The “Bottom Line” after Our Mission Conference
written by Bob Vradenburgh, Senior Pastor
This past Sunday, March 24, 2019, was one of those “high days” God occasionally gives us at Friendship. It was the closing service of our annual mission conference, and the Holy Spirit clearly superintended the entire service, stirring our hearts for the winning of the lost around the world.
The opening testimony by Brad Kennon concerning how God providentially let him and Michelle recently meet a Bahamian man led to Christ by our Pastor-emeritus Gene Payne more than 30 years ago, really got our attention. This man is still faithfully serving the Lord on the pastoral staff of a fundamental church in Nassau. Thank God for a mission-minded church and pastor in Raleigh, NC, during those years!
The “Parade of Flags” moved us to tears as we thought of the testimonies behind those bearing the flags. The music of the adult choir and Forrest Jones lifted our hearts toward heaven as it focused on God’s love for saving His lost creation made in His image. The enthusiastic singing of the Latino congregation in their native tongue about the greatness of our God brought joy and holy expectancy to our hearts. What a day it will be when some from every tribe and nation stand before the throne of the Lamb, praising and worshiping the One Whose blood redeemed them!
The closing keynote message by Rev. Mark Kittrell was just the “icing on the cake.” Many of us saw truth we had never seen before in the story of Christ’s dealing with the Samaritan woman in John 4. Those words of our Savior to His disciples, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of” brought conviction of our utter inability to see beyond the physical and temporal to the spiritual fields “white already to harvest.” At the invitation, God sealed the service with the coming forward to join our church of a couple who are
on fire for God and for souls!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! To God be the glory! Are you in such a rapturous state that you feel like Simeon holding the infant Jesus, “Now, Lord, let thy servant depart in peace”?
Not so fast. The real gauge of the success of this year’s conference is yet to be determined. The faith promise commitment to foreign missions as a church was not received this past Sunday. As your pastor, I feel led to have you take another week to pray over this important matter. Our Latino congregation is praying at the same time as Pastor Gustavo challenges them to understand and practice scriptural grace giving.
So – will we be able to help support Pastor David Run Tho as he shepherds a flock of Burmese refugees in Kansas? This humble, godly man has taught his people to give, but they are so poor that they can only support him for half of his bare-bones needs. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could supplement that? That all depends upon the “bottom line” of this year’s faith promise increase over last year.
A new seminary on the island of Negros in the Philippines is about to open in three months, training more than 40 national pastors in its first class. For about $500 a year, a fully vetted Filipino preacher boy can receive a sound, hands-on theological training for planting a church. How many of these church planters will Friendship be able to help? It all depends upon the “bottom line” of what we will allow God to “grace” us to give over the next twelve months.
Amid all the blessings of another wonderful conference, let’s not lose sight of the “bottom line” to be determined over the next few weeks. The sincerity of our love is about to be put to the test (2 Cor. 8:8)! As your pastor, I pray that we will pass the test with flying colors!