Whether you love missions or want to know how to make missions a more significant part of your life, The Call, published by World Gospel Mission, is a resource that encourages you to be active in the missions fields God places on your heart.
By Hubert Harriman, President October-December 2013
When I was just out of college, I worked in the packaging department of a trailer factory. Our job was to package the right nuts, bolts, screws, and other essentials that would make possible a full assembly. I had to know the list of items that had to go in those packages. To miss something would cause a breakdown in the final assembly of the trailer. We would render it useless just by missing one vital item.
Discipleship is really all about the right listing in our lives, learning and discovering what matters and what doesn’t matter, and giving full attention to the more important. The Bible gives us many “lists” of essentials:
Paul gives us the list of the fruit of the Spirit, essential for spiritual life (Galatians 5:22).
Paul also speaks to the list of “The full armor of God,” essential for spiritual victory (Ephesians 6:14-18).
Peter gives the list of “qualities,” essential for spiritual growth (2 Peter 1:5-6).
To miss anything on the list is detrimental to our spiritual lives.
One American company makes a point of excluding the obvious in its public statements about itself. Some organizational values are considered so basic that there is no need to point them out. They are what some would calla given. For instance, the expectations of food quality and employee integrity aregivens. Likewise, when we talk aboutmissionsas presented in the Bible and expected in the Christian life, we ought to say, “Missions? Of course! That’s a given.”
God very clearly speaks to lists of Christian involvement that should flow easily and quickly out of our lives simply because we know the work of His Spirit in our lives. Missions is on that list. “It’s a given!” But His work in us changes the list from something we might force ourselves to do to something we want to do and have the ability to do because of His very nature and power in us.
So how’s that going in your life? I pray God will quicken in each of us the very heart of God for a lost world. Ask God to lead you in making a list of ways He wants you to be involved in this great enterprise called missions.
ACT: Get in the Word. Hubert offers four passages of scripture in this article. Take time this week to study this “list” of essentials.
Tradition! Japan is a country that loves traditions. No time is as full of traditions as the New Year for the Japanese. And just like Americans, Japanese people love a good sporting event over the holidays.
Is It a Marathon? Yes. Every year, on January 2 and 3, 20 university teams race a course that stretches 60 miles from downtown Tokyo to a town called Hakone, close to Mount Fuji. This race is called the Hakone Ekiden. The runners race down to Hakone on the first day of the race and back on the second day.
Is It a Relay? Yes. But this isn’t your usual marathon. Each day is split into five different legs and the runners pass on a sash to the next member of their team. With 10 runners per team, an overall total of 200 athletes push themselves to help their team run well.
Never Alone As the leaders pull away from the pack, even if they get farther out, they are never truly alone. They have a police escort as well as the cheering spectators on the side of the road. But more importantly, a car follows them with someone shouting encouragement and advice through a loudspeaker. Also in the car is one of the coaches, trying to help each runner perform to the best of his ability.
Giving Their Best As they reach the end of their leg of the race, many have pushed themselves so hard that as they come off the street, they collapse into the arms of their coaches and team members. Some of them don’t even make it off the street, as volunteers come to wrap them in a towel and give them a drink of water.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 One of the great things about living in daily contact with another culture is that I get a chance to see the gospel in a new and different light. I have always believed Paul’s example of a race to be an easily understood way of viewing the Christian walk. I have never pictured the Christian walk as a short 100-meter dash, but rather as a race of endurance. Still, in my mind, this race of endurance was more of a solo run. More like a regular marathon, with each runner on his or her own journey.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 But my view of “running the race” of faith has changed since starting to watch the Ekiden. As a Christian, and even more specifically as a missionary, I am not on a solo run. I have other teammates; I have people cheering for me and coaching me. There are people who have gone before whose efforts I need to remember and respect, as well as times when I will be the one coming off the course tired and weary.
Hebrews 12:1-3 Where are you in your own Christian faith and at which position in the race do you find yourself? Are you a runner starting out fresh? Are you pushing on through the pain? Are you weak and tired coming in at the end of your lap of the race? Maybe you are one of those cheering and supporting and encouraging those who are running or perhaps one of those who has a bottle of water and towel for another who is coming off the course tired and battered. Are you a coach who understands both the course and the running and can give advice to those doing the running?
Together We Can Run the Race of Endurance Each one of us needs to encourage and lift one another up in prayer, as well as challenge and spur one another on as members of the body of Christ. Are you actively involved in the role God has called you to play?
PRAY: Here’s a spiritual fitness plan that may help you encourage and lift missionaries in prayer.
Sunday: Relationship with God Monday: Witness Tuesday: Service Wednesday: Love Thursday: Renewal Friday: Partners Saturday: Teach
When I was in training for service with Wings of Peace in Bolivia, I was privileged to have flown with a man named Paul Dye, an instructor serving with the New Tribes Mission Aviation training center in McNeal, Arizona. One day during my training, Paul said, “Today you are going to make an electronic checklist.” Paul showed me the necessary tools and I quickly finished the project. It was one of the highlights of my training because I had a means of keeping a checklist of critical procedures that needed to be accomplished for the safe take-off and landing phases of each flight.
As Christians, we can also follow a checklist prior to boarding each day. Here is an abbreviated checklist from an average airplane preflight “walk-around” and how it resembles our Christian walk.
Engine: How do we maintain that quality oil in our spiritual engines for maximum power and efficiency? By prayerfully seeking the renewal and cleansing of the Holy Spirit and reading the Bible.
Wings: They are the main source of lift and contain the ailerons and flaps. a. The ailerons (the narrow, hinged panels near the wing tips) roll the plane from side to side. Do we have our spiritual controls moving freely and correctly to keep us on course? b. The flaps are large, adjustable panels that lower at the back of the main wing on each side to provide drag for slower flight upon landing. In spiritual terms, we need self-control and patience in our lives to help us slow down and be able to see what God is doing around us.
Tail: The tail is made up of the rudder and elevators which help keep the plane in stable flight. a. Rudder: This panel at the back of the vertical stabilizer rotates the plane from side to side, providing correct turning forces that coordinate with the roll of the plane in a turn. In other words, the rudder keeps the passengers from feeling like they are on a roller coaster! In our spiritual lives, without proper coordination with God, we can be out of control and at times feel like we are in a spiritual “slip!” (The term “slip” refers to the lack of rudder pressure applied by the pilot in the direction of the turn in coordination with the ailerons.) b. Elevator: Possibly the most important control on the airplane—it determines the up or down “attitude” of the airplane. If you don’t have the elevator “trimmed” just right, you can be fighting the controls to exhaustion and possible loss of control. Spiritually speaking, if you don’t have your life trimmed with the right attitude, you will be in a constant battle to reach the levels to which God wants to take your life. You’ll need to “adjust your attitude to gain proper altitude.”
Global Positioning System: This modern marvel has saved many lives, including my own. GPS instrumentation has allowed pilots (and their wives) the peace of mind to relieve much of the extra stress encountered when flying over rugged jungle terrain.
We also depended on what my dad, Joe Kunkle, referred to as God’s Prayer System for our safety while flying; the vast network of praying people like you who kept our lives and ministry before God’s throne. Prayer is vital to our existence as missionaries.
Fuel tanks, fuel, and filters: The only way to get the engine to run right is to have the right kind and amount of fuel for the flight.
Our spiritual fuel tanks must also be kept filled and ready for flight. Any sin condensation or worldly dirt in our tanks that is not removed will cause our lives to come to a complete stop, resulting in a very hard landing or crash.
Weight and balance: We must make sure the plane is within its proper weight and balance limits for safe flight. If not, you won’t be able to lift off the ground. We also need to keep our lives balanced with family, church, work, and rest to be able to stay within the operating limits that God has set for us.
Instruments: We need to keep our instruments set to the correct settings for critical phases of the flight. Hebrews 11:2 reminds us: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”(NIV).
Still, the Christian walk is not simply a checklist. Our walk with Christ is a product of the reconciliation of God to man through Jesus Christ, and a growing, living relationship with our heavenly Father by the power of the Holy Spirit living within us. Let’s make every walk-around inspection of our spiritual airplane consistent every day.
Your mission's prayer point this week from The Call is:
ASK God to help you make a “walk-around” inspection of your spiritual practices.
This request is inspired by John Kunkle's story Our Walk Around Inspection where he shares about his ministry with Wings of Peace in Bolivia. Read the article here: http://www.wgm.org/walk-around-inspection
During one of my training meetings at World Gospel Mission, the group was asked to think of a champion who took real ownership in our ministry. My head began to spin because so many people have played an important role in what I did on the Tohono O’odham Reservation on the American Indian Field and in what I am currently doing on the Texas/Mexico border.
(The) one I thought of was Mary Jane Richards. At the time of the meeting, Mary Jane (she’s on my left in the picture) had not only been a prayer and financial supporter but also one who had scheduled three church services and one AWANA group and tried to get me into a high school social studies class. She also provided a place for me to stay with Ruth (the lady to my right).
Thank you to WGM’s many champions who have done so much, from mailing used clothes to visiting our mission fields. When you get to heaven, you’re going to be so surprised at how God has used you to bring others to heaven with you!
Debbie McKelvey mentions several practical missions-active ideas that her ministry partners have done to encourage her in ministry. Learning by their example, here is a monthly checklist that you and your family can do this year to be more intentional about your missions activities.
January: Spend this month praying for your missionary partner.
February: Encourage a missionary partner by sending a handwritten note to them, letting them know you have been thinking of them.
March: Planning an upcoming family vacation? Think about using this time to serve on the mission field together. Contact Noritta Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765.671.7204 to find out what teams would be available for you to join.
April: In the article “The Path Is Waiting,” you are challenged to consider completing the World GO! Manual Bible study. Ask someone to do the study with you and complete chapter one on prayer this month.
May: A new Kids’ World article is released bimonthly, offering ways you can help kids get involved in missions. As you begin to plan your summer activities, visit the Kids’ World page to print out a few of the fun activities your family can do together for missions at www.wgm.org/kidsworld.
June: It’s Vacation Bible School time for many churches. How does your church plan to use the offering they receive from these boys and girls? Perhaps your church could donate a percentage of that offering to help children in need around the world. Find projects for kids at www.wgm.org/kidscatalog.
July: Take this month to put your “Yard Sale for Missions” checklist to good work and clean out some items you have in storage.
August: Consider sending a little piece of home to a missionary serving overseas. Many simple everyday items are not available in all areas of the world. Write to your missionary partner this month asking them for a wish list of items. Then go shopping! Mail this to your missionary family as a special care package.
September: This time of year often brings drought and famine to our brothers and sisters in Africa. WGM assists with caring for the physical and spiritual needs of others in crisis through the President’s Crisis Relief fund. Join this team by giving a financial gift at www.wgm.org/crisisrelief.
October: The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Pray over the list of ministry opportunities WGM has globally (www.wgm.org/go) and ask God to call more workers to the mission field.
November: This month reminds us of God’s richest blessings on our lives. Have you been blessed by The Call magazine? You can share this resource with others. Sign them up for a free subscription at www.wgm.org/callsubscribe.
December: It’s the season of giving! Consider a special gift to WGM as a year-end gift. You can donate online at www.wgm.org/donate.
How can your child help by praying? Imagine my delight when Elizabeth exclaimed while standing near my home at Tenwek Hospital, “I can’t believe I’m here; I’ve prayed for you and Tenwek all my life!” Elizabeth’s parents, Dawn and Wayne Smith, had made a photo album of many of us missionaries from our home church. Elizabeth prayed through that book often. The visual helped her “know” us and pray for us.
ACT: Create your own family photo album of the missionaries your family is praying for.
How can your child help by giving? Giving is so important to teach children at a young age. When I was preparing to return to Kenya after homeland ministry assignment, my sister, Jan, brought her young son Jacen to me with a bag of 20 of his Hot Wheels cars for me to give little boys who were my patients at Tenwek. One little guy was still holding his car the next day when I went to take a picture to send to Jacen to thank him. Maybe you can’t send something, but it could be sold at a garage sale and the funds sent to help others. The Least of These ministry is blessed when children raise money for a peanut butter party or a pizza party that we bless orphans with. Only $25 to $50 creates a peanut butter party and $100 makes a pizza party!
GIVE: Help throw a peanut butter party for kids in Kenya. Make a list of chores your kids can do to earn money toward a donation for a party. Send a check, payable to World Gospel Mission with account #21197—CALL on the memo line, to: World Gospel Mission, P.O. Box 948, Marion, IN 46952-0948.
How can your child help by doing? When I was on homeland ministry assignment and in grad school, my parents were not able to keep up with all the yard work. One Wednesday evening, Greg Miller and his son, Dexter, arrived at our home to mow the grass and trim around the trees. Greg told me, “I could have taken Dexter to church tonight to learn about sharing Jesus’ love and helping others, but I chose to bring him here and show him.”
ACT: Who is near you that would be blessed by you and your child spending time with them or serving them?