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21 Questions to Determine Your Commitment to God

by Jeffrey Bush — 9-30-2020

  1. Can you say Father not my will but Thine be done? (Your plans, future, dreams, desires and all)
  2. Can you say you count all as loss to know Him? 
  3. Can you say you submit yourself to His plan for your life?
  4. Can you say you know and believe there is a real and literal hell? 
  5. Can you say you know and believe people are lost?
  6. Can you say you truly know God wants to use you?
  7. Can you say your life belongs wholly to God?
  8. Can you say you know and believe Christ is returning soon?
  9. Can you say you know your life has a purpose and mission set by God?
  10. Can you say you know now is the best time for God to use you?
  11. Can you say your life is worthy of others imitating? 
  12. Can you say you are putting God first or are their other things holding that spot?
  13. Can you say you are sold out and fully committed to whatever God wants? 
  14. Can you say you know it’s your reasonable service to serve God?
  15. Can you say you are growing in your life instead of just maintaining? 
  16. Can you say you love God or are you more cold or lukewarm? 
  17. Can you say your life is a light in this dark world? 
  18. Can you say you realize you are made to be an ambassador Christ? 
  19. Can you say you’re living and acting like a servant for God? 
  20. Can you say you will be the faithful salt, light, and witness for God right now? 
  21. Can you say you are consumed with God?

Questions for Missionary Panel

As used at Vision Baptist Church in Alpharetta, GA

The following list is packed full of great questions to choose and use during your missions conference or when missionaries are visiting. It is exciting to have a missionary visit your church, but a pre-thought list of questions will maximize everyone’s time. Make your preparations from the list below:

  1. Why do you feel that what you do is so important?
  2. Tell a story of how Jesus worked in a man’s life in your ministry
  3. How do you reach men in your country?
  4. What is life like for the average man in your church?
  5. What are your biggest challenges in your personal, relational, spiritual, and ministerial life?
  6. How has being in full time ministry affected your family relationships and marriage?
  7. How has God been speaking to you lately?
  8. Share something you have learned from the Lord in the past few months
  9. What is something you are asking God for?
  10. Do you feel like your children are blessed or suffering as you serve as a missionary? Please explain
  11. Are there safety issues where you live?
  12. What do you most enjoy in your life as a missionary?
  13. What is the most difficult part of your life and ministry?
  14. If you could talk honestly and openly to your supporters what would you say?
  15. What is going on in your heart and mind as you prepare to go back to your ministry? What excites you and what are you dreading?
  16. What are the biggest adjustments and challenges you have to make living in on your field?
  17. How do people in your country feel about the USA? 
  18. What are some cultural differences or barriers you have had to overcome?
  19. What is the best part about being a missionary?
  20. What does a typical week look like?
  21. What are your goals for the future?
  22. Tell us a funny story about something that has happened to you as a missionary 
  23. What are your hobbies or relaxing activities?
  24. Where is your favorite place to go in your country?
  25. How is church planting and leader training progressing in your country?

It’s Your Turn

Joshua 1:1-2 — It’s your Turn

“the Lord spake unto Joshua… saying” (vs. 1) “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise” (vs. 2).

Moses, God’s servant was the leader of Israel. Israel now is a mega power after leaving Egypt and 40 years in the desert. Whether hundreds of thousands of people or over 1 or 2 million people, it is still a lot of people for one man to be leader over (especially with no cell phones, emails, FB status’, Twitter and any form of social media to let everyone know what is going on), but God used Moses to lead this massive group. Now Moses dies before they cross into the promise land and God tells Joshua it is time to step up. How in the world can Joshua fill Moses’ shoes? How can Joshua know what to do and where to even start? But this book, Joshua (named after the new leader), relates how Joshua was ready and prepared. Here are a few of the reasons why I believe Joshua was ready when it was his turn to lead:

  1. He had been Moses’ servant for a long time (Num 28:11 — “And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men”)
  2. He had his own personal relationship with God (Ex. 33:11 — “his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle”)
  3. He had been serving in positions of leadership (one of 12 spies, meaning he was representative of his tribe as well as captain of army. Ex. 17:9 — “And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek”)

Sadly, many people are not ready for the next step in life or ministry that God may have for them because they have not prepared as Joshua. Who are you serving right now? Do you have a personal relationship and walk with the Lord or are you depending on someone else’s relationship with God to keep you going? What ministry and area of leadership are you working in right now? If we are not preparing right now, what makes us think that we will be ready tomorrow when God says, “it’s your turn, time to step up to the plate”. No sports player enters into a game without practice before. No musician plays in a concert without lots of practice time. No doctor goes into surgery without many hours backing up his profession. So why do we think that we can just “shoot from the hip” in God’s service, the most important work in the world. May we be faithful in preparing right now… and we will do fine performing when it is time.

Missions in the OT & NT

Missions was on the heart of our God from the very beginning. Missions, getting the Gospel to the world, is the heartbeat of our God and reason of existence for the New Testament Church. As it was well said by missionary Hudson Taylor, the Great Commission is not an option to be considered, it is a command that must be obeyed. Below is a brief list of verses in both the OT & NT in which we find missions. 

 

  • Missions in the Old Testament
  1. Genesis 2:17 – since fall God wanted His restoration for mankind made to Him — Gen. 2:17; Rev. 20:14; Rom. 5:12
  2. Exodus 9:14-16 – purpose of the plagues (Romans 9:17)
  3. Numbers 14:21 – “But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.”
  4. Joshua 2:10-11 — everyone heard about crossing of Red Sea, what God did
  5. Joshua 4:23-24 — “That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord”
  6. 1 Samuel 17:46 – “the whole world shall know there is a God in Israel” 
  7. 1 Kings 8:41-43, 59-60 (also in 2 Chronicles 6:32-33) — “so that all peoples of the earth may know your name” (Solomon’s prayer dedication of Temple) 
  8. I Chronicles 16:24 – “Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.”
  9. Psalm 2:7-10 – “Thou art my Son… I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” 
  10. Psalm 8:9 – “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” 
  11. Psalm 18:49 – “I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen” 
  12. Psalm 24 – “The earth is the Lord’s” 
  13. Psalm 47:8 – “God reigneth over the heathen” 
  14. Psalm 48:10 – “so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth” 
  15. Psalm 57 – “I will sing of you among the peoples” 
  16. Psalm 66:1 – “Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands” 
  17. Psalm 66:4 – “All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.”
  18. Psalm 67:3, 6 – “Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee” Vs. 7 – “all the ends of the earth shall fear him”
  19. Psalm 72:11 – “all nations shall serve him”
  20. Psalm 72:17 – “all nations shall call him blessed”
  21. Psalm 82:8 – “O God… thou shalt inherit all nations” 
  22. Psalm 86:9 – “All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.”
  23. Psalm 96:1 – ” sing unto the Lord, all the earth”  
  24. Psalm 96:9 – “fear before him, all the earth”
  25. Psalm 96:13 – “for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth”
  26. Psalm 105:1 – “make known his deeds among the people.” 
  27. Psalm 105:7 – “He is the Lord our God: his judgments are in all the earth.”
  28. Psalm 108:3 – “I will sing praises unto thee among the nations.” 
  29. Psalm 117:1 – “O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.” 
  30. Isaiah 43:10 — Jehovah said to Israel, “You are my witnesses .. .” Christ instructed His followers, “You will be my witnesses .. .” (Acts 1:8).
  31. Isaiah 45:22 – “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth” 
  32. Isaiah 49:6 — “salvation unto the end of the earth”
  33. Jeremiah 16:19 – “O Lord… the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth” 
  34. Ezekiel 36:23 – “and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord” 
  35. Daniel – king Nebuchadnezzar, king Belshazzar, and king Darius all made proclamations that all the nations worship the true God.
  36. Whole book of Jonah – God sent him so the heathen could know God (Jonah at best was a very reluctant servant)
  37. Zephaniah 2:11 – “The Lord… will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him” 
  38. Malachi 1:11 – ” For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles… for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.” 

 

  • Missions in the New Testament
  1. Matthew 13 (Ezekiel 17:23) – parables of sower, weeds, mustard seed, fishing net 
  2. Matthew 24:14 – the Gospel will be preached in the whole world 
  3. Matthew 28:19-20 – The Great Commission
  4. Mark 11:17 (Isaiah 56:7) – a house of prayer for all nations 
  5. Mark 13:10 – “the gospel must first be published among all nations” 
  6. Mark 16:15 – “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
  7. Luke 10:2 – “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few” 
  8. Luke 15 — 3 parables, all about lost. Great rejoicing when lost are saved. 
  9. Luke 19:10 — He came to seek and save lost
  10. Luke 24:47 – “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
  11. John 3:16 – For God so loved the world
  12. John 20:21 – “as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”
  13. Acts 1:8; 2:5-12 (Isaiah 49:6) – witnesses in all the earth 
  14. Acts 13:47 — “salvation unto the ends of the earth”
  15. Romans 10:12-15 – “How can they hear?” 
  16. Philippians 2:10 – Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess
  17. 2 Peter 3:9 – “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 
  18. Revelation 7:9 – Every tribe, tongue, people and nation 
  19. Revelation 22:17 – “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” 

 

Rich Towards God

Rich Towards God

by Jeffrey Bush

“So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:21

Due to all his possessions, the rich man in this passage tore down his barns and built even bigger ones. His greed so consumed his life that God calls him a fool. His life was ended and his possessions were handed over to another. God had just warned that a man’s life doesn’t consist in the abundances of one’s possessions (vs.15). 

God is quite vocal when it comes to the topic of money. It may surprise you that God speaks more about money than He does about heaven and hell. There are fatal dangers concerning money — money keeps many lost from being saved and many Christians from serving God fully. God has much to say and teach when it comes to money, but in this passage, specifically, we see some very particular lessons and warnings concerning money. 

 

  1. Seeking Riches will Destroy — vs. 13-15

In context of the covetousness of this foolish man, Jesus had just told others to “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (vs.15). Desiring to possess more than one currently has will almost always destroy that person. The false hope that money and possessions will bring satisfaction or happiness is just that, a false hope. Life consists much more than tangible possessions one can physically touch. 

It is the love of money, according to 1 Timothy 6:10, that causes many good people to err from the faith and be pierced with many sorrows. We tend to think that having a lot of money will hurt a person, but God says the desire for more money and focusing on it will fill one with sorrows and destroy a life. Seeking God first is the best and most fulfilling route (Matthew 6:33), whereas seeking more riches will distract and destroy a person. 

 

  1. Seek to be Rich Towards God — vs. 21

God told this foolish, rich man that his grave error was that he had riches for himself but not riches toward God. His focus should not have been on temporal riches, but eternal riches (remembering that riches here will be corrupted by moth and rust, but riches in Heaven have no corruption – Matthew 6:19-20). The Apostle Paul later warns that the rich of this world should seek to be rich in good works more than depending on “uncertain riches” (1 Timothy 6:17-18). Using our money to be generous and for God’s work will get our focus off ourselves. Nothing sets the heart’s attitude right about riches like giving it away. Money has a way of gripping the soul, but honoring God with our money (tithes, missions and generosity) will not allow the money to take a strong grip on us. We are told in Matthew 6:21 that our heart follows our money, so which way is our heart following – towards God or away from God? 

 

  1. Focus on the True Riches — vs. 22

After God rebuked and warned about covetousness and riches, He turns to His disciples and tells them to focus on Himself instead of on the money. Riches of the world will distract and destroy you, but focusing on God will keep the heart right and the needs met. The Creator God who made and owns all is more than capable of taking care of our needs, He just wants to make sure our focus is on Him. Instead of letting the money control us by running after it, we control it by using it for God’s work.

In Matthew 6, we are taught that a child of God is not to take thought of the material “things” (that’s what the lost people do according to vs.32) but to look to God who can supply all these things. 

God teaches in 1 Timothy 6:7 that we can’t take the money or possessions with us, so we better focus on Him and not the riches. You may remember the story of the woman who broke the alabaster box – she made a lot of people upset for “wasting” the good spikenard (she could’ve sold it for quite a bit of money), but Jesus said her story will be repeated and remembered (Mark 14:3-9). This woman didn’t waste anything, she invested in true riches, she poured it out to Jesus. All we have and use will be forgotten, but what we use for God and His Kingdom will be remembered. Giving to God and God’s work is not just a wise investment, but it will be remembered and keeps our focus on true riches. 

You Give Them

You Give Them

Jeffrey Bush

“He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?” Mark 6:37

“And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.” Mark 6:41

 

We know this passage as the feeding of the 5,000. There were likely over 20,000 in total since the Bible says there were 5,000 men, but either way, what a miracle! Jesus took the loaves and fishes, multiplied them and performed an unforgettable miracle that day. Yet amongst this great miracle, for some reason Jesus tells His disciples to give the multitude the food. Christ could’ve provided food for everyone, He didn’t need anyone’s help. Do you really think that God needed a couple of fishes and pieces of bread to feed the people when it was He who made all the animals and food? Do you really think that God needed the disciples to figure out the situation or to pass out the food when He was the one who put the universe into existence? God could’ve done it by Himself, without any human assistance, but He chose to use man’s assistance. God did not lack the power, intelligence or strength. God can do it without any help, but God does not choose to work that way. Here are a few lessons we can learn from why God told the disciples to give out the food: 

 

  1. They needed to see for themselves that God was the One at work. 

It is God who does the work, but sometimes we need a little reminder. I’m sure when the disciples were told to give food to the multitude the first time, they panicked, thinking it was impossible to feed so many. Once the Lord performed the miracle of multiplication with the food, I believe the disciples had big smiles as they passed out the food thinking, “Look what my Savior just did.” There was no doubt who did the miracle. It was fully accomplished by Jesus without anyone’s help. And to this day our Lord allows us to have part of His great work so that we may know all that is accomplished is because He is a great God. 

 

  1. God chooses to use man to do His work.

Christ multiplied the food without man’s help and He could’ve passed it out without man’s help. He could’ve use the birds of the sky to carry the food to each individual, yet he chose to use man to do His work. First we must realize that it is His work, just like it is His church (Matthew 16:18). But we should also realize that He’ll allow us to be a part of His great work just as He did with the disciples that day. It is God who saves a soul, but He uses us to give out the Good News. It is God that sends a missionary to the field, but He uses us to raise them as children and support them with the money He has provided us. It is God who gives us influence, but He lets us use that influence to take people to church, disciple Christians to maturity and love them into serving God. You see, it’s all God, but He uses what He has given us for His great glory. We would be utterly foolish to receive from God and not use it for His Kingdom and His purpose. 

 

So the conclusion is two folded: Do you want to be used of God? Are you using what God has given you for His purpose? The first step is the desire, then you take action. Take inventory of what God has given you (influence, abilities, finances or opportunities) and the conclusion is that everything is for His glory. So the next time God shows you the need and gives you the opportunity, remember that you (like the disciples) can be the one who can give to those in need (like the hungry multitude) and God receives the glory.  

Don’t Withhold

Don’t Withhold

by Jeffrey Bush

 

There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it. (Proverbs 11:24)

 

These verses are packed with both practical and gospel advice. We can withhold what we have, attempting to save up more, or we can give it away and watch God replenish. As the bottomless oil pot when the widow continued pouring into other pots, so is the person that continues giving… God just keeps the vessel full. You can’t out-give God! 

As a young child, I remember a missionary visiting our small church. As soon as church finished, my dad loaded us in the family van and we headed towards the house. We walked in the house and my dad began to open our cabinets and place groceries in a box and brown paper bags. My mom had recently been grocery shopping, so the majority of our groceries were brand new. Dad pulled out my favorite sour-cream-and-onion chips, snacks and bread. He then loaded us back into the family van and we drove to a spot where we met the missionary. I was very young and do not remember what was said or many details, but looking over the van seat I saw my dad open the trunk,  pick up the groceries and hand them over to the missionary. There were a few nods, handshakes, smiles and then my family was off again to the house. Years have passed by and I don’t know who that missionary was or what my dad said, but that moment greatly impacted me. We didn’t have much money, but I can tell you that we never ran out of food. God gave back what my dad generously gave away. You can never out-give God! 

According to this verse, the liberal soul (generous giver) will be blessed and prospered. He won’t go hungry or run out. He has watered and now will be watered. He has been a blessing and now will receive a blessing. But the person that withholds the goods (specifically corn in this verse) will be cursed, while the one who makes it available will be blessed. The conclusion seems to be that when you stop thinking of yourself and start thinking of others, blessings begin to pour out on you. So, learn to generously scatter instead of stingily withholding. 

 

A Fall-back Plan

A Fall-back Plan

by Jeffrey Bush

 

It seems to be a normal and popular idea in our day to have a “fall-back plan” before going into ministry. Some of the top fall-back plans are learning medicine, carpentry or other skills. The idea seems pretty legit – learn something so you can use it in case full-time ministry does not work out. It might not be said in those exact words, but this is the real meat of the matter. Parents, family members and friends are asking young people to set aside a few years to learn a specific trade before going into ministry. They want them to be prepared to use their fall-back plan if ever needed. The idea is even spiritualized by saying that the apostle Paul was a tent maker. The problem is that we only find Paul’s tent-making trade mentioned two or three times in the Bible, and later Paul even asked forgiveness because he made them an inferior church by not accepting their funds. If we run to Scripture, we find that the Lord was not a “fall-back plan” promoter. So let’s do a small search on God’s thoughts concerning a fall-back plan:

  1. Let the dead bury their dead (Luke 9:60)

In this passage, there was a man who wanted to follow Jesus, but he asked if he could first go bury his father and then follow Jesus. Jesus responded by saying, “Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” Let’s be honest – this seems pretty harsh! The guy just wanted to take care of his dad (most believe his dad wasn’t dead yet), yet Christ was telling him that his duty to follow Him was more important than his relationships. There are no good excuses for not following Jesus, not even family. 

The verse immediately after tells of another guy who wanted to follow Jesus but wanted to run home first to say good-bye (vs.61). Our Lord told him that he was unfit for the kingdom if he was going to look back (vs.62). The attitude of Jesus was that nothing else in this world should parallel to serving God; just drop every plan and go serve Him. 

  1. Hate your father, mother, and your own life (Luke 14:26)

In this passage we see that there were great multitudes following Jesus.  He didn’t beat around the bush when He tells them they cannot be His disciples if they are going to love anything or anyone more than they love Him (vs.26). But isn’t family important? Shouldn’t you love your family and help them or honor their wishes? According to Jesus, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks or says, absolutely no one should be loved more or heeded to more than Him. It might seem right to honor the parent’s wishes, the wise counsel from loved ones or continuing the family business, but if it stands between you serving God, it should not even be considered. 

  1. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and then all these things will be added onto you (Matthew 6:33)

Isn’t it only right to plan? After all, I need to know about my future, where the money is going to come from and how I’m going to live. But according to Jesus, what you wear, eat or drink is not to be your concern (vs.31), in fact, that’s what the lost people are concerned about and consumed with (vs.32). As a Christian, you are to only seek God and His Kingdom, and He’ll take care of the secondary issues (vs.33). “Now don’t get all spiritual on me,” many parents would say, but God may want your son or daughter to sell all out and serve Him. God wants and deserves all of our trust. Our faith is in an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-seeing God. He can take care of you. He has enough money and knows our future. Our part is to trust Him completely, placing all of our faith in the One who never fails. 

  1. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) 

If we are not careful, we plan out our lives and leave no margin for God to work. James warned of making all your plans and not realizing God is the holder of life and plans (5:13-15).  Do you really think that God would let you starve for trusting Him or stepping out on faith? Do you fear God would allow you to fail miserably if you follow Him? What really is behind the “fall-back plan”? Is it money, failure, protection, status, embarrassment or fear? God didn’t give Abraham directions or details when He told him to go to a land He would show him (Genesis 12:1), yet Abraham obeyed. Abraham could’ve been “smarter” when God told him to offer his only son, but he obeyed. David should’ve thought it through when he jumped in front of Goliath. Daniel should’ve prayed in private so he wouldn’t have been thrown in the lion’s den. The three Hebrew children should’ve faked a bow so the king wouldn’t have gotten mad and thrown them in the fiery furnace. Paul should’ve just avoided going to the cities that didn’t want to hear the Gospel. Logical? Absolutely none of these were all that smart, but they all had one thing in common: they believed that God was real and would take care of them.  Will you quit figuring out all the steps and details before you will serve Christ?  Do you really need a “fall-back plan”?  No, all we need is a faith that believes that the God who calls is big enough to sustain.