Author Archives: John Wilburn

Missions is not Taking Gods Grace for Granted

This week the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines began to take stronger measures to control the growth of the Covid Delta Variant. I completely agree with these measures, since this virus can affect so many people.

God has been incredibly gracious to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. If the Delta variant reached into the communities, it would prove disastrous since we are a very small Country. There would be few places to hide.

Currently most islands around us like Barbados, Trinidad, St. Lucia, and Grenada are all locked down, and under extreme measures to control the spread of Covid. Meanwhile Vincentians have no curfew or lockdown, and few safety measures in place.

This freedom is a blessing for which we should praise God! My concern though is the people are taking Gods protection for granted.

In February when the Covid numbers were very high, everyone took their safety and health seriously. But since then things have become more and more relaxed.

In a way it’s as if the people don’t believe God will do anything to them.

This is a very serious problem!

Scripture teaches us the grace and protection of God is meant to draw us towards repentance instead of taking advantage of Him. The Lord is patient with us because He doesn’t want anyone to experience the penalty of sin. However, those who ignore the repeated warnings have only themselves to blame when His judgement comes.

Reverence for God worships His grace, but also knows that grace will not last forever.

Thursday night I encouraged a group of Christian friends to “take their safety seriously” because we will experience community spread of the Delta-variant eventually.

Flights from the US are coming in every Saturday, and though the Vincentian government is doing an excellent job with quarantine, it only takes one individual with Covid to start a serious problem.

This doesn’t mean everyone should get the vaccine like I have

It does mean that we should prepare for the day when Gods grace will be temporarily removed.

Missions is Knowing My Job isn’t to Bring Fruit

I have a small stack of tracts on my bookshelf. They are the final remnants of the 2,000 tracts that were ordered last October.

I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to pass out those tracts, yet there has been no fruit from it (that I know of).

This isn’t to say that people don’t take the tracts, most do! But rarely have they led to an opportunity to share the Gospel, and there have been no decisions to accept Christ.

To be honest the lack of fruit gets me down sometimes. It makes me feel as if the entire work of ministry relies upon me. So if I don’t accomplish the work, it won’t get done.

But thats not true!

It isn’t my job to bring fruit….thats Gods job

My job is to faithfully do the work, even if I don’t see any fruit

It is incredibly important that I realise my job is to consistently obey God. Otherwise, anytime things don’t work out perfectly Satan can tell me that I’ve “failed’ , and I will believe it. Even worse. I will endeavour to do the work of God in my own strength instead of His!

On the other hand, when I understand faithfulness is my job, I can do it with confidence!

  1. So I put on my hat and sunglasses
  2. Pass out tracts in the community, and engage with Vincentians
  3. And return with a sweat-soaked shirt, but an understanding I’ve done my job

Ministry is throwing the seed of the Gospel far and wide, knowing that God the Father will bring fruit.

Missions is Dealing With the Root Problem

Friday morning I sat on the porch with a mother who was incredibly frustrated by an adult son who has struggled for years with an addiction to alcohol. With pain in her voice, she shared the fear that her son would face the same fate as her own father and brother, to die from the physical affects of alcoholism.

My heart broke for this mother, but I also realised she was approaching things the wrong way.

Because of past experiences in her family, this mother was entirely focused on getting her son to stop drinking. In her mind if he didn’t drink anymore, the problem would be fixed.

But drinking was not her sons problem….

A Sinful heart is

On her porch Friday I explained that its important for us to deal with the “root problem” which is his sinful heart (he does not yet know Christ). Once this young mans heart is right with God, then the outer issues such as alcoholism will be changed. But if you focus on the drinking, he could stop that, and still have a sinful heart.

To put it another way, the outer issues such as drinking, profanity, or rebellion are symptoms of the true problem (a wicked heart)

For true change to come we must deal with the problem not the symptoms.

I am eternally grateful for a college professor who used an illustration in class that drove this point home. A teenage girl used to come home from school every day depressed because kids made fun of her. She would lock herself in her room, and eat two bags of Doritos every day. Her father decided this had to stop, and told her “don’t eat Doritos for two hours every day!”

Obviously this is ridiculous because the Doritos weren’t the problem. The problem was this teenagers increasing loneliness and depression. In the same way even if this son did stop drinking, the real problem isn’t dealt with.

As Christians we must do the hard work of helping individuals make sense of their lives with the Word of God. And a big part of this work is understanding its never about the Doritos.

Missions is Doing Your Cultural Homework

One day after getting out of quarantine, I went to visit some friends at a local shop. After asking about my time in America, and commenting on how fat I got, we got caught up on recent news.

For around a half-hour many of the more controversial issues in the US were discussed.

  1. The Covid Delta Variant
  2. Vaccinations
  3. The need for quarantine before entering a country
  4. And Afghanistan

I won’t go into detail about my views on each 1. Instead I want to highlight the fact that people in foreign countries love to discuss current events in America. I’ve had MANY political discussions leading up the the recent presidential election in the streets of Barrouallie!

These conversations about what’s going in the United States shows me just how much what goes on in America affects other Countries….

And it also challenges me to do my cultural homework

In 2008 I was with a group of American missionaries in an Australian coffee shop. As we were talking an Aussie asked if we were American, then proceeded to tell us who to vote for, and why. That was one of my first experiences like that so it kind of surprised me. But as those conversations continued, I realised it was important to not only have a stance on controversial issues, but be able to defend them.

Sunday I finished the audible version of “Faultlines” by Voddie Baucham. I had read the kindle version of the book, but enjoyed the audible version better because it allowed me to listen to chapters more than once.

Throughout the book, you realise Baucham is someone who has done his homework. He understands Critical Race Theory 2 better than almost anyone who holds to the view! In a spirit of love and humility, Baucham takes apart the arguments for CRT, and shows just how damaging this view is.

This calm and technical discussion of the problem is very different than the way we (myself included) usually deal with controversial issues. We share “hot takes” that are taken as fact without any proof, then anyone who disagrees with us is mis-represented.

This is not standing for the truth friends…..

This is laziness!

It’s easy to send a tweet or Facebook post about a controversial issue, it’s hard to clearly explain and defend your viewpoint sitting across the table from someone who disagrees.

Yes we should stand for the truth, and call out sin. But have a foundation of Scripture, and clear understanding instead of personal opinion.

  1. Those who are interested in my views can contact me directly
  2. The cultural issue he challenges in the book

Missions is Seeing the Grace of God

Thursday night I was pretty busy after prayer meeting driving members to separate communities on the other side of Barrouallie, and then driving a family who were walking back over the hill.

I pulled in front of the church and turned off the car, only to realise that I didn’t pull up far enough.

I turned the key to start the engine….and it wouldn’t turn over.

I ended up having some friends give me a jump start in the morning, but thought it was odd since there was no reason for the battery to be dead. We ended up starting the battery and letting the car run for about ten minutes.

After that I turned it off, and tried to start the car again….

Nothing happened

A bit of research that afternoon revealed that it was problem with my alternator since the battery itself wouldn’t hold a charge.

To be honest, situations like this are frustrating because my car is such an essential ministry tool. But the Lord did bless me in the tough situation.

  1. I broke down in front of the church instead of on the road in the middle of the night
  2. A friend who I trust was able to diagnose the problem with my alternator
  3. A replacement alternator can be purchased in town for a reasonable price (I will get it Monday)
  4. And the same friend who found the problem, will be able to replace my alternator for a cheap price
  5. The Lord even supplied someone who will give me a ride to get the part tomorrow morning!

The Lord does not promise us that hardship won’t come. But He does promise to give grace in that hard time. It may not always be easy to see the grace of God, but we can rest in the fact that His protecting hand always cares for us.

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