Monday, November 30, 2009

Improvements In Missionary Life

In October I celebrated 11 years of being a missionary in Germany. I truly enjoy what I am doing here and feel privileged to be able to share the truth of God's Word with people in our Bible schools, church, home groups, and in various other settings. Recently I was thinking about how much things have changed for me in these 11 years and beyond that how much things have improved for missionaries over the years.

One thing that I like to do is read. I have read about other great missionaries like George Muller and Hudson Taylor. There is another missionary I read about who I think has the best name for a missionary, "Jonathan Goforth". With a name like that I guess you just have to leave home and go somewhere else. All three of these men, and their families, left everything and everyone that they knew to go to another country and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As I have read about these people and others like them I think that those of us who follow God's direction to go to another country today have it pretty easy by comparison.

Muller, Taylor, and Goforth all lived during the 1800s. They did not have the luxury of flying on an airplane to their destination; they all had to sail on ships and some of their trips lasted for months! None of these people had email, Facebook, Twitter, or even the Internet to keep in contact with others or to find resources to help them in their work. I can use the telephone or Skype to talk with family and friends without any difficulties and these early missionaries spent months and often years without having any contact with family or friends. Just this past week, I have had contact through the Internet or by phone with people on every continent, except Antarctica, and that was not possible for these early missionaries. Besides that, I am using a computer to write this blog and I use it for much of my work also; when I first came to Germany I did not even have a computer and I know that computers were not available in the 1800s!

No matter what anyone does to follow God's plan for their life there will be challenges and some sacrifices to be made. There is always a price to pay for serving God but the rewards always make it worth it! When I look at the improvements that have come for people who serve as missionaries I am very thankful for living in the day and age that I do. I know that no matter what circumstances we face that God will always make a way for us to succeed. But I am glad that there are many natural obstacles that I do not have to face today as many of my predecessors did and I am grateful for their hard work and sacrifice that paved the way for missionaries like me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Importance Of Our Words

In September I was back in the USA and towards the end of my trip and then when I got back to Germany I was having some trouble with a cold. The second day back in Germany I almost completely lost my voice and had a hard time talking. Because of that I limited how much I talked so that I would not put any unnecessary strain on my voice. Some people would probably say that my not speaking as much would be a good thing, and you might know someone who should talk less. But, all kidding aside, it is not how much we say that matters as much as what we say.

When I was in this situation of not speaking much it got me thinking about words in general and the things that people say. There is actually an important truth here that we need to learn, our words are powerful and have more impact on our lives than we may think they do. One thing that we must realize is that we need to find out what the Bible says about us, our life, and those around us and then say what the Bible says about each of these. The Bible has quite a bit to say about our words and what our words can do.

Here are a few things that the Bible has to say about words, just from the Book of Proverbs. Our words can bring life or death (Proverbs 18:21); our words can deliver and preserve us (Proverbs 12:6, 13:3), our words can be pleasant (Proverbs 15:26) and promote health (Proverbs 12:18), or our words can destroy others (Proverbs 11:9) and ourselves (Proverbs 13:3). Another good place to read about the value of what we say is in James 3:2-12. Let's make it our goal to be the kind of people who say the right kind of things and have words that bring life and encouragement instead of words that do nothing but bring harm to ourselves and to others.