Great Missionary Lives: George Grenfell

George Grenfell believed deeply in God’s power to bring light into places of darkness. He was a missionary to the Congo, where he dealt with tribal brutality and cannibalism. While we would not agree with everything he taught, his zeal is an example to us all.

And it was Grenfell’s great yearning to be worthy of the tribute Jesus paid the Forerunner, “He was a burning and a shining light.”

“I am the light of the world.” A life cannot shine until lighted at that resplendent Flame!

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Two Focuses of Local Ministries

The tasks of local ministry should be determined by the outward call to reach those unreached, but also to strengthen existing churches.

It’s vital to note that missionary evangelism should aim to establish local churches. That’s what we see throughout the Bible. Granted, there’s no verse that says, “Go and plant churches.” But we know all Christians should gather into local churches, “not neglecting to meet together” (Heb. 10:25). Everywhere the missionaries in Acts saw a harvest of souls, a church was soon gathered (Acts 14:1–2318:81920). The goal of missions is to gather churches that plant other churches.

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Three Lessons from the Burning Bush

Most of us have, at one point, been guilty of giving the same response to God’s call that Moses gave at the burning bush: “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else” (Exodus 4:13). This is probably especially true when responding to God’s call to make disciples of all nations. Who hasn’t gazed upon the harvest field and felt terrified at the immensity of the task?

But God is especially merciful with Moses at the burning bush and to us, because the truth is, we shouldn’t have to make God bend over backwards to get us to obey him. Yet in some ways God has already given us everything we need to obey him.

There are three lessons we can learn from God’s interaction with Moses that can help us to obey and overcome our fear.

  1. God has already provided for us

At the burning bush, God says to Moses: “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” (Exodus 4:11)

We can easily look at the harvest field and the task of sharing the Gospel and say to ourselves: “I’m not good enough” or “I’m not faithful enough” or “I’m not smart enough” etc. These excuses come from looking only into our insufficiency, when God has already provided for us the means for us to complete the task.

With Moses, God commands Moses to speak to Pharaoh and reminds him that He has given him his mouth. Do we have the attitude that God has equipped us all that we need to complete the task ahead of us?

  1. God will help us

God then says to Moses “Now go; I will help you speak…” (4:12). This is a promise of God’s power. God doesn’t only equip us, but he gives us the strength and the power to complete his task. In moments of our weakness, we can be assured that God’s strength will carry us through, we need only to be humble to ask Him. Today we can ask the Holy Spirit to give us that strength.

In Isaiah 41:10, God says:

‘So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’

 

  1. God will teach us

Finally, God finishes by saying to Moses “…and [I] will teach you what to say” (4:12). This is a promise of God’s illimitable knowledge. We should not be naive. On the mission field there are lessons that disciples will need to learn. No one comes fully knowledgeable about how to convert people and make disciples, and yet God promises that He will teach us and give us knowledge to face uncertain and unfamiliar situations. Not only do we have a source of strength on the field, but we also have a teacher and coach.

We can go in the confidence that throughout the Bible God is a providing, helping and teaching God. He still is today!

Great Missionary Lives: Jonathan Goforth

Jonathan Goforth was a Canadian missionary to China who faced much difficulty mastering the Chinese language. He did not grow discouraged and persisted, and later became known for his language fluency. While we would not agree with all that he taught, his humility and reliance on God’s power is an example to us all.

“Brother, if you would enter that province,” Taylor wrote, “you must go forward on your knees.” Goforth did just that. Not a day passed but that circumstances and events caused him to recall his life text and to rely on its promise, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).

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