Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Ethnic Workers’ Summit, Phoenix, Arizona

It’s amazing to me how big God is! On Saturday I went to the Ethnic Workers’ Summit at Scottsdale Bible Church. We had about twenty of our missionary families there, and I really enjoyed the fellowship. With our missionaries we have such great people. I was impressed with Jeff and Julie Shackelford’s desire to bring more people into the mission. I was absolutely blown away by the ministry of Bill and Barbara Fair down in Colorado, how they use their skills to mentor people into the kingdom.

What really impressed me about the conference overall was that every time someone prayed, he prayed in his native language. I don’t know why it always impresses me that God does not speak English only. He knows the different ways to communicate. Language is not a barrier to Him. I’m so glad for that.

I happened to be at the conference on Native American Day. I learned about poverty on the Native American reservations. I learned how God is raising up a group of people who want to serve that population. I also learned something about perspective. The Native Americans approach God in an entirely different way than the Asian community would, or the Buddhist community, or the Muslim community. They express their faith differently. The missionaries who work with them talk about the Gospel in different terms, but they all point back to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, who died and was resurrected and is coming again.

Sunday I preached from John 3, and I was impressed again by what Jesus says to Nicodemus about the Spirit: The wind will blow where it wants to and does not choose who it should touch, but anyone who is in the way of the wind will experience this new perspective (vs. 8). Jesus encouraged Nicodemus to think about his faith differently. The Ethnic Workers’ Summit forced me to do the same because of the different perspectives represented there.

We have a lot to be proud of, a lot to be thankful for, but let’s not box ourselves into one way of doing things or limit what God can do. Among all the ethnicities of the conference, it’s easy to see that God’s going to do what He wants to do in the way He wants to do it with whom He wants to do it in spite of us. I hope that’s the spirit of our mission.

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