I shared with them how Jesus stood trial and how the people wanted a murderer released and Jesus killed. Will said, "But Jesus never did anything wrong."

I explained how men beat Jesus with sticks and whips and pressed a crown of thorns, like a hat made of needles, onto his head. They nailed him to the cross, pounding large nails through his wrists. We talked about the thieves on either side and the response of the soldier at the foot of the cross. I ended with Jesus' death, hoping to leave some suspense about what happened next.

I asked Will if he had any questions. He said, "What did they do with Jesus' dead body?" I gave him a teaser, saying we are going to look at that tomorrow. Then, Will said excitedly, "But then Jesus rose from the dead!" His enthusiasm united with mine as I gave him a high-five for the resurrection and told him that's what Easter is all about.

Explaining Christ's death to a 4-year-old is both sobering and exhilarating. It was sobering to talk about death with him because you don't know how a 4-yr-old will take it. It was exhilarating because he was zeroed in on the message. I'm praying for Will that the Spirit would continue to draw him to the day of salvation. In our family prayer time tonight, we thanked Jesus for His death/resurrection and prayed that people would hear that message this weekend and yield their lives to the Savior.

What about you? Where do you stand on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? Have you put your trust in Him? Are you following Him? (for more info, click on the "2 Ways to Live" button to the right)

Are you regularly joining with other believers to celebrate Jesus and unite with them in fulfilling His commands? Jesus died for individuals and for the church (Rom. 5:8 & Eph. 5:25). We must obey him personally and in with a local body of believers.

"... and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised."
2 Corinthians 5:15