As last year came to a close, we experienced the loss of Madiba, and together with the world we faced the sad reality of the death of a loved one. I was reminded of Alexander the Great’s unusual last three requests before he died: for the best doctors to carry his coffin, for the wealth he had accumulated to be scattered along the procession to the cemetery, and for his hands to hang outside the coffin. He wanted the people to know that in the face of death not even the best doctors in the world have the power to heal; that material wealth remains on earth; and we leave this world empty-handed. The shocking news of 44-year-old Michael Schumacher’s skiing accident reminded us how life can change in a moment of time – even for those in the prime of their life. We should not allow these sobering moments to pass without reflection…
As 2014 begins, they are valuable reminders of our need to set priorities in life. My heart’s desire is to encourage each one to prioritise God to first place in your life. There are many religions in this world, all with mortal leaders who have returned to dust, and left behind philosophies for their followers. Jesus Christ is different. He brought God’s Kingdom to earth, not a religion. He rose from the dead, guaranteeing His followers Kingdom-living in this life as citizens of heaven and eternal life beyond the grave – benefits that no other religion can offer or guarantee.
On Christmas morning, Jan and I had the privilege of inviting 162 local prisoners to enter the Kingdom of God, through Jesus Christ, who is the ‘doorway’ into the Kingdom of God (John 10:9; 14:6). God wants everyone to have this opportunity; it is His good pleasure to give YOU His Kingdom.
“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:29-32 emphasis mine).
From a Christian missions perspective there are three groups of people:
World A are people who have never heard the gospel (called Unreached People) and with minimal knowledge of the gospel message and have never been given the opportunity to respond to Jesus Christ (called Unevangelized People);
World B are people who have heard the gospel but have rejected it (called Evangelized non-Christians);
and World C represents people who have heard, believed and responded to the gospel (Christians).
The goal of missions is to give EVERYONE the OPPORTUNITY to hear and respond to the good news of Jesus. The following Scripture caught my eye recently:
Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46 emphasis mine).
Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch, Pisidia, on their first missionary journey. Paul presented the gospel in the Jewish synagogue, and received a mixed response. The Gentiles were glad and wanted to know more, but the Jews heard and rejected the message. By doing so, their unbelief effectively pronounced judgement on themselves disqualifying them from eternal life. Today is your opportunity from Almighty God to hear, accept and qualify yourself for eternal life by answering the same question that Jesus asked Martha:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? (John 11:25-26)”
New Year Blessings!