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The Open Door

 

“His Heart, His Hands, His Voice” is the theme for this year’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. This theme, of course, points out the reality that each one of us as a follower of Christ has a Great Commission responsibility to bear the good news of the Gospel to a lost world. We are His heart. We are His hands. We are His voice.

The goal for this year’s offering is $175 million. I encourage every Georgia Baptist to be more generous than ever in giving to reach the world for Christ. Your Lottie Moon Offering goes in direct support of the preaching, teaching and witnessing of the Gospel across the world.

Dr. Tom Elliff, president of the International Mission Board, reminds us that even though Southern Baptists have been faithfully taking the Gospel to the world for more than 160 years, there are still billions who are lost in spiritual darkness and without hope. There are 6,734 unreached people groups in the world today. Many of these are located in the urban centers of the world where more than 50 percent of the world’s population resides.

... we want to support those things we pray for. It’s a matter of putting feet to our prayers.

The focus of the Week of Prayer for International Missions is upon the spiritual needs of several major urban centers. They include: Tokyo, Jerusalem, Karachi, London, Johannesburg, Dongguan, European City and Rio de Janerio. “European City” refers to the fact that many refugees from places of oppression and persecution in the Middle East are fleeing to European cities where we are able to provide the Gospel and minister to the needs of their lives. God is blessing this effort as many are finding that Jesus Christ is able to fill the emptiness in their lives and give them the hope they have longed for but have never known.

The IMB has given us a three-fold challenge as Southern Baptists: “Pray, Give, Go.” As you prepare to give generously to international missions, more than you have ever given before, be sure to pray for our missionaries. As I have visited with numerous missionaries internationally, they have consistently said, “Please tell Georgia Baptists how much we appreciate their prayers for us. We could not do what we are doing if Southern Baptists were not praying for us.” In fact, I believe our missionaries would speak in unison to say to you that they appreciate your gifts to missions, but the best thing you can do for them is to pray for them.

Of course, we want to support those things we pray for. It’s a matter of putting feet to our prayers.

As you pray and as you give, also consider the opportunity to go in the name of Jesus to a place in the world that needs to know Him. I am thrilled as I observe more and more Georgia Baptists who are engaging in hands-on missions across the world. One of the greatest thrills of the mission experience is getting to know your missionaries in the place where they are serving. Nothing will deepen your commitment more than to see first-hand the devotion of our missionaries.

Those of you who will cooperate with the International Mission Board’s challenge to get involved with an unreached people group somewhere in the world will learn in a very personal way not only the challenge of taking the truth of God’s love to an unreached people group, but also the unbounded joy of being the first to shed light in a totally dark place.

In its focus upon a lost world, the International Mission Board offers this prayer that each of us can make our own:

“Lord, just as you cried over Jerusalem, my eyes fill with tears for the lost of this city. I need your heart beating in me to have the boldness to be your hands, reaching with love, and the courage to be your voice speaking the truth.”