Thursday, November 20, 2008

What would it look like?

Last Spring, I was asked a question by a friend who is also a leader in our church. His question was simple, but quite it is, "What would it look like if we put together a mission trip to Olive Branch (our hometown)"?

I joked and said, "WHAT, would we drive to the city limit sign and turn around"? His reply was emphatic and focused... There are so many needs in our community that we need to target energy & resources right here at home... we need to view our own community through a missionary lens.

Now some might hear a question like that and think...there's someone who doesn't have a heart for the nations. There is someone so insulated or isolated that they cannot see the needs of the world. Perhaps you judge my friend and say he is clouded by an "America first" mentality, or prejudiced against other nationalities, or both.

I can say without question, he is neither! He asked this question during a season where he was helping to raise support for an international mission project that involved sending 40 of our members overseas, including his wife! His heart for engaging the nations was never in question. Yet his obvious passion for our "Jerusalem" was shining through.

The question grew in my mind...My friend planted a seed that quickly germinated and sprouted other questions.

Questions like:

1) How in the world can we reach 160,000 + people in a week?
It will take longer than that!

2) How in the world can one mission team make a difference in our community?
It will take more people than that!

3) Where do we start?
It will take people from all walks of life using their skills and experiences to reach into all of the streams of culture in our community!

The idea was born... One Church, One Year, One Commission - OBey '09

  • We will trust God's promises to bless obedience!
  • We will own our portion of the Great Commission
  • We will concentrate on Olive Branch and DeSoto County for one year
    (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2009)
  • We will challenge every member of our church & track participation
    (100% local mission participation)
  • We will look at various streams of culture as outlets for engaging our community.
    (Healthcare, government, education, sports, arts, neighborhoods, community events, etc...)

For the next several weeks, I will share the plans for OBey '09. Ultimately, we are challenging our church to obediently fulfill the Great Commission. To view their world through Missionary Eyes.


Lord, give me missionary eyes To see the lost and dying,
To see their pain and crying.
Lord, give me missionary eyes.

Lord, give me missionary hands
To selflessly serve in any way I can.
Knowing that my reward will be
eternity spent next to Thee.
Lord, give me missionary hands.

Lord, give me missionary feet
to take your precious gospel down the street
to those who need to hear today,
to those who need to know the Way.
Lord, give me missionary feet.

Lord, give me missionary zeal
for there's a dying world that needs
to feel that someone cares about their soul,
Loosen my tongue, Lord, make me bold.
Lord give me missionary zeal.

Lord, give me missionary eyes
to see the lost and dying,
To see their pain and crying.
Lord, give me missionary eyes

~Author Wayne Talley ~

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


A pastor friend helped me process the state of affairs in our nation with the following list of things that haven't changed:

1. God is still seated on His throne.
2. Man is still unable to save himself.
3. Jesus Christ is still the only way to heaven.
4. The Holy Spirit is still calling men and women to repent.
5. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will still be saved.
6. The Bible is still the sole authority for life.
7. God will still inhabit the praise of His people.
8. The church of Jesus Christ is still in business.
9. There is still room for others in the family of God.
10. The heavens still continue to declare God’s glory.
11. The joy of the Lord is still my strength.
12. The fear of the Lord is still the beginning of knowledge.
13. The peace of God will still transcend all understanding.
14. The world is still passing away along with its desires.
15. The fool will still say in his heart, “There is not God.”
16. The righteous will still live by faith.
17. The cross is still foolishness to those who are perishing.
18. The cross is still the power of God to those who are being saved.
19. The Kingdom of God is still advancing forward.
20. The return of Jesus Christ is still forthcoming.

In the midst of all of the political fireworks and rhetoric, it was hard to discern exactly how to pray. I watched friends lob cyber grenades at one another through Facebook status updates...I listened to Christian friends cry that the sky was falling and that all hope was lost...Ultimately, it boiled down to praying that God's will and purpose would be done and that His name would be glorified. Our church held a prayer vigil lasting throughout the time of open polls. As I knelt to pray last night It also was a time of deep introspection. Looking within in repentance and contrition. Asking for forgiveness and grace to move forward. I also asked the Lord to forgive us for not being showing such great concern over the past several years. It seems that the "crisis" of a critical election jarred the people of God to pray... Of all that comes from a presidential election, one wonderful by-product has been a call to prayer.
This morning as I prayed for our president to be and prayed for our nation, I was reminded of the sovereignty of God and of our need to be salt and light wherever we go!
Al Mohler has written a thoughful perspective of the election...I offer it here. Blessings to all of you

America Has Chosen A President

Written By Dr. Al Mohler

The election of Sen. Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States came as a bang, not a whimper. The tremors had been perceptible for days, maybe even weeks. On Tuesday, America experienced nothing less than a political and cultural earthquake.

The margin of victory for the Democratic ticket was clear. Americans voted in record numbers and with tangible enthusiasm. By the end of the day, it was clear that Barack Obama would be elected with a majority of the popular vote and a near landslide in the Electoral College. When President-Elect Obama greeted the throngs of his supporters in Chicago's Grant Park, he basked in the glory of electoral energy.

For many of us, the end of the night brought disappointment. In this case, the disappointment is compounded by the sense that the issues that did not allow us to support Sen. Obama are matters of life and death -- not just political issues of heated debate. Furthermore, the margin of victory and sense of a shift in the political landscape point to greater disappointments ahead. We all knew that so much was at stake.

For others, the night was magical and momentous. Young and old cried tears of amazement and victory as America elected its first African-American President -- and elected him overwhelmingly. Just forty years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, an African-American stood to claim victory as President-Elect of the nation. As Sen. Obama assured the crowd in Chicago and the watching nation, "We will get there. We will get there." No one hearing those words could fail to hear the refrain of plaintive words spoken in Memphis four decades ago. President-Elect Obama would stand upon the mountaintop that Dr. King had foreseen.

That victory is a hallmark moment in history for all Americans -- not just for those who voted for Sen. Obama. As a nation, we will never think of ourselves the same way again. Americans rich and poor, black and white, old and young, will look to an African-American man and know him as President of the United States. The President. The only President. The elected President. Our President.

Every American should be moved by the sight of young African-Americans who -- for the first time -- now believe that they have a purchase in American democracy. Old men and old women, grandsons and granddaughters of slaves and slaveholders, will look to an African-American as President.

Regardless of politics, could anyone remain unmoved by the sight of Jesse Jackson crying alone amidst the crowd in Chicago? This dimension of Election Day transcends politics and touches the heart of the American people.

Yet, the issues and the politics remain. Given the scale of the Democratic victory, the political landscape will be completely reshaped. The fight for the dignity and sanctity of unborn human beings has been set back by a great loss, and by the election of a President who has announced his intention to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law. The struggle to protect marriage against its destruction by redefinition is now complicated by the election of a President who has declared his aim to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. On issue after issue, we face a longer, harder, and more protracted struggle than ever before.

Still, we must press on as advocates for the unborn, for the elderly, for the infirm, and for the vulnerable. We must redouble our efforts to defend marriage and the integrity of the family. We must be vigilant to protect religious liberty and the freedom of the pulpit. We face awesome battles ahead.

At the same time, we must be honest and recognize that the political maps are being redrawn before our eyes. Will the Republican Party decide that conservative Christians are just too troublesome for the party and see the pro-life movement as a liability? There is the real danger that the Republicans, stung by this defeat, will adopt a libertarian approach to divisive moral issues and show conservative Christians the door.

Others will declare these struggles over, arguing that the election of Sen. Obama means that Americans in general -- and many younger Evangelicals in particular -- are ready to "move on" to other issues. This is no time for surrender or the abandonment of our core principles. We face a much harder struggle ahead, but we have no right to abandon the struggle.
We should look for opportunities to work with the new President and his administration where we can. We must hope that he will lead and govern as the bridge-builder he claimed to be in his campaign. We must confront and oppose the Obama administration where conscience demands, but work together where conscience allows.

Evangelical Christians face another challenge with the election of Sen. Obama, and a failure to rise to this challenge will bring disrepute upon the Gospel, as well as upon ourselves. There must be absolutely no denial of the legitimacy of President-Elect Obama's election and no failure to accord this new President the respect and honor due to anyone elected to that high office. Failure in this responsibility is disobedience to a clear biblical command.
Beyond this, we must commit ourselves to pray for this new President, for his wife and family, for his administration, and for the nation. We are commanded to pray for rulers, and this new President faces challenges that are not only daunting but potentially disastrous. May God grant him wisdom. He and his family will face new challenges and the pressures of this office. May God protect them, give them joy in their family life, and hold them close together.
We must pray that God will protect this nation even as the new President settles into his role as Commander in Chief, and that God will grant peace as he leads the nation through times of trial and international conflict and tension.

We must pray that God would change President-Elect Obama's mind and heart on issues of our crucial concern. May God change his heart and open his eyes to see abortion as the murder of the innocent unborn, to see marriage as an institution to be defended, and to see a host of issues in a new light. We must pray this from this day until the day he leaves office. God is sovereign, after all.

Without doubt, we face hard days ahead. Realistically, we must expect to be frustrated and disappointed. We may find ourselves to be defeated and discouraged. We must keep ever in mind that it is God who raises up nations and pulls them down, and who judges both nations and rulers. We must not act or think as unbelievers, or as those who do not trust God.
America has chosen a President. President-Elect Barack Obama is that choice, and he faces a breathtaking array of challenges and choices in days ahead. This is the time for Christians to begin praying in earnest for our new President. There is no time to lose.