It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6-7)
"God's Heart for the Nations"
One need not drive very far in Orlando to see the need for God all around us. Only one or two miles away from our homes and workplaces we can vividly see brokenness. All around us are broken family relationships, cycles of poverty, and people who seem happy but are empty inside.
So why pursue foreign missions? Since the beginning of the human story God has always sought for an intimate relationship with those who are made in his image, man and woman. He knows that we are made for Him and we can only be truly satisfied in Him.
God’s blessing was never meant to be only for a few. In His promise to Abraham in Genesis 12, God said, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” God did not intend his message of salvation to be only for Israel or Judea. He intended His salvation to reach the ends of the earth: to Spain, to England, even to the “New World.” And therein sits Orlando, home of the “Magic Kingdom.” But as magical as the City Beautiful is, even if the gospel were to transform every single person here in Orlando, God’s work would still not be done.
God is about the business of Acts 1, bringing His salvation and making disciples in “Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” We are to act justly, love mercy and share the good news with our Orlando neighbors. But then, as John Piper notes, what we do well here for local evangelism and mercy ministries, we can then “export” to serve the nations.
When we see God moving in other parts of the world (as Hannah Rader testified to at church last Sunday) we are encouraged to live faithfully here. There is no necessary tension between local missions and global missions; they form a reciprocal relationship.
Therefore we go, send, and pray for foreign missions because God’s heart is for all the nations. And when we offer an account of our lives before the Lord, we don’t want to have pursued “too small a thing.”
How to pray...
- Pray for the long-term missionaries that Lake Baldwin Church supports, Ross and Lindsay Stowers in Florence, Italy. Besides working with Cru administration (Agape) in Italy they are also reaching out to Italians through sports ministry and networking with other young families.
- Pray for the Syrian refugees in Greece that Hannah Rader spoke of last Sunday and that God would use these new Christians to spread the good news in those formal and informal refugee camps.
- Pray that God would show all of us at Lake Baldwin Church how to pray for, send others, and go ourselves to all nations with the good news of Jesus Christ.
- Pray for Davidson and Katie Jean-Rejouis, who visited us during the missions conference, as they prepare for their ministry in France. Pray for completion of their support, for their team in Toulouse, and for their work with worship and youth.
For the Family
Ross and Lindsay Stowers are missionaries in Italy, supported by Lake Baldwin Church. They and their children were part of our church family when they lived in Orlando.
Take a moment to find Italy on the map. Explain that most of the people in Italy do not have a church family, and need to hear about Jesus.
Invite your children to write a note to Ross and Lindsay Stowers and their children, Weston, Tessa, and Colton. Thank them for serving God in Italy. Then bring the note to church this Sunday and give it to Joy McGill. Joy and her family will be visiting the Stowers family in Italy in just a few weeks, and they would be happy to take notes to the Stowers family!
"God's Heart for the Nations" - Ravi Jain
Ravi Jain is a member of LBC and serves as the head of the Global Missions Team. He has been a calculus and physics teacher at The Geneva School since 2003 and has devoted his work to understanding the role of math and science in a Christian classical curriculum. Ravi enjoys reading, being outdoors, and traveling abroad. He spends most of his free hours enjoying time with his wife Kelley and their two sons, Judah and Xavier.
"For the Family" - Mike Tilley
Mike Tilley is the senior pastor of Lake Baldwin Church, and has lived in Orlando since 1994. He and his wife, Molly, worked with a core group from the Baldwin Park community to plant Lake Baldwin Church in 2006. Mike loves teaching the Bible in a way that relates to real life. In his spare time, Mike enjoys good movies, long dinner with friends, snow skiing, hanging out with his kids and two granddaughters, and travel.