December 2006


Are you preparing to go on a missions trip outside of the US or packing your bags to enter the mission field? Read Wikipedia’s “List of faux pas” to acclimate yourself to the unique do’s and don’ts of many countries around the world so you don’t inadvertently offend someone you’re trying to share the gospel with or trying to serve alongside.

Must read about handling email!

When people read out a phone number, they use “phone rhythm.” No one has to explain “phone rhythm,” we all just seem to do it automatically, “…713…555…12…34”. Similarly, when we answer a phone call we all say, “Hello.” No one taught us to do that, but somehow we all seemed to pick it up.

So why is it that when it comes to emails, there are no accepted standards? Even though 6 billion emails are sent every day, almost no one agrees about simple things like email etiquette, how to organize a note, or whether emails are considered private or not.

The 99 tips in this article make up the best in email practices. From how to ethically use the ‘BCC:’ to what attachments will make your mobile emailing compatible with everyone else’s, this list covers everything you need to know about emailing.

Etiquette
We’re all guilty of bad manners once in a while, but when it comes to emailing, some people are downright clueless.

Read the article

Life shouldn’t be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly shouting, “Wow! What a ride! Thank You, Lord!”

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1Thessalonians 2:4  But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

What an awesome responsibility was placed on Paul to be put in trust with the gospel.  His goal had to be to please God and not men.  He had to realize that this was a tremendous privilege but more than that an awesome responsibility.  That is exactly where we all find ourselves.  We have been put in trust with the gospel.  We are administrators or stewards of the gospel

1Corinthians 4:1  Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 

the mysteries of our God.  How will we fulfill that great ministry in our lives.  Will we take this personally and strive to pay the price so that He will be honored and pleased with the lives we live. The way we manage our resources, our time, etc.

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How to Pray for Missionaries

How? That is the question. We have been told all of our lives that we should pray both for our pastor and missionaries. We want to pray for them, but we just don’t know how. We have called their names one by one. We have said, “God bless the missionaries,” but we want to do more than that. This lesson has the intent and purpose of sharing with you how to biblically pray for missionaries. Everything that you read here you can also apply to your pastor. This will be a blessing not only to the work of God around the world but also to your local church.

The Apostle Paul felt the need to have his folks pray for him. If Paul felt he needed people to pray for him, how much more important would it be for each of us to enlist others to pray for us.

Brethren, pray for us. 1Th_5:25

 

Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. 2Co_1:11

As you can see from the verse above Paul was not asking lightly for prayer. He felt that the prayers of God’s people definitely “helped”. He felt that they became an actual part of his ministry. Your prayers do make a difference when you pray for your missionary or your pastor. If you will pray then we will be working “together” in the ministry.

Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. Isaiah 45:11In this verse we see that God invites us to put Him into motion. There is so much that God wants to do that He is not doing because we are not involved. He has not only invited us to pray but has commanded us to tell Him what to do. We cannot actually tell God what to do if it is not already His will but if we will, but look at it and we will notice that God oftentimes limits Himself due to our lack of prayer and faith.

Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. James 4:2

Why do we not have what we need? Why do we not have even what God wants us to have? I am convinced that the reason we so often are stumbling along in our lives and ministries is because we have failed to ask God!

And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. I John 3:22

Prayer has to do with us doing what He wants us to do. We can’t expect God to just be a religious all powerful genie that we can command but rather God is looking for some folks who what to obey Him, to do those things that are pleasing in His sight, and then we will receive whatsoever we ask. That is a very powerful promise.

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. I John 5:14-15

The reason that we will get whatsoever we ask is that we are obeying Him and doing what is pleasing in His sight. This causes us to ask what we know that He wants us to ask and what we know that He wants us to do. Our God wants us to be involved. He wants us to ask. Prayer is very important in our lives and ministries. We must get involved asking God to move and work in His vineyard.

Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen. Romans 15:30-33

Now let us consider some of the ways that we can pray knowing them to be the will of God that will have a definite effect on the ministry of our missionary or pastor. Here Paul asks (begs) that his people get involved and to strive, or work, or agonize with him in prayer. He tells them exactly what they should pray for.

1. First, Paul asks that the folks pray for his protection, “that he might be delivered from unbelievers.” Now we know that our war is not against flesh and blood but against Satan and his forces. Paul is going forth into areas totally dominated by Satanic forces. He realizes that he will be under attack. He literally begs his folks to pray that he be delivered, protected, and rescued from these ungodly forces. How much your missionary and your pastor need this same prayer. Every day we watch as other “men of God” fall into sin. Oftentimes we are quick to criticize but slow to pray. When a man goes forth to war, he is taking a chance. He is risking his life against a roaring lion that hates God and all that he stands for. Satan will be after him. If the devil can stop the man of God then the work of God will not go forward. He will go to any lengths to get the man of God to fail. He will do so through persecution, discouragement, sex sin, pride, money problems, and a thousand other ways that we have seen Satan destroy the effectiveness of many preachers. Will you pray for your missionary by name asking God to protect him and deliver him from Satan and the unbelievers? Paul asks pray for this same need in II Thessalonians 3:2. There the bible says, And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men for all men have not faith.

2. Then Paul asks his people to pray that his service will be accepted by the saints. Paul did not want to offend the brethren, he just wanted to be a blessing. He wanted to do what he knew God had called him to do, but he knew that God would have to open the doors for him and prepare the way. As your missionary travels raising support he will need the saints to accept him and his ministry. What is the key to raising support as a missionary? Most of all it can be simplified by saying that the saints will have to accept his service. That is exactly what we need to pray for. Often times the missionary is on deputation for a long time, more than really necessary, and we wonder why. I would like to beseech you or beg you to strive together with him in prayer that where he goes to present his ministry folks would accept him and his service. Pray that folks will see the importance of his work and ministry and get behind it. Might I add that your pastor needs you to pray the same thing for him. He needs God’s working and help in his ministry that his service will be accepted by the saints. How many times do men of God prepare good Bible messages that the folks (saints) need to hear but they are not accepted. Let us pray that after our pastor has sought the face of God, his message will be accepted and taken to heart by the folks of our church.

3. Thirdly, in this passage Paul asks them to pray that he return with joy. How important this prayer request is to the missionary and pastor. The missionary leaves to go out on deputation. Will he be able to return with joy? Will he be successful? If he goes out and preaches ten meetings with small love offerings but no support it will be hard to have joy. If he goes to the field and spends a term and sees no real results it will not be easy to return with joy. We must pray for him and ask God to give him success in the work he has been called to. Let’s pray that God be at work in his life. Have you ever gone soul winning? You know what it means to come back with joy and you know what it means to come home sad and beaten. Let us pray that the missionary can go to the field and see the hand of God on his ministry. Let’s pray that God will open doors to him. Let’s pray that souls will be saved and that he can come back with joy, excited about what God is doing. The same prayer request applies to your pastor. He visits, prays, preaches, etc. Do we want to see him excited about what God is doing in his life? Then we must pray and help him.

Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds; That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Colossians 4:3-4

4. Paul next asks for open doors to preach the gospel. That is exactly what your missionary is going to need the minute he arrives on the field. Just where will he preach? Who will listen to him? He needs God to direct his paths. He needs to know where to go. He needs God to open doors. This is a definite way that you can help by praying. Even Paul had to have open doors. There are millions of folks out there. Most of them have never heard the gospel. But where will I really be able to have success? Where will I find some folks to listen to me? I need your prayers for open doors. Your pastor needs the same thing in prayer. He goes soul winning. He tells folks about Jesus and often times we do not have the success that we could have if we would just go where He has prepared the way and the hearts of folks. Today why don’t you pray for your missionary and for your pastor that God would show him where to go and that God would open doors and prepare hearts for the gospel message?

5. Paul also realized that it was more than just having open doors. He would need to know how to preach, witness and talk. God open doors but then teach me how to talk to them. What should I say? How do I get the message across? Especially crossing cultural boundaries and speaking in another language we need special help from God. Will you pray for your missionary that God would move in this way? This also would include special pray for your missionary while he or she is in language school. We have the message. We don’t have the tools to get it to them. We need another language. They are all hard. We must pray that God would encourage them and help them learn the language.

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. II Thessalonians 3:1-2

6. Finally, Paul asks them to pray that the word of God might have free course and be glorified. It was the word of God that changed our lives. Paul asks them to pray for free course. That means that nothing would hinder the working of the word of God. That means that the Bible would be able to run through them and their society.

LAOSHIDAN, China

AT ages 84 and 83, Wang Zaiban and Wu Xiuzhen are old women, and their feet are historical artifacts. They are among the dwindling number of women in China from the era when bound feet were considered a prerequisite for landing a husband.

No available man, custom held, could resist the picture of vulnerability presented by a young girl tottering atop tiny, pointed feet. But Mrs. Wang and Mrs. Wu have tottered past vulnerability. They have outlived their husbands and also outlived civil war, mass starvation and the disastrous ideological experiments by Mao that almost killed China itself.

In recent years, drought drove them out of the mountains of Shaanxi Province to this farming village beside the Yellow River in Inner Mongolia. They now collect cigarette cartons or other scraps for recycling, or they help in the fields. They are widows, grandmothers, mothers and, more or less, migrant workers.

At this particular moment, they are resting.

“You look a little different,” Mrs. Wu said to a small group of foreigners who approached them one afternoon near dusk.

“I’m going deaf!” shouted Mrs. Wang as a warning.

They had been chatting beside the Yellow River, sitting on the bank and taking in the view. The river was brown, and the hillsides were colorless and pebbled with stones. Haze from factories downstream curled around a tight bend.

Mrs. Wang wore a white cloth wrapped around her head. A blue scarf framed Mrs. Wu’s sun-baked face. They had grown up together in a mountain village outside the city of Shenmu, located a few hundred miles to the east.

When they were teenagers, China’s raging civil war between Mao’s insurgent Communists and the ruling Nationalists had almost overrun them. Every household, the women remembered, feared the Nationalist soldiers. Some people placed bowls of urine inside their homes to create a stench so vile that soldiers would not enter for fear of illness. Parents feared their daughters would be raped.

“None of the parents wanted to keep older girls at home,” Mrs. Wang recalled. “When the Nationalist soldiers came to Shenmu, young girls fled into the mountains, cut their hair and covered their faces with dirt.”

Mrs. Wang said she was married at 15. Asked about her feet, she laughed, slipped off a blue, canvas slipper and flapped the top half of her stunted foot back and forth like a swinging door. “My feet were wrapped when I was 5 years old,” she said. “No one wanted you unless you bound your feet. That is what my mother told me.”

“A woman with very small feet was considered a very desirable wife,” Mrs. Wang added.

They are just feet to her now.

“They don’t peel and they don’t hurt,” she said. “But the bone is broken.”

By 1933, she said, the Communists took control of the Shenmu region and forbade old customs like bound feet. “When I was 12, they were unwrapped,” she recalled, explaining why her feet are slightly larger than those of other women of her generation. “When Chairman Mao came around, binding feet wasn’t allowed anymore.”

MAO remains a warm, if vague, memory, a giant rather than a monster. But the chaos that Mao ultimately inflicted upon China also became a memory. Mao’s disastrous program to collectivize agriculture and industry — the Great Leap Forward, from 1958 to 1960 — left as many as 30 million people dead of starvation.

“We were a big collective at the time,” Mrs. Wang said of her region. “The people of all the different villages ate from the same pot.”

Often, they ate weeds. “No one starved, but there were people who were hungry and got sick and died.”

The Cultural Revolution followed and brought the arrival of angry Red Guards heeding Mao’s call to root out “bourgeois elements” from every corner of China. “It was dangerous,” Mrs. Wang said. “They gathered all the landlords on the edge of a cliff and tossed them over.”

These ideological campaigns passed through like violent, destructive winds, storms of different duration. But they did pass through. For most of their lives, Mrs. Wang and Mrs. Wu lived in isolation typical for peasants of their generation, never traveling far from their mountain village.

“Where do you live?” Mrs. Wu asked a photographer.

“America.”

“That is far,” Mrs. Wu decided.

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Read this article. It is very important to help you have a very special short term mission’s trip.

 Taking teams on short-term mission trips was unheard of some thirty years ago. Today nearly every church, Christian college and mission agency in the United States is involved. Of the estimated forty thousand short-term sending organizations in America today, there are more than one million short-termers of all ages involved. These experiences must be more than simply “the thing to do.” They must be carefully planned and orchestrated so they do not become glorified vacations with little lasting benefit. As responsible Christian sending groups, we must be sure these trips provide the maximum benefit for both the field where the team is going and the team members.

In 1964 my husband and I took a group on our first short-term mission trip. We did not know what we were starting but were delighted that our trip met a need both on the field and with those who went. After a few trips the Lord gave us greater vision; we started a mission agency and purchased a forty-passenger airplane. Within a few years we were taking people from various cities in the US all across Central America, South America and the Caribbean. During the next forty years we took over six thousand short-termers to countries all over the world.

The Development of Through the Eyes of Christ
Although I thought as leaders we were doing everything right, one day I realized something was missing. During and after each trip participants said they would never forget their experiences on the mission field. The sum total of their response, however, was simply to save money for the next trip. This did not seem right; surely a greater response was possible. I soon had the idea for a journal, Through the Eyes of Christ: A Short-term Missions Journal, which would help team members discover how the Lord was leading them. The journal was designed to make participants think more deeply about their experiences.

Essential Elements of a Journal
The primary purpose of the journal is to help Christians who are giving both their time and resources in a short-term mission trip to have a significant personal growth experience with the Lord. They are seeing things they have never seen before; they are relating to people of another culture, both Christian and non-Christian. Questions of values, responses and direction in life arise. Participants are mentored by these experiences and it is important to grasp what the Lord is trying to teach them. The following are six essential elements in a journal.|

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II Timothy 2:2  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

The most common complaints that are heard when missionaries are encouraged to train leaders are: “It takes longer to train someone else to do it than it does to just do it yourself! They can never do it as well as I can! If you want it done right you will have to do it yourself! What happens if I invest all that time, effort and money in training someone and then lose them. I will have just wasted my time or lost all of my effort.” Thank God that most parents do not take this attitude with their children. If they had taken this attitude there would be no trained adults! Our children would be unable to lead their families, our churches, and the ministries God gives them. It is true that there is a risk of losing all of our investment but our goal is not to conserve our work and energy but to extend His work and kingdom. It is also true that the investment to train someone is definitely more difficult than just doing the work oneself but the Scriptures give us specific instructions in Ephesians 4:11 and following to perfect the saints for the work of the ministry. Therefore it is not the missionaries’ job to do the work but to prepare others to do the work. They may never do the work as well as the missionary but if they can get to even 60% of the trainers ability then it only takes 2 to be producing 20% more than the trainer.It has to be a fair statement that Jesus could have easily used any of the common missionary complaints but He didn’t. He, God in human flesh, had to deal with the apostles. He took 3.5 years to train them. He got frustrated with them and their inconsistency, lack of desire, lack of faith, lack of understanding, etc but He persisted until they were so well trained that they could literally affect the entire world in one life time. It sure took Him longer to train the apostles than it would have taken Him to do it! It is certain that no one could do anything as well as He could! I am certain that He could have thought that to have it done right He would have to do it Himself but He trained them! He also knew what it was like to invest so much time and love in His treasurer and have him turn out bad and then betray Him. But He trained men.

He left us an example to follow! Train men and women to do the gospel work!Subscribe to World Evangelism Devotional by Email