We are called to be imitators of Jesus; we are not called to stand in His place.
We were made in the image of God, and we are designed to reflect God’s character. If we have been redeemed, we have God’s Spirit within us, using our hands, our feet, and our mouths to accomplish His will. The Church is the body of Christ, the visible manifestation on the earth of the redeeming work of Christ. However, if we are “the only Jesus they’ll ever know,” then something is terribly wrong.
This tract was written by my grandfather, Laurance W. Long.
Yes, dear you. You are dear to God. God loves man despite the fact that he is sinful and deserves to be punished. This can be understood as we realize that parents love their children even though they often do things that are wrong.
And God wants the best for errant man, even as parents want the best for their errant children.
When God created man, He gave him not only a body but an eternal soul and spirit, in His own image and likeness. With his body, man could easily relate to the earth. And by his spirit, he could have fellowship with God. He could have fellowship with God only by his spirit because God is a spirit and “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto Him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14). So man is both physical and spiritual, material and immaterial.
When God created man, He made him perfect. The Bible says, “God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).
In making man like unto Himself, God gave him a will, with the ability to think and reason and make choices. And with the ability to make choices, man could choose either right or wrong. God wanted man to live Him, but He wanted such love to come from a willing heart as a matter of choice, not because he had been programmed to do so like a robot. Thus, man was given a will. God an man then enjoyed fellowship together from willing hearts. They were like-minded and shared common interests: true fellowship and communion, for without like-mindedness there can be no fellowship: friendship, yes, but no fellowship.
The Westminster Catechism says, “Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.”
If man’s chief end is to glorify God, then the Christian desires that as many as possible fulfill that end, and find their ultimate satisfaction in God. Thus, Jesus instructed us in Matthew 28:19 to “go and make disciples of all nations.”
This is my chronicle of my involvement in missions around the world.
I spent my Summer of ’98 attending The Laborer’s Institute run by Kingdom Building Ministries in Denver, CO. The Laborer’s Institute (TLI) is a three-month intensive training program that involves mentoring, ministry, multiplication. The first month of training is spent in Denver. The second month is overseas ministry; our team spent the month in Thailand (pictures). The third month is spent back in the US visiting a number of youth camps to challenge and minister to others.
To read more about my experience with The Laborer’s Institute, see my report from the end of the summer. – TLI Report
To see what’s involved in preparation for a short-term missions trip, read the prayer letter I sent out before I went. – Prayer Letter
A couple years later, December 2000-January 2001, I took a 10 day missions trip to Trinidad & Tobago (pictures) with a handful of people from my church. We had the opportunity to put on a Vacation Bible School program for local children, present the gospel using marionettes and skits in some local schools, and help a local pastor with some needed upgrades to their home and car.
Most recently, my wife and I went with our church on a missions trip to Mexico. We partnered with a local Missions to Mexico ministry that organizes short-term trips as their primary ministry model. In the week that we were there, we helped two churches with some building projects, visited homes and prayed for people, and impacted teenagers and youth through our meetings.
In addition to short-term missions trips, global missions can be supported through offering prayer and financial assistance to those engaged in full-time ministry.
Jeremy & Mindie Tice work with other World Partners missionaries to help plant churches in Guinea, West Africa. Mindie is one of several friends from The Laborer’s Institute who went on to become missionaries.
A high-school friend and old work-out buddy of mind is now working with Wycliffe Bible Translators in South Asia, researching language groups that would benefit from a translation of the Bible in their own language.
In 2007, my wife and I began sponsoring a little boy in Uganda through World Vision.
In addition to the organizations mentioned above, there are many Christian mission organizations who minister around the world, meeting physical needs and sharing the Living Water and Bread of Life that is Jesus Christ.