Summary: God has always had a believing minority and a blinded majority -- we don’t see all that He is doing, grace is a gift not a reward adn there are consequences to rejecting Christ.
Grace is Always Amazing
Rev. Brian Bill
In commenting on how well our Missions Festival went, Robin Wahls, our missionary to Ghana, told us that the challenge now is for PBC to sustain a passion for what our Global God is doing and how we can join Him. In an effort to keep the “mission’s flame” alive, I want to begin this morning by mentioning some of the most moving elements to me. In a few minutes I’ll give you an opportunity to share what God taught you.
By the way, if you missed the Missions Festival, you really missed something pretty special. While I was pleased at how many people attended, I wished that more would have taken advantage of what we offered. From what I can tell, our attendance was down about 20% last Sunday. Have you ever gone to something and wished that more people would have been there? I had a similar thought a week ago while Geoff Trembley was teaching at the Men’s Breakfast and only about 10 men were there. The topic was called, “Red-Hot Monogamy” as he focused on ways for men to improve their marriages. There’s a Women’s Gathering on Tuesday night and I sure hope a lot of women take advantage of this opportunity to grow in community.
Here are some holy highlights from the Mission Festival.
I had the privilege of meeting with our missionaries for three straight afternoons to listen to them, encourage them, read Scripture together and pray for one another. During our meeting on Monday, Dan Wilson shared something with the rest of the group that was very profound. We were talking about sacrifices that missionaries make and then he said this: “It might feel like a sacrifice at the beginning but once you lay it on the altar, it becomes an offering.” I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this. When we talk of our “sacrifices,” we’re focusing on ourselves. When we speak of an “offering,” the focus is on the One who offered Himself in our place. How can we not give Him all things, including our very lives, when He’s done everything for us?
Michael Wahls made this stunning statement during the festival: “I’d rather be the poorest of poor in Ghana and know Jesus than be the richest of rich in America and not know Him.” Robin Wahls gives all the glory to God as she tells how the leaders in a Muslim village want Mike and Robin to come back and live with them.
When Keith Shubert was explaining how one of his students is now ministering in a country that is closed to missionaries, I told Keith that his ministry is being multiplied in a place that he will never be able to live. I then said this: “He’s part of your ministry.” Keith immediately corrected me and said, “No, he’s part of our ministry. PBC’s ministry is being multiplied in that country because PBC is our ministry partner.” Related to this, Jeannette has multiplied our ministry in Russia through training centers. When she started this emphasis several years ago there were just a handful of women involved – now there are over 10,000!
In one of the afternoon sessions Lorraine Wilson made this comment: “God is moving in your church – I can tell because people are asking the right questions. There’s more than just a normal interest. I think because you asked us to tell stories everything has been turned back to the Lord…stories show us that God is glorified.”
Now it’s your turn to share a brief story. What impacted you the most during our Missions Festival? What do you sense God asking you to do differently as a result of what you learned? What story can you tell us about what God is doing in your life as it relates to giving or going?
Keith Shubert, when talking about how they are involved in training leaders from many countries in Asia, made this statement at one of the small group gatherings: “Strong pastor, strong church. Weak pastor, weak church.” I want to pause at this point and tell you what God is doing in the heart of one of your pastors.
Shortly after I became a Christian I attended an Urbana Missions Conference and checked a box on a response card that said something like this: I am willing to do anything and go anywhere that God sends me. When I went to Bible College I was exposed to many different types of mission opportunities and decided to spend a summer in Zimbabwe. Interestingly, Pastor Dick led that trip back in 1983. In seminary I focused my studies on evangelism and missions, thinking that Beth and I would become missionaries. Instead I became a pastor and had the opportunity to visit missionaries in Europe and Venezuela. Then, many years later after pastoring in Rockford, Beth and I became missionaries in Mexico where we lived for three years before moving to Pontiac.