(January 16, 2019) Missionary statesman Dr George Forbes reminds us that …
A heart for the harvest is essential to this great spiritual task in the world! Every believer needs a heart that is sensitive, responsive and obedient to the word of God, about gathering this massive harvest.
The Lord Jesus uses terms from the natural world of harvesting to show us the will and the way of God in the primary spiritual ministry of bringing people to Christ. As we embrace 2019, I encourage readers to think with me of such terms! They need to be burned into our memory, written on our hearts and fulfilled by the grace of God.
Identifying important harvest terms
- ‘The harvest is vast’
- ‘The labourers are few’
- ‘Do not say four months’
- ‘The harvest’
- ‘Lift up your eyes’
- ‘Look on the fields’
- ‘They are white to harvest already’
- ‘He who sows’
- ‘He who reaps’
- ‘Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.’
The following three texts from the words of Jesus identify each one of these important terms above…
- John 4:35
‘Do you not say, It is yet four months, and the harvest comes? Behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white to harvest already.’
- John 4:36
‘And he who reaps receives wages and gathers fruit to life eternal, so that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.’
- Mat 9:37-38
‘Then he told his disciples, “The harvest is vast, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest”.’
(December 11, 2018) Missionary statesman Dr George Forbes reminds us that Christmas is an opportune time for sharing the real Christmas message… here at home!
It’s virtually Christmas! This is a time when people are expecting good things and encouragements by way of cards and gifts. The gospel speaks of the greatest gift of all – God’ gift of his Son, Jesus Christ who would become our Saviour.
Paul made it very clear in Romans 3:23 that ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ – John 3:16 is still the most relevant of all scriptures: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’
Having been associated with world missions for decades, naturally overseas missions and missionaries are very much on my heart. But, bringing my blog closer to home at this Christmastime I would say this to every Christian at home: We may not be a missionary overseas but as missionaries abroad share the good news of Jesus as Saviour even here at home we can be missionaries by fulfilling the great commission in our local suburbs!
Let’s be Christians of action – moving in faith and seeing the impossible become possible! We can find opportunities to share the good news of the gospel, the real reason for the season.
A time to be daring in sharing
A little but great booklet God’s Little Instruction Book, has a powerful saying in it – ‘Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see!’
Now that’s a saying that tends to stick in one’s mind as it encapsulates a fundamental truth.
Jesus taught us that God’s word is truth (John 17:17). God’s word is his instruction book – the Holy Bible! And it declares that …
- ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God!’ (Hebrews 11:6).
- It is not possible to be a Christian without faith.
- It is equally impossible to live the life of a believer without believing.
- With the assistance of the Holy Spirit the first disciples began fulfilment of Jesus’ Great Commission commandment of Matthew 28:18-20 in their local suburbs – in Jerusalem! (See Acts 1:8).
(November 11, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, shares on the missionary calling…
As mentioned in August, although not classified as a missionary, Billy Graham was certainly called by God to be an evangelist to the world!
I do praise God that many have responded to God’s calling to be missionaries… but in doing so I remember that Matthew 22:14 states, ‘Many are called, but few chosen.’
Called but unprepared
This text has been interpreted in different ways; however I wish to write about the fact that though God calls those whom he has chosen, many are unprepared to activate their full response to the call of God because they have yet to complete the essential preparations for cross-cultural ministry.
Sadly for some, it is more to do with personal growth in Christ and learning how to walk in the Spirit. (more…)
(September 10, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, reflects on the call of God…
The best-known evangelist of our time the late Dr Billy Graham was not a missionary serving long term on a specific field.
He was called by God to be an evangelist to the world. A gift ministry to the church and the world, his faithfulness, influence and love for the lost is beyond question. His example to many other servants of the Lord has been exemplary.
I believe this includes thousands of serving missionaries around the word. They have been encouraged by his faithfulness to God and to the gospel by his… (more…)
(August 11, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, challenges…
In Luke 19: 11-27 Jesus shared a powerful principle shortly before his crucifixion.
He told his listeners the parable of the ‘Ten Pounds’ and spoke of a prince who gave each of his servants the same amount of money with the instruction to ‘invest’ on his behalf. And that he made it clear he expected a return from each of them.
Then Jesus told his servants that the people of the prince’s country hated him and had sent messengers to say they did not want him to be their king.
After the prince’s appointment as king he returned to where he had left his servants to invest on his behalf. He called for them to appear before him to see what the investment had returned and asked each one, ‘How much have you earned with the money I gave you to invest?’
(July 18, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, reflects on these four important aspects of missions today…
1, Tentmakers in mission
A respected and decisive part of missions in the 20th century was filled by ‘tentmakers.’ I expect that time will prove that this support to long-term ministry missionaries has continued into the 21 century.
The term comes from the Bible – Dr Luke wrote about Paul in Acts 18:3, ‘Because he was of the same trade, he stayed and worked with them; for they were tentmakers by occupation.’ These were men and women using their professional skills in self-support, as they worked as much as their time permitted while fulfilling the ministry God had given them.
- Over the centuries there have been missionaries who also were ‘tentmakers’ – and ‘tentmakers’ who were not missionaries, however they all supported themselves in practical and active roles in their ministry.
- Many excelled in literature, radio, and other specialised support areas to release missionaries to their primary role as church planters and Bible teachers.
- I met many such ‘tentmakers’ and valued them as worthy servants of God in their field of commitment. I became a friend from Australia as we shared fellowship, meals and worship together.
- Some were builders; others were teachers, printers, literature and Bible distributors. There were pilots, mechanics, engineers, artisans and other occupations.
- All were committed to the kingdom of God and the growth of national churches.
(June 12, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, challenges…
At last, I have got onto the subject of money for missions. This is a big subject because the need is big. I mean really BIG!
Regrettably, it sometimes becomes a point of confusion and even conflict, when the amounts of funding for global mission are seen as diverting, or reducing the funding for local church needs.
Personally, I say, ‘Thank God for the pastors who understand this problem area and ensure good balance and understanding is maintained in their church. I belong to such a church, for which I gave thanks to God every day. I especially thank him for my pastor.’
I recognise that just as some missionaries may not manage money well, the same is true of some local churches.
The better way is surely to help those missionaries who are not money managers and partner with them in sound, wholesome ventures for people in need and projects that are worthy.
Focusing on progress, not projects
Pastors who believe in the vision of a missionary, can partner with them, encouraging members who are experienced in money management, as well as people who are good project managers to work with their missionary. Some great work is done this way to the glory of God. (more…)
(May 11, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, raises an issue…
This could be the first time I’ve raised the fact that the role of missionaries is rapidly changing.
I believe the change is the result of the good work done by the thousands of missionaries who served with great fruitfulness over past centuries.
And I think especially of the 19th and 20th centuries when missionaries were sent virtually worldwide to make disciples. Their work was very fruitful with great numbers of churches planted.
Initially the missionaries by necessity were the pastors and Bible teachers of the churches they planted. Then, gradually and eventually in a great surge, national pastors were trained and went out to plant many more churches.
Recognition of emerging indigenous leadership
Experienced missionaries rejoiced to see what God was doing, yet they felt the change that progressively happened as they stepped back in recognition of the emerging indigenous leadership. (more…)
(April 18, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, reflects on a special term…
‘All Nations’ – this term ‘all nations’ occurs 72 times in the New Testament. The entire Bible has 452 direct references to all the nations in this world. This alone is substantial evidence of God’s interest in every nation on earth.
When you find that God’s word, the Bible, links ‘all nations’ with the eternal purposes of God, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and above all, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the value of all nations to God becomes very clear.
The command of Jesus Christ to his disciples recorded in Matthew 28: 18-20 adds vital meaning to God’s love and plan for all nations!
He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, as you go, disciple people in all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. And remember, I am with you each and every day until the end of the age.’ (more…)
(March 19, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, reflects on the real Easter message…
The gospel is the best good news on earth!
It has been so since Jesus died on a cross at Calvary and rose again from the dead on the third day. The Easter holiday season exists because of the gospel.
I’m wondering: How will you celebrate Easter this year?
The apostle Paul puts the key events of that first Easter clearly and powerfully in chapter 15 of his first letter to the Corinthians.
- He opens with the all-important declaration of what he called the ‘gospel.’
- Reminds the Corinthians that he had preached the gospel to them.
- That they had received it.
- Were believers who not only received this gospel but believed
- Then warns them that they should continue in this faith – or they would have believed in vain.
Paul then repeats the gospel he had taught them some time before, beginning with the fact that the death of Jesus Christ was according to the scriptures.
In other words, it was a fulfilment of prophecy that Christ would die for our sins, be buried and rise from the dead on the third day. (more…)