(June 3, 2019) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, reflects on a very special day in church history, one being celebrated by many churches this Sunday…
Suddenly… that word which indicates something out-of-the-blue! Such as what happened to those first followers of Jesus Christ on that special Day of Pentecost over 2000 years ago!
Before the Day of Pentecost came round in the year that Jesus died at Calvary and rose from the dead three days later, and before he ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9), he ordered his disciples not to depart from Jerusalem – but to ‘wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about’ (Acts 1:4).
The incredible gift Jesus promised
- That they would receive power when God’s Holy Spirit fell on them.
- That they would be his witnesses not only locally but across the world!
What a bold promise the Lord Jesus made in Acts 1:8: ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’
And so they waited! Then, we read in Acts 2, the Day of Pentecost arrived… that annual Feast of the Harvest, one of Israel’s three major yearly celebrations, lasting only one day. It was on this particular feast day something powerful was going to happen in the plan and purpose of God!
Note the wording that opens chapter two… that ‘they were all together in one place.’ The ‘all’ this time was different from the group in the first chapter; it was the apostles and other disciples who had joined them to celebrate the Day of Pentecost.
This gathering would be unique in both Israel and the early church’s history because it was believers in Jesus who gathered in the upper room of a particular house on this particular day of celebration. It appears likely that the number was about 120 believers in Jesus Christ (Acts 1:15). And they obviously did not even dream what lay ahead! (more…)
(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).
(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?’
(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…)
(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…)
(October 10, 2017) Missionary statesman George Forbes shares a very important strategy reminder…
Christian Missions operate in a wide range of areas of ministry, service and aid!
- Some are big enough to incorporate many activities and ministries.
- Others specialise in one field of service such as humanitarian aid, education or medical services.
- Significant numbers specialise in language translation and the provision of the scriptures in the language of the people.
- The majority of missions that prioritise on evangelism, Bible training and church planting also open schools, medical clinics and other services.
Early in my thirty years of active mission organisation leadership, I discovered that these services were often crucial to our acceptance by indigenous leaders in developing countries. Biblically they were an evidence of Christian love and compassion to people in need.
The missionary task has always been about ‘making disciples.’ Jesus commanded the early church ‘to make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew. 28:18-20). He commanded his disciples to ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel’ (Mark 16:15). Matthew adds the important dimension of the Great Commission by quoting the words of Jesus, ‘As you go, make disciples.’
This is the primary task of the missionary – because a missionary is a ‘sent one.’ (more…)
(June 1, 2017) Missionary statesman George Forbes shares on Pentecost …
The Feast of Pentecost (also known as the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of Weeks) was observed by Israel over many centuries. It was an important time each year to celebrate the beginning of the early weeks of harvest with thanksgiving to God. Also a time to celebrate God’s deliverance of his people from Egypt.
After his resurrection from the grave, Jesus had given his followers a command to not depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father. He told them: ‘John truly baptised with water; but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’ (Acts 1:4-5).
Luke, writing the Acts of the Apostles, begins the second chapter with the words, ‘And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.’
Then, verse 2ff, the Holy Spirit fell!
The focus of the feast
The Day of Pentecost was a prominent feast in the calendar of ancient Israel. Devout Jews were used to celebrating the feast of Pentecost – but on the Acts 2 Day of Pentecost, the focus of the feast was changed for the followers of Jesus Christ! (more…)
(February 15, 2017) Missionary statesman George Forbes emphasises a proven strategy…
Perhaps one of the least understood aspects of missionary work among the nations is that of missions’ strategy. It has the potential to be invaluable or a stumbling block.
In my experience it has been very helpful when it is properly prepared, presented and understood. When it is considered unnecessary or too human, because we are being led by the Holy Spirit, there is the danger of proceeding without a plan, because we think we are trusting God for outcomes.
In some ways it is like the old saying, ‘The thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.’ (more…)
(January 11, 2017) Missionary statesman Dr George Forbes reminds us of a fundamental truth…
Our world is full of people who have no hope!
There are multiplied reasons for this tragedy; however my purpose is not to describe the hopelessness, but to share the reality that there is hope.
Christians have a living hope
The hope of Christians worldwide is based on God’s love and amazing mercy; on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and on the plan of salvation for all who believe.
If you need hope, if you’re asking questions about life and the unknown future, I invite you to consider what the apostle Peter wrote. It is found in chapter three of his first letter to the churches. Here are the words he wrote, translated faithfully and clearly in English…
‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has regenerated us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and unfading, reserved in heaven for you by the power of God, having been kept through faith to a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time’ (1Peter 1:3-5). (more…)
(November 14, 2016) Missionary statesman Dr George Forbes reminds us of the reality of this promise…
This often quoted statement by a famous missionary has inspired many to see the divine possibilities in every situation. God is on schedule with his plan for planet Earth. The prospects for completion of the task of world evangelisation have never been better.
- God promised Abraham that through him all nations on earth would be blessed.
- He promised Jesus that he would give him the nations for an inheritance and the ends of the earth for his possession.
- He declared that all the ends of the earth would remember and turn to the Lord and all the families of the nations would worship before him.
- He promised that he would pour out his Spirit on all flesh and that whoever called on the name of the Lord would be saved.
The Bible is full of God’s promises
Especially regarding his purpose and plan to gather to himself a people from every tribe, tongue, nation and ethnic group in the world. (more…)