Saturday, January 26, 2008

2008 Redeemer World Missions Conference Focus: Mexico

We are in the midst of our annual missions conference and so far it has been a tremendous blessing. Our focus is on the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly the planting of churches along that great expanse. Eight years ago, when I was the youth pastor, I helped lead our first team to Juarez to be part of the church planting effort in that city. At the same time we began supporting the work of Dan and Becky Young and have sent a summer team or teams ever since. It has been a total blessing. For our conference this year we have Dan Young, Gene Bowman (team leader), and Cartee Bales (Kirk of the Hills, St. Louis, Missions Pastor) speaking and exciting us about increasing our overall commitment to the border ministry. I have been part of four teams down to Juarez and can't wait to go back again some time, maybe even this summer taking my oldest son. Hearing these brothers and their wives really pumps up the congregation to be a greater part of what God is doing on the border and in the world.

Proclaiming the name of Christ by word and deed in every land should be the natural heartbeat of any Christ-centered church. We should long to see His name glorified among the nations and no matter what stage a particular church is in, it ought to find ways to be part of what God is doing the world over. I am looking forward to our church maturing to greater and greater missions participation and an ever improving world vision. Our church has partnered with multiple missionaries and has been able to send individuals and teams to a few different places, but our commitment to Mexico has been long term (for our young church) and I see it continuing for a long time. No matter what your take on immigration, reaching the border for Christ is a strategic move for the Church to be focused on, especially in our times. The words of Oscar J. Martinez in his book Border People, says "Nowhere else do so many millions of people from two so dissimilar nations live in such close proximity and interact with each other so intensely." The border is a truly unique place in all the world. What an opportunity!

Mission to the World (MTW) is the PCA's sending agency. Under the umbrella of MTW is Border Evangelism and Mercy Ministry (BEAMM), our denominations unique border ministry. I love BEAMM's vision for church planting for the next 20 years. Check out their site when you have a chance.

Tonight Gene Bowman will speak on the issue of immigration and how it presents an opportunity for missions on the border.


Rick Calohan said...

Working at Department of Homeland Security United States Citizenship Immigration Service (DHS-USCIS) I come in contact with CBP and ICE agents who daily are trying to stem the tide of illegal aliens and smugglers of drugs and people along with gang activity by MS-13. One of the tragic realities of nation states that were conquered and colonized by the Spain, Portugal, and France, in the New World is the failed missions of the Roman Catholic Church. My wife who born and raised in the Philippines, and I have seen first hand how improvised not only materially, economically, but spiritually. It was only nations that were colonized by the England and Holland that have prospered. Why is that?

For one the people from England and Holland were Reformed not only in their faith, but also in their way of life. Those people became self sufficient, educated by reading the Bible daily, and receiving and preaching the Gospel. Whereas those colonized by the Roman Catholic nations were enslaved in their works, and self-righteousness, and were only taught by mission priest that unless they fulfill the seven sacraments, they were not going to Heaven. Therefore they remained illiterate, uneducated, and slaves to the sacramental system, plantation owners, and corrupt governments.

We know why people from all nations come to America, to improve their lives, to enjoy the freedoms and opportunities that they could not find in their own homeland. They come to support their families who have no resources to provide for themselves because their governments and churches have enslaved them into poverty.

In the book, “What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?” by: Dr. D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, and astonishing fact surfaces.

• In pagan nations such as China and India the literacy rate at the start of the 20th Century was 0 to 20%

• In Roman Catholic nations 40 to 60%

• However, in countries where Luther and Calvin had influence and became predominately Protestant the literacy rate was between 94 to 99.9%.

Why is that? The emphasis was the reading and teaching of the Word of God.

So when we ask why send missionaries to places along the boarder after all Mexico and the Philippines after all they are predominately, a Catholic Christian nation? The message is clear, to not only improve their human condition but their spiritual condition as well so that they too will be able to transform their own nation and break the bonds of slavery.

The great commission states, in both Matthew 28 and also repeated in Mark 16 here is the Matthew account since the Mark account does not appear in some of the earlier manuscripts.
Matthew 28: 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
While Rev. Dan Young preached on 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, I was reminded of the great missionary Eric Liddell who forsake personal glory for the Glory of God with his mission work in China. The two verses of scripture that I believe is in the heart of every missionary are part of 1 Samuel 2:30, "Those who honor me I will honor." and Philippians 1: 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
May God continue to Bless and Keep our missions and missionaries around the world!

Frontier Forest said...

What a wonderful time of celebration, worship and praise to our Glorious Lord and Savior! So many Redeemer “missioners-to-be” were deeply moved by what we heard and witnessed in these 3 days of powerful testimonies and life experiences! This was a weekend that none of us will ever forget.
Brother Gene Bowman asked us to petition and agree with him, for the Lord to make manifest His promise of Psalms 46:10, and James 1:3-7. I will never forget Missioner Gene Bowman as he gave his own version of “the WALL” in a power-point presentation. Instead of the so called “2000 mile Manmade Wall” that seperate the US and Mexico, his visual proposed a 2000 mile “walls of churches!” that unites. This helped all of us better see the vitally important need of spreading the gospel along the borders. The idea is simple: Breaking down the walls of separation that man built, then through Christ, allowing His Word to go forth, restoring the old walls of mortar and cement, with His Good News that binds us all together, making us one in Christ, for His righteousness sake.