Biblical Attributes of a Missionary: Determination

We have looked at boldness as a Biblical attribute of a missionary.  We now will turn our attention to determination.  Determination is a firmness of purpose, a resoluteness.  It is a purposed unwavering.  The very definition of determination is a description of the apostles who took the Gospel to the world!  They were firm in their purpose (making Jesus known among all nations, that everyone might be saved).  They were resolute!  They did not waver, nor were they distracted by other things of lesser importance!  Determination can be found all through the book of Acts.  Here are a few specific examples.
Paul lived with great determination.  Perhaps the greatest example of this is Paul and the persecution he endured.
  • “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.  Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” 2 Corinthians 11:24-28
    • Any one of these things would make many men quit.  Many would see this as God telling them that this is not His will.  Paul was determined.  These things did not stop Paul, he pressed on.  This is determination.
  • “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” 1 Corinthians 16:9
    • This verse displays Paul’s determination.  If these words came out of most Christian’s lips, we would use the word “but” instead of “and”.  A great door and effectual is opened unto me, BUT there are many adversaries.  Paul used the conjunction “AND”.  Paul was determined.  Any adversaries along the way would not cause him to stop, he even counted on them being in the way.  Paul’s determination to make the Gospel known caused him to view adversaries as an inevitable fact.  Even so Paul pressed on!
Jesus was absolutely determined
  • “ For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” John 6:38
    • What was Jesus determined to do?  He was determined to fulfill His Father’s plan!
  • “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Matthew 4:1-11
    • When tempted, Jesus would not waver.  He was firm in His purpose.  Now, Jesus would never succumb Satan’s wickedness anyway, but I think that this illustrates Jesus’ determination.
  • “Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.” John 13:26-27
    • This is in reference to Judas Iscariot at the last supper.  How does this show Jesus’ determination?  Even betrayal and heart break did not stop Jesus from accomplishing His Father’s plan.  The knowledge of the excruciating pain that was to come did not stop Jesus.  He told Judas to do what he was going to do quickly.  Would it hurt?  Yes.  Would the betrayal hurt?  Yes.  Would the pain be incredibly bad?  Yes.  Even so, Jesus was absolutely resolute.
There are many other examples of determination amongst Jesus’ disciples.  A biblical missionary must be determined to make the Gospel of Jesus known among all nations.  All mankind is guilty and in their sins, those of us who are in Christ have a responsibility to make Jesus known that all may be in Christ!

Córdoba

I have written a few posts on some of the different cities in Argentina. Most people have heard of Buenos Aires (that post will be coming later), but there are many other cities in Argentina that are in great need of Gospel preaching churches. For this post, we are going to take just a few moments to highlight Córdoba. Córdoba is located toward the center of the country, in the foothills of the Sierras Chicas (mountains). Some have called it the second most important city in Argentina and the main urban development in the central region of the country. Its streets include tracks of the ancient colonial architecture mingled with modern buildings. All this is completed with parks and other types of green spaces. It has a humid, subtropical climate. The average high in the summer is just below 90°F. The average low in the winter is just above 40°F.

Córdoba is a beautiful city, but that is not what fascinates me. I was talking with a veteran missionary who has been in Argentina for decades. A friend and I were asking him where He thought the greatest need was in Argentina. When Córdoba was mentioned, he lit up. He believed Córdoba to be a place of great need! The population of the city is well over 1,400,000 people. The province boasts over 3,000,000 people! Córdoba accounts for over 40% of the province’s population! It is the second most populous city in Argentina! With all of this, Córdoba is an ever growing city.

The largest ethnic groups in Córdoba are Italians/Italian Argentine and Spaniards/Spanish Argentine. Other immigrants from other European countries arrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. From Western Europe came immigrants from Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland and Scandinavia (especially Sweden). Eastern Europeans also arrived from Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Armenia and the Balkans. By the 1910s, 43% of the city population was non-native Argentine!

This melting pot of a city is an great need of Gospel-preaching churches that will not only proclaim the truths of Jesus but train men to go out and do the same. Will you please pray for Córdoba?

Biblical Attributes of a Missionary: Boldness

A few weeks ago, I posted the beginning of a series on biblical attributes of a missionary.  For this post, we are going to look at boldness.  The word “bold” is used 31 times in the New Testament.  Paul (and his team) is referred to as “bold” over and over in the book of Acts (for examples: Acts 13:46, 14:3, 18:26, 19:8).  Paul also spoke of his own boldness in different cities and churches (2 Corinthians 7:4, 10:1-2, Philippians 1:20, 1 Thessalonians 2:2).  Jesus was described as speaking “boldly” (John 7:26).  Peter and John were also described by their boldness (Acts 4:13).

So boldness is found in New Testament missions, that much we can easily see.  I think the question is how should boldness manifest itself in the life of a missionary?  Here are some suggestions…

  • In our preaching and proclaiming (John 7).  There are many examples of this in the New Testament.  I think John 7 gives us a clear example of this in Jesus.  This was during the Feast of Tabernacles, when all the Jewish men were required to go up to Jerusalem.  They were all there, the Pharisees, the Scribes, the Sadducees, the Pius Hebrew, and the normal Hebrew.  Jesus spoke in the middle of the celebration.  The collective audience was amazed.  They described Jesus’ defense of healing on the Sabbath Day (this reference was to John 5) as “speaking boldly” (John 7:26).  Such speech may have (and would eventually) bring Jesus into judgement.
  • In our defense against unbelievers (Acts 4).  Peter and John were regarded as “ignorant men”.  At least that is how Annas, Caiaphas, and other Jewish leaders felt about them.  They were fisherman who had left what they had to follow Jesus.  Jesus had died (as far as these unbelieving Jewish leaders were concerned, He actually had ascended to the Father) and these men were trying to “keep it going”.  Peter and John were taken in to be questioned before the religious leaders.  As Peter and John spoke, they spoke boldly, defending their actions before unbelievers.
  • In building believers (2 Corinthians 10:1-2).  Paul here tells the believers in Corinth that he is base among them but is bold toward them in the defense of his apostleship.  In building believers (Romans 15:15 gives us another good example), Paul was bold toward these churches.  He was bold, not as to hurt them, but to build them!

With all of this being true, how is boldness achieved in the missionary?

  • Spending time with Jesus (Acts 4:13).  The Jewish leaders noticed John and Peter’s boldness and noticed in that, that they had been with Jesus.  I know this sounds trite, but the time we spend with Jesus will make us bold.  The time we spend reading God’s Word will embolden us.
  • Walking in faith, not in fear (John 7:13).  Jesus was on the minds and hearts of many during the Feast of the Tabernacles.  This was not supposed to be, but it was.  Even so, people were scared to speak “openly” about Jesus.  “Openly” is the same exact word as “boldly” in our other passages.  The average Jewish man was afraid to speak about Jesus because of what the Jewish leaders might think.  But when we walk in faith instead of fear, we become bold in Jesus!
  • Abiding in Jesus (1 John 2:28).  I firmly believe there is nothing we can do to “abide more in Jesus”.  You either “abide in Christ” or you don’t.  This is a matter of identity.  Are you in Christ?  The only way to be bold in Jesus is to abide in Jesus!

Boldness is certainly a biblical attribute of the New Testament Missionary.  May God help us to be bold in our faith toward this lost world.

October 2014 Missions Letter

With Old Friends and New Ones…

September had us in California, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, and Maryland.  We were in 12 scheduled meetings this month.  It was a special month of spending time in meetings with old friends.  We have also had the opportunity to meet new friends along the way.  We have driven over 4,000 miles!  In this, we have seen God provide for us in amazing ways.  The churches we have been in have been kind and supportive.

We are at 25% of our needed support. We are 1/4 of the way there.  Our desire is to be on the mission field in Argentina, and God is not only leading us there, but guiding us to churches that are partnering with us to this end! Thank you for your prayers as we continue on the deputation trail.
Serving Together,

Patrick, Leslie, Lily, Piper, and Ivy Henry

 

October and the Road Home

We are scheduled to arrive home (in Atlanta, GA) on October 09th, but that doesn’t mean we are slowing down!  We will then be right back on the road to North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and back to Georgia for scheduled meetings where we will share our burden for Argentina and world evangelism.  Our calendar is filling up for the 2015 year.  Please pray for us.  We are making calls, scheduling meetings, hitting the road, meeting people, sharing our burden, and watching God provide for us!  We are praying that God will continue to use us to encourage others to get personally involved in world evangelism!