Summary: Because God is advancing his kingdom, we must use the resources he has provided.
Today is a very special day in the life of the Tampa Bay Presbyterian Church. Jesus once said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37–38). Today the Lord of the harvest is sending out one of our very own communicant members into his harvest.
Lauren Fritz became a communicant member of the Tampa Bay Presbyterian Church on October 10, 2002 during her freshman year in high school. She completed high school, college, and then taught for several years. She connected with Peter Dishman in 2011, and they were married in December 2013.
God has called the Dishmans to serve him in South America through a strategic partnership between Mission to the World (MTW) and Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), the missions and campus ministry arms of the Presbyterian Church in America.
Peter holds a MDiv from Covenant Seminary, is an ordained minister in the PCA, and brings his past experience of starting the first RUF-Global chapter in Mexico City to this new call. Lauren holds a MA in Theological Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, has taught high school Bible and humanities for several years, and loves the university campus.
Together, Peter and Lauren hope to plant a new chapter of RUF-Global in Bogota, Colombia, known as the Athens of South America for its more than one hundred institutions of higher learning. Their desire is to engage the campuses of the capital with the good news that Jesus brings through his life, death, resurrection, and rule, and to connect them with his church for the sake of the city.
My interest in this “Sending Service” stems from one I attended shortly after graduating from the University of Cape Town. I attended a Sending Service for a couple who were going to serve the Lord as missionaries in Lebanon. That had a profound impact on me, and no doubt contributed to my own sense of call to vocational ministry. It is my prayer that there are some people sitting in this Sending Service today who will sense God’s call to vocational ministry.
So, with that in mind, please turn to Joshua 1:1-9. The context is that Moses, the great leader of the Israelites, has died. The mantle of leadership is now being passed on to Joshua. This passage is the Lord’s charge to Joshua as he assumes his place of leadership in advancing God’s kingdom. Let us read Joshua 1:1-9:
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:1-9)
The church I attended in Cape Town before I came to the United States was a large, growing, vibrant church with over 1,000 members at the time I left. The pastor of our church was a faithful, powerful, gifted, and evangelistic expositor of God’s Word.
Many people felt that the key to our church’s phenomenal growth and influence in the city was due to our pastor, the Rev. Frank Retief. Some even believed that if anything serious should happen to Rev. Retief, then the church would suffer permanent loss.