theMILL just sent nearly 200 college students and 20-somethings around the world on a two week missions trip. I gave a small recap of the trips at theMILL this last Friday (to listen click here / to watch recap video click here). I think every Christian needs to go beyond the borders of their country to share the Gospel at least once in their lifetime (for a more detailed explanation of why click here)
Just as the Israelites (God's chosen people) were given a covenant through Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3 to "bless all the people on the earth", this still applies to us today as the people of God. This is reiterated in Acts 1:8 as Jesus commissions his disciples to go to the uttermost bounds of the earth.
I had the privilege of going to Peru and being with a team in the city of Iquitos where we literally changed a single mom's life in one day! In six hours we tore her old house down and built her a new one all for $450 - Extreme Makeover Home Edition (Peru style). She and her five kids went from living in the mud in a house held together by string and wire to a solid house with a door, rooms and beds. My favorite part of the day was when one of the girls came home from school - she was gone before we got there and returned when the new house was almost done - she had a mix of shock and joy on her face that won't soon fade from my memory.
Check out these pictures that track this day in Peru and what just this one team did on MILL Missions 2010.
Rhythms in life are so important. In the first chapter of the first book of the Bible God establishes rhythm. He creates and works for six days and on the seventh he rests. The amazing thing is that God didn’t have to rest…he can’t tire. So He his communicating something much bigger than a six day work week. He is setting a pattern we are to mimic. Leviticus 25 highlights the seventh year as a year for fields to rest and rejuvenate. God is saying that rhythm and rest provided the needed time to produce again.
I ran across this video recently. It communicates the value of time off in an incredibly powerful way. We need to pause. God made us to pause. Not just to sleep but to create again. Check it out.
It’s important that we all have people who speak into our lives. Some of them are near and available for a phone call or a conversation over a cup of coffee, while others we may never know face-to-face but their influence comes through observation, books, sermons or blogs. Louie Giglio has been one of the latter for me.
Louie is the founder and leader of Passion Conferences. Passion is a ministry whose goal is to awaken college students to the greatness of God. They do this primarily through conferences around the world. Louie has profoundly impacted my perspective on college ministry and, more specifically, how I operate as a communicator and pastor.
Over the last few months I have had the privilege of personally connecting with Louie and the team at Passion. I believe that, though my expression is in the local church and theirs is in a conference setting, that our goals are similar and I consider it an honor to partner with them to reach this generation. The next Passion event is January 2-5 in Atlanta. I will be a Community Group leader at Passion 2010 and would love to see as many of you there as possible. Check out this video and register at 268generation.com
*There is a group from theMILL that is driving to Atlanta. If you want to get in on the road tripping goodness call Rachael at 989/295.5475 for details.
On my blog I have posted blog posts of friends and others whom I find to be valuable but never have I reposted one of my own…until now. At theMILL we are in the process of receiving applications for MILL missions 2010, so in an effort to communicate why it is so important to go I revised and reposted a blog I wrote in June 2008 called "Four Reason to Go on Missions." Enjoy.
I firmly believe that every Christian should go on a short term overseas mission trip at least once in their lifetime. I say this not because we need more missionaries (we do) or because I love missions (and I do) but rather because missions is God’s purpose in the world. God is on a mission and He is inviting us to join Him. Going to the bush in Africa, the jungles of the Amazon or the mountains of Nepal to share the love of God is not just a spiritual travel excursion but about us being united with God’s heart and purpose.
You might just have checked out because you say, “I am not called to be a missionary.” The problem with that reasoning is that if you are following Jesus, then you are called! We are all part of the mission. Whether that means that you spend the rest of your life in a foreign land or supporting someone who does, understanding the mission is helpful to us all. So here are four reasons to get on a plane and exit the borders of America.
1. You get God’s perspective on the world. This mission we are on is not an American mission but a global God mission. It is not about taking Western culture to a “less fortunate people” but about bringing Jesus to people without hope. When we see people not as poor, different or less than, but as people whom God loves, just as He loves us, we begin to understand the heartbeat of God.
2. You get a small taste of heaven. I have sat in small and large churches all over the world…from the slums of Kenya, to the mountain villages of Mexico, to a cave in China and I have felt the presence of God as we worshipped together. It wasn’t about skin color, nationality, language or socio-economic status…it was about our amazing and gracious God. In all of these settings I have thought, “This might just be what heaven is like…and the white faces were outnumbered by the colored ones!” There won’t be any chants of U-S-A! or KENYA! or MEXICO! or CHINA! but instead…JESUS!
3. The personal growth is exponential. Going on missions changes you. You are taken out of your comfort zone. Being in a foreign culture will force you to do things you would never normally choose to do. Less than ideal sleeping conditions, weird food, riding a strange form of transportation, and unimaginable poverty will cause you to think twice about your personal finances, the way you pray and what you do with your life. As much as we want to make an impact on the people we go to, the impact on us is undeniable.
4. It is a great adventure! I have been to 39 countries and I have a life goal of going to as many countries as I am old (so far I am ahead of the game and sitting in an airport on a layover doesn’t count!). I have seen the Pyramids, Big Ben, the Great Wall of China, the Rock of Gibraltar, ridden a rickshaw, eaten crocodile and a myriad of other things that you will never find on a menu in America, played soccer with orphans, gone on safari and met some amazing people. The ministry that happens everyday on a mission trip is incredible…seeing the world is a sweet bonus! Going overseas provides an opportunity to see and experience so many great things that are just plain amazing!
Now don’t get me wrong. This is not about guilt. I have heard people say…if you don’t go then the blood of the nations will be on your hands. The motivation for missions is so much greater than guilt. It is about the passion that burns in each of us because of how our lives have been transformed by the love of God…it is that love that compels us. We can’t help but want to tell others about our great God and spread His fame to the nations.
In the summer of 2010 theMILL is sending college students and 20-somethings to Peru, Germany, Egypt and India. Don’t miss out on this incredible experience. Details on dates, cost and ministry opportunities as well as applications are available at www.theMILLonline.org.