IF WE WILL OBEY ... !
God's Grace for Me through the Ilokano People
STEPPING OUT IN FAITH
When I went to the mission field years ago, I wasn't thinking much beyond obeying the call. I stepped into an opportunity to lead men and women to Christ and to establish churches of believers who would reproduce themselves by making more disciples and starting more churches.
A DIFFICULT DECISION TO RETURN TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITIES FOR A MISSIONS ORGANIZATION
It didn't occur to me that a life of obedience would one day bring me back to directing a well-established missions ministry. To tell the truth, after fifteen years in the Philippines, my wife Carol and I have struggled with this call to come back and lead this anointed and widespread ministry. After all, three of our children were born there and we have literally hundreds of friends among the Ilokanos and other Filipinos. These friends have blessed our lives to such an extent that it was extremely difficult to leave them and come here for a new phase of ministry.
But Carol and I have seen the hand of Jesus at work in so many ways that we can only say that truly God has moved and directed us. So here we are, away from the actual field but every minute praying and working for the very same field and ministries around the globe!
YOUR LIKINGS WILL LINE UP WITH YOUR CALLINGS!
I'm one who firmly believes that your likings will line up with your callings. I like Minnesota because God has called me here. I like being where we are because God has chosen it for us. There's joy in serving Jesus.
LEARNING FROM THE ILOKANO PEOPLE
I need to thank some people - so many I can't begin to name any one specifically. But I especially want to thank the Ilokanos. I truly believe that I learned more from the Ilokanos than I ever taught them. Though I went to the Philippines to teach, the Holy Spirit soon taught me that I would not be qualified to teach the Ilokanos until I first became a learner.
It happened at a time when I was discouraged and went to an abandoned tower left standing from the Spanish days as a faded emblem of a time gone by. Stepping in, I found it strewn with trash, but I didn't care. I prayed desperately, "Lord, day-by-day I sit in my house and look outside my window. I'm studying this Ilokano language and still can hardly understand a word of it. I don't enjoy being a learner. I don't like being where I am. I don't see why I can't just go out and preach in English like the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses do. I see them hour after hour while I'm shut in with a tape recorder and notebook, practicing day in and day out how to speak this language ..."
IF YOU WILL BE FAITHFUL ...
The Lord spoke to me that day: "If you will be faithful ... If you will walk the path I have chosen for you…If you will be a learner ... I will give you victory over the cults. I will give you victory in your work. You will establish churches. You will see the fulfillment of your dreams."
He made it clear that it was all conditioned upon obedience to His will. I love the Lord because He calls us lovingly to an obedient walk. When I look back at the turning points in my life, I see that there were times when I was almost ready to quit, but they were times when the Lord lovingly pleaded with me to fall into His arms and keep going. And, of course, we did and God did fulfill the promises He made to us.
WHAT FUTURE HOLDS
NOW, as I look forward to what God has for us here and around the globe, I feel excitement. I don't believe that God has called me to change everything. Many have laid a foundation upon which I hope to build.
But I can't help feeling that God has also called me here to help us go places we have never gone and do things we have never done. I can't see all these things. I don't even know where they might be. But I know God is directing us. And I know He is faithful. God has laid a path for us. If we will obey, He will walk it with us and there will be nothing He puts before us that we cannot do.
Many of our mission leaders will agree the present time is most vital. We recommit the mission endeavor to God in a special way. After many sessions of prayer I feel the Lord is saying, "I am not done with you; I have barely begun." Part of our commitment is reaching the unreached.
WE CANNOT MOVE IN OUR STRENGTH!
We are not moving, nor can we move, in our own strength or power. We must move in the strength and power of the Lord. The calling is bigger than any one of us and bigger than the mission as a whole. We are called to extend the kingdom of God. Part of it will be done by the mission I belong to, part of it will be done by other missions, and part of it will be done by national churches. It doesn't matter who does it or how it gets done, but it matters that we keep on the path.
Along the way there are places to pause and reflect. Moments when we can say, We've come this far, Lord, where do we go from here? What are the short-term goals along the way and what are the strategies? How can we make this happen? How can we take Christ to the nations?
The vision is always there. It's high, lofty, and strong. It compels us to go on. It's Jesus and His kingdom and I tell you: I'm excited about it! He has called us together to glorify God and disciple the nations.
May God empower us. May God lead us forward!
CLICK HERE FOR PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION
A VISION FOR WORSHIP ... ! In Spirit, In Truth | STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS - Learning From Those Who Preceded Us in Faith | SAVED BY HIS LIFE - A Guide to Understanding Romans | IF WE WILL OBEY ... ! God's Grace for Me through the Ilokano People |HOW SHALL WE HONOR? | SPIRITUAL WARFARE AND PRAYER IN MISSIONARY STRATEGY | DON'T WORRY! Easy to Say, But Can We Stop Doing It? | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR