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Obedient & Wise

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30)

There are several references to being wise in the book of Proverbs (controlling your tongue {10:19}, listening to counsel {12:15}, working instead of being lazy {6:6-11} and not being deceived by alcohol {20:1} to name a few). Here in Proverbs 11, a person is called wise if he “wins souls.” The soul is more than just the body, so to what is the passage referring? Here are a few connections to understand better this passage:

  • Jesus told His disciples in Luke 5:10, “from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”
  • James 5:20 talks about converting “the sinner from the error of his ways shall save a soul from death.”
  • Five times Paul told the Corinthian Christians that he made himself a servant in many ways to “gain them” and concluded by saying that “that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-22)
  • Later Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 10:33, “I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”

When a person enters into this world, he is dead in his trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1), and is a child of the devil (John 8:44). All mankind is a creature of God, but he does not become a child of God until his faith is placed in Jesus Christ.

The Bible teaches us that a child of God is an ambassador, a witness, and salt and light to this Christ-less world. Every child of God has been given the command and authority by God to go un-blind those that have been blinded by the devil (2 Corinthians 4:4). We, as the church, have been given the keys to the Kingdom (Matthew 16:19) and as we open our mouths to share the Gospel, the Holy Spirit can do the work and someone can become a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). When a sinner repents, there is great joy in Heaven (Luke 15:7,10) and when a child of God proclaims that news, he is fulfilling the command given by God. So, we conclude that when a child of God decides to “win souls,” he is not only doing his responsibility, he is also wise! May we be obedient and wise as we fulfill God’s command!

 

Here to Serve, 

Jeffrey Bush

Why Young People are not Surrendering to Missions

 

If we look back through US history, there seems to be times of revival when people were being saved and other times when people were surrendering to serve God in groves. I have heard it said more than once that God is just not calling people like He did in the past. I respectfully disagree, I think God is still calling but the problem lies more on us not listening. In this article, I’d like to suggest some reasons why I believe young people are not surrendering and how we can prepare young people to more willingly surrender. The list is in no way perfect or complete, but they do offer some basic ideas to think upon.

  • The authority in their lives are not convinced

Please know that I have no interest in being disrespectful, but I have seen many young people who surrender to missions and are held back by well intentioned authority in their lives. Whether it’s not willing for them to live so far away, hating the thought of not seeing the grandkids grow up, helping them “think of future financial status” or simply saying “there is plenty of time later in life.”. Whether you serve as a spiritual leader, parent or friend, we must be sensitive to what God wants and not what we think is best.

Listen to what missiologist Ralph Winter says, “Here is a tragic fact: Only about 1 out of a 100 ‘missionary decisions’ results in actual career mission service. Why? Mainly because parents, friends, even pastors rarely encourage anyone to follow through on that kind of a decision. But what if that number could double to two out of a hundred? The effect would be explosive!”

  • We are not placing the right materials in their hands

I am convinced that missionary biographies are some of the most exciting and touching books in existence, yet too often they are no where in sight (in our homes, our churches or schools/colleges). Here are a few of the books that should be available to every young person desirous of serving God.

        • The Challenge of Missions by Oswald J. Smith
        • Adoniram Judson, Bound for Burma by Janet and Geoff Benge
        • Steps to Becoming a Missionary by Brady Van Winkle
        • Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor
        • Jacob Deshazer, Forgive Your Enemies by Janet Benge
        • They Turned the World Upside Down by Jeffrey Bush
        • Gladys Aylward, The Adventure of a Lifetime by Janet Benge
        • George Mueller, The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans by Janet Benge 
        • Brother Andrew, God’s Secret Agent by Janet Benge 
        • Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
  • They are not openly seeing missions

William Carey said, “To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map.” You don’t have to agree with that statement, but I think it’s fair to say that missions cannot be expected to be on anyone’s radar if they rarely see it. If our churches have maps and missions posters on the walls, missionaries visiting, prayers for missions, updates and videos of missionaries, missions trips, yearly missions conference, and missions mentioned in our church, certainly there will be people interested in missions. No, we can’t call a person to be a missionary, but we can’t say that someone is not called if we never give them a chance to see it. So, whether at home or at church, we must ask ourselves, how much are our young people seeing missions?

  • We have not been vocal about our responsibility, the need and the urgency

The church has one responsibility and that is to get the Gospel out. As Hudson Taylor said, “The Great Commission is not an option to be considered but a command that must be obeyed.” The commission to be His witnesses, ambassadors, light, salt and soldiers was given to every child of God, not just to a select few in ministry. There are people that know not our God and this is to our shame (1 Corinthians 15:34). Our Savior said that the fields are white already (beyond ripe) to harvest (John 4:35) and that our time is short (John 9:4). Thank the Lord for church, a place for fellowship, worship, learning and growing, but we must remember that the church exists to get the Gospel out, not keep it within the ranks. We must be vocal about the need and pray that God will call out our young people. As one man said, “A great church is not measured by its seating capacity but by its sending capacity.”

I love this poem written by Leonard Ravenhill, the author of the very convicting book, Why Revival Tarries.

Could a Mariner sit idle 

if he heard the drowning cry? 

Could a doctor sit in comfort 

and just let his patients die? 

Could a fireman sit idle, 

let men in burn and give no hand? 

Can you sit at ease in Zion, 

With the world around you damned? 

As we conclude this thought, we must realize that young people can surrender to God. I am convinced that if we pray and boldly talk to them to keep missions in front of them, that we will see many young people surrender to serve our Savior in the area of missions.

“God’s plan is for churches to produce, send and support missionaries during this age of grace. The work must not cease until the trumpet signals Christ second coming” — Norm Lewis

 

Here to Serve, 

Jeffrey Bush

Book List for Prospective Missionary

Many times on the road I am blessed to meet someone interested in being a future missionary. I will usually give them a book and tell them when they finish the book to let me know and I’ll send them another. The goal is to give them good books that will inspire, inform and flame the fire that God has placed inside of them. I want to give you this list. You may choose to change it up or add something to the list, but I hope this will give you a place to begin. 

      • The Challenge of Missions by Oswald J. Smith
      • Adoniram Judson, Bound for Burma by Janet and Geoff Benge
      • Steps to Becoming a Missionary by Brady Van Winkle
      • Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor
      • Jacob Deshazer, Forgive Your Enemies by Janet Benge
      • They Turned the World Upside Down by Jeffrey Bush
      • Gladys Aylward, The Adventure of a Lifetime by Janet Benge
      • George Mueller, The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans by Janet Benge 
      • Brother Andrew, God’s Secret Agent by Janet Benge 
      • Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot
      • Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
      • The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman

You can also request a thirty-one day VBM Devotional (Volume 1, 2 & 3) for free by simply emailing me, or by downloading the Vision Baptist Missions app in the App Store.

Here to Serve, 

Jeffrey Bush

Everybody — Somebody — Anybody — Nobody

Everybody — Somebody — Anybody — Nobody

This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. 

 

There was an important job (the Great Commission) to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. 

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. 

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. 

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. 

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done. So how can you get involved in the Great Commission? Can you give, pray, or go? 

The Pastor and His Relationship to the Missionary

The Pastor and His Relationship to the Missionary

Excerpt from the book “Missions For The New Millennium” by Dr. Don Wardlaw

1. Are we ready to take the challenge which lies before us?

2. Are we ready to make the changes necessary to keep our missionaries mission ministries going?

3. Are we burdened?

4. Can we face the reality?

5. Is our maturity level high enough?

6. Will the Lord join our efforts?

7. With no long-range plans, what can we expect?

8. Will we continue the same old status quo?

9. What was the faithful missionary’s approach thirty to forty years ago?

10. What is the faithful missionary’s approach today?

The Man Who Tried to Conquer the World

The Man Who Tried to Conquer the World

From chapter 22 of book Tales From India; Truth From Heaven by Dr. William Jeffcoat

Alexander the Great went forth with his great armies in hopes of conquering the world. Some claim that he did. One kingdom after another fell into his grasp. Yet it was the kingdoms of India which finally convinced first those who followed him and finally the great leader himself that such a dream of world dominion had come to its end. 

During his long journey home, the disillusioned conqueror of kingdoms fell ill in Babylon. He realized then that his might and his wealth were but passing fancies. As he prepared to depart from this world, he began to loosen his grasp on earthly vanities. 

Legend tells us that he gathered his generals around him and told them, “I will depart from this world soon… I have three wishes… please carry them out without fail.” He continued by saying, “My first desire is that my physicians alone must carry my coffin. Secondly, I desire that when my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be strewn with gold, silver and precious stones that I have collected in my treasury. My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept dangling out of my coffin.” 

Those who stood nearby assured their great leader that his wishes would be followed with utmost care but then inquired as to the reasons for such desires. He replied by explaining each request. He wished for his physicians to carry his coffin so that all might realize that no man can prevent death. His own physicians were powerless to prevent this moment. The path to the grave was to be strewn with wealth as a reminder that he would take neither gold nor silver with him beyond this life. He had spent his life pursuing riches but would soon leave his treasures to other men. His hands were to extend from the coffin that he might even in his death say to all, “I came empty handed into this world, and empty handed I go out.” 

The first time that physicians are mentioned in the Bible, they are being instructed to embalm a dead man (Genesis 50:2). No man can prevent this moment that is faced by all men. Neither can the dead take a single coin beyond this life. The Scriptures tell us plainly, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7). 

Letter From an Atheist that Changed CT Studd

Letter From an Atheist that Changed CT Studd

A tract written by an atheist dramatically changed the life of C.T. Studd, (1860-1931) and his perspective of the short time we have on this earth. It seemed to help him turn from lukewarm Christianity to being on fire for God. After reading the tract, he walked away from great financial wealth and being one of the greatest athletes in England’s history, to become a missionary in China and Africa. What did the tract say? It said: 

“Did I firmly believe, as millions say they do, that the knowledge and practice of religion in this life influences destiny in another, religion would mean to me everything. I would cast away all earthly enjoyments as dross, earthly cares as follies, and earthly thoughts and feelings as vanity. Religion would be my first waking thought, and my last image before sleep sank me into unconsciousness. I should labor in its cause alone. I would take thought for the tomorrow of eternity alone. I would esteem one soul gained for heaven worth a life of suffering. Earthly consequences should never stay my hand, nor seal my lips. Earth, its joys and its griefs, would occupy no moment of my thoughts. I would strive to look upon eternity alone, and on the immortal souls around me, soon to be everlastingly happy or everlastingly miserable. I would go forth to the world and preach it in season and out of season and my text would be, “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

Mr. Studd said, “I at once saw that this was truly consistent Christian life. When I looked back upon my own life I saw how inconsistent it had been. I therefore determined that from that time forth my life should be consistent, and I set myself to know what was God’s will for me. But this time I determined not to consult with flesh and blood, but just waiting until God should show me.”

So think about the tract and ask yourself, “What does it profit you to have all and not serve Christ?”