A Waiting World, A Willing Church
Followed by a presentation from Pastor Josh about the Board Retreat and the direction to pursue the property on 12th Street.
It's wonderful to be back here with you all again I feel like I'm I'm home when we're out on the mission field it can often feel like you're among strangers every Sunday but here we know we're among friends listeningto.
Steve talk to the kids there it's it's so true they are a part of the church aren't they as I looked at the people performing up here.
You know my dad and Nathan and Elizabeth and Brian and I mean I think when I first came they were about the age of those kids that were there and now look look at how they're such a important part of the churchand I think it's so.
That's what church is it's more than a spiritual institution it's a social institution also and we raise our kids to love the Lord and to stand for him and to represent them in their in their generation just as we do with ourown generation I think our Joyce and my kids were in that group also the first time that we came back in three days Joyce and I will celebrate our thirty first anniversary.
Thanks and I tell you that because we met in Grace Bible Church the first time that we laid eyes on each other was in this church not this building but this church this group of people this congregation how many ofyou are there any others who met for the first time in this who are married who have met for the first time here OK We have several here that's great so this church is very precious to us it's part of our family it's part ofour heritage and it always will be the rest of our lives. And it's wonderful to be back here with you I.
Wanted to show I remember that time we came we stayed with Dan and Leroy also and I don't Dan and Lee are they here or know they're there. Not here today but I remember staying with them and.
Meeting Joyce and from there we're all in those days you know we wrote letters to each other on pieces of paper and we made long distance phone calls for twenty five cents a minute and that added up to hundredsof dollars but it worked and it did bring us together even though Joyce was here and I was traveling around the country presenting our my missionary work in different places but we went to we went to Kenya thatyear nine hundred eighty six served there for eighteen years we were pioneer missionaries the work started with about four churches and I don't know today there's probably about seventy churches and bunch ofBible training programs and that work has expanded throughout the country and it's now turned over completely to the Kenyans You know that's the whole point of mission mission isn't about trying to us the two ofus trying to reach every person in Kenya that would be quite impossible the idea is to establish the gospel all Mung that people group so that they love Jesus Christ so that they only Gospel and so that they can beambassadors of Christ to their own people just like here in Phoenix around this church you are ambassadors of Christ to the people in this neighborhood the same in Kenya it is their responsibility to be ambassadorswhere they are and just last year our last missionary left Kenya for thirty years we had missionaries in Kenya and now our last mission areas left and we've left it in the able hands of the Kenyan leaders men the men andwomen that Joyce and I taught in Bible school that we work side by side with that we planted churches together with the day finally came a very sad day with a lot of tears when we got on the plane said goodbye tothem and we left the ministry with them I was in the executive director for eleven years. Based in our office in Indianapolis and the work continued to grow and finally the board says we've got to have more leadershippositions and they formed the International Director position development director and office administrator positions as leadership the leadership team of things to come mission and I took the International Directorposition which means Joyce and I now live outside of the United States and that's where Singapore comes in because that's the base that we use before I continue I want to I want to show a couple slides here and.Are those up on the screen you know there we go this Sara came over to see us in South Africa but these are Brazilian missionaries.
We have here the Chris Myers Paul Marianna and Matthias press Meyer and they went directly from Brazil to South Africa to work and as the international director this is what I'm trying to do is get this network goingon between the countries so that.
Rather than at all missionaries coming from the U.S. or having to come through the U.S. A missionaries can actually go from one country to the other and Chris Myers are now there they are working they haveestablished a new churches new Bible schools there's two new Bible training centers to train pastors that they are involved with there they do speak English but Marianna is Paul is probably half American and halfBrazilian but Marianna is one hundred percent Brazilian she just made one trip to the US.
This is Uganda this is Peter cogwheel here who we worked with a lot while we were there he's now in charge of the coast ministry in Kenya and this is Steve.
He's the chairman of the board in Uganda. And this work has one church but they are working to plant two more churches and it's great to see because Peter goes over there three times a year together with anotherKenyan pastor Titus and they do the Bible training now in Uganda rather than me having to go or finding another missionary to go to Uganda they're able to do it themselves.
Next I don't know why we lost this OK this is our church in Mumbai Kenya on the coast this building was built recently I don't know holds like two or three hundred people and our national conference will be therenext year but this was the work of Pastor Peter God we know missionary from the U.S. or from T.C.M. actually went to plant these churches this was all done by the Kenyans themselves having the desire to preach thegospel of Jesus Christ on the coast of Kenya.
This is another church I point this out because I don't see any bananas in your church today maybe someone forgot to bring them but that's how they raise money for church building. In NY I can yeah and this isactually a church that was planted while we were there while we worked in Kenya and they built one building then they expanded that building and now they want to build a huge building which this was a fundraiserand so. Of course you have your normal church service that's outside because there's no space in the building invite all your friends and visitors and then you sell sugarcane one piece by one piece right and then thekids break it apart and chew on it and spit it out all over the ground.
And so they sell all that chickens bananas and part part of how they raise the funds but it's interesting.
I think Joyce and I was at this we were at this we gave about ten thousand shillings and they raised two hundred thirty thousand shillings that doesn't mean. Do you accept that in the old days the missionaries usuallygave about seventy five percent of what was given at these what they call how big pulling together we gave ten thousand they gave two hundred twenty thousand people from this church and you see the changetheir commitment to the Gospel their desire to have a place where their kids can grow up and learn the Bible just like they did when they were kids and they're willing to sacrifice for it this was just in December. This isin the Philippines I teach a lot of mission seminars teaching about mission why we should be missionaries how to be missionaries Here's some young people studying at one of the seminars.
I keep losing this here but there and I we have four Bible schools in the Philippines I spoke at their graduation the graduates are standing behind there I think they have around fifty to sixty graduates every year inthese work in the more than five hundred Grace churches there is called Grace gospel church there but it's similar to your Grace Bible Church here.
This is one of the hopes sorry we went too far.
I think we're getting confused there we go this is one of our missionary cat Joyce and I teach at a missionary training school called Grace the illogical center for mission and this was a desire we've had for a long timeis to train our own missionaries especially training we have Americans who go over the last class we had two Americans one Indonesian and ten Filipinos who attended we've trained twenty seven people in all nowand we want to train these so that we can send them out to the and reach people to the regions beyond and we praise the Lord for this family the by not family they are now in Myanmar I'll talk a bit about Myanmarlater this is the Escobar Jimmy and joy and their two kids is low. Longtime pastor in the Grace Church is in the Philippines but they are committed to going to Vietnam and we hope that will happen early next year andyou might pray with us that they will be able to make that these are the graduates from our last class of grace the illogical center for mission and Singapore you might recognize the boat on top of the skyscrapersthat's not because of a flood Evidently they wanted it to be there and then the curse them or lion is right there it's the symbol.
And I live and last time I was I was on the twenty fourth floor that was where my apartment Our apartment was and that's the sunset there over the city and then.
I base in Singapore because there's direct flights from Singapore all these lines here are direct flights to countries and I won't list all of them but there's about thirteen countries there that have a direct flight fromSingapore and so it's a good location to be from those two budget airlines and other larger airlines that are all based in Singapore and it's a great place for me to of I travel about once or twice a month last month Ispoke in four different countries and so it keeps me active and they. Singapore is a good place for us to base so pray for us there one this is Myanmar. I'll talk a bit more about Myanmar but this is our team that worksthere this is Pastor Kenneth and his wife Eunice they're their chin tribe but they're Burmese people from the country of Burma it has two names Burma and Myanmar the old name was Burma the new name is Myanmarthe Burmese are actually a tribe within Myanmar the biggest tribe only two percent Christian the rest are Buddhist.
And then these are missionaries of Filipino missionaries There's Dan and Amy again.
This is Gardner now. Gardner's wife and daughter are not in the picture and then the rest of these are Myanmar pastors and so. We started there in two thousand and fourteen.
And last light and we had our family reunion as I said Joyce and I met thirty one years ago and it's grown to this many Wow that's what happened so anyway we have three kids and seven grand kids and we were ableto that's Crater Lake and last week we were able to meet with everyone there so that's a little bit of the history of us and our family I can't go into all the details of all the countries because of no time and I'm watchingmy time here closely pastor Josh slow.
But. I wanted to. To open the Word of God and say why why is mission important and I titled my my talk here waiting world willing church a waiting world willing church back in two thousand and three I wrote this inmy vision statement and reached people groups. Together with the urban church planting is the idea of reaching and reach people groups T.C.M. should target important cities in countries where less than fiftypercent of the population is Christian many of these countries are in the area of the world known as the ten forty window this window is the home of three great religions Islam Hinduism and Buddhism twenty nine ofthese countries have a Christian population of less than one percent it is these countries which fit Paul's category of the regions beyond where Christ is unknown I wrote that in two thousand and three at that timeT.C.M. did not work in any countries in the ten forty window I don't even know how do we target and reach people what do they look like how do we share the gospel with them and I praise the Lord since twothousand and three until today we have been going into and I knew. Each country about every two years thanks to commissions and missionaries into a new country and many of these countries are our unreached Iwas in.
Mandalay Mandalay is a city in the center of Myanmar and we went up to this Buddhist temple on a high hill and it looked out over the whole city of Mandalay and everywhere you look you just saw hundreds orthousands of us you know Pargo does they have a sharp point on top and inside is a is a little cave like thing with a little Buddha inside where people come and pray.
And so you could just see them everywhere around you you couldn't even count them if you tried and then I looked around and tried to find a cross which of course represents Jesus Christ and how much he loves theworld I could not find one not a single one of those people will live their whole lives without hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ without knowing how much God loves them and how much God wants a relationshipwith them how much God wants to care for them they will not have the opportunity to hear it and I was up there with our missionaries who were assigned their gardener and Salvina I remember standing next to thesetwo big green stone snakes with sharp teeth and people were going up and putting money in the miles of those snakes Evidently they felt that some blessing would come by putting putting money there that thatwould bring blessings back to them and I was we stood up there and we just prayed and I wept for the people of Myanmar how can they hear the good news of Jesus Christ and that's where we come into play that'swhy mission is there because we who hear the truth Every Sunday we're blessed I mean we have just worship God with amazing singing. And.
Godly people standing up here on the stage needing us you have a pastor who preaches the word to you you have Sunday School classes you live in a country where we do have Christian radio stations Christianbookstores there are seminaries here you want to degree in Bible you can get it right here in Phoenix there's a number of seminaries who can give you a degree in theology or Bible and yet you go to a place likeYanmar in the whole country of this the Burmese people just two percent Christian they don't have the chance to hear the gospel and that's where we come in the Bible says the god of this age has blinded the mindsof unbeliever so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel that displays the glory of Christ who is the image of God Jesus is the light of the world and when there is no Jesus there is darkness and a missionary goesholding his little candle and it is a little candle sometimes it feels like and yet that light goes into the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome the light of Jesus Christ and that's what we try to do just one personat a time one missionary at a time shining the light of Jesus Christ in the darkness and we praise the Lord for the results that we see the Apostle Paul desired to take the Gospel to the regions beyond he said he said itthis way. Neither do we go this is a second Corinthians ten fifteen through sixteen neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others our hope is that as your faith continues to grow our sphere ofactivity among you will greatly expand so that we can preach the Gospel in the regions beyond you for we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else's territory three times Paul uses the idea ofreagents fear regions territory they all appear in. Passage and he speaks of expanding we want the Gospel to be preached in more places in this world than it's ever been preached before. And progress has beenmade I probably in Paul's day it was a million to one this far is.
Unbelievers to be leavers and today that number is probably down to you know something like four to one and so progress has been made but there are still millions and millions out there who have not heard theGospel the number is officially two point seven billion and reached and we want them to hear the question is are we willing are we willing to send the people out there I'll just I want to close with this passage ofScripture Romans ten thirteen through fourteen.
I'm sure it's a common one.
Romans Chapter ten versus thirteen through fourteen.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved How then can they call on the one they have not been leaved in and how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard and how can they hearwithout someone preaching to them. And how can anyone preach and unless they are sent as it is written How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news you see the progression there it starts by sayingeveryone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved that's great that's wonderful that's exciting that's the grace of God that he's willing to do that but then it asked some questions. Right and those questionshave to make us think seriously and there's a progression that has to take place if we start at the end of the verse someone must be sent.
And when we send someone they preach the gospel and when they preach the Gospel somebody hears the gospel. And when they hear the gospel they have a chance to be nieve. To be in leave on the Lord JesusChrist and then if they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ they can call on Him Jesus save me a sinner I believe in you I believe you have paid the price for my sins I want you to be my savior and then at that moment theyare saved. And that's why we send missionaries out you know there's the scent and the sender's I tell you about what what's happening on our fields. You're part of that thirty one years ago this church startedsupporting us and every single person who's heard the Gospel in all of these fifteen countries where we work and there's more countries coming.
Because of you because you sent us to the field to preach the gospel for us you all can't get up and get on the plane and go and preach some of you I believe are called to be missionaries and you should go to themission field but many of you won't and can't perhaps and yet you're still there you're there through your prayers you're there through your encouragement you're there screw your financial support you know the bibleasks us to be living sacrifices when you work at your job all week. Earning how many dollars per hour and you give that to this church to sending missionaries overseas you're part of what that missionary isaccomplishing because you are sending the gospel out from this church this is a principle that Jesus Christ talked of as the Father has sent me soul I am sending you right Jesus Christ was sent into the world and inthe same way we said and others out so we have a waiting world there waiting for the Gospel and the question is are we willing are we willing to send people out into that waiting world. I want to close with I don'tknow if you've heard the story of William Borden But this is an encouraging one for me.
In one thousand know for William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school as heir to the board in Derry a state he was already a millionaire for his high school graduation present his parents gave him a triparound the world as the young man traveled through Asia the Middle East and Europe he felt a growing burden for the world hurting people finally boarding wrote home to say I'm going to give my life to prove toprepare for the mission field a family friend wrote at that time that boarding was throwing his life away on the mission field. Board and wrote two words in the back of his Bible no reserves. Indeed board and heldnothing back during his college years at Yale University he became a pillar in the Christian community one entry in his personal journal that defined the source of his spiritual strength strength simply said Say no to selfand yes to Jesus every time. During his first semester at Yale Borden started a small prayer group that would transform campus life this little group gave birth to a movement that spread across the campus by the endof his first year one hundred fifty freshmen were meeting for weekly Bible study and prayer by the time billboard and was a senior one thousand appeals thirteen hundred students were meeting in such groups boardand also strategized with his fellow Christians to make sure every student on campus heard the Gospel and he was often seen ministering to the downtrodden in the streets of New Haven but his real passion wasmissions once he narrowed his missionary call to the Consul people in China board and never wavered upon graduation graduation from Yale Borden wrote two more words in the back of his Bible no retreats inkeeping with that commitment bored and turned down several high paying job offers in rolling in seminary Instead after grad. Waiting he immediately went to Egypt to learn Arabic because of his intent to work withMuslims in China while in Egypt he contracted spinal meningitis within a month twenty five year old William Borden was dead prior to his death Morton had written two more words in his Bible. Underneath the wordsno reserves and no retreats he had written no regrets.
Will reach that day.
And will we be able to say what William Borden said. The reserves will retreat no regrets.
Let's live our lives in honor of Jesus pray. Thank you.
You for Joyce for being here and you know I appreciate you telling everyone knows the story of meeting here at this church and you know our mission statement this church is developing committed followers of JesusChrist to teach encouraging the God's word and Joyce your product of this church and you are committed and even though Joyce's and here every day every week she's committed to following Christ and married aman who is committed to following Christ and so I just thank you for your inspiration to us not all of us can be missionaries like you said maybe some need to be a missionary but you're doing what some of us can'tand so we're so thrilled to be partnering with you so thank you for for being our partners in ministry.
All right this time of David King Kate and I can fathom what you guys coming up they're going to be up here in case I forget something so they're kind of they kind of a safety net but what we want to do right now iswe want to kind of fill you in on our board retreat and what we were talking about a lot. Asked week at the end of the sermon I shared with you that we had some big decisions to make as a church and so you knowthese last two or three years as a church we've been noticing that we're kind of maxing out our facilities space and just look around today I know we're one service we need to go back to two services but we've kind ofreached that.
Point where we need to make some decisions and so we've been for the last two or three years looking at different options and about a year ago we decided we're not in a financial position or even a ministry positionto purchase or to build or do anything like that so we decided to go to two services and we did that back in October and so far it's worked so we've been able to see people come to the church and from a financialperspective we're definitely in better shape and so what we've decided to do especially since our last congregational meeting in our April or whenever was we decided OK let's start making preparations for first stepnumber two and at that time the number one option felt like it was going to be to pursue purchasing and renovating our neighbor's property Well a few weeks ago three or four weeks ago as we were doing nowwe're presenting that and looking at that as an option we became aware of the church on twelfth Street and so as soon as we saw this I saw this and and we said to the board in the staff hey we might need this stopjust a minute and just take a look at this and see if if this is something that we can do and so what we did at the retreat this last weekend is we really considered all of our options and that includes purchasing ourneighbor's house renovating it building or even waiting a few years and trying to build the vacant perches the vacant lot to our west or the church on twelfth Street and as we're looking at all the options and I'm notgoing to go into detail today because I am going to next Sunday but after looking at all the options the board unanimously felt that we need to put as our first option the church at twelve St And so what we're goingto do is worry that we're going to see if that is something that can happen. And and we're going to do this with two following conditions number one is the church has to vote to move in this direction and we'replanning on doing that in September tenth and then also we would have to sell our building first because we will not put ourselves in a financial position where we have two mortgages we vote we have no peaceabout doing anything like that and so right now our decision is we're going to pursue this and see if God makes it happen all right and so to get our foot in the door what we first have to do is present an offer to thatother church and say we'd like to purchase your church however our church needs to vote to approve this and we also need to sell and so here's kind of our timeline right now and I know you're kind of getting a drinkfrom a fire hydrant so if you have any questions out there words come up and talk to me or any of the board members and so here is our plan over the next month this will happen next Sunday we're going to havekind of a vision casting Sun Sunday during the service we'll talk about why we feel like that's our best first option and how it will look like when all of those different things and as we continue to move forward if wecontinue to move forward then on August twenty seventh which is in two Sundays we as a church will take a tour of that facility the next Sunday is Labor Day So we're not doing anything that Sunday but then thefollowing Sunday will be September tenth and we'll take a vote and so if we as a church decide to move forward take place on the tenth we will make an offer before then to kind of get our foot in the door and if theysay no then option number one is off the table and that's not the direction that God has for us but the board as we talked as we talked just last weekend we all felt like we wanted to take this step of faith and reallymake sure that God is opening the door for us to do this but again do this in such a way that we're not putting ourselves in any kind of a vulnerable position especially financially and so next Sunday we're going toshare with you all of our thoughts on why and from a ministry in a financial perspective and just really quickly from a financial perspective ultimately. This will be cheaper and the facility is much nicer than anything wecould ever do at this location so that was kind of the impetus and one of the reasons why we put this is our first option now I know some of you you're thinking boy this is kind of coming out of nowhere it's kind of ashock and not not really the last two or three years we've been looking at different options this specific option we just became aware about three or four weeks ago but we've already been putting ourselves in aposition to take a step of faith like this and you know at the board meeting it was kind of intense I think all of us were trying to be logical and take some emotion out of it but then also it's kind of an emotional decisionbecause we're we're making a decision and maybe taking a step a face that is going to put the church in a position in the next five ten fifteen twenty years for our ministry future so at the end we were all very excitedand we have peace about taking this as our first step and if the church doesn't accept our offer and if the Kyra geisha doesn't vote and if the church doesn't sell then it's very clear that God has another direction for usso we're pretty excited you're going to hear a lot more about this next Sunday for some very specific details and so we're not going to take any questions right now but you'll have an opportunity to do that in thefuture do you have anything you want to say.
Yes I think is very appropriate then you said that you enjoy Smet at the church but it was in this building probably down on Georgia and Monique and I met but it wasn't in this building it was on the valley and youknow it's never been about the walls you know it's been about about sort of been doing minister together for a long time I just want to also say our retreat we were gone for two and a half days we didn't talk aboutthe building for two and a half days first what we went through was our mission statement in our core values and how how we're doing and we reflected on that for a couple days and what we want to do in the futureand so this decision was all made through that lens on how we're doing ministry now what we can still do if we're still in this position in the. Place which is going great and how that might be enhanced at the newbuilding so it's always been through the lens of of ministry and missions first.
I don't we have a thing to add to what you said just to emphasize that. As we look is this happened it appeared as though this was a door that opened not one that we were trying to force open but one that God putin front of us and we felt that it would be really the responsible thing for us to to go down this path in India pray that if this isn't what God is this is not where he's leaving that he would close that door again so. That'sthe kind of the promise how we we voted with the you know with the faith that God is leading.
So again yeah we realize this is remaking this announcement again if anything any of these things don't fall in line then it's obvious that God doesn't want to see how that facility but we just want to take a step of faithand see what happens so next Sunday again we'll talk a lot about this and so I hope everyone's back here next week and if anything ever happens changes obviously we'll let everybody know but again just continue topray that God will make it very clear to us where the best location is for us to serve and I don't know if that really matters to God because we will continue to do our ministry wherever at but if this is in the best interestof our church today and in the future he'll open the doors and I guess the bottom line is the board says let's pursue this but let's not force this to happen at all so we're not going to force it and we're going to reallysay God if this is going to happen open the doors for us all this close in prayer Dear Lord we thank you so much for today and we thank you for the history of our church and even today reflecting on what happenedthirty one years ago then enjoys meeting in this ministry and spending their lives committed to you and in following you alone we just pray that no matter no matter what happens in the future for our. Or we havepeace about this that we just want to see people become committed followers of Christ and that they will serve whether it's here or in missions or any anywhere else that you might leave them that's why we exist andlearn again it's an exciting time in the history of our church we've seen that you've brought people to us and it's a responsibility that we have and so we just we humbly come before you and ask for your direction andLord we felt the board felt unanimous to move in this direction and so we just leave this up to you or we're not going to force this we want you to make it clear to us of this is if this is our in our best interest the Lord Ijust pray that today you know as we've we've heard from Ben Anderson all of us our identity is found in you and in who we are as your children and so help us to be missionaries where ever we are that we want to seeother people either through our words or our actions come to a knowledge of you saving knowledge of your grace so be with us as a church as we go out our separate ways this week and bring us back safely nextweek so we can continue to worship you and learn more about you and prays in Christ name amen and I mean the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the fellowship the love of God the Father in the fellowship of the HolySpirit to be with you all.