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12,000 Feet Up And Nothing To Offer But Jesus

“Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the habitants of Sela sing for joy, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare his praise in the coastlands.”
‭‭- Isaiah‬ ‭42:10-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Do I believe that every nation and every people will sing to Jesus, this Bright, fiery-eyed Man whom I love? Do I believe that this Gospel that was first preached to the Jews is indeed the saving grace for all of the nations of the earth? Do I believe that what Jesus is doing in America is just a small part of His global plan for the Church? Am I willing to give up all I have known here for the sake of the world?

I don’t know the slightest bit about the nation of Nepal and the people groups that live here, but here I am 10,000 miles away from my home, climbing 12,000 foot mountains, on a journey asking Jesus to show me the place in His heart for people that I have yet to see or know.

This is what I was thinking as I hiked in my sandals on a rocky, dusty trail that weaves its way through the majestic and terrifying Himalayas. I was on my way to a remote village of Tibetans with nothing to offer but Jesus. I stumbled upon a carpentry shop where two men were carefully shaping pieces of wood with their rudimentary tools to fit together into a cabinet. Despite me not speaking a lick of his dialect, the shop owner motioned for us to follow him into his candle lit home, where he sat down to brew us tea.

We had an audio bible on an SD card, but his Nokia phone that looked like it was from the early 2000s could not read it. Yet we continued to talk. As he showed us photographs of his family and explained with the little English he knew that his wife had passed away years ago, our hearts grew in love toward one another. A flame flickered in the corner of the room and illuminated a statue of Buddha with an offering in front of it. As I thought of the pain and suffering this man has gone through, my heart hurt because he did not have Jesus to walk him through it. Yet I also had an immense sense of joy because I knew today he would be introduced to Jesus, my beautiful friend and companion who had led me here today.

My friend opened the door and sat down with our translator. As we shared more about our families and he, his, joy filled the room. After at least three rounds of tea, this man shared how he needed healing in his stomach and his knee. We took the opportunity to share the Gospel with him and pray with him. As we opened our eyes, he was smiling and said confidently, “I know your Jesus will heal me.” My eyes welled up with tears as I considered this simple, profound statement. He sipped some more tea and then declared “I will follow Jesus”.

My world exploded. How humble is Jesus that He was allowed me to participate in the declaring the Gospel to this man? Beyond that, He lets me see with my own eyes he and others coming to know Him. As I processed this experience, I could not help but reflect on how big of a heart and plan Jesus has for the earth. He was serious when He said that every people will hear of Him

I walked away from that moment with a new resolve. I don’t want to abdicate my chance to be part of Isaiah 42. I want to look around the throne room John saw in Revelation 4 and 5 when I make it up there someday and know that my life had a part to play in that glorious chorus ascending to Jesus. If that means hiking into remote places of the world or spending year immersed in a culture that is not my own just to get the opportunity to make Jesus’ name great, let it be so. There is nothing more glorious than a life laid down for the greatness of His name.

Luke Jeffery, VP of Finance and Operations

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Communities of Glory

“The glory which You have given me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You have sent Me, and loved, even as You have loved Me.” John 17:22-23

Community, or recently I have heard it described as Common Unity is the pulse of the Church. It is what every human heart yearns for, to be placed in a family where they are understood and appreciated. That we all may be one, just as the trinity is one operating as individuals but with the same heart and mind. Obviously, this is something that I want for the Church both the small expression that I attend and the bride of Christ represented throughout the world.

Where I have seen this best manifested are in groups that seem to be anything but similar, mismatched in background, race and nationality. I feel like the Lord does this so that we can take no credit with our cool meetings and exciting language. It is simply the love of Christ that is compelling us to be gathered together. I have experienced that unity first comes from being united with Christ, when we are abiding in Him we are connected to the glory that Christ has given us. Because of this, it doesn’t matter whatever outward expression is going on around us. For, as long as we are connected with Him we are able to connect with others with love and understanding.

Being perfected in unity does seem like a pipedream, in a world full of blog posts and shouting matches the idea of the whole bride of Christ being fully one feels a little far off. However, we have been given an invitation to this reality. Where the Lord invites us, there is always grace and a way to walk it out. We can be a reflection of the trinity of perfect love and communion.

We do this so that the world may know that Jesus was sent for them. This glory that we hold and this love that we can show is the community that the world needs to see so that they may know Him. May we be that community that is able to overlook an offense, that is able to love even when we have been wronged. We must ask ourselves, can a group of broken people carry such a heavy weight of glory that an outpouring of love may be shown to those on the outside looking in? I’d like to think so, because I have seen little glimpses here and there, some of these glimpses have been in little rooms in the middle of the desert and some have been more close to home in classrooms and sanctuaries. I see the kingdom coming through communities of glory.

Leah Grace Mix, MAPS Leader

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The Beginning of the Global Missions Mandate

Hermes, Abram and the First Mention of the Global Missions Mandate

Among serious students of the biblical text there are certain rules and standards put into place to ensure the reader is reading the text in a responsible manner. Some modern readers actually tend to read the biblical text and interpret it more like my eight-year-old interprets my fatherly instruction:

Eight-year old: “Daddy, may I have ice cream?”

Father: “No, son. You already had three scoops after lunch.”

Eight-year-old: “Great! So may I have Mama’s Haagen Daz?”

Scholars call the method of interpretation of a text hermeneutics, a fancy word that derives from the name of the Greek god Hermes. According to Greek mythology, Hermes was the deity that was the chief messenger to the rest of the gods; he would delight in the ambiguity of language and further delight when his interpretations would dialectically contain both truth and falsehood based upon the messages’ interpretation. Hermes would have delighted in my son’s interpretation of my response to his request for ice cream!

When it comes to biblical interpretation, one tool in our hermeneutics tool-belt is “the law of first mentions.” This is fairly self-explanatory. The first time a word, such as “light,” is mentioned in the bible it is usually pretty important and can serve as a key for understanding the word in the rest of the bible. This principle may also extend to key concepts and phrases.

So what is the first clear mention of the global missions movement in the bible? Consider the calling of Abram, a famous passage in its own right for the sovereign election of Israel and the “seed” from whom the serpent-crushing fulfillment of the promise given to Adam and Eve would find its family-roots:

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

The Lord’s command to “go” to Abram and the ensuing promise of blessing is not only God’s strategy for blessing the children of Abram and making his own name great but blessing “all the families of the earth.”

The devastating simplicity of Abram’s call connected with the global missions mandate is startling: if Abram does not go, the earth will not be blessed. The “going” necessitates a leap of faith that requires risk and uncertainty. The “going” always involves a “leaving” of one’s “father’s family.” This always manifests in loss. Loss of comfort. Loss of cultural identity. Loss of financial security. Loss of language. Loss of geographic familiarity. Loss of gastronomic persuasion.

The first mention of the global missions mandate involves faith. The first mention of the global missions mandate involves loss. And the first mention of the global missions mandate involves the intrinsic connection with reaching those in the nations. Abram is not going for his own family alone or his own name. He is going because his going is connected with the salvation of the “unreached” peoples of the earth. Otherwise the loss would not be worth it.

Hermes would not be happy. The interpretation is clear and not equivocal and ambiguous: the global missions mandate involves faith, loss, and the salvation of the nations.

Mark Kazmier
MAPS Academic Dean

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The Pruning of Time

Training can come in a variety of forms. Some believe that it is merely found in books, others in experience. I believe that true “training” can only come through a careful mix and balance of the two. But most of all, training comes through time. Time is the great test of all things- is the test of sustainability. Time is the test of fruitfulness; time is typically the greatest question or complaint when it comes to our program.

I grew up as the youngest of four kids, meaning that I always tried to race ahead and to excel as fast and as best as I could and my parents would always correct me saying,”Rome wasn’t built in a day.” And I’m sure, if you were anything like me, you have probably heard something to a similar effect as well.

When I left for college, I imagined that shortly after I would find myself in a solid career path and onto the next thing.

However, God clearly had other plans. While pursuing my degree in Global Studies and Biblical Studies, I ended up going through a crisis of faith – during which, I cried out to God to show me His love. He answered, and as I learned to rest and lay in His love, He began to whisper to me the plans and the destiny that He had created for me.

Like many young people, I thought that that meant that next week I would begin to walk in these “great and wonderful things”.

And like many young people, I was mistaken.

I had no concept of the test of time. I didn’t understand that a Great Pruning was coming my way, a pruning that would take a lifetime, a pruning that I am still in the midst of.

James writes in James 1:2-4, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” God calls us to joy in the midst of our trials, even the trial of time.

He has made a way for us to gaze upon His beauty, a way for us to be fully captivated and in love with Him as we wade through the oftentimes daily monotony of life and time. We must fix our eyes and wade through the challenges of our current situations hopeful and secure that God is the Keeper of His promises to us.

I believe that most of our problems or frustration with time boils down to a lack of faith in the goodness and the glory of Christ. We doubt that He is able to keep his word and we rely on human wisdom as to how He may not be able to fulfill His word in our time schedule. However, if we read this passage from James we can see that God actually has our Best in His Mind. He desires us to be Perfect and Complete, lacking in nothing. This type of wording directly insinuates that we are, in fact, Lacking.

This means that He has the best for us in His mind, which may only be fulfilled through the arduous training and the test of time. We must not despise this test, but rather we should press onto the fullness of God’s joy which is ready and available to all.

That we would be ones to cling to the Philippians 1:6, “…that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Faith Kinzer, MAPS Leader