None to Declare

In a time of great prosperity God spoke to Pharaoh through a dream. Even though God spoke, Pharaoh did not understand the meaning of the dream. Pharaoh stated this clearly, “I told this unto the magicians, but there was none that could declare it unto me.” He could not understand for two reasons. He could not understand because spiritual things are only discerned spiritually (1 Corinthians 2:14). Additionally, he could not understand because there was no one there that could declare it (Romans 10:14-15).

In all of the land of Egypt there was no one that could declare God’s truth to Pharaoh! This Pharaoh represents the three billion that have no one to declare unto them the Truth of God. They have no Bible, no church, and no missionary. These unreached peoples live in darkness, groping for meaning and purpose.

For Egypt, God had a plan. It was Joseph. There WAS one to declare! God had prepared Joseph for this day and for this people. Psalms 105: 17-19 says, “He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: until the time his word came: the word of the Lord tried him.” Ironically, this jailbird, this slave, this outcast, this abominable shepherd was God’s perfect choice to reveal His Word and His plan to Pharaoh and eventually to the world.

God has a plan to reach everyone in this world. The Lord is “…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” I believe God prepares every believer to reach out to someone. How is God preparing you? Who will God place in your path today? Whether God leads you across the street to an unengaged neighbor, or whether he leads you 7,000 miles away to an unreached people group, BIO exists to help YOU fulfill the Great Commission. Contact us today and let us know how we can help you!

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Effective Missionary Church Planting Principles

General Washington and the Continental Army barely endured the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge. The bitter cold along with a serious lack of provisions and discipline almost accomplished what the British could not. General Washington’s leadership was impeccable, but he lacked the military genius of a career officer. In answer to Washington’s prayer, Benjamin Franklin recommended the services of Prussian Captain, Baron von Steuben. After von Steuben brought order and discipline to the camp he wrote a manual of drill techniques and instilled these techniques into the colonial farmers, turning them into a modern fighting force. There is a clear, practical application for church-planting missionaries in how von Steuben turned a rag-tag group of farmers into an elite fighting force. There are three fundamental keys to his success.

Selection

First, von Steuben realized that the weary colonialist would not immediately submit to a foreigner. America was fighting against tyranny; why would they then yield to a Prussian stranger? Von Steuben’s answer to this was to call out capable men from the rank and file in order to create an officer corps that could effectually command the enlisted man.

APPLICATION

An American missionary, particularly one who crosses geographical and cultural boundaries in order to plant churches, must realize that he is a foreigner, and not just any foreigner—an American foreigner. Often times this is a strike against a missionary and an obstacle that must be overcome. A wise missionary looks for capable nationals among his people so that he may develop them for spiritual leadership.

Duplication

Second, von Steuben, realizing the enormity of his task, duplicated himself. It would be impossible for him to train several thousand men in just a few weeks, but he could train a few. His brilliant plan began with turning the officer corps that he created into an elite fighting unit. Within weeks these special men were parading up and down the camp as a single unit to the awe of every regular soldier.

APPLICATION

When many missionaries arrive on the field hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, are in need of the Gospel. It is an overwhelming task. Paul understood this great need and the enormity of the task. That is why he wrote this to Timothy in 2 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.” This leads to the third key to missionary success.

Delegation

Von Steuben assigned each officer to a regiment of men. His officers diligently instilled what they had learned into their men, creating hundreds of elite fighting units that could keep pace with and defeat the most powerful army in the world.

APPLICATION

Von Steuben’s approach was also the method of Paul as he instructed Titus in Titus 1:5, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.”

Without von Steuben’s guidance the Patriot cause would have failed. Major General von Steuben was promoted to Inspector General of the Continental Army. His methods were propagated throughout the Patriot forces through his book, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States. Furthermore, his principles are still the foundation of our military today. Solomon said, “There is no new thing under the sun,” in Ecclesiastes 1:9. He is right; von Steuben’s principles are the effective missionary church planting principles that Paul used 2,000 years ago. They are still effective today.

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World Missions is the Reason for the Season

During the Christmas season we are frequently reminded that Jesus is the reason for the season. We could extrapolate this by saying that missions is the reason for the season. Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given…” John 3:16 presents this gift to the world, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…” That first Christmas God gave His Son “that the world through him might be saved.” Jesus was sent to save sinners; likewise, we are sent to save sinners through the preaching of the Gospel. Thus, since the proclaiming of God’s gift to the world is called missions, practically speaking, world missions is the reason for the Christmas season.

Since missions is the reason for Christmas, our celebration and gift giving should be directed towards and result in more people hearing the good news—God loves people and has given His Son for the reconciliation of the world. Here are some ways that this can be fun and effective.

The White Elephant Gift

The white elephant gift party is a fun gift exchange where everyone brings inexpensive or funny gifts. Numbers are drawn and gifts are taken or stolen in number order until all the gifts are gone. This gift exchange can be focused towards missions by requiring all gifts be something that is from another culture. This slight adjustment to a popular event can shift the focus of Christmas towards missions.

Picture of a snow-covered office building.Donate to a Missionary or Missions Ministry

Many churches and individuals give their first gift of the Christmas Season to God by donating to a missionary or missions ministry. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Christmas than by supporting those who are taking God’s gift to the world.

Send a Care Package to a Missionary

Care packages are popular with college students and military personnel. What about those missionaries who are away from home and family? Your gift could be what God uses to encourage them. Imagine feeling loneliness during the holidays only to find a package of heartfelt goodies from home. Many favorite foods and luxuries cannot be found overseas. This would be a special treat indeed! Make sure to do your homework. What are the missionaries’ likes and dislikes? What are they missing from home that they cannot obtain on the field? Check with the missionaries’ agency. It may not be wise to send a missionary a package in some restricted access nations.

Throw an International Christmas Party

My family will never forget the Vietnamese Christmas party we had in Samoa. Decorate, and prepare special food from a country where your missionary serves. During the party play an appropriate international game and then Skype your missionary and love on them for a while. Not only would you encourage the missionary, but your family and friends will be redirected to the reason for the season—missions!

Decorate a Christmas Tree with International Ornaments

Christmas trees are not only beautiful; they are also very sentimental. Each ornament can hold memories that represent relationships past and present. Set up a tree in your home, church or Sunday school class and decorate it with ornaments from around the world. Some of these ornaments could have been bought during short-term mission trips or, perhaps, brought by your missionaries when they visited your church. These ornaments could serve as a reminder of the real reason for the Christmas season; later, perhaps, they could be auctioned and sold with the proceeds going towards your favorite missionary or mission project.

Let’s remember, rejoice and revel this Christmas season, but let’s not forget the reason for this wonderful season—“the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” Missions is the reason for the season!

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Messages From the 2017 November Meeting

We had a wonderful BIO Conference on World Evangelism and Church Planting in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Dr. Milton Ker was presented with the Faithful Man Award by Baptist International Outreach. Dr. Ker preached alongside Missionary Tim Carte and Pastor Steve Craft.

You can listen to the messages below or right click the message title to download the sermons.

The 2018 November Meeting will be hosted by Rock Springs Baptist Church in Morrow, Georgia.

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Last Words

When Sir Isaac Newton died he said, “I don’t know what I may seem to the world. But as to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” Leonardo da Vinci was heard saying, “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.” Last words are often reflective and very important.

The Lord Jesus breathed, “It is finished!” as He died on the cross. What a statement! Those three words are the apex of human history! Jesus then rose again and ascended into Heaven. Again, His last words before He ascended are most profound. Let us look at these last words.

The disciples heard Jesus speak His last words on this earth in a mountain in Galilee. We find these words in all of their profundity in Matthew 28:18-20. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

All Power

First of all, Jesus said, “All power is given unto me.” The word translated power here is exousia. It means authority. Jesus declared that God the Father had given Him all authority. The type in the Old Testament representing this relationship with the Father is Joseph ruling under Pharaoh in Egypt. This statement that Jesus made emphasizes and enforces what He would say next. He had the authority to say it, and we have every right and obligation to obey.

All People

Next, upon the premise of His absolute authority, Jesus commands that all people must hear the Gospel. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations…” The word for nations is ethnos. Nations does not refer to political nations, but, rather, to people groups. What exactly is a people group? “For evangelization purposes, a people group is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance (language and culture).” [Joshua Project Definition]

There are currently 16,825 people groups. Out of these, 6,989 are unreached with the Gospel. This means that roughly 42% of the world’s people groups do not have enough of the Body of Christ represented among them to begin a church planting movement. Imagine 42% of the world with no Bible, no church, and no missionary to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that He had all authority, and with that authority He commanded His followers to take the Gospel to all peoples!

All Places

The last thing that Jesus did was give His disciples a promise. He promised to be with them even unto the end of the world—in all places! Often we interpet this promise to mean protection and peace. While God does protect His followers, many missionaries have been martyrs for the cause of Christ. A fuller understanding of this promise can be found in Mark 16:20, “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” After Jesus ascended into Heaven He worked with them through His Spirit. He did the work! This is the only way for the Gospel to make it to all people—through His power and strength! The work must be done with Him.

We must take heed to the last words of our Lord Jesus. He declared His authority. He issued a command, and He gave us His promise. We must meditate on these last words and understand how we are to carry them out. Then, perhaps, our last words would be similar to that of George Whitfield’s: “Lord Jesus, I am weary in Thy work, but not of Thy work. If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for Thee once more in the fields, seal the truth, and come home to die.”

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