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What in the World is God Doing?And do I care? Trellis and the Vine – Chapter 3

A couple of weeks ago I was on the phone with one of our missionaries in Hungary. What he told me about the movement of God across Europe took me by complete surprise. He said that God is doing a work in the hearts of young people in Europe like never before in history.

The same is true of the middle east. The gospel is embraced by more Muslims today than ever before. All across Syria, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iraq, Muslims are coming to Christ by the thousands.

Last week I attended a pastor’s meeting in Cincinnati where three missionary families were reporting on their experience in central Africa. For the last 20 years they have been serving the Lord in Tanzania, Somolia, and Chad, and in every one of those places the gospel is bearing fruit in amazing ways.

Stories from all over the world confirm that the mission’s movement is alive and well. Places like South Korea, China, and India are seeing hundreds of thousands come to faith in Jesus Christ. In spite of severe persecution, the body of Christ is growing into a chorus of diverse worshipers that represent every tribe, tongue, nation, and language.

This, of course, has been God’s plan from the beginning. When he made his covenant promises to Abraham, he said, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on the earth will be blessed through you” (Gen 12:3). Initially, God would bless the direct descendants of Abraham through Isaac, but ultimately, he would bless the world through Abraham’s seed - Jesus Christ himself. Jesus is the promised seed (Galatians 3:16) through which God will bless the nations.

The great prophet Daniel saw the culmination of this truth at the end of the age.

Daniel 7:13–14 - 13 “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.

And the beloved apostle John confirmed this truth when he recounted his vision of the future.

Revelation 7:9–10 - 9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

The truth is, God is working out his master plan of redemption around the globe, and we have the JOY of partnering with him in that work!

The question is, will we continue to expand our kingdom mindset? Will we work to build on the foundation that has been laid at Maranatha, and seek to inspire the next generation to devote their lives to this eternal purpose?

Will we recognize that our disciple-making endeavors (something we’ve been talking about repeatedly throughout the Trellis and the Vine) are intended to build the kingdom wherever it is? Will we strategically work to strengthen the body of Christ around the globe, across the country, or down the street? Will we celebrate the work of God even if things aren’t happening in our own midst? And will we actively dedicate ourselves to disciple-making regardless of the personal benefits?

At every stage of our life journey, we must look for opportunities to fulfill our mandate – “Make disciples of all nations”!

  • Might we consider sending our kids to get their college degree in a cross-cultural setting? Many countries are closed to missionaries, but open to foreign exchange students. Might that be a great way to introduce the nations to the message of Jesus?

  • Might we consider retiring in closed country? Pick a place that is seasonally warm and relatively cheap, but a place that desperately needs to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Might we consider using our professional degree and years of experience to open the door of gospel witness in a place that is closed to vocational pastors?

Might we pray that God would continue to align our hearts to our mission-minded God? “For God so loved the world, that he gave . . .” (John 3:16). Might we say with the apostle Paul, that “we always thank God . . . when we pray for you . . . because of . . . the word of truth . . . that is bearing fruit and increasing all over the world” (Colossians 1:3-6).

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