Thursday, February 27, 2014

I'm a Goer

I'm leaving in two weeks for New York, where I will be sharing the gospel of Christ to an unreached group of people. What an unreached people group means, is that less than 2% of the people living there are Christians. Because we are going on a short term trip, we are partnering with a non profit group that has established a long term mission organization there. They will be training us in the mornings on how to reach this people group, how to make connections, and how to talk about Jesus with them. Then in the afternoons we will be sent out to the streets where we will spend time walking in prayer through their neighborhood.

By physically putting ourselves in a place, we are more likely to become aware of the specific needs of the area, more than we could praying alone in our room. Prayer walking is also an act of confidence in God's power over a particular situation. We are praying and banking on the fact that God will use us because we are THERE. It will be awkward. It just WILL. We will get right to the point with people, "Hey I like your shoes, you wanna talk about Jesus?".

My number one fear is the fact that I am still struggling with hearing from God. My knowledge in the truth of what scripture says about God has increased, but I still struggle so much with doubt and lack of faith. I'm worried that this will hinder me while trying to share Jesus with people. I want to believe, and most of the time I do believe. But sometimes I don't believe what I'm saying. And that's a scary place to be in right before you are supposed to be sharing your beliefs with other people. If you could please be praying that God would clearly speak to me, that he would increase my faith, and that I would trust the Holy Spirit to do the work. I need those prayers, they count, I know they can change me.

Because of the sensitive nature of our trip, I can't share a ton of details on the WHO until we return. I've learned a lot about unreached people in general as I've prepared for this trip and it's only increased my drive to bring the GOOD good news of Jesus to them. These people believe in the oneness of God, they believe in Jesus and think he is a great prophet (they love him!), but they don't believe he is the Messiah. The savior for us, the sacrifice that took our place and saved us from God's due judgement. They believe that at the end of your life, if the good deeds outweigh the bad, then you go to heaven. It's 100% a works based religion. If you make sure and pray 5 times a day, give your alms (donate to poor) to the needy, make your pilgrimage to Mecca. All of these things seem to have a point value, and if you wrack up enough points, then you are good enough to get to heaven.

The hang up with this is the fact that we serve a HOLY God. Even if we did amazing deeds every day, we will NEVER, I repeat never, be ok on our own to come to God. He is too holy, he is too pure and good and just. This is why we need to Jesus, there has to be a covering of our sin so that God can look at us. When he looks at you, he only sees Jesus' perfection (if you believe Jesus is the son of God, and he died for you and rose again). This is not the case with these people. They don't accept Jesus as savior, and so no matter how many good deeds they do, even one blemish is too much for a holy God to look at.

I am dying to share this good news. That you don't have to be perfect. You can rely on Jesus and then just accept the love that God wants to give! Pray that ears will be opened, that we will speak with fertile soil that is ready to take root this truth. Pray that we would speak with leaders and strong minded people, that would open their hearts to believe and then continue to spread the truth back to their families here and families overseas. That it wouldn't stop with us sharing the gospel with them, but that it would continue to multiply, and reach places we didn't even travel to reach!

I have so much more to say, hopefully I can continue to process this trip over the next week and a half and gain even more hope and understanding of what my purpose will be to these people. I just want to end with talking about our call as believers in God. There are so many people in America that apply the term Christian to themselves. But their lives don't reflect it. There is no product of that belief and all that it entails. It isn't enough to just believe in God and believe that Jesus died for your sins! Even the demons believe that! James 2:19 "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder!" BELIEF ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH. Let me take it straight out of scripture:

"What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say; stay warm and eat well- but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless."- James 2:14-17

I'm BEGGING you, Christian, to ask yourself these hard questions. To examine your faith in God and see if it's about you or if it's about Him. Spoiler Alert: It should be about him. HE is the creator! We are the created! It's about Him, and serving His will. That's life.

If you want to know more about my trip, or any of the things I talked about here, please feel free to shoot me an email! It's clearly a topic I am passionate about and I'd love to talk more. And please know, this is by no means coming from a ground higher than the one you are on. I'm right there with you. The commands of the bible are TOUGH. But they are commands none the less, and as long as my focus remains on it not being done by my own strength, I know it's possible. Please join me in prayer for this trip, for the Muslim population of this world, the unreached people of the world, and for the Americanized Christians that just don't know that there's actually more to it.

- Bethany

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