Jan 28, 2011

Attemp Great Things for God, Expect Great Things from God

Greetings! As I post this, I am on my way to Tel Aviv, Israel. There is the adage that success isn't how far you’ve gotten, but the distance you have traveled from where you started. It is perhaps a good measure for us at SWIM as we commemorate five years of global ministry.

Nineteen years ago as a teenager and recent high school graduate, I started off from my village in Western Kenya. I felt a need to respond to the strong call on my life to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to the nations. It is a great joy of mine to see that God has fulfilled this desire and allowed me to do exactly that.

When I started, I did not have money, formal training, or connections. But I loved God passionately and cared about people, especially where they would spend eternity. I knew I had a gift of an evangelist and pastor. I felt a sense that the call was global. The daunting question was how to get started. After a season of fasting and prayer, I followed the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

One night I boarded a bus headed to Nairobi some two hundred and twenty miles away from my village. I was almost thrown off the bus by the conductor a few miles into the journey for lack of sufficient bus fare. Somehow God’s hand intervened and I was able to get to my destination.

For the next six years, Nairobi became my home. Here God continued to work on my heart and use me to draw others to the Kingdom in small ways. Through interactions with the international community at my work place, He began to enlarge my perspective.

I remember reading a couple books that made a profound impression on my life and would eventually come to characterize my engagement with life. One was a book by Elizabeth Elliot, Through the Gets of Splendor in which she recounted the life story of Jim Elliot. Jim was a missionary to Ecuador who along with four others, was killed while attempting to evangelize the Waodani people through efforts known as operation Auca.

Two specific statements she attributed to Jim stood out to me: “He is no fool who gives up what He can’t keep to gain what He can’t lose.” My heart resonated with the fact that only in God do we have what is worth living for and dying for. The rat race may gain us a few exciting things in this world. But they are temporal and often anti-climactic once we attain them. What we gain in Christ is eternal and perpetual, never losing its luster. I thus determined that regardless of the cost, when push came to shove I will always align my choices with what is eternal.

The other phrase was “Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God.” Without constant challenge, life has a way of turning into a rat and rot. Pretty soon one who is motivated and eager becomes average as he bumps against the rough and the tumble of life. I wanted to avoid being an average Christian. I wanted to attempt great things for God or at least to do little things in a great way that glorified God. In the same way, I had great expectation in God.

Thus, while waiting in Nairobi, I seized every opportunity, small though they were, to exalt the Name of my Great God. I joined Nairobi Pentecostal Church on Valley Road where I worshipped weekly. I expected God to guide me and to bring me where He wanted me in the grant Kingdom scheme of things. Someone has well said that faith is an act of rational choice, which determines us to act as if certain things were true, and in the confident expectation that they will prove to be true.

The second book I read was a biography of missionary William Carey. While recounting his sense of calling to global enterprise, Carey had felt a challenge from the Holy Spirit: “God is calling you to a glorious future. He is calling you to take His gospel of Salvation throughout the whole world. My friend, you need this wider vision.” As I read these words, I too felt the Holy Spirit tug me on my shoulder. I felt my blood rush through my veins. I wanted to invest my life in what really mattered in the final scheme of things.

What could be more glorious than to usher people into the presence of Jesus Christ, helping them know the joy of relationship with the King of Kings? What could be more glorious and glamorous than to usher people onto the bus of Salvation?

Of course there are many glorious things in the world. Cate Middleton might describe her experience of being engaged and soon marrying Prince William, the future heir to the English throne as a glorious experience. We might all view it as a glorious experience. But when you glimpse the King of Kings, His majesty, power, glory, splendor, authority; when you grasp His perfect love, abundant mercy, and majestic splendor that shakes the earth and causes the heavens to tremble, everything else pales and disappears.

Commemorating 5 Years of World-Wide Ministry

New Year greetings! This year at Shine in the World International Ministries (SWIM) we are marking five years of world-wide ministry. We thank everyone who is a part of this tremendous journey of faith for their role in what God has done through SWIM all around the world.

In build up to the upcoming celebration event, I will be offering some weekly reflections on this blog as I revist some of the highlights of the journey.  Finally, I invite you to join our facebook fun page and receive notifications as soon as the articles are available.

We invite you to join us for a special Thanksgiving and ministry benefit dinner on Friday, March 11th 2011 at Westwood Community Church, Excelsior, MN.  To reserve simply e-mail reservations@swimministry.org. We will accept payment at the door.