“And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, ‘It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:46-49).
Well, in just two days, February will be upon us. We usually think of this month as the month of love, or Presidents, or just winter. But for our Grace family, it means Mission Festival Month. I hope you were able to see the teaser that Mary put together. It is posted on our Facebook page, and I think it will also be up on our Mission page on our website.
The theme of our Festival this year is “Around the World.” We will hear from several of our local mission agencies that we support and one of our foreign missionaries. We will also a special visit from one of our other foreign missionaries.
During Sunday school (9:15 – 10:00 a.m.) we will hear from Nathan Frook – Child Evangelism Fellowship on the 5th; Ben Jett – Rookie Dads/Pregnancy Solutions on the 12th; Nicole Britton – The Twig on the 19th; and Karl Dahlfred – OMF, Thailand. I hope you can join us to hear about the many ways we are going “Around the World” with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in our support of these ministries.
We will also be raising money to support two projects during our Mission Festival. The first is to support an indigenous team with Reformed University Fellowship International. Because this is in a sensitive area, we will provide more information to you in person beginning on Sunday. The second will go to purchase the New International Commentary on the New Testament for Minsk Reformed Seminary. Our dear brother Slava would like his students to have study material in English along with their Russian texts. Though it is an ambitious goal, we would love to raise a total of $5,000 for these two projects.
This Sunday I will begin a four-week sermon series from Acts 16 and 17. The four sermons are entitled “Why Missions?” – Acts 16:1-15; “A Compassionate Mission” – Acts 16:16-40; “A Heart for the City” – Acts 17:1-15; and “An Unknown God” – Acts 17:16-34.
As I have been preparing for this series, I was struck by the verses above, which comes at the end of the story where Paul and Barnabas are initially sent out as missionaries from Antioch. Obviously, we won’t be looking at this passage, but we will be exploring more deeply these matters through the four weeks of sermons. It is important to understand the main thing as we begin. The mission of the church is the mission of God. From before the foundation of the world, God purposed to save a people for himself, and he has ordained that the primary means to accomplish this is the through the preaching of the word.
I love how Luke describes the response of the Gentiles when receiving the gospel through Paul and his team. “…they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord…” Paul understood that it was through the ministry of the word that salvation comes to mankind. It is why he would say in the opening chapter of his letter to the Romans: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16-17). And we don’t have to work for results, but remain faithful to that word, for “as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”
So, get ready to take a trip with us “Around the World” as we consider this great work that God is doing by the power of his Spirit in and through us.