Nov 23, 2010

Things I Am Thankful For...

This being Thanksgiving week, I thought I would put up a few posts about some things that I am extremely thankful for this year.  First up...

People Who Sacrifice to Obey the Great Commission

Wrapping up my first full year as a pastor, this is one that has been heavy on my heart recently.  In the past year, I have been able to witness God putting a heart for missions into the people of Sixth Street.  This has always been a good SBC church - giving to and promoting missions.  However, in the past 12 months God has given us a heart to go.  I just returned from a baseball outreach to the Dominican Republic with three guys who, to my knowledge, have never been on a mission trip before.  It has been exciting to see the fire in their eyes as they see the great spiritual need both at home and abroad. 

In addition to these guys, in January one of our ladies went to Africa with a local church.  In June we sent a team of 24 to McDowell, Kentucky to do construction and benevolence work.  In August, my wife and a college student from the church spent 2 weeks in Africa ministering and sharing Christ's love with orphans in Swaziland, one of the most destitute countries in the world.  We have a team of four guys that are preparing to go in early 2011 on a vision trip to begin a partnership with the International Mission Board to reach an unengaged people group somewhere in West Africa.  These men are selling cars, boats, and sacrificing greatly to obey God's call on them.  We have another young lady in the church that is preparing to leave in January for "The World Race" - a 12-month journey to 11 countries.  The spreading of this fire for missions has created some great conversations in our church and is helping us to turn our attention away from the struggles of the past. 

By far, though, the greatest sacrifice I have seen this year is my friends Mark and Alyson Clyburn and Steve and Amy McAdams.  These two couples are friends of our from our former church in Birmingham.  Four years ago, these couples were average families who attended church each week and enjoyed good Christian fellowship.  However, they attended a mission trip to Swaziland several years ago and God redirected their lives in a massive way.  I witnessed as they sacrificed jobs, houses, cars, and much more to prepare themselves to pick up their children and their lives and move around the globe to love on and share the gospel with orphans.  The journey was a difficult one.  Many days we wondered how they would get the finances to go.  They are still in need of a lot of prayer and financial support.  If you are looking for a way to bless someone this holiday season, please consider giving them a financial gift.  You can do so here: Steve McAdams or Mark Clyburn

The task before us is great, but the Savior we serve is greater still.  He has promised that the gospel will go into all the world.  He has promised that every people group will have access to hear the gospel.  All he needs from us is open hands and surrendered hearts.  My prayer for my church, my family, and the Southern Baptist Convention is that we - like these families - will sacrifice whatever Christ asks to fulfill the Great Commission.