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Impact

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The theme of our Global Impact Celebration missions conference this week has been, Who Will You Impact?

Joseph Otsin, our mission partner in Ghana, West Africa, challenged us Wednesday evening to follow Jesus’ methods of impacting others. Joseph’s message was anointed, as was the ministry of prayer following the service as Joseph prayed for healing with multiple people.

Bill Spencer, our mission partner with Narrowgate Foundation in Tennessee, challenged us Thursday evening to make openings of loving relationships that allow the Zacchaeus’s of the world to come to Jesus. Bill asked us to consider whether we are sometimes the obstacles that keep lost people away from Jesus.

This morning, Peter Pereira, our mission partner in India, will speak to us about the Impact of Multiplication. In a breakout session on Friday, Peter told us there are 500 million people in south Asia who have never heard the name of Jesus, and adding people one-by-one will not reach them quickly enough. Through the training of leaders with International Leadership Institute’s eight core Christian values and the planting of house churches, the church in south Asia is using multiplication to reach far more people in a much shorter time.

Who will you impact?

Our impact on others’ lives does not begin with the ministry of our mission partners at Trinity Life Ministries, Central Indiana Teen Challenge, Narrowgate Foundation, Church Planting and medical missions in Ghana, Hope for Today in India, Impact Ministries in Guatemala and the International Leadership Institute. The impact Jesus seeks to make through our lives begins with our families and neighbors and coworkers.

Every follower of Jesus Christ lives under Jesus’ command to go and make disciples. Every follower of Jesus Christ is commissioned by Him to be His witnesses in the power of His Spirit in Jerusalem (right where we live), Judea (beyond our local community), Samaria (nearby but across cultures) and to the ends of the Earth! Truth is, our mission partners are not the only missionaries who attended our Global Impact Celebration this week. We are all missionaries, called by Jesus to live lives that impact others.

Who will you impact?

Will I bring the love and presence of Jesus into my interactions this week with people like the hassled check-out clerk in the store, the server doing the best they can in an understaffed restaurant, the attendant who checks me in for the oil change tomorrow morning and the hundred other random people God puts in my life? Will I show Christ’s love to my family? Will I lift up Jesus in my interactions at work or school? Will I hide the light of Jesus in my life under a basket or set it on a stand to light up the room?

Who will you impact?

As missionaries to a broken world, let’s resolve to see people with the eyes and compassion of Jesus and impact their lives in the power of His Spirit with holy love. Then our lives will have impact on others for God’s kingdom.

Posted by Mike Dominick with 0 Comments

Two Extremes

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Many people are Deists, even though they don’t know what the word means. Deism is the belief that there is a God who created the universe, set it in motion by natural laws, and watches from heaven, detached from the events of the world. With Deism, it’s up to us to make life happen and be good, moral people. The Deist God may occasionally answer desperate prayers when things are really bad, but does not generally interfere in our lives.

Some people are Calvinists, even though they have never read John Calvin. Calvinism believes in a sovereign God who is all-powerful and who is the One who makes everything happen that happens. With extreme Calvinism, we are victims of whatever it is God chooses to do in life. The world is the way it is because God has caused it to be so.

These are over simplifications of the positions, but we can tend to lean toward one extreme or the other. Both leave us with major questions.

Hurricane Harvey devastates the greater Houston area, wildfires are burning huge chunks of the states of Montana, Idaho and Oregon, and now hurricane Irma is raging through Florida. Some believe God causes these disasters. He has sent them in judgment against a nation that needs to wake up and return to Him. Others believe we have caused climate change and brought these disasters upon ourselves. If there is a God, He is standing by, watching us kill our planet.

What kind of God sends Jesus to die for the sins of the world and demonstrates His compassion and love through His Son, and then sends hurricanes raging through poor islands and great cities, wreaking havoc for Christians and pagans alike? Does God really inflict cancer upon the children at Riley Hospital who are fighting for their lives? For what purpose?

On the other hand, why create the world and then just sit by and watch it implode? When human beings are at their limits and the Deist God could help, why doesn’t He?

And where does the evil one fit in all of this? Could hurricanes Harvey and Irma (and Andrew and Katrina and Jose and the rest) have been stirred up in the world by the enemy of God to destroy human life and discourage us from believing in God?

I believe God has revealed Himself to us in history and in Scripture in ways that help us understand evil and disasters in the world, even if understanding them is only part of dealing with them.

Sin entered the world through Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience, and it has affected everything. Sin has infected us with selfishness and rebellion against the God who created us to love and trust Him. Left unchecked, sin produces all sorts of evil in the world because God has given us free will and we use it to lie and kill and cheat and take. Much of the evil in the world is explained by our own sinful, selfish actions.

Sin also affected the natural world. The planet was created as a perfect environment for us. A curse came upon nature when Adam and Eve sinned, and that curse has resulted in many of the natural disasters we see. Creation itself awaits redemption when Jesus returns and makes a new heaven and new earth that is free from earthquakes and hurricanes.

In this fallen planet, populated by fallen humanity, God is present and active. God does not sit in heaven, detached from us. God fully entered into our history two thousand years ago in Jesus Christ—God in flesh and blood. God made a way for our redemption by the death of His Son for the sins of the world. God acts over and over to make His reality and His grace known to us. God is working within our free will, and around it, and in spite of it, to redeem us and to correct the effects of the Fall.

I do not believe God sends the storm to rage and destroy. I believe God works in the storm to protect and heal. I do not see the hand of God in hurricane Harvey or Irma. I see the hand of God in first responders and neighbors helping one another survive the storm. I see God’s hand is people who will travel to Texas and Florida in the next weeks and months to help with the cleanup and repairs.

Why is there such evil in the world? We have free will and we use it to cause evil. To eradicate it, God would have to take away our freedom and force us to behave. There is an evil one who stirs up evil in opposition to our good and loving God. He seeks to steal, kill and destroy. The human race and the forces of nature are infected with sin and the only cure is the full redemption of God which will only come when Jesus returns.

In the meantime, we pray that hurricane Irma’s effects are minimized and that God gives us strength and perseverance and grace to rebuild. We respond in faith by doing what we can to help by donating to relief agencies and even going ourselves to help in the recovery. We act on our faith in a God who neither watches the storm nor causes the storm, but who works in the storm to help and heal. And we look forward to a glorious day when there will be no more storms for eternity!

Posted by Mike Dominick with 0 Comments

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