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    WedWednesdayOctOctober11th2017 A New Emphasis
    byDrew Humphrey Tagged Events Mission Missions 1 comments Add comment

    If you’re a Kossuth old-timer, you may have noticed a typo in your bulletin this past week. By now, you’re used to our October tradition of Missions Emphasis, when we devote two consecutive weeks to exploring our global responsibility as a local church. But last week’s bulletin contained an apparently erroneous announcement about an upcoming Mission Emphasis—without the “s.” What’s the deal with that? Did our proofreading department take the week off or something?

    Well, I’m happy to report to you that it was not a typo. (Our proofreeding deppartment is as vigilaant and hard-wroking as ever.) As it turns out, the “s” was deliberately omitted. And that little omission represents an intentional development in our theology.

    In modern parlance, the term “missions” has often taken on a fairly narrow meaning. It tends to be associated primarily with paid workers who move somewhere far away to tell people about Jesus and start new churches. And while that is an important and biblically-mandated part of what the church is called to do, it’s still only a slice of something bigger. And that something bigger is mission—what Christopher Wright describes as “our committed participation as God’s people, at God’s invitation and command, in God’s own mission within the history of God’s world for the redemption of God’s creation” (The Mission of God).

    One letter may not seem all that significant. But it is. Michael Goheen helps us appreciate this fact: “Mission is the whole task of the church as it is sent into the world to bear witness to the good news. As such mission is literally a perspective on all of life: the whole life of God's people both as a gathered and a scattered community bears witness to the lordship of Jesus Christ over the entirety of human affairs. Missions is one part of this bigger role that the church plays in God's story” (A Light to the Nations). In other words, missions is a subset of mission. So in moving from an emphasis on missions to an emphasis on mission, we’re seeking to embrace a holistic call upon us that involves each and every Christian.

    That’s why this year’s Mission Emphasis theme is “Near & Far.” During these two weeks, I’m hoping that we’ll get used to some new terminology and have our horizons expanded to embrace the reality that all of us—whether pastor, janitor, teacher, mechanic, or missionary—are equally invited to be participants in the mission of God in this world.

    This shift in emphasis might concern you. It might cause you to ask, “Does this mean we’re not going to be as passionate about global missions as we once were?”

    The answer to this question is a resounding, “No.” In emphasizing mission, we’re not backing away from missions in any way whatsoever. Quite the opposite.

    When my wife and I found out we were going to have a second child, our first was just nine months old at the time and I was still in shock from adjusting to entirely new dimensions of love. This little girl had filled my heart to the bursting point. And so to find out that another one was on the way scared me. “How could I possibly love another little human being as much as I love the first one?” I thought. Surely I had no more capacity in my already-full heart for another child!

    But then our second daughter was born, and I realized within about 10 seconds that parental love isn’t a zero-sum game. It has a strange way of multiplying and growing. I looked at my newborn baby, my eyes filled with tears, and I realized that I loved her. Really, really loved her. And then I went out to the waiting room to announce the big news to our oldest daughter. I gave her a big hug, and in doing so, I realized that I still loved her, too. A lot. Maybe even more than before.

    When we say that we’re going to emphasize mission­—both near and far—we’re not suggesting that we need to back off one in order to accentuate the other. Rather, our desire is that our hearts will be expanded and stirred to embrace both aspects of God’s mission with ever-increasing devotion. To quote Michael Goheen again: “As the church develops a vision for and begins to become involved in missions to the ends of the earth, the more likely it is that that church will also be a missional church near to home. Missions has the potential to revitalize a missional vision for the whole world, including the neighborhood.”

    Near and far. Both are vital. Both are integral components of God’s mission. And both will be set before us the next two Sundays as we seek to be obedient participants in that mission. Join us!

    WedWednesdayOctOctober1st2014 Is the World Falling Apart?
    byDon Whipple Tagged Events Missions 0 comments Add comment

    This blog title is from the cover of a recent magazine that I receive and read. It is a great question. It would probably have more impact if you didn’t find yourself asking it so many times in response to seemingly countless reports of trouble around the world. There are two sentences in the lead article that arrested my attention and soothed my fears more than any economic, political, educational, or military initiative could do:

    In some of the darkest corners of the world, ordinary people are helping to hold things together by the unseen sacrifices of everyday life. Aid organizations and mission agencies are doing valiant work to help the weak and needy in the world’s hot spots, but so are average citizens whose deeds often go unnoticed.

    What about your “unseen sacrifices”? Where are the “hot spots” in your world? The devoted follower of Jesus knows that Jesus is the only hope for a world falling apart. One of many responsibilities that we have of helping hold things together until Jesus comes is our obedience in global outreach. In a few weeks we will take two Sundays, combined with an intentional emphasis of prayer and fasting, to mobilize and strengthen the sacrificial participation in world missions by the ordinary people of Kossuth.

    The missions team describes our upcoming missions emphasis this way:

    The apostle Paul spoke warmly of his "partnership in the gospel" with the Philippian church "from the first day until now" (Phil 1:5). Imagine that! Paul, the apostolic pioneer of missions, said to one particular church, "You all have made the difference--and still are making the difference! In fact, this ministry is not mine, but ours. We're partners!" With this year's missions emphasis for Kossuth (October 26 and November 2), we will be focusing on the theme of "Partners in the Advance of the Gospel." We'll be studying, thinking, praying, and talking together about what it means for us, individually and as a church, to partner significantly with our missionaries, for the advance of the gospel around the globe.

    Look forward to some stirring and encouraging wisdom from the book of Philippians in our two sermons. Get excited about hearing from our own missionaries about the joys and challenges of life on the field, and what we can do that really makes a difference. Don't miss the chance to hear about the vision for ministry that God has given John and Yating Haller, which the missions team and the elders are eager to commend to you. And get ready to consider what part God may be assigning you in a new effort--called Barnabas Teams--to take partnership with our missionaries to a new level. In other words, there is a lot to look forward to! Pray with us that God will open our hearts to the privilege of partnership, and shape our lives to reflect the joy of Jesus' prayer: "Your kingdom come, your will be done!"

    “Is the world falling apart?” It certainly is an important question. The more compelling question is from Jesus when he asks, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” His concern should be ours. Will he find us sacrificially involved applying the power of the gospel to the weak and needy in the “hot spots” he has placed us in? Let’s ask him to do great things among us as we seek him in this upcoming missions emphasis. 

    ThuThursdayFebFebruary6th2014 Global Outreach Support
    byDon Whipple Tagged Church Missions 1 comments Add comment

    It is uncommon to do or buy something today that does not include a recognized system of support. You take a risk when you buy an appliance without a toll-free number or website to refer to as you begin to use the new machine. Most of your technology is supported by a complex and highly trained system of people and more technology. Even in running races and cycling events there are volunteers whose job is to support those participating in these events with food, drink, and medical services. 

    We are growing in our appreciation of the truth that a product or an event is only as effective as the support system connected to it. The same is true in global outreach.

    We had the great joy at Family Gathering last Sunday of interacting with Ryan and Kristen as they prepare to move to East Asia to teach English at a university there. They shared with us stories of how their needs and concerns have been cared for by God and his people in amazing ways. They reminded us of the impact and influence that the entire KSBC family has had on them for the past 14 years since they began at Kossuth as college students. We were able to gather around them and pray for them. We also had the joy of celebrating Jesus with them by remembering his death and resurrection as we shared the bread and the cup. It was a sad and joyful time of saying good-bye to some of our own who are going.

    We were also reminded that our responsibility of global outreach is not only about going but it is about sending as well. Going without sending is like a new product without support. Our church family in fact is a multi-tiered support system for the ones who go. One website explains their understanding of providing technical support in this way: 

    The reason for providing a multi-tiered support system instead of one general support group is to provide the best possible service in the most efficient possible manner. Success of the organizational structure is dependent on the technicians’ understanding of their level of responsibility and commitments, their customer response time commitments, and when to appropriately escalate an issue and to which level.

    That’s it. We are global ministry technicians. That’s what our role is in getting the good news to the end of the earth. We are a part of a multi-tiered support system that must understand our responsibility and commitments and do them in a timely and efficient manner. A few ideas to learn and develop your responsibility as a sender and strengthen your commitment include:

    • Take time to become familiar with the partners listed on the KSBC website missions page
    • Check out this website for ideas, helpful videos, and other links 
    • Ask God to increase your passion to obey him by participating daily in some way as a sender

    Our Missions Team is excited and growing in their understanding of how to help us be an effective and efficient multi-tiered support team for those who go. Not only do they deserve all the support we can give them, but God has so ordered that we share in the joy of reaching the nations with them.

    A good argument can be made that the other thing going on last Sunday evening was simply a matter of inefficient and ineffective support. Peyton could have used more support for sure.

    ThuThursdayNovNovember8th2012 This Market Is Always Up
    byDon Whipple Tagged Generosity Missions Money 0 comments Add comment

    Get your checkbook. Look at your accounts online. Do you know the numbers, amounts, or percentages of your financial investments in global missions? Whether it is similar to the widow’s 2 small copper coins (Luke 21:1-4) or the 50%-plus of wealthy Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), we have the incredible opportunity to “make friends” in heaven with our wise and generous financial support of global missions (Luke 16:9).

    It quickens the pulse of a person saved by grace to consider the long-term growth potential of a few dollars invested so that a child can be rescued and told about Jesus, a student that has never touched a Bible can study it and become a God-worshipper or an entire people group can be exposed to a family of Christ-followers. The Bible is clear: a healthy understanding of God’s grace prompts a joyful generosity expressed in our giving to the Lord’s work (2 Cor. 8-9). Jesus is more than clear: his teaching is absolutely unsettling about money, faithfulness, investment, and serving mammon (Luke 16:10-13).

    In our recent ‘Blessed to Bless’ Missions conference we learned that we have 3 options regarding our response to God’s clear commission to make disciples of all nations. We learned that we can go, send, or disobey. While there is far more to sending than giving, let’s focus on that aspect of sending for a few moments. First, let’s think about global gospel investment strategy and then share a few insider tips about some sizzling opportunities with unlimited growth potential.

    What’s your sending investment strategy? Here’s a model that many find both helpful and faithful to biblical principles.

    1. Your first and largest portion is invested in your local church. The local church is the engine that drives the machine. It is the mutual fund of gospel ministry where your dollars are used to advance the gospel in a number of ways from paying the heating bill, to providing groceries for an unemployed family, or paying the health insurance for a missionary in another part of the world. Set a minimum percentage of your income that reflects your appreciation of God’s grace and your commitment to the importance of the local church. 10% is a great place to start – it may be too much if your income is small or you are just starting to give; that may be too little if your income is average or above.

    2. Another portion is invested in missionaries or ministries that God excites your heart about in a more personal way. While all our giving should reflect sacrifice, perhaps this portion comes from a particular or intentional lifestyle sacrifice for you and your family. This is the $10, $50 or larger monthly support that you send to a missionary or ministry that has become a very real global and gospel extension of your life or family.

    3. Start somewhere and determine to grow your investment steadily. Share your strategy with a close friend or your Care Group so they can encourage you.

    Here are 5 insider tips for global gospel investing that will guarantee the rewards of friends meeting you in heaven: (1) Paul & Geri Briggs; (2) Dana & Adela Gottfried; (3) Sarah Menefee; (4) Tonya Small; (5) Ryan and Kristen Vess. While KSBC partners with several missionaries and ministries worthy of your support, these five are currently facing shortages in their financial support. These gospel servants are worth your prayerful and sacrificial consideration. Contact the church office or these individuals directly to see how you can get in on these powerful opportunities.

    What eternal impression will your earthly giving generate in terms of connecting lives with the transforming message of God’s love in Christ Jesus? Look at your numbers. Evaluate your short term stuff. Increase your eternal risk tolerance. Increase your joy and satisfaction in the God who is seeking more global worshippers. Blessed investing!

    ThuThursdayOctOctober18th2012 Miniature Missionaries

    [Guest post from pastoral intern Drew Humphrey]

    As I sat in the worship service last weekend listening to Nate Irwin give our church a clarion call for ministry to unreached peoples, a simple yet startling thought occurred to me: unreached people groups are self-populating. They have babies. They raise babies. Their babies grow up, get married, and have babies of their own. The 4.5 million individuals who make up the Tihami people of Yemen will not be the same individuals who make up the Tihami people thirty years from now. Some will die. Many more will be born. Generations will continue to come and go, as surely as waves washing rhythmically upon the beach.

    This is a sobering reality. No matter how diligently we exercise our role in global discipleship, and no matter how urgently we pursue the spread of the gospel to all nations, we will always have this limitation: we can’t tell the gospel to people that haven’t been born yet. So what will we do? How will we reach the Tihami people who won’t even be conceived until we’re all dead and gone?

    The answer is simple: we send people into the future.

    “Impossible,” you say? Not so fast. What we’re talking about here doesn’t involve time machines or sci-fi gadgetry. It simply involves moms and dads raising God-centered families.

    Psalm 78 lays this out for us by casting a compelling vision for multi-generational influence. It speaks of the testimonies of God, “which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God” (Ps. 78:5-7).

    Did you catch that? We can invest in the lives of children yet unborn by investing into our kids! This is why parenting is such a monumentally serious task. How we instruct, love, and discipline our kids right now will have an effect on generations that we will never even meet.

    But the implications go beyond parenting. This principle in Psalm 78 also affects the way we approach ministry to upcoming generations as a church. Peek in the nursery or walk through the halls of the basement during Sunday school, and what you’ll see are miniature missionaries—little boys and girls who will soon become men and women used by God to advance the gospel where it is not known.

    So if you were stirred by Sunday’s message and you want to get involved in the work of missions, then let me propose an unconventional idea: get involved in the lives of young people. Sign up to work in the nursery. Help teach a children’s Sunday school class. Rub shoulders with teenagers in the youth ministry. And if you’re a parent, renew your commitment to teaching and training your children with urgency, gladness, and perseverance.

    If we’re going to reach future Tihami generations, it will be by raising kids to know and fear God. We don’t need a time machine to send missionaries into the future. We just need to be faithful in teaching the gospel to our children.

    Let’s reach the unreached people of tomorrow by investing into our children today.

    FriFridayAprApril27th2012 Pray for Mali

    Below is an update from Dan Zimmerman, former missionary in Mali. Please take time to read, pray, and increase your awareness of the progress of the gospel around the world.

    The sound of automatic rifle fire and the cries of Allahu Akbar pierced the early morning stillness as rebel forces made their way into the city of Gao, Mali, on March 31, 2012. They arrived in Timbuktu the following day. This was the beginning of the end of almost 61 years of continual missionary outreach among the Muslims in the northern regions of this West African country. 

    In 1951, Dan and Ann Zimmerman pioneered the ministry in Gao, Mali, under the auspices of Africa Christian Missions (later known as Evangelical Baptist Missions). Other missionaries soon followed and moved into Timbuktu and a couple of other cities in that region. In 1979, we were the first of a group of second generation missionaries (and the second generation of Zimmermans) to arrive in northern Mali. By January 2012, there were established churches with Malian pastors in most of the major cities of northern Mali. A Bible college in the city of Gao (with a Malian director) had already graduated 30 students, most of whom were serving as pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and Christian workers in areas such as translation. There were also a number of ongoing projects with the goal of reaching the Muslim communities with the Gospel. This all changed the end of March. 

    Early this year, rebel forces made up of a combination of heavily armed Tuaregs returning from the conflict in Libya, Al-Qeda, and other terrorists groups began attacking desert outposts with the goal of eventually taking over the northern two-thirds of Mali and establishing their own territory which they call Azawad. This has been their desire since some of these men first attacked Menaka when we lived there. With the fall of Menaka, Kidal, Gao, and Timbuktu, they accomplished their goals. 

    As these Islamists began implementing sharia law, looting and pillaging, terrorizing citizens, raping women and girls, the populations of these cities began to flee. God was gracious in allowing some 200 Christians from northern Mali to escape to the south of the country totally unharmed physically, although many were traumatized emotionally from all they experienced. However, every church, the Bible college, the various projects, homes of pastors and believers have all been looted and destroyed. It has been heartbreaking to see the destruction of all physical aspects of 61 years of ministry in these cities. At the moment, there isn’t a lot of hope that ministry will ever again be able to take place in these regions. Yet, we are reminded that the church isn’t in buildings and equipment, but rather a group of believers who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. His work still goes on in the lives of these men and women. These particular men, women, and children need your prayers in a special way. 

    This has been a vivid reminder of the need to redeem the time because the day in which we live is very evil and growing more evil with each passing day. We do not know how much time we have left to share the gospel message. No one ever thought the large city of Gao, Mali, would fall into the hands of Islamist terrorists. It is mind boggling to know that almost overnight, the Christians were forced to escape for their lives and all churches were destroyed. The same thing could happen anywhere. Are we doing all we can for the furtherance of the Gospel?
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