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The Open Door


My eight-year-old granddaughter, Lauren, said, “Granddaddy listen to this.” She had memorized the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke and blessed my heart as she repeated the words: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Lauren didn’t realize it, but she had just given me the best Christmas gift she could have possibly given. The greatest desire of every Christian is for his or her family members to know and love Jesus as Savior.

That same desire should drive every Christian to tell everyone in the world about the Lord and to pray for their salvation. I encourage you to help spread the Good News through your gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and through the Cooperative Program. The International Mission Board, reporting on their ministry in 2009, cited 506,019 baptisms on the international mission field, where we have 204,192 churches and 10.7 million members; 24,650 new churches were planted on the international mission field last year.

This is a tremendous advance, but there is much yet to do. The obvious answer to the question posed in the Lottie Moon emphasis, “Are we there yet?” is “No, we aren’t there yet.” There is much yet to do as we must get the Gospel to 3,724 people groups that are not engaged in any way with the Gospel.

There are 6,426 unreached people groups in the world today. These are groups that have less than 2 percent who profess to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Further, there are 1.7 billion people who have little or no access to the Gospel.

These numbers are staggering and difficult for us to wrap our minds around, but in the power of the Lord, there is nothing impossible. We simply need to exercise our faith and be faithful in supporting those whom God has called to go across the world with the Gospel.

At the same time, if God has not called you to go across the world, it is certain that He has called you to go across the street with the Gospel of Christ. It’s not enough to support our overseas missionaries; we must win Georgia to Christ. Every one of us is a missionary.

In 1987, I went to Kenya, East Africa on a mission trip with several men from our church in Kentucky. Some of the men were standing around while Tommy McIntosh hooked up our PA system to a truck battery in preparation for a preaching service in an open field that afternoon. Charles Henn, one of our senior adult men, was approached by three African men who asked, “Are you Finnish?”

Because of our white skin, I suppose they assumed we were from Finland. Charles replied, “No, we’re not finished; we haven’t even gotten started yet.”

When we consider the vast lostness of our world and the effort of Southern Baptists to take the Gospel to the nations, we are thankful for what has been accomplished and for the many ways God has blessed our efforts, but we must also understand that we are not finished yet; we have just barely gotten started.

“Are we there yet?” No, we aren’t there yet, but we must keep on declaring the Good News until we have accomplished our mission of taking Jesus to every nation and to every people group in the world.