Friday, March 20, 2009

They Put it All in the Box


In preparation for our recent Missions Weekend, I preached a message from John 12:24, "Unless the kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it only remains a single seed, but if it dies, it produces many seeds."
Just about a hundred years ago, the missionaries to west Africa packed all their belongings in a coffin sized box. They left for the field, realizing that there was a good chance they would not return home. Many of them were buried in the box.
My good friend, Nate Yoder, made a box like that for me. We put it in the front of the church.
I told the story of our early Wesleyan missionaries to Sierra Leone. (Paul Shea has a great presentation here. I used some of his insights in my sermon.)
They gave their ALL! They were willing to invest their very lives! They put it ALL in the box! Then I challenged the congregation . . . "What are you willing to give, so others will know about Jesus?"
Unless the kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains only a single seed. . .
Sadly, we had major computer problems, and I could not show the pictures of the missionaries on the big screen. Instead, I taped their pictures to the box.
Last Sunday, when we made our Faith Promise for Missions, I took the lid off the box and everybody came forward and put their commitments inside it. It was a powerful and moving experience.

1 comment:

The Prophet said...

AMERICAN BARBARISM



"Dear is in the eyes of the Lord's death his saints." (Psalm 116.15)


In recent days, sad news reached the United States and Germany.
In an action of barbarism, a man went to a Baptist church in Marevellous, Illinois, and began firing at the pastor Fred Winters who was preaching in the cult, killing him and wounding two people. The murderer was arrested by the parishioners who were able to reduce it.
Almost a few days later there was another barbarism in Alabama. A man murderer among relatives of 10 people, men, women and children, made a tour of several sites, after being cornered by police, he committed suicide.
But barbarism also transcend borders. In Germany, a couple of 17 years, emulating other suicide Americans entered the armed institute where I studied and killed 13 students among them teachers, in their flight killed two more people, then engage in shootout with police youth suicide was shot in the head.
These facts, which are not the only ones that occur in the United States or Europe, seem to indicate that there is a culture of murder among the people of the northern hemisphere.
On August 12, 2007 in Neosho, Missouri, a man killed a pastor and two worshipers in the cult. There is a history of mass killings of students in Finland in 2008 and Canada in 2006.
Given these facts, the U.S. government, and evangelical churches have done nothing to achieve reverse this situation, which has been happening since long atrĂ¡s.
I am Christian and express my indignation and my anger against the American evangelical churches that are enclosed in their spiritual bubbles do not realize the harsh reality is happening around them.
How many more must die pastors to the churches just do something to prevent these deaths? How many young students and children have to die to protect the churches decide deranged people?
The Christian life consists not only make social life, and walks. The Christian life is to do something for our society that is crumbling.
Work is not only the state and its institutions to ensure the safety of society, work is also of the church. If that does not understand the American church then they are at the bottom of the sea to fish and evangelicen. Genuine Christians, perhaps in another country, take charge of evangelizing American society.
Why do not intend to make the church a community united in its campaign to disarm the families who have guns?
Why not start with themselves Christians kept their weapons? For a Christian who wants a gun? To remove the evil spirits?
Do not be surprised if this church worsen with the passage of days.
Still time to prevent future massacres.
Do not make the blood of those holy brethren who gave their lives for the church has been spilled in vain