Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost
August 23, 2005
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in allJudea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
Of course you recognize these are words from the very lips of our Lord Jesus. This is not the great suggestion, it is the Great Commission. This command is given to every believer, not just a few missionaries. You will also note that it does not say, “ … witnesses to Jerusalem, then Judea, then Samaria, then to the ends of the earth.” We are to be witnesses in ALL the areas all at the same time. Your Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) exists to assist its people and churches to fulfill this mandate. The MBC has no other reason to exist.
Now this begs the question, “How are YOU fulfilling this command?”
One of the geniuses of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program (CP) is that it is specifically designed to assist our churches in fulfilling this command to all areas, all at once and to all peoples. In addition to the week-by-week support of the Cooperative Program, once a year our state’s churches turn their spotlights onto each of these specific missions areas. In September the spotlight is on Judea; which is our state of Missouri. We do so by spotlighting very particular mission opportunities within our border.
Is Missouri in need spiritually? With a population of 5.5 million souls, the answer is: “Absolutely!” We could fill The Pathway a hundred times over with stories. Let me share with you just one example of how needy Missouri is.
Harmony Baptist Church in St Louis was once a thriving church. In recent years, some leadership failures crushed the church down to an attendance of 12 people on Sunday morning. Pastor Nick Catrow, recently retired from the Army as a chaplain, has now been called as pastor. In mid July, Harmony Church hosted a large group of students to conduct a Vacation Bible School which grew from the first day’s attendance of 14 to a high of 62 with 14 persons giving their life to Christ in just five days! This field is ripe for harvest. Pastor Catrow told me that if you drew a one-mile circle around the church, you would count 60,000 people who live there! There is great need here.
Another area of challenge that comes around every year when the Legislature returns for its annual session is the expansion of gambling and now bio-medical ethics. No matter how many times we vote it down, the gambling industry continues to try every effort it can to expand casino gambling in our State. The profits are so huge that they will never stop trying to find new areas to “fleece Missouri.” This is where your Missouri Christian Life Commission (CLC) plays a key role. With a few small stones of budget provided it from the MMO, this CLC-David will continue to stand before the Goliath of gambling.
The CLC is now faced with another giant called bio-medical ethics. This field has many research companies, all of which who are vying for the huge profits they believe will come from new medical research. One of these research companies built a $220 million research facility in St. Louis to study stem cells from human embryos. Human embryos are aborted or created to be “harvested” for research. The Nazis, Japanese and Communists of the 1930’s and 40’s did research on human beings; not the Free World. The Scripture says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,” (Prov 31:8 ). Who will speak up for these who cannot speak? YOU WILL! Through your gifts that support the work of our CLC.
Would you prayerfully consider a personal gift to the Rheubin L. South Missouri State Missions Offering (MMO)? Your gift will be used to focus on reaching our JUDEA for Christ. What ministries will it support? You can see the goals and vision for this offering on page 13 of this paper.