News and Views

2bobcraft2We have our fingers on the pulse of modern missions. Mission work is changing rapidly as the world's cultures and global conditions are changing. Ease of travel and communication impact how the Gospel is spread. But at the heart of missions, there is the work of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and the obedience of the Church to carry out Jesus' command to go into all the earth.

We want to present challenging biblical truths, insights into today's missions environment, and progress reports on reaching the entire world with the Gospel. Please keep checking our blog regularly for updates, stories and challenging thoughts from Scripture! 

Are You Really the Messiah?

"I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, prepare a straight pathway for the Lord’s coming!” (John 1:23)

John the Baptist was sent by God to spread the news that the Messiah was coming. In fact, the Lord powerfully revealed to him that Jesus was the foretold Messiah. Jesus Himself said that no prophet is greater than John the Baptist.

Yet, John the Baptist doubted that Jesus was the Messiah while in prison. He heard about the things Jesus was doing, and sent his disciples ask Him: Are you the Messiah we’ve been waiting for, or should we look for someone else?

How is it possible that John the Baptist, who was sent by God to tell people that Jesus was the one they were looking for - the same John who was told by God Himself that Jesus is the one - is now wondering about the authenticity of Jesus?

It seemed that prison clouded his vision. Prisons, whether physical, mental or emotional, are part of life. A prison can restrict and limit our sight, vision, mobility, ability and life.The solution is - keeping Jesus in sight.

We get used to seeing Jesus do great things, but when things don’t go as planned, when things don’t work out as we hoped for, when we don’t see Jesus come to the rescue, or when He delays - we are prone to wonder like John the Baptist did. Whatever our struggles are, sometimes our faith can take a hit and we wonder if Jesus is real. In response to John's question, Jesus reminds them of His numerous miracles, a confirmation that He is the Messiah.

When we lose sight of Jesus, we can feel imprisoned. But when we see Jesus, we are released!

During this Christmas season, we pray that you feel the hope, love, joy and peace that comes only through the one Messiah - Jesus Christ. No matter the prison that may be in your life, know that Jesus is the all powerful Messiah. Jesus did miracles during His time on earth, and He still does them today. We may not understand Jesus at work in our life, but we know that He is always with us.

We also want to thank you for your partnership. As the Gospel of Christ is proclaimed around the world, people are released from the prisons that are hurting their lives. Many are celebrating their first Christmas this year because they now have a personal relationship with the Messiah!

We wish you and your loved ones a joyous Christmas season. As we ponder His miraculous birth, life, and even the resurrection of death, we hope you remember that you were instrumental in sharing about the Messiah with people living in darkness around the world.

World Peace Through Internal Peace

On this United Nations International Day of Peace, it is clear to me that we are taking so many things in life for granted – until we lose them, and often only then do we realize their real value to us.

For 69 years Ukrainians lived in peace, taking it for granted until war broke out in the spring of 2014 between pro-Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine and the Ukrainian government. In the midst of fierce fighting, when people were asked what they wished for, most of them said they wished for peaceful skies over their heads.

Peaceful skies are a great and wonderful thing to enjoy, and it is hard to imagine that there is anything that possibly supersedes this. But yes, there is something. It is peace in your heart. Many Christians from Ukraine reported that, despite the shooting and bombing that was happening around them, they had peace in their hearts. Today the shooting has not stopped completely, but there is a ceasefire agreement that is being kept to some degree.

Just as the Bible says in Psalm 4:8, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe,” the Christians in the warzone in Ukraine trusted God in the midst of war and experienced peace in their hearts. They know Jesus as the Prince of Peace and trust him with their lives. Jesus came to make peace between God and mankind. He is the one who makes peace in the hearts of people possible.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is trying to create a culture of peace among people, but without deep-reaching peace from God in our hearts, peace among people is hard or impossible to achieve. Peace between nations and people starts with peace between men and God. Peace in the hearts of men comes as a result of peace with God.

Many millions of people in hundreds of thousands of villages have not yet heard of this Prince of Peace, Jesus, and they thirst and long to be freed from their fears and to experience peace in their hearts. They wish so much to be able to lie down and sleep in peace, but they don’t know of the God they can trust.

That’s why the Bible says that to bring good news of peace and salvation to people is a great and beautiful thing (Isaiah 52:7). And that’s why Reach A Village is working hard to bring this message of peace to the unreached villages of our world, including war-torn areas like Ukraine.

May the IDP (International Day of Peace) become a DIP (Day of Internal Peace) for many! A true international peace will result from real internal peace. May the peace of God fill our hearts so that we may become agents of peace internationally.

Pray for Nepal

When I saw the devastation on television from the Nepal earthquake, I knew there would be thousands of casualties. My heart went out to that tiny nation which had been literally ripped apart.

Growing up in "tornado alley" made me very aware of the devastation wrought by natural disasters. My dad was a leader in our community and we often took our construction equipment to disaster sites after storms to help. I also helped work restoration projects from hurricane damage during high school and college days along the Gulf Coast.

As a missionary, I continued to deal with disasters in the Philippines from floods, typhoons, earthquakes and even volcanic eruptions. I saw the tsunami devastation, first hand, in Indonesia in 2005 (more than 100,000 casualties) and then saw part of the devastation of typhoon Nargis in Myanmar (2008) where the death toll and missing ranged near 80,000 people. The only thing left to hang on to, in many cases, is a person's faith. All else is gone. Victims want to hold on to the slightest thread of hope and need a tremendous amount of help.

This photo grabbed my attention. At first glance it appeared to be the darkened corpse of a baby he was holding. It was carefully wrapped in cloth and was cradled in his arms. This caption under the photo (from a Chinese news agency) then explained what I was seeing. "A member of a rescue team takes the idols to a safe place from a fallen temple." Yes, upon closer examination, you can see a stone image wrapped in the sacred colors of a Buddhist robe being brought out of the rubble. I knew that Nepal was a country where there is less than 1% Christian. It is basically 80% Hindu, 10% Buddhist, 4% Muslim and a sprinkling of other religions. There are thousands of villages and communities unreached by the Gospel.

Seeing the man carrying this idol brought back to my mind a story from the Old Testament. "Then they carried the ark (of the covenant) into Dagon's temple and set it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! They took Dagon and put him back in his place." 1 Samuel 5:2-3 (NIV)

In the presence of God, all idols will fall. And yet the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ neither falls nor fails in any circumstance. I have full confidence that the True and Living God will be able to redeem many Nepalese in the midst of this tragedy. He did not fall and He will not fail to speak peace and hope to Nepal through Jesus Christ. Pray for Nepal. Pray for the mobilization of compassionate church planters into every village. Pray for a spiritual hunger to sweep the nation and that they will find a spiritual foundation that cannot be shaken.    

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