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.

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