Saturday, November 14, 2009

Everyone To Know

Since I was a young girl, I have had a passion for missions. God showed me at an early age that there is a hurting world in desperate need of a Savior. Sometimes missions becomes routine for me and I forget how important it is. But every now and then, God fans the flame in my soul for lost people and it's simply all I can think about.

Today is one of those days. I was reading a statistic that there are 9,000 missionaries employed through the IMB and NAMB. That's great. However, when I heard that there are 15.8 million Southern Baptists in North America, 9,000 seemed to be too small of a number. I did the math: .00056% of Baptists are employed as missionaries. Granted, that's only Southern Baptists and many people are missionaries in their secular workplaces. I support those people 100% and fully believe that we need Christians to be doctors, teachers, and everything else.

But why is it that churches give less than 1% of their tithes and offerings to support missions? Should this not be the most important thing on our agenda? My heart has been broken today because I feel like Christians (myself included) have lost sight of the urgency of sharing the gospel with our brothers and sisters around the world.

I've experienced firsthand people who grow up never hearing the name of Jesus. They are so hungry to know who Jesus is and how they can have a relationship with Him. But sadly, sometimes no one ever tells them. They die before they ever have a chance to hear His name.
As Christians, it is our responsibility to go and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything God has commanded us. That's the Great Commission!

So why are we silent? Even if we can't physically go, we can give. So why do I spend my money on things that are going to rot and collect dust when there is a dying world in need of the Truth? Not all of us are called to be full-time missionaries. I personally have committed my life to missions, but I believe that God has a different calling for each one of us. However, I do believe that if you are truly a Christian, missions should be a natural response. Maybe it doesn't mean going to a third-world country to feed orphans, but it could be sharing Christ with your co-worker or showing kindness to a stranger you encounter on the street.

My heart is beating so fast right now and I know that God has given me this irresistible passion to make His name known to the ends of the earth. I don't know where I'll end up, but I know without a doubt that whatever I do, I want to tell people about Jesus. He has saved me and changed me and I want everyone to know about His love.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Being in Hawaii has changed me a little I think. I've become less stressed about things that need to be done and decisions that need to be made. I've become more laid back. I want to enjoy the simple pleasures of life like sitting in the sand and marveling at a sunset or sharing ice cream and a conversation with a new friend. I guess I've come to appreciate life more.

Sometimes I still lose my focus. I become lazy in my walk with the Lord. Some days I'll sit on the couch watching LOST for hours before I even crack open my Bible. My priorities get mixed up very easily. But God is constantly showing me that only HE can sustain me.

Last week all of us working with International Baptist Ministries took a personal prayer retreat on Wednesday morning from 9-12. We could go anywhere to focus on the Lord and spend some quality time praying, worshiping and just being still in His presence. I decided to go to one of my favorite non-touristy spots.

Spitting Caves is a beautiful lookout hidden between two houses up in a ritzy neighborhood. When you step off the path, you find yourself on a huge cliff high above the most blue water I've ever seen. The waves are wild and crash up against the rocks. Water rushes into a cave and is then "spit" out. Every time I go to the spitting caves I am in awe of God's amazing creation.
I found a peaceful spot on the rocks. For a few hours it was just me and Jesus and what a sweet, refreshing time I had with Him. I brought my guitar with me (you should have seen me hauling that thing up a cliff!) and I spent some time praising him through music. I sang out at the top of my lungs as if I was the only person on the island of Hawaii. As I sang praises to God I looked into the ocean and saw 50-100 dolphins leaping right in front of me! I was giddy with excitement and amazement. I opened my Bible and immediately read a verse in Psalm 96 that says, "Let the sea resound and all that is in it." It made me think that even the dolphins were praising the Lord!

I went out there that day seeking discernment about some decisions I need to make about the future. I thought that after a few hours of seeking God I would have a clearer understanding of what I should do. That didn't necessarily happen. But when I left the spitting caves that day, I felt like God has restored to me the joy of my salvation that I so often forget.

I still don't know what I'm going to do next year. I don't know if or where I'll go to seminary. I don't know what kind of job I'll have or who/if I'll marry. But I know Jesus and that's enough for me. I want to have more of those intimate moments with Him- with no distractions.

I want to completely delight myself in Him. He is good and is continuing to amaze me.

My good Chinese friend Nick that I've mentioned before celebrated his 31st birthday on October 25th. On that day, Nick decided to follow Jesus. His joy and zest for Christ is inspiring and encouraging. His charismatic personality will surely bring others to Christ in the future. I am so excited to see where God will lead Nick and Shadow and my other international friends. He is going to use them in ways we could never imagine!

My time here in Hawaii is quickly passing by. I've been here 3.5 months and only have a little over a month before I come home for Christmas. I will be very excited to see family and friends when I come back to the mainland, but God has given me contentment in being far away from everyone and everything that was comfortable for me. I'm a work in progress, changing each day to become more like Christ. At least that's what I hope God will do in me.

Aloha friends. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.