Merry Christmas! Sharon and I pray you and yours have a glorious celebration of Jesus’ first coming. He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we by faith can be inheritors of His righteousness. What joy!!
With a humble heart, Sharon and I are blessed to be fellow heirs and fellow servants of the Most High with Missouri Baptists. You are a great people through whom the Lord is working His wonders. In 2015, while we dealt with Sharon’s cancer and the home going of both of our moms within a month, more of you than we could ever count expressed your gracious kindness toward us. We are grateful.
We know that we are recipients of authentic love and care because the Lord Jesus, who first loved us, demonstrates His compassion through His people.
Once we belong to the Lord, it’s just natural to care about people. Like an unending spring of water, the Lord extends His love for people through people who are called by His name.
That wellspring of care must also never cease to be shown through God’s people toward the lost, even lost religious people, and even lost moral people. There is only one way to be reconciled to God and that is through repentant faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who first entered the world in a manger in Bethlehem of Judea.
Now is the time to evaluate this year’s personal effectiveness as a follower of Christ. How much of 2015 did we live on mission with God? Is the love of the Master so clear in our lives that we see people as He sees them? This year, how many of our words were used to encourage people to seek Him? Would an audit of our personal finances reveal we are investors in God’s kingdom through our local churches?
Now is the time to begin taking positive action:
1. Live like who the Scripture says you are. This means Romans 8:37-39 and other Scripture passages dictate more about our personal identity than the circumstances of life. We are royal citizens of heaven, living on earth for a reason. Rest in the reality that the Lord is working in us, through us, and for us for His purposes that are significantly more important than we could ever imagine or dream. Who is to say that you are the vessel that shares the life of Christ in such a way that God would save someone who will make such an impact on the world that the course of history is radically changed? Remember, we exist to be the unique, gifted children of God who lead people to faith in Him with our love, our words, and our hands.
2. Discover and identify who the people are in your sphere of influence who need the Lord Jesus. Who are the average people who interact with your life? Neighbors, friends, work associates, fellow students, contractors? What is their name? Make a list. Doesn’t have to be long.
3. Begin calling out to the Lord for their salvation. How do you “get in the game” with God? When you go to your personal prayer closet or the altar at the church with the burden on your heart for someone you know by name, pause and think about the eternal destiny of your friends if they stepped out of this life into eternity? This causes us not to pray some generic prayer like, “Lord, I pray for Jason and Megan,” but to tearfully pray something more like:
“Lord, give Jason and Megan a thirst for you and help me to see it.”
“Lord, reveal yourself to them in a dynamic way.”
“Lord, how can I be your hands and feet to serve Jason and Megan and open their eyes to see Your tenderness toward them.”
“Lord, grant me an opportunity to personally engage them in a spiritual conversation.”
4. Be attentive to how the Lord answers your prayers. When we pray in accordance with His purposes, we should expectantly wait on an answer. He has said He is not willing that any perish but that all come to repentance. Be ready to invite them over for dinner and conversation, or be ready to listen to a story of a broken heart that needs healing.
The Lord is at work. We must join Him now. Desperate times require desperate measures.
Our Executive Board
We just concluded an incredible MBC Executive Board meeting. These godly men and women from all over our state assembled to represent you with prayer, civil discussion, and policy to help us do our great Missouri missionary work. I listened to no fewer than 10 of these brothers and sisters tell their story of God at work in phenomenal ways. I wish I had time to visit with every member and hear their stories.
There seems to be a stirring that no one can clearly understand or totally identify. It’s like the senior prophet told the junior prophet to look for the leaves rustling in the top of the trees, and then the rain would come. I’m hearing the rustling in the top of the trees for the abundant rains of the Lord descending on His faithful people. Now is the time.