Dear Sovereign Redeemer and other friends,
In just a few short hours, I will board a plane with Scott Brown and two young men from our congregations and start the two-day journey to Malawi Africa, where we will engage in ten packed days of evangelism and discipleship. Accordingly, here are five thoughts about going to the nations:
- Going is a privilege. Imagine the privilege of being an ambassador for a great king. Actually, we don’t have to imagine it. We are it. 2 Corinthians 5:20, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” Knowing Jesus Christ, and the joy that He brings wherever His atoning mercy and government spreads, makes the Great Commission not a task but the Great Privilege. I can’t wait to get there and share the good news with the lost.
- We are going in order to give. Looking back on the last decade, I am so grateful that God has firmly established biblical teaching for the reformation of the family among us. He has given us something so practical and helpful to impart to brothers and sisters in another nation, and we know from our own experience that it will be a blessing to marriages and families as we preach in churches and conferences in Malawi. May God use this time mightily to revive and strengthen Christian families there.
- We are going in order to receive. Having been on similar trips before, I know we are likely to be the great recipients. God has been firmly establishing particular and precious truths among our brethren in Malawi, and we will be carefully watching and listening, hoping to identify and acquire them. I already know that these are joyful men, humble men, praying men, and I need that to rub off on me. We will be on the lookout for other areas where they excel us so that we can grow and progress in our faith.
- Brotherhood is an amazing joy. This past November, five of these brothers from Malawi were with us in North Carolina for nearly a month. We know them. We love them. My family was one of the host families, and the man who stayed with us lost his guest status early in his stay, becoming family in a profound sense. Getting off the plane in Malawi and embracing these men will be a special moment. I have missed them.
- Why wait? The Great Commission – making disciples, baptizing, teaching them to obey all things that Jesus Christ has commanded us – is the great occupation of the church. Not one of us can wait for a mission trip to another continent. It is a sin to wait. How foolish to wait for a grand event far away when our neighbors, our co-workers, our children, are perishing in their sins, without Christ, without hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12). The Great Commission must not be a separate category, waiting for the next special event – it must be a part of every Christian’s DNA, having a significant impact on how we spend each day.