Thursdays With Oswald—What Is A Missionary?

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

What Is A Missionary?

     A missionary is a saved and sanctified soul detached to Jesus. The one thing that must not be overlooked is the personal relationship to Jesus Christ and to His point of view; if that is overlooked, the needs are so great, the conditions so perplexing, that every power of mind and heart will fail and falter. We are apt to forget that the great reason for missionary enterprise is not first the elevation of the people; nor first the education of the people; nor even first the salvation of the people, but first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ—“Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations.” If we are going to remain true to the Bible’s conception of a missionary, we must go back to the source—a missionary is one sent by Jesus Christ as He was sent by the Father. … 

     In revising the lives of men and women of God and the history of the Church of God, there is a tendency to say—“How wonderfully astute those men and women were! How perfectly they understood what God wanted of them!” The truth is that the astute mind behind these men and women was not a human mind at all, but the mind of God. We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit to the Divine guidance of God through childlike people who were foolish enough in the eyes of the world to trust God’s wisdom and supernatural equipment, while watching carefully their own steadfast relationship to Him. … 

     The special person called to do missionary work is every person who is a member of the Church of Christ. The call does not come to a chosen few, it is to everyone of us.

From So Send I You

Are you a Christian? Then Jesus calls you His missionary too!

Do you feel equipped to be a missionary? Jesus said all that is required for missionary service is a total reliance on Him.

With that in mind, go be Christ’s missionary to your world today!

Live Dead Life (book review)

I have been a big supporter of the Live Dead movement ever since this initiative was launched. So I was more than happy to read Live Dead Life by Joy Hawthorne, even though it was written as a 30-day devotional for students. Although written by a teenager for other teenagers, I was instantly hooked!

Joy is living in a country that is closed to the Christian message, and yet she is daily living out her Christian testimony in such a genuine and winsome way that it is having a positive impact on the Muslim members of that country. I can see why, because the book had a profound effect on me too!

As I read this journal and pondered Joy’s setting contrasted with mine, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Why aren’t I doing more to tell people the Good News about Jesus?” I think this book will provide that same tug on your heart as well.

Parents, read Live Dead Life with your son or daughter.

Youth pastors, read Live Dead Life with your students.

This is a life-changing book! You can download Live Dead Life free by clicking here.

I recently had an opportunity to interview Joy Hawthorne—

Craig T. Owens: I am curious as to the seed thought behind this book. Did you simply start a journal for your own thought-processing, or was there a book idea in the back of your mind right from the beginning?

Joy Hawthorne: The original thought of a Live Dead book for teens was not my idea, I was asked to write the book. Writing a book was something I might have imagined I would do when I was older… the idea of writing a book as a teen probably would not have crossed my mind until one of my Live Dead mentors asked me to consider it.

As I started to work on it the seed definitely grew. At first, it was on a couple major topics (like fear or calling) and then it just really grew out of my life and sharing what God was speaking to me in my heart with others. As it developed, my mentor suggested it be a 30-day devotional including Live Dead values.

CTO: I can tell that a major audience for your book is other teens that are living in the same sort of environment in which you are living. How would you suggest that students in the US read this book?

JH: I can see how other TCKs [third culture kids] would connect with it more because we have an understanding of each other and connect with our lives that way. Living as a TCK has been such an adventure, and that is something I would want kids in the US to see and join me in the journey that way. This book is intended to fan into flame a deeper intimacy with Jesus and obedience to whatever He asks for ALL teens, not just TCKs.

My life living worldwide has shaped some of the ways I walk with Jesus. Hopefully, from seeing through my eyes a bit, other teens would be able to see the world with eyes that are little more wide open. It’s easy to focus on the stuff that bugs us daily in our little corner of the world, but I wanted to encourage following Jesus and being a part of what He’s doing worldwide. I would love if other teens can see a little more of what ordinary life overseas is like and watch God doing extraordinary things.

CTO: How has writing such a journal (and sort of bearing your soul to the world) changed you?

JH: Writing the journal is a way that I do process things. I write in my in my journal that way and it helps me think and respond to things. Bearing my soul to the world sounds kind of scary to me feeling so broken but something I’ve discovered from writing is that I have a voice. Everyone does. We just have to choose to use it, to not stay silent when God asks us to speak but choosing to follow Him in what we say and do in a way that brings Him glory. Being a quieter person, it is a hard choice for me to speak when I’m scared. Writing something others will read is choosing to use my voice, and also a choice to open myself to let God use me.

A verse that has really encouraged me to speak is Esther 4:14, about being here for such a time as this. That pretty much hits what I’m here for. Created for this time and place for His glory.

CTO: Will there be other books from Joy Hawthorne in the future? If so, any hints as to what you may be working on? 

JH: There’s no ‘next book’ I’m currently working on, but writing about what God is doing in my life and sharing it to bless others is something I love to do. If I felt God was leading me that way I hope I’d be willing to follow Him and do it again. So I’m open to it, writing will probably be something I will always do, love, and grow in.

I am a Live Dead Publishing book reviewer.

William Carey’s Perseverance

“William Carey, the ‘father of modern missions,’ wanted to translate the Bible into as many Indian languages as possible. He established a large printshop in Serampore where translation work was continually being done. Carey spent hours each day translating Scripture, while his insane wife ranted and raved.

“Carey was away from Serampore on March 11, 1832. His associate, William Ward, was working late. Suddenly Ward smelled smoke. He leaped up to discover clouds belching from the printing room. He screamed for help, and workers passed water from the nearby river until 2 a.m., but everything was destroyed.

“On March 12, 1812 missionary Joshua Marshman entered a Calcutta classroom where Carey was teaching. ‘I can think of no easy way to break the news,’ he said. ‘The printshop burned to the ground last night.’ Carey was stunned. Gone were his massive polyglot dictionary, two grammar books, and whole versions of the Bible. Gone were sets of type for 14 eastern languages, 1200 reams of paper, 55,000 printed sheets, and 30 pages of his Bengal dictionary. Gone was his complete library. ‘The work of years—gone in a moment,’ he whispered.

“He took little time to mourn. ‘The loss is heavy,’ he wrote, ‘but as traveling a road the second time is usually done with greater ease and certainty than the first time, so I trust the work will lose nothing of real value. We are not discouraged; indeed the work is already begun again in every language. We are cast down but not in despair.’

“When news of the fire reached England, it catapulted Carey to instant fame. Thousands of pounds were raised for the work, and volunteers offered to come help. The enterprise was rebuilt and enlarged. By 1832, complete Bibles, New Testaments, or separate books of Scripture had issued from the printing press in 44 languages and dialects. The secret of Carey’s success is found in his resiliency. ‘There are grave difficulties on every hand,’ he once wrote, ‘and more are looming ahead. Therefore we must go forward.’” —from On The Day

Questions About Your Heart

Dick BrogdenI know I am a bit biased, because this speaker is my cousin, but this might be one of the most powerful missions messages I have ever heard. Wow, it hit me hard!

Christians, please take 30 minutes to watch this—

Links & Quotes

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“Don’t hold onto anything so tightly that Jesus can’t take it from you.” —Corrie ten Boom

“Forgiveness doesn’t diminish justice; it just entrusts it to God. He guarantees the right retribution.” —Max Lucado

“History is a vast early warning system.” —Norman Cousins

“How do we develop such trust? We seek the Lord in prayer, meditate on His Word, and walk in obedience. You may object, ‘But those things are all works.’ I disagree. They are all acts of faith. As we observe these disciplines, we are trusting that the Holy Spirit is at work in us, building up a reservoir of strength for our time of need.” Read more of David Wilkerson’s post Entering God’s Rest.

A couple of thousand years ago Socrates called the youth generation lazy, disrespectful, and lacking responsibility. Tim Elmore points out that there are 7 changes that affect every generation. Parents, teachers, coaches, and others that work with youth need to check this out.

Every summer in Cedar Springs all of the churches combine together for a huge worship service called UNITED. This year we have a special project: united to change the world.

[VIDEO] This morning I launched my first live broadcast on Periscope. You can find me there at username @craigtowens. Here is the video from my live feed—

Links & Quotes

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This is really good: 4 bad reasons for choosing a church.

10 Historical Myths About World Christianity

This is scary: Canadian bill would legalize euthanasia for people with disabilities.

[VIDEO] A teacher asks students to write letter to themselves 20 years in the future, and then he delivers the letters to them 20 years later—

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading & watching from today…

“Christ calls us to take risks for kingdom purposes. Almost every message of American consumerism says the opposite: Maximize comfort and security—now, not in heaven. Christ does not join that chorus. To every timid saint, wavering on the edge of some dangerous gospel venture, He says, ‘Fear not, you can only be killed’ (Luke 12:4).” —John Piper

“Impotent dreaming will not do. The religious urge that is not followed by a corresponding act of the will in the direction of that urge is a waste of emotion.” —A.W. Tozer

“We dare not eat our seed. It’s our turn to give ourselves in mission. It’s our turn to take the baton and continue the tradition that began 100 years ago and with God’s help participate in the greatest evangelism the world has ever seen.” —Bill Leach

“Here’s what I know: If you don’t do it, it can’t come back to haunt you. That doesn’t just go for taking nude pictures of yourself. It also goes for speaking angry words, buying something you can’t afford, flirting with a married coworker, gossiping about a friend, drinking alcohol, using drugs, or letting a relationship go too far.” —Mark Atteberry

[VIDEO] The hilarious Ken Davis says, “Husbands: Do Not Answer This Question!”

Pastor Dave Barringer tells us to stop trying to be the perfect spouse!

I love this: Special Kneads Bakery creates jobs just for special needs adults.

Great reminders: 14 quotes from Mother Teresa on changing the world.

Believe it or not, there was a time when the US government promoted sexual purity & abstinence.

Good news: the Obama administration is dropping their appeals against some businesses after the Supreme Court ruling on Hobby Lobby’s case.

Links & Quotes

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These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting today.

Planned Parenthood announces their plans for the 2014 election, and Michigan is on the list.

Rush Limbaugh’s take: Religious Liberty Defeated In Arizona …

…and the Gospel Coalition’s look at the same topic: When Tolerance Turns To Coerced Celebration

Here are some good ideas for supporting missionaries: Heart For The World

[VIDEO] Constitutional law professor slams Obama’s use of executive orders.

“You are not leading or teaching a child. You are leading a future adult. Everything you do and say will either serve to prepare them or prevent them from being ready. The more you maintain that focus, the better choices you’ll make as a mentor” (Tim Elmore). Read more: Two View Points To Avoid and check out Elmore’s book Generation iY.

“The full, literal meaning of the word ‘repent’ in the New Testament is ‘to feel remorse and self-reproach for one’s sins against God; to be contrite, sorry; to want to change direction.’ The difference in meanings here rests on the word ‘want.’ True repentance includes a desire to change!” —David Wilkerson

How the media misrepresents what scientists say about climate change

Chinese police break up child-trakkicking ring and save hundreds of babies 

[VIDEO] Cecile Richards (the president of Planned Parenthood) isn’t sure when life begins

14 Quotes From “Pentecost”

Pentecost

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Pentecost by Robert P. Menzies, and learned quite a bit. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Here are a few quotes that stood out to me.

“It’s because Pentecostals fuse the biblical and contemporary horizons that we link baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues, since that’s what Acts 2 does. It’s why we associate Spirit-baptism with empowerment for mission rather than with spiritual regeneration. And it’s why we expect God to perform ‘signs and wonders’ and to manifest spiritual gifts in worship services. All these things happened in the first Pentecostal community, and their story is our story.” 

“At its heart, the Pentecostal movement is not Spirit-centered but Christ-centered. The work of the Spirit, as Pentecostals understand it, centers on exalting and bearing witness to the Lordship of Christ.”

“Pentecostals are ‘people of the Book.’ Although Pentecostals certainly encourage spiritual experience, they do so with a constant eye to Scripture.”

“So, the stories of Acts are our stories, and we read them with expectation and eagerness: stories of the Holy Spirit’s power, enabling ordinary disciples to do extraordinary things for God. … The hermeneutic of the typical Pentecostal believer is straightforward and simple: the stories in Acts are my stories—stories that were written to serve as models for shaping my life and experience.”

“In Luke’s view, every member of the church is called (Luke 24:45–49; Acts 1:4–8/Isaiah 49:6) and empowered (Acts 2:17–21; cf. 4:31) to be a prophet. Far from being unique and unrepeatable, Luke emphasizes that the prophetic enabling experienced by the disciples at Pentecost is available to all of God’s people. … Through his two-volume work, Luke declares that the church, by virtue of its reception of the Pentecostal gift, is nothing less than a community of prophets. It matters not whether we are young or old, male or female, rich or poor, black or white; the Spirit of Pentecost comes to enable every member of the church, each one of us, to fulfill our prophetic call to be a light to the nations.” 

“Not long ago a Chinese house church leader commented, ‘When Western Christians read the book of Acts, they see in it inspiring stories; when Chinese believers read the book of Acts, we see in it our lives.’”

“Luke’s theology of the Spirit is different from that of Paul. Unlike Paul, who frequently speaks of the soteriological dimension of the Spirit’s work, Luke consistently portrays the Spirit as a charismatic or, more precisely, a prophetic gift, the source of power for service.” 

“Luke crafts his narrative so that the parallels between Jesus’ experience of the Spirit (Luke 3–4) and that of the disciples on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1–2) cannot be missed. Both accounts: 1. Are placed at the outset of Luke’s Gospel on the one hand, and the book of Acts on the other; 2. Associate the reception of the Spirit with prayer; 3. Record visible and audible manifestations; 4. Offer explanations of the event in the form of a sermon that alludes to the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.”

“Luke’s understanding of baptism in the Holy Spirit, I have argued, is different from that of Paul. It is missiological rather than soteriological in nature. … The tendency in Protestant churches has been to read Luke in the light of Paul. Paul addresses pastoral concerns in the church; Luke writes a missionary manifesto.” 

“Bold witness for Jesus is recognized as our primary calling and the central purpose of our experience of the Spirit’s power. Missions is woven into the fabric of our DNA.”

“I do not wish to minimize in any way the significance of the great doctrinal truths of Paul’s writings. I merely point out that since Paul was, for the most part, addressing specific needs in various churches, his writings tend to feature the inner life of the Christian community. His writings, with some significant exceptions, do not focus on the mission of the church to the world. … It is probably fair to say that while Paul features the ‘interior’ work of the Spirit (e.g., the fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22–23); Luke features His ‘expressive’ work (Acts 1:8). Thus, by appropriating in a unique way the significant contributions of Luke-Acts, Pentecostals have developed a piety with a uniquely outward or missiological thrust.”

“The clarity of the Pentecostal message flows from the simple, straightforward manner in which we read the Bible. As I have noted, Pentecostals love the stories of the Bible. We identify with the stories that fill the pages of the Gospels and Acts, and the lessons gleaned from these stories are easily grasped and applied in our lives. For Pentecostals, the New Testament presents models that are to be emulated and guidelines that are to be followed. It should be noted that our approach to doing theology is not dependent on mastering a particular set of writings, say, the works of Luther; or coming to terms with a highly complex theological system. Pentecostals also do not worry much about cultural distance or theological diversity within the canon. We do not lose sleep over how we should understand the miracle stories of the Bible or how we might resolve apparent contradictions in the Bible. Our commitment to the Bible as the Word of God enables us to face these questions with a sense of confidence.”

“We must remember that whatever we do, God is measuring the work we do for Him in a qualitative, not quantitative way. … Only the work which is done by the power of the Holy Spirit can be acceptable in the Kingdom of God.” —David Yonggi Cho

“Some will still remain skeptical. They will ask: Is not this approach to church life, with its emphasis on ecstatic experience, emotional response, and spiritual power, filled with inherent dangers? Might it not encourage us to feature emotionally manipulative methods and to focus on superficial matters? Yes, undoubtedly, there are dangers. However, there is more danger in an approach that fails to make room for the full range of human experience, including the emotions, in our encounter with God.”

Lots Of Winners!

Our Impact youth group had a contest to see which school could raise the most money for Speed The Light (STL). STL helps missionaries purchase the equipment that will help them speed the light of the gospel around the world. Our Cedar Springs students, Kent City students, and missionaries are all winners!

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