Category Archives: svg-missionary

A Lifestyle of Quiet Excellence

This afternoon my brother after five-years of study will receive his Doctorate!  I’m incredibly proud of him knowing the hard-work, dedication, and discipline that went into this endeavor.

His accomplishment today symbolizes the testimony that was modeled by our parents during childhood and teenage years (continuing into their retirement) something that I call “quiet excellence”

As you can probably tell, quiet excellence is about doing things in a well-organized and meticulous manner that doesn’t bring attention to itself;

  1. Quiet excellence doesn’t usually bring massive results or big crowds
  2. Or boast dramatic stories in prayer letters
  3. Quiet excellence doesn’t promote itself on social media by oversharing
  4. Or have to get any kind of recognition

The truth is those who have embraced quiet excellence live in the shadows, unknown by most people. 

But that’s okay

Because Faithfulness finishes the job

  1. Long after the Innovative ministry program is obsolete
  2. and the zealous ambition has run out
  3. After the successful stories are gone
  4. And most have given up because its too hard
  5. They will still be there….and cross the finish line with integrity  

Strategic plans and ministry programs are good, but they can replace the philosophy of quiet excellence

Get up before everyone else

Have a clear understanding of what God wants you to do

Accomplish it with all your might

And repeat that for thirty-years or so

Its not flashy, but I guarantee you it brings results.

Missions Must Have Systematic Theology

Most mornings after devotions I work on notes for a Systematic Theology One class that should be taught in early 2019.

I’m honored that the Lord has allowed me to do this because in my mind a strong grasp of Systematic Theology is one of the greatest needs on the mission field 

This doesn’t mean Vincentian Believers don’t know God’s truth (they do!) but the Great Commission calls us to teach others also.  

Systematic Theology (or theology that’s organized) equips Believers so that they can do and disciple others

  1. By seeing how truth fits into a larger subject (like the character of God)
  2. By having a deeper understanding of that truth 
  3. By knowing how to answer false doctrine or questions about those truths
  4. By being able to explain the truth itself in great detail to others 
  5. And by growing in their knowledge of that truth 

It’s true that Systematic Theology isn’t the most interesting thing in the world or easy to understand.  Thinking through arguments in support Calvinist or Arminian views of God’s providential control when it comes to evil isn’t exactly light reading.  However, it’s worth the effort if I can help Believers understand how a Holy God can allow evil.

Oh it would be easier to continue a ministry of preaching (which I love to do) that applies God’s truth to the challenges of daily life.  But eventually we must embrace a teaching ministry that allows our Church members to find the “steak and potatoes” in a Bible passage instead of just “baby food”

The Place for Ministry Planning

Ephesians 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,  16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.   17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

For a few weeks now, the phrase “Discipline brings Freedom” (I heard it towards the end of a book on leadership) has stuck in my head.  

The writer defines the phrase this way;  Someone who has an organized system for life, or develops the habit of self-discipline will have greater energy, more time, and a greater effectiveness.  

There are a few reasons why that phrase has stuck in my head…but mostly because the Lords using to reveal my lack of planning in ministry

God in His grace has given me many ministry opportunities in Barrouallie.  But has been reminding me recently (the phrase brought this truth home)  that I’ve been overlooking the habit of ministry planning.  

This isn’t something I planned on doing of course, but its easy to fall into a “tyranny of the urgent” style of ministry where the whole day is spent on things that are good but unimportant.  

With the Lords help I’ve begun developing habits that embrace the planning side of ministry

  1. Getting up (and going to bed) earlier
  2. Having note cards that I write down ideas or things I must do RIGHT AWAY
  3. A notebook that has a basic schedule for the day written out
  4. A list of tasks that should be accomplished each day
  5. Starting to do my work earlier 
  6. Reading books again (I’m struggling with that one)
  7. And cutting out as much of social media or netflix as possible

Planning isn’t something always fun or enjoyable, but it’s result is a ministry of excellence for God’s Glory 

The Curse of a Safe Mission Field

By now most of you have heard about John Allen Chau, a Christian who attempted to evangelize the Sentineleze people with the Gospel, but was martyred.

Much has been written about his actions (I personally feel not going with a team or doing proper planning was a mistake) but the coverage of his death reveals an interesting truth.

Our mission fields have become safe 

In early days of missions, there was a danger whenever a missionary traveled to the field:

  1.  There was a great possibility of dying on the long journey by sea to the field
  2. There often wasn’t a possibility of furlough…missionaries were known to bring their caskets with them on the first voyage
  3. The people wouldn’t be as open to the Gospel 
  4. And without modern medicine many died on the field because of sickness

Today however I can text my parents every morning, and live in a mission field where people love to read tracts!

Please understand I’m incredibly grateful for the advances that have made it easier to reach the lost with the Gospel.  But this also sometimes can make missions “too easy”

  • It’s easy to begin relying on our own wisdom or strength 
  • It’s easy to never really exercise faith
  • It’s easy to neglect the disciplines of daily Bible study and prayer 
  • It’s easy to stay where it’s “comfortable” ministry wise

The answer isn’t taking risks like John Chau did, but using our safe mission field for God’s glory by taking steps of faith as He leads. 

Because Missions is never meant to be safe.

Our Vanishing Religious Liberty

Last week Stephen Mcalpine had a very interesting (and sad) article that explains recent changes in the Queensland (Australia) school that “moved to ban Jesus from the playground in its State Government Schools.”

A recent article on the new law states:

Examples of evangelising cited in the review, as well as two earlier reviews into religious ­instruction providers, include sharing Christmas cards that refer to Jesus’s birth, creating Christmas tree decorations to give away and making beaded bracelets to give to friends “as a way of sharing the good news about Jesus”.

This redefining of evangelism (it’s no longer sharing the Gospel but giving out things that could possibly lead to a religious conversation) is another illustration of our culture’s attack on religious freedom.  And these attacks will continue because as Macalpines article points out “they hate Jesus.”

The rapidly closing door of religious liberty is a call for Christians to take advantage of those mission fields (through short-term trips or financial support) where the door is still open (editors note:  I’m not saying fields like Australia are closed to the Gospel, but there are fields that have fewer restrictions).

One of the greatest blessings of Saint Vincent is their openness to the Gospel:

  1. We can still openly hand out tracts and EVERYONE not only takes them but READS THEM
  2. Children especially are interested in getting as many tracts as possible to read.  One Sunday a girl inside a car noticed I was handing out tracts and started yelling “I want one!”
  3. Secondary schools open the day with PRAYER and a DEVOTIONAL FROM SCRIPTURE!
  4. Amazingly even the prison system in Saint Vincent is open to the Gospel.  It was amazing to see shirtless men with tattoos and large muscles asking for tracts.  We were even able to stick them through the bars of prison cells (I’d probably get tased for trying that in America)

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The hunger of Vincentian people for the Gospel calls for Missionaries, but more importantly, I realize it won’t always be that way.

I don’t believe that handing out Christmas cards will be outlawed in schools, but eventually the animosity the world has towards Christianity will reach here too.

people will stop reading tracts

they will argue instead of listening to the Gospel

Their hearts will become hardened to Scripture

So we must do all that we can before the door closes.

 

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