(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…)
(February 25, 2018) Brian Bell challenges…
One of my favourite songs contains a chorus which includes the phrase ‘It always makes a difference when Jesus passes by…’
The message of the song is derived from specific instances in the life of Jesus. The brief meditation I share here is based on one – with suggestions as to how he made a difference and how we may try to follow his example.
Our daughter was married back in 2002 and I well remember the effort we made and (to be honest) the money spent to try to ensure the wedding guests were comfortable and would enjoy their meal.
Remember the incident of the wedding in Cana of Galilee (John chapter 2)? Let’s recall how the presence of Jesus ensured the guests Cana guests were able to continue enjoying the wedding. (more…)
(February 25, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, brings a pre-Easter challenge…
The verses in chapter five written by the apostle James in his short letter have been encouraging to me over the years.
James uses the illustration of a farmer waiting patiently for the autumn and spring rains to remind believers of the patience required of them as they wait for the second coming of Christ.
‘Therefore be patient, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and has long patience for it, until he receives the early and the latter rain. You also be patient, establish your hearts, for the coming of your Lord draws near’ (James 5:7-8 MKJV). (more…)
(January 23, 2017) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, shares some missions-centred truths…
We’re definitely into 2018!
But more importantly we are well into the twenty-first century and it’s important to review where we are heading in our mission to the ends of the earth!
- There have been major eras in the history of Christian mission in the world. Each has had its distinctives and its time… in 2018 and beyond.
- I join with many who thank God as we remember the fruitfulness of past eras in this great task.
- However… at the same time I and others are looking to God for his plan and will for our time.
- A mistake that has been made more than once is to perpetuate a strategy that worked well in the past, without fully considering God’s time and his plan for now… in this 21st century!
Great mission’s thinkers such as Ralph D Winter, founder of the Centre for World Mission in
Pasadena California, raised his voice before he graduated to glory, about vital issues in mission that could make or break what is done and how.
The famous evangelist, Dr Billy Graham said, ‘Ralph Winter was a man of God who gave a vision to many Christians of a world in need of the gospel. I used to meet with him on many occasions, often in small group prayer. Some of my vision for world evangelisation came from my interaction with him, and I am grateful.’ (more…)
(January 20, 2018) Carol Round shares a revelation that leads to reaching out beyond ourselves…
In 2013, the word ‘selfie’ gained international recognition when it was named the Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year.
Their definition follows: ‘A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
Selfies abound on social media, especially Facebook. Although the younger generation is more likely to post self-portraits, I’ve seen others, from their 50s on up, post photos, not of their faces necessarily, but of wounds they’ve accrued through accidents or after surgery.
The first ‘selfie,’ according to different websites I checked out, was posted on Facebook by a 22-year-old Australian man who had suffered a busted lip after tripping and falling face-first at a party. The man apologised for the somewhat blurry photo of his lower lip when he said, ‘Sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.’ (more…)
(December 8, 2017) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, shares some biblical Christmas truths…
As we near Christmas once again I am thinking of missionaries who will not be home for Christmas.
The primary reason is because they are away from home, serving God in mission to the nations. Their primary task is to make Jesus Christ known as the Saviour of the world.
Yes, they will of course celebrate Christmas, away from home, and their loved ones. Perhaps they will sing the lovely carol, What Child Is This?
Ever popular, this carol was written in 1865 by William Chatterton Dix (an insurance company manager who had been struck by a severe illness. While recovering, he underwent a spiritual renewal that led him to write several hymns, including lyrics to this carol).
An important question
This precious old carol raises a very important question: What Child is This? (more…)