This list of reads compiled on Intervarsity’s site is a great tool with access to many different insights and perspectives on justice and connection to faith and God.
As disciples of Jesus Christ and believers in the one God of the Bible, we don’t look for justice in the same way as the world. We know that the root problem is sin. The corruption is at the heart of humans. But this doesn’t give us an excuse to ignore issues either.
The answer is the same still, God gave his one and only son to save the world from death and suffering. Let’s learn more about reaching people from every background, every culture, every skin tone. Let’s be a safe place for all peoples, and in doing so earn a podium in their life to share the best news.
If you don’t know who Hudson Taylor is, spend some time to learn about this man who gave his life work and ultimately his life for the gospel.
One of his most famous quotes;
“If I had a thousand pounds China should have it- if I had a thousand lives, China should have them. No! Not China, but Christ. Can we do too much for Him? Can we do enough for such a precious Savior?”
“The first joys of conversion passed away after a time, and were succeeded by a period of painful deadness of soul, with much conflict. But this also came to an end, leaving a deepened sense of personal weakness ansd dependence on the Lord as the only Keeper as well as Saviour of His people. How sweet to the soul, wearied and disappointed in its struggles with sin, is the calm repose of trust in the Shepherd of Israel. Not many months after my conversion, having a leisure afternoon, I retired to my own chamber to spend it largely in communion with God. Well do I remember that occasion. How in the gladness of my heart I poured out my soul before God; and again and again confessing my grateful love to Him who had done everything for me– who had saved me when I had given up all hope and desire for salvation– I besought Him to give me some work to do for Him, as an outlet for love and gratitude; some self-denying service, no matter what it might be, however trying or trivial; something with which He would be pleased, and that I might do for Him who had done so much for me. Well do I remember, as in unreserved consecration I put myself, my life, my friends, my all, upon the altar, the deep solemnity that came over my soul with the assurance that my offering was accepted. The presence of God became unutterably real and blessed; and though but a child under sixteen, I remember stretching myself on the ground, and lying there silent before Him with unspeakable awe and unspeakable joy.
For what service I was accepted I knew not; but a deep consciousness that I was no longer my own took possession of me, which has never since been effaced. It has been a very practical consciousness.”
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, learn from the example of Hudson Taylor, on presenting his life as a living sacrifice, to give his being and life into the hands of the creator for his purpose, as an outlet of the love that has so filled him.
This song, from artist Leonardo Gonçalves – “Ele Vive”, is a powerful testament to Christ’s resurrection. “He Lives” in Portuguese. You may not be able to understand, but give this song a listen, enjoy the great melody and music video, and remember that there are so many in the world yet to hear the good news, that Jesus Christ lives!
If you take the One Year Challenge, especially if you go to a new country, but even to some extent if you go to a new state/region in your home country, you will likely experience culture shock! And that’s not a bad thing!
This article, by Becky Pippert, is a great inspiration for our pursuit of spreading the gospel and sharing our lives. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
We are no different than our neighbors, we all need this gift of grace. So when we approach relationships and share with those around us, it isn’t and it cannot be a top down or prideful approach.
Becky shared her faith with her hairdresser, though he wouldn’t have listened to someone on the corner handing out cards or waving a sign, he heard Becky out because she was there for him and he could feel her love.
The reason the One Year Challenge is a year and not a one or two week trip, is because relationships and influence takes time. If you want to make a difference by serving God in some places that are seeking workers, knock on the door!
The Bible describes sin as both rebellious unbelief and also idolatry. In today’s culture I’ve found that the concept of idolatry (using God-substitutes to give our life meaning instead of God) is often easier for people to initially grasp. At the right time we will need to explain both aspects of sin, but for now let’s look at how the issue of idolatry can be deeply relevant to unbelievers.
Another week with quotes from Hudson Taylor’s autobiography, comprised of various journal entries and writings!
If you are thinking of taking the One Year Challenge, Taylor and missionaries like him (William Carey, Jonathan Goforth, etc…) are excellent examples to learn from. Their strength was not in worldly talents, but absolute faith in the word and power of God.
“we should never lose sight of the higher aspect of our work—that of obedience to God, of bringing glory to His Name, of gladdening the heart of our God and Father by living and serving as His beloved children.” “I have grown older since then, but not wiser. I am more than ever convinced that if we were to take the directions of our Master and the assurances He gave to His first disciples more fully as our guide, we should find them to be just as suited to our times as to those in which they were originally given.”
The question is not about which side we are on. The old is gone, and the new is come. We stand with Jesus, see through his eyes. Let’s inspire one another by being examples of justice and peace makers. Below are two scriptural references to God’s approach to mercy and injustice.
58 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. 2 For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. 3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. 4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness[a] will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. 12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, 14 then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
In terms of evangelism and identity, there is an effect here. People’s minds fill in a lot of gaps because they believe some of the traditions and culture that exists is from the Bible. This is what happens when the church praises God with their lips, but their hearts are far from him.
Let’s be lights in this world, salt on this earth.
We can’t just say “go” and forget to glory in the gospel that frees us to go. When we exult in salvation, we should prayerfully expect the Spirit in our midst to sweep us up in gratitude and wash us out past American shores.
Next time you preach on a missions passage, before firing Google up for the latest tear-jerking statistics, start with the gospel. Revel in it until it releases you from fear and invigorates your evangelistic impulse, until you can say with the Prophet Jeremiah, “There is in my heart… a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in” (Jeremiah 20:9, ESV).
Missions doesn’t always add up, but neither does the gospel. It doesn’t make sense that God would pour out wrath on His Son, redeem and adopt rebels, and make his riches ours by faith alone.