Reaching Unreached Neighbors

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me;
my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task
the Lord Jesus has given me—
the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Jerry’s Grill: Missions is Giving Generously

Missions is Giving Generously

[November is Missions Emphasis month in ICS. Starting January of 2011, ICS shall carry the theme: “RUN” – Reaching Unreached Neighbors.]

You harvest as much as you sow and never more.

As the modern-day Church, we are humbled by how deeply the first followers of Jesus invested in the Gospel mission. Acts 18 gives us some sense of this by saying “After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.” Later on in verse 18, we’re told “Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria.” We see him down in “Caesarea,” then up in “Antioch,” then (verse 23 says) “Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place through the region of Galatia and Phrygia.” We see Paul in several parts of Greece, traveling the entire length of the country of Turkey, and journeying through the lands of Israel and Syria. And that’s just one chapter.

When we try to retrace a tiny part of Paul’s travels, we will find that to walk even half-a-mile over the kind of terrain and in the sort of climate Paul did daily can easily wind a lot of us. Scholars estimate howeverthat, all in all, the Apostle Paul traveled 13,000 miles for the sake of the Gospel cause. We’re not talking Business Class travels.

With this travel often came tremendous hardship. Chapter 18:6 says that some in Corinth “opposed Paul and became abusive.” Later in verse 12 we hear how some others “made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court.” Lest we think that this was an unusual experience for him, in 2 Corinthians 11:24 Paul gives us a summary of his experiences. “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from [all sides]… I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst… been cold and naked.”

Why does the Apostle Paul travel such lengths and sacrifice so much? Why is he willing to make a commitment like this? He answers the question in 2 Corinthians 11:28. “I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” Or as Acts18:23 implies, he was moved by his burden to keep “strengthening all the disciples.”

As we look around our culture and communities today and see what’s going on, I can’t help but ask the painful question: can we feel the pressure of concern for our church? Can we muster a surge of commitment to do what it takes to keep our church vital, so that it keeps strengthening all the disciples that get shaped and go forth from here?

I could try to whip us up by quoting stats about the decrease of church attendance nationally and the increase of moral confusion, even among Christians. I could point us to the newspaper articles about the witches club meeting at a nearby high school or the divisions in society for which an alternative vision of life is so sorely needed. But I’m not going to do that.

Rather, I want to remind us that missions is not only ‘going’ – it is also giving, first of ourselves and our resources. No matter what life does to us, no matter what the world dishes out, the life of Christ sustains and strengthens us so that we can offer His life to others. When life is difficult—when we find ourselves cracked, knocked over, or turned upside down—the life-giving power of Christ flows out of us and into others. When life hurts, God’s comfort is more than enough to get us through; it’s enough to give away.

According to Paul, a way we can manage our resources so that it yields an abundant harvest is to give generously. Paul writes “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” That seems to have been a popular saying of Paul’s day. Something like today’s “what goes around comes around.” It’s often called the law of the harvest: you reap what you sow. Not only that, but the more you sow, the more you reap. The more you scatter, the more you gather. In the New testament context, generous means “to be liberal in giving or sharing; magnanimous.”

In the original Greek it literally meant “openhearted.” Generosity is the opposite of fear and stinginess. I think we all understand the principle. But what does that mean in pesos?

What makes for generous giving?

First of all, generous giving is personal. “Each of you should give,” which indicates that Paul expected every believer in Corinth to contribute something to the offering for Jerusalem. There were all kinds of people in that church— slaves, working class, and wealthy persons. Some had much and some had little. Paul didn’t expect them all to give the same amount, but he expected them all to give something. They couldn’t be considered a generous church, and they couldn’t look for an abundant harvest, if some of them refused to give.

Generosity begins with you. Every Christ-follower is invited to give, and there are no exceptions. While it’s likely that all of us would agree that each person should give, the research suggests it doesn’t happen. According to one survey, about 31 percent of church members give little or nothing to their churches or to charities of any kind. Sometimes in a large church, people feel as if their gifts don’t matter, but they do. They matter on a practical level; every gift helps the church continue its work. But they also matter spiritually. If a church or household is going to experience the blessing of God, its people must give generously.

Generous giving is thoughtful. Paul instructs that each person should give “what you have decided.” In other words, don’t give impulsively or haphazardly; think about what you’ll give. Consider your income and assets. Talk it over with your spouse or a Christian friend. If your pattern of giving is to wait for the offering to be announced and then see what’s in your wallet, you’re probably not being generous. The person who gives thoughtfully and consistently is likely to give more over the course of a year than the person who tosses in Php1,000 every few weeks. It is interesting to note that the New Testament never tells us how much to give. What the New Testament teaches is proportionate giving.

Generous giving is passionate. Paul continues in verse 7, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give.” Certainly we should be thoughtful and reasonable about our giving, but we ought to give passionately as well. If our decision is simply a cold calculation, it’s doesn’t qualify as generous. Remember, “generous” means “openhearted;” it should be an expression of your heart as well as your head. You want your gift to make a statement about your love for God and for his work. You should feel something when you write the check or put the money in the plate, whether a feeling of gratitude for God’s goodness, of compassion for the people or cause you’re giving to, or a twinge of anxiety about the amount you’re giving away. If you don’t feel anything when you give, you’re probably not being generous.

Finally, generous giving is cheerful. Paul says that we are not to give “reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” If you’re simply giving out of a sense of duty, because the pastor made you feel guilty, or for fear that God will punish you, then you’re better off not giving. God loves a cheerful giver. The truth is you can’t be both generous and grumpy. Sometimes you’ll hear people say you should give “till it hurts.” They’re talking about sacrificial giving, and there are times when we should give that way. I once heard a pastor say, “Give till it feels good.” I like that. Give until it feels like you’re really making a difference. It really does feel good to be generous!

Remember, we’re jars of clay; we’re only capable of holding so much.

Remember, we’re not talking about a harvest of stuff, but a harvest of significance. We’re not gathering material goodies, but spiritual fruit for ourselves and others. This isn’t about meeting a budget shortfall; this is about our calling for missions. This is about emptying your jar of clay again and again, so that God can fill it again and again, so that you can be generous on every occasion. This is about inviting God to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine—so much that it flows over our arms and into our faces.

Giving generously means giving personally, thoughtfully, passionately, and cheerfully. You may ask, “How can we afford to give like that?” The simple answer is that God will provide all you need so that you can give all he asks you to give. In verses 10 and 11, Paul puts it this way: “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way.” The law of the harvest simply says that when you give generously of your money, you find that you have everything that you need. When you give generously of your time, the time you have left becomes even more productive and meaningful. When you open your heart to others, people open their hearts to you. The more generously you give, the more abundantly you receive. When you give generously, other people are blessed: their needs are met, their spirits are encouraged, the Kingdom of God advances.

When you place money, time, or talent in God’s hands, it always bears fruit. When you are generous, God is praised. The more generous you are, the more he is praised—that’s the law of the harvest. Here’s the catch: In order for the law of the harvest to work, you have to give first and receive later. The farmer goes out and buys seed and puts it in the ground, anticipating that the rain will fall, the sun will shine, the seed will sprout, and many months from now, the harvest will come. Sowing seed is an act of faith.

That’s what missions is all about. As we decide to go, we pray. As we pray, we give.

Thanksgiving Message from William Abbott

Dearest Family, Friends, Medical team, Brain Tumour community (International Brain Tumor Alliance),

Many Thanks to OUR CREATOR for another extension of life! I am 51 years old today! The warmth of your Birthday Greetings becomes a silver lining and hope to the dark shadows that lurked our path for many years.

Our NeuroSurgeon, Dr. Gerardo “Gap” Legaspi’s goal was to excise 95% of the tumor, but our prayers empowered Him to remove more than that! I felt like having a new brain with physiological benefits, improved spatial ability, thinking process, memory, speech ability and psychomotor skills. The Creator re-created an efficient functional man.

The surgery has left a rim and tumor aggregates which needed a radical intervention through Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Chemotherapy (Temodal capsule). Dr. Legaspi introduced us to Dr. Gerardo Cornelio, Medical Oncologist – someone he trusts even to send his own father. Dr. Cornelio explained to us the procedures and details of the preparations such as physical, medical, financial and psychological aspects of the treatments.

Once again I covet earnest prayers for this next medical journey of our lives. My Family and I could not thank you enough for your Love, Concern, Prayers and sacrificial gifts in order for me to have this second opportunity to life. I am FOREVER thankful and grateful for everyone who has made LIFE POSSIBLE FOR ME.

Let me take this opportunity to express my SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL WHO GOD USED TO SHOW ME MY MIRACLE….

  • My wife Susan – Since my first seizure, 29 October 2006 to my first surgery 14 November 2006 and 2nd surgery 2 September 2010 she was my prayer “warrior” and closest human alliance. The day (29 October 2006) I was diagnosed with a brain tumour, God granted her wisdom to requests for prayers here and abroad. She had been resolute, focused and prayerful. God guidance led her to make the right decisions, the right choices and the right timing. Her strong Christian heritage brought victories to our family.
  • My sons Mark and Tim. For the grace of having their presence from day one. Their helping hand were invaluable. Seven months ago, God even guided Mark to plot his vacation leave on the day that I was admitted to the hospital and up to the day of discharge. Thank you Mark, for the benefits of being a supplementary card holder from your health card that lightened our financial requirements. To Eda, who braved being left in the house to take care of the household needs and demands and for her patience and loyalty to our family.
  • My first Grandson William Wyatt (17mo old). His laughter and mischief translate into smiles on our faces. The Joy that he gives lifts off some burdens from our hearts. We are praying that someday he can become a NeuroOncoSurgeon to help those who are in need.
  • My medical team 1st and 2nd Awake Craniotomy – Dr. Gerardo “Gap” Legaspi – Neurosurgeon, Dr. Geraldine Jose – anaesthesiologist, Dr. Luis Habana – cardiologist. You gave me confidence as I was wheeled in to the Operating Table. I am only one of the many who you have helped with your exceptional medical practice and compassionate character. You are truly God’s instrument of healing. Our Lord Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who needs a doctor, but the sick.” I was very sick needing very good doctors.
  • Thank you to family and friends who texted, emailed, called, chatted, sent gifts and prayed for my healing. Your Grace and Generosity extended my life and I am forever thankful to the Lord and to you all.In behalf of my family who are glad “Papa is with us….”Will Abbott
  • ICS Scholarship Fund: Touching young lives, laying the groundwork for a better future

    By Ardie Balderrama

    The last two years have been very fulfilling for the people involved in the Scholarship fund.

    Last year, we had our first graduate in nursing student Dan-J Baga. This year, his sister Jevy completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology. These achievements became more meaningful because they went on to pass the Board Exams for Nursing and Medical Technology. From being dependents, they have become productive members not only of their family but also of their community. Truly we are proud of both of them and we continue to lift them up in prayer.

    This school year we have added 2 new scholars, bringing the number of students we are supporting to 8. Our 2 new scholars are Ana Joy Rizaga and Misty Rose Dado, both freshmen at the Rizal Technological University. These young ladies are active members of the ICS CROSSLinC. They join our existing scholars Feliza Jonatas, Peter Petallo, Joanna Marie Laxamana, Chip Balbuena, John Christopher Tayco and Sheramae Osabel.

    Maintaining a positive balance for the ICS Scholarship Fund this year has been a bit more challenging due to the growth of the number of scholars and the increasing needs of the students as they advance to the next levels. But the Lord has been faithful.

    We thank all of you who have prayed for our scholars and who have contributed to this cause. Even now, we are already receiving inquiries for application to the Scholarship Program for next school year and we hope we can accommodate all those who want to study but are financially challenged.

    We encourage you to continue supporting these kids. We are all stewards of the Lord’s resources and blessings. May we use them to bless others as well. I guarantee you that this is one investment that will reap positive returns.

    30 Mottos for Missions

    Get motivated for God’s Great Commission with these 100 inspiring missionary mottos and missionary quotes.

    As Oswald J. Smith says, “Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice, before everyone has heard it once?”

    “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”
    – Jesus Christ (THE GREAT COMMISSION – Mark 16:15)

    “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…”
    – Jesus Christ (THE GREAT COMMISSION – Matthew 28:19)

    1. A man may die leaving upwards of a million, without taking any of it upwards. – William Fetler

    2. A nation will not be moved by timid methods. – Luis Palau

    3. Anywhere provided it be forward. – David Livingstone

    4. As long as there are millions destitute of the Word of God and knowledge of Jesus Christ, it will be impossible for me to devote time and energy to those who have both. – J. L. Ewen

    5. Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God. – William Carey

    6. Can’t you do just a little bit more? – J.G. Morrison (pleading with Nazarenes in the 1930?s Great Depression to support their missionaries)

    7. Christ alone can save the world, but Christ cannot save the world alone. – David Livingstone

    8. Christ not only died for all: He died for each. – Billy Graham

    9. Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God. – William Carey

    10. Go straight for souls, and go for the worst. – William Booth

    11. Go, send, or disobey. – John Piper

    12. God had an only Son and He made Him a missionary. – David Livingstone

    13. God isn’t looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him. – Hudson Taylor

    14. God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on him. – Hudson Taylor

    15. God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply. – Hudson Taylor

    16. He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. – Jim Elliot

    17. I am destined to proclaim the message, unmindful of personal consequences to myself. – Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf

    18. I believe that in each generation God has called enough men and women to evangelize all the yet unreached tribes of the earth. It is not God who does not call. It is man who will not respond! – Isobel Kuhn, missionary to China and Thailand

    19. If God wills the evangelization of the world, and you refuse to support missions, then you are opposed to the will of God. – Oswald J. Smith

    20. I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light. – John Keith Falconer

    21. I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ. – Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf

    22. I have seen the vision and for self I cannot live; Life is less than worthless till my all I give. – Oswald J. Smith

    23. It is easier to be an excessive fanatic than to be consistently faithful, because God causes an amazing humbling of our religious conceit when we are faithful to Him. – Oswald Chambers

    24. I pray, and I obey. – David Yonggi Cho

    25. I want to be where there are out and out pagans. – Francis Xavier

    26. Missions is not just for missionaries; God’s call is for all. – Ann Dunagan, The Mission-Minded Family

    27. I would rather die for Christ than rule the whole earth. – Ignatius

    28. If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice? – David Livingstone

    29. If God’s love is for anybody anywhere, it’s for everybody everywhere. – Edward Lawlor, Nazarene General Superintendent

    30. If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him. – C.T. Studd

    Taken from: 100 Mottos For Missions

    And All Will See How Great is our God!

    By Kristofer Tayco

    How great is our God
    Sing with me

    How great is our God
    nd all will see how great
    How Great is our God…”

    This is the song that echoes in my heart about the past year, when tropical storm Ondoy flooded Metro Manila and our neighborhood, a year of God’s great love unto me and my family. As I remember the 26th of September, 2009 I recall our house was flooded with mud that almost reached to the roof, and almost all of our appliances were floating. For almost a month, we endured a post-flood scenario that brought great stress and almost caused us to lose hope.

    But God loved us and allowed us to realize that His plan for us was not endless suffering but a wonderful tomorrow and a blessed future! As we continued to believe and trust Him in every situation – whether stormy days or sunny days of life – we were convinced anew that, truly, great is our God.

    One year later, our house is now renovated with a new look and painted with nice colors. God has blessed us with new appliances! Most of all, our family is complete, with no one suffering from any harm or illness after the disaster. Today, we are a thankful family to the God Who has saved and redeemed us from the storm that we encountered just a year ago. For God has provided all our needs to start life anew.

    Looking back, I now realize that even a storm like Ondoy, which killed more than 500 people and left billions of pesos worth of damage nationwide, was not such a disaster after all. Rather, for us, it was a blessing in disguise. If anything, it has only proven that by the grace of God there is hope. People can start anew, with thankful hearts, and the truth that there is a loving, caring and never- failing God.

    “…And all will see how great,

    how great is our God!”