2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.
The other day I was searching the web and came across this amazing map of the Global Status of Evangelical Christianity by Send International. It's a really insightful tool because you can see the areas of the world where evangelicals live, and also areas that are closed to the gospel. Perhaps the most surprising thing I learned was that 65% of the world's population lives in countries that do not allow religious workers. It reminds me how important it is to pray for workers that are out there, and to pray to the Lord to send more workers into the harvest (Matthew 9:38). I invite you to explore this map and share it with others.
I'm always looking to add new content to this site, and one section I really have been meaning to add is a section on Missions. This is a centerpiece to any believer - we're called to live missionally and to love like Jesus wherever we go. And when we step out in faith, the Lord responds in ways we can't even begin to imagine.
For me, I've lived as a missionary abroad since November 2019, and have seen so many amazing things - healings, miracles, open doors, and more. One thing that I've experienced is that when I make myself available to the Lord by shifting my attention to Him and what He wants to do in any situation, He will use me. I personally believe that the Lord wants to move in every situation and circumstance, and we owe it to Him to continually be aware of the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
I think it's a lot like the classic American football saying - the best ability is availability. I think often times believers think that they need to be in a certain circumstance, at a certain time, and with the right environment in order for God to move. But, that's now how it works. Living missionally is a partnership, whereby we show our open hands to the Lord and He guides us into the good works He's prepared for us. While at first that might sound too simple, it's honestly how it it works. Jesus Himself said He didn't do anything unless He saw the Father doing it (John 5:19) - meaning that He abided and was connected to the will of the Father at all times. In other words, Jesus made Himself available in the service of the Father, and as He did, extraordinary things happened.
The amazing thing is that this same experience is available to you through a relationship with Jesus, and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said that we would do "greater works than these" (John 14:12-14), meaning that the things that He did, believers will do greater things. And this is true whether you travel to a new country or go into work everyday. God wants to use you wherever you are to showcase His love, power, grace, and mercy.
I hope you'll reflect on these things, and check out the new Missions section. While this new section isn't too robust yet, I have a couple excellent resources you should check out. I'll continue to add other resources over the next few weeks.
In the meantime, I challenge you to turn your attention towards the Lord, and ask Him what He wants you to do in any given situation. You may just be surprised.
The Word of God is amazing, and speaks to us about every single situation in our lives. Countless leaders and individuals have sought its guidance for centuries, using the Bible as a tool for discernment, wisdom, and knowledge about everything that life confronts us with.
Of course, for many new believers, understanding the entirety of the Bible can be difficult, especially when you don't know about the historical context, or how things fit together. I know for me, when I first became a believer, I devoured the word of God, and the Holy Spirit ministered to me greatly during those days. At the same time, I didn't understand the larger Biblical narrative, and how one book connected to the next. Enter the study Bible.
Study Bibles are amazing tools that every believer should have. They provide in depth commentary, historical context, cross references, maps, and literary analysis that is critical for developing an authoritative understanding of the Word of God. And developing that skill is paramount in the walk of every believer, and should be a top priority.
I'm reminded of a story one day where I was walking with a brother in Christ, and he felt led to talk to a Muslim woman who was walking in the park with her son. I kept walking, and waited for him as he spoke to her briefly. When he returned, he told me that she at one time was a believer, a Christian, but when she had questions about the Bible, none of her Christian friends could answer her questions, so she converted to Islam. I found this shocking, and tragic.
It is imperative that every believer knows the word of God, what it says, and how it is connected. Luckily, study Bibles help you gain this understanding, and give you insights that are valuable in your walk.
I did some digging on the web, and found a nice post from Addall, which did a review of different study Bibles for 2021. It has some great observations, and lists 10 different study Bibles. Check it out, and if you don't already have a study Bible, you should totally get one. I personally use the ESV study Bible, and it has been tremendously helpful in my walk in understanding the living word of God.
I've been meaning to write a short post on this amazing resource that you should know about if you don't already. Enduring Word Bible Commentary is an incredible website that has an in-depth commentary on every verse in the Bible. The website describes the commentary like this:
"For over twenty years Pastor David Guzik has been researching each Bible Passage and creating what Thousands of people have come to know as The Enduring Word Bible Commentary."
In my personal study, I frequently go to this resource to glean new insights and understanding. Along with the ESV Study Bible, this is an excellent supplemental resource to better help you comprehend the context and meaning behind scripture.
If you haven't looked at this, I encourage you to do so. It will add to your understanding of different Bible chapters, and the commentary that Pastor Guzik integrates from other leading Biblical scholars is pure gold.
Derrick Rhayn is a new Christian and seeks the will and Word of the Lord.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.