Archive for April, 2008

Support Services

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:3-11

As Christians, we have a major role in working with missionaries: We are in the role of Support Services.

Support Services is the term generally used to describe the group in a company that keep things running in the background, and does not usually receive the recognition that the folks on the front line receive. In our role, we are responsible for the two main components of missions work: Prayer and Tithes.

As Christians, we should always pray for our missionaries. These folks have answered the call to go into unfamiliar environments and surrender the comforts that we enjoy. They do this to spread the Truth to people who have not heard it. Many times, they fight the fight of public relations. I recently spoke to a friend who stated that the people he works with have been taught all of their lives that the Unites States is a Christian nation. When the people in his country see the movies and television shows coming out of the Hollywood, part of a Christian nation, they say that they do not want to be part of this family. The only view they know of Christianity is what we call entertainment, which is far from Christianity. Sure, there are a few movies that have been released that do promote a Christian message, but the bulk of the mainstream movies do not. How can we blame them for not wanting to be part of this split-personality culture? We need to pray that our missionaries can reach these people with the Truth.

Additionally, we have an obligation to fund the efforts of our missionaries.  Without our financial help, our missions teams cannot do the work that they need to do.  I urge everyone to seek God’s will in how much they should give, beyond their tithe, to fund missions work.

April 17 2008 | General | No Comments »

Contentment

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content.” – Philippians 4:11

Princeton University’s WordNet defines contentment as “happiness with one’s situation in life”.

What does it take to be content, or happy, with our situation in life? Some think that it is the right house, in the right neighborhood. Some think it is the right car. Some, the right job. Others, the right spouse. Are these thoughts on the right track? For most people, the more we have the more we want. This is not contentment.

Paul said that he could be content wherever, whenever, however. This is a man that was in imprisoned, beaten, persecuted, and had a physical “thorn in the flesh” that we do not understand. Yet through all of this, Paul was content. What made him content? Paul saw that material, financial, environmental, and physical factors did not create contentment. Instead, he found happiness with his relationship with Jesus. In that relationship, we can all be content.

Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21″For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” He knew that happiness was in him. He knew that he was content, and excited, about living in his situation and serving his Savior. He knew that better things awaited him after death, yet he continued in perseverance to serve faithfully where he was placed, with his situation in life. I admire, and envy, Paul. I do not long to suffer as he did, yet I wish that I could be content in all situations.

The daily grind can really be a grind. Many times, I let the things of this world – work, finances, relationships, stress – take my focus from the role I have as a Christian: To serve faithfully where I am, with the gifts that I have been given, for the Glory of God. Too often, I get caught up in how things impact me, not in how I can impact the world for His Glory. I fail to see that I can be content in service without recognition.

Too often, we fail to heed Paul’s advice in Philippians 2:4. “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” If we concentrated more on a servant’s outlook and less on a master’s outlook, I believe that we would find more contentment in our daily lives. If we put the need for evangelism before our need for comfort, how many lost people would be left?

Think about it.

April 14 2008 | General | No Comments »