Thursday, February 12, 2015

No Place Left (February 2015 Newsletter)

 . . . in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.  And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, but as it is written:
“To whom He was not announced, they shall see; And those who have not heard shall understand.”
 For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. But now no longer having a place in these parts . . . – Romans 15:19-23a
Paul was commissioned by Jesus to “fully” or completely preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Paul was called to pioneer, to take the Good News of Christ’s death, resurrection, and Lordship to those who had never heard. He was obedient the heavenly vision and fulfilled his calling in both quality and quantity, fully preaching the Gospel in a move of the Holy Spirit and miracles, and fully preaching the gospel in every geographical area he could reach. At the end of his life he could boldly announce, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Fully Preached the Gospel
This month I led a mission team in a brief evangelistic outreach. Because of the cold and the time of night we had available, we were sharing the gospel in the many small shops and stores owned and operated by first-generation immigrants in Hamtramck. I stopped in to a familiar fish market where I made a new friend, I_____.
I shared my story of how Jesus had changed my life and gave him the Jesus Film in his language. He was very open to listening, and rather than objecting or changing the subject he began to ask a series of questions about the Bible. We talked until I was almost out of time to meet the team to debrief. I was a little sad leaving I_____ when we were still having good conversation. He said that he rarely came to Hamtramck, but I gave him my contact information and urged him to call me.
I have many conversations with people like I_____ who have never heard a coherent presentation of the Good News that God loves us so much that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). I long to see these people transformed by the power of God. I want to share more than just words with them, though I have great confidence in the Word of Life. I want them to experience the truth, I want them to feel it. I want them to hear the voice of God, to feel His touch, to see His love. I want them to receive miracles. I want to be able to testify that I “fully” preached the gospel, that the Holy Spirit finished the work.
No Place Left
I want to not only “fully” preach the gospel in quality, but I also want to “fully” preach the gospel in the area where God has called me. Paul preached until there was no place left for him to go where people had not heard. I want to present the gospel to every home in Hamtramck. This year we are tracking and organizing outreaches in order to reach every single street of the city. We already have a good start, and the best is yet to come!
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Read the rest of the February 2015 Newsletter