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DAY 1 – Becoming a World Christian
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
This is the most famous of Bible verses, and it is all about world missions. It is this verse that inspired David Livingstone, a famous, historic missional leader, to say: “God only had one Son, and he made him a missionary.”
Jesus made it so clear to his followers that they were to love, serve, reach, heal, and bless the world. It is IMPOSSIBLE to be a faithful follower of Jesus and NOT have his heart for the world. If you love Jesus, then you love what Jesus loves, serve what Jesus serves, and do what Jesus did. And that simply means to love this world that is lost, hurting, and broken without God.
We use the language of being a World Christian for this type of Christian. Living Word has been passionate about helping our people become World Christians. In every devotional this week, you will learn more about how to be a World Christian.
Today, the idea is simple. A World Christian is informed and up to date about what is going on in the world God loves. At Living Word, we try to keep you up to date about the specific places in the world where we are working. We call those places HUBs. A HUB is where we have a concentration of people and ministries that we supply with needed resources. Every day this week we will tell you about one of those places and the people who are at work there. Pay attention to the world news about those places. In 2022, we will do much more to provide updates about our HUBs.
Here are two World Christian questions to think about and pray through:
1. Do you love the world Jesus loves? How much do you love the world?
2. What will you do to make Global Missions a higher priority in your heart in 2022?
DAY 2 – Ethiopia
Matthew chapter 9 is a beautiful glimpse into the heart of Jesus. When Jesus sees people, he has compassion on them and says these words: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (vv. 37-38).
Jesus invites us to see like he sees and love like he loves. He calls each of us to pray for workers to be sent into the great harvest all around us. Jesus wants his followers to be World Christians who reach globally with the good news of the gospel (Acts 1:8).
One of the ways we are witnesses to the ends of the earth is through our strategic partnerships in Ethiopia where we have been establishing a thriving missional HUB over many years. The last 2 years have been extra challenging in Ethiopia because of the ongoing pandemic and a civil war. So, please pray with us.
And as you pray, please remember these three places in our Ethiopian HUB and pray for the work on behalf of the people Jesus loves there.
1. Sendafa: Project Adopt A Village (PAAV) shows the love of Christ through a medical clinic, community development, and strengthening local churches. PAAV cares for over 300 people with HIV/AIDS, helps children get nutritional support, and provides medical help to the poor.
2. Living Word Dire Dawa: A flourishing church in a Muslim city. This evangelistic church operates a neighborhood clinic, cares for people with disabilities, and cares for many orphans.
3. Living Word Djibouti: A church doing good work in a difficult context. They minister (mainly) to Ethiopian people who live in Djibouti, but they endeavor to live missionally among everyone they encounter.
DAY 3 – Outreach to Muslims
I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing…. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Genesis 12:1-3
One of every five people on earth today is a Muslim. To fulfill our calling to bless “all peoples on earth” that must include the Muslim world, with its beginning and center in the Middle East.
One of the most overlooked Muslim groups in the region is the Kurdish people. More than 18 million of them are scattered between Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran. In all of these countries they live as persecuted minorities, without their own country.
Living Word is establishing a HUB in Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdish region of Iraq along the border with Iran. In partnership with Neighbors to Nations (N2N), two community centers offer classes, training, recreation, counseling, and medical assistance to people in need. In addition, N2N works in a 15,000-person refugee camp that houses Yazidis, Syrians, and other internally displaced people from Iraq.
The other key part of the ministry is planting a local church (Hope Church) as well as a Bible Institute, begun in 2020 and now expanding to the city of Erbil as well. Living Word supports both of these.
As Christians we are part of the “sowing and reaping” of the Gospel (read 2 Corinthians 9:6-8). Our work with the Kurdish people is sowing seeds in a part of the world that has been hard ground. Relatively few ministries work in this region, which is all the more reason that Living Word’s ongoing investment is important, and why, as followers of Christ, we give generously to this work.
DAY 4 – Missional Partners
Read Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8
There are several places in Latin America where Living Word has developed HUBs, making substantial contributions and developing fruitful partnerships.
Pastor Steve Almquist has been instrumental in resourcing a church planting network in Cuba. From leadership training to providing funds for food, we help the Cuban church.
Pastors Brian Rice and John Hilliard have traveled throughout Latin America doing leadership development in eight countries and training leaders who worked in other countries.
In Guatemala, we have worked with Mike and Terri McComb in their widespread mission of reaching the poor tribal peoples of Guatemala and other Central American countries. We help them plant churches, build churches, train pastors (through the ASELSI Bible Institute), do evangelism, provide disaster relief, and more. ASELSI has trained over 4,000 leaders!
Pastor Brian has worked extensively with Omar Gava and his organizations, REG and COMIBAM, to train Latinos for global work. Omar was instrumental in mobilizing Latin America to go and work among unreached people groups.
Many of us worked with Jeff and Kathy Phillips, their sons, and their teams for church planting, leadership training, and again, mobilizing Latinos for work in the world of Islam.
Here is the BIG World Christian idea: Global missions is all about relationships. It’s about building friendships and partnerships with people around the world and supporting them as they are doing the work of advancing God’s Kingdom in their nations. One of the best things you will ever do is build a relationship with one of our missional partners and keep that relationship active.
Do you currently have a meaningful relationship with a missionary? If you want to develop one, contact one of our pastors and we will facilitate a connection.
DAY 5 – Globally Minded Christians
Read 2 Corinthians 8 and 9
This is a remarkable passage of scripture. Paul spends TWO entire chapters instructing the churches in Corinth to give generously to missions by the giving example of the Macedonian churches, who were amazing in their generosity. Read these chapters carefully and note the many lessons on generosity.
What are the qualities of the Christian who is globally minded?
1. They are informed about world events and discerning of what God is doing in the world.
2. They pray for the world.
3. They build relationships with those doing God’s work around the world.
4. They serve on mission trips and experience what life is like for those who have much less than we do.
5. They financially support missions work around the world.
Living Word’s missions budget was originally called “Faith Promise” because we would encourage people to make faith commitments to support our global work. In recent years, we have called it “Giving to Greater Things” because Jesus promised that by faith we would do greater things than he did (John 14:12). Living Word’s growing commitment to global missions is a testimony to that promise! Today we call our missions commitment REACH GLOBAL.
Our Reach Global budget is different than our general church budget, which supports the ministry at Living Word and in York. The Reach Global budget supports 24 people and organizations working around the world. We encourage you to be a part of giving to the Reach Global budget. Pray about what God would have you give, then go to the website or church app and select Reach Global to make your donation.
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