The Bible is rich in biographical detail of the exploits of prophets and kings, men and women who could make heavens open in rain and slay giants with a sling and a stone. And we do associate with their journeys of faith, seeing parallels in our own struggles and victories.
John the Baptiser said of Jesus: “He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11). The fulfilment of this prophecy is found in the book of Acts. What appeared as tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost ignited a movement, and by the end of the book it had already reached Rome, the heart of the empire of those days. It is a pattern that has been repeated many times in Church history.
For nearly 20 years, I have been organising & leading many medical mission trips from my church, Wesley Methodist Church, to various countries in South East Asia. One such memorable trip was in 2010 leading a team of 20 trippers to the Isaan Province of Thailand which was mainly an agricultural region, considered the poorest region. As such our medical ministry in different villages was well received by the local population.
Fire can be destructive. 2 Peter 3:7 declares, “The heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” Later in the same chapter (vs. 12) it says, “the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!” The Bible says, “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29), and when the day of his wrath fully comes, he will destroy with fire.
When we think of missions, we usually associate that with Christians leaving their homes, going to a foreign land to share the Gospel and to plant churches. Many of the missionaries I know have gone overseas with their families to do that. When a family relocates, the children have to be uprooted from the Singapore education system and the kind of comfortable life which Singaporeans are used to.
Some time ago, I was on a retreat at a centre and looking out of the window of my room. Right in front of me, I saw the leaves of the palm trees, but in the distance, I could see a large garden, with different plants and shrubs. I noticed the different textures of leaves and various shades of green and I journaled, “God is here and near; but he is also deep, and over there and far off.”
It was from Antioch, Syria that Paul was sent forth by the congregation there, for his 3 great Missionary journeys, described in Acts, which covered 2 continents. It was in this Antioch that disciples of Jesus, both Jews and Greeks were first called ‘Christians’ i.e. ‘those who belong to or follow Christ’. In fact, there were 3 great evangelistic breakthroughs that had taken place there, not long before the name ‘Christian’ was first used on the followers of Jesus.
The Hebrew word for worship and work is from the same root word – Avodah and appears in the Bible at least 1,214 times, as a noun or verb or in substantive forms. This is to show that there is no distinction between work and worship before the eyes of God, and can thus be summed up as ‘my work is my worship’.
I remember a mission trip many years ago in India. I was excited that day, as I was finally assigned to a team of OMers after spending a week of summer camp in Mumbai. The team comprises members from Gujarat, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra. We then embarked on a trip which took us more than 3 hours on the road, and arrived at a church on the outskirts of Pune where we would spend the night.
At sixteen, Amy served as an usher at a GoForth conference – these were mega Missions conferences held at the Suntec Convention Centre and thousands came each night to hear what God what doing all over the world. The speaker on the last evening was James Taylor. Imagine her shock when he started his greetings in Mandarin and the Chinese pastor next to him translated that into English.