Mary Leigh, my wife, is a cancer survivor. She had the childhood form of leukemia as an adult. The Lord has healed her and she is a living testimony of the power of prayer. At every test, her markers exceeded those of so many others who eventually died.
After six months of her three-year chemotherapy, we made a trip to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The traffic was bad; downright chaotic. I followed behind a yellow cab who really knew his stuff. I stayed right with him and he let me. When he changed lanes, there was enough space for me to do it, too. If there was a guardian angel at work, he was leading me into Manhattan. At a traffic light, his bumper sticker caught my eye. He had taken scissors to it and instead of reading, “School is in session. Drive carefully,” his now read “Drive fully.”
Driving fully isn’t a bad philosophy for a follower of Jesus. Until Jesus returns, we are full throttle in life. No need to show up at heaven’s gates with plenty in reserve. There’s an eternity waiting for us to get caught up on rest. Meanwhile, others in your community are slipping into a Christless eternity.
Opportunities exist for your church and those you lead in ministry to share Christ in many different ways over the next months. A packet was shipped to each church this fall to help your church plan effectively to begin praying, planning, engaging the lost and making disciple-makers in your community.
Your church will be a blessing to the kingdom of God through the key opportunities listed below in chronological order.
• My Hope with Billy Graham – Nov. 7, (www.myhopewithbillygraham.org)
• Call to 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting – Jan. 5-26, 2014. (Register by Dec. 8 to receive a free book—www.mobaptist.org/sowing)
• The Sowing in Tears Conference (State Evangelism-Discipleship Conference) Jan. 27-28, 2014 at Crossway Baptist, Springfield. (www.mobaptist.org/sowing)
• Light Up Missouri: GPS + One Million Bibles – April 12-13, 2014 Day of Service or kicking off a 4 to 6 week Season of Service (www.mobaptist.org/light)
• National Day of Prayer – May 1, 2014 (www.ndop.org)
Why not pick EACH event rather than one or two? By the power of the Holy Spirit, praise God that all things are possible. Last year there were 10,300 baptisms among Missouri Baptists. First Arnold led the way with 170 baptisms. Yet, there are still so many more in our communities who need to know the saving grace of Jesus our Lord and Savior.
When Mary Leigh learned that she had leukemia, it was a shock. And the Lord moved others to rally around us. At one point I counted up well over 1,000 people who agreed to pray for her during that three-year ordeal.
In the opportunities listed above, prayer undergirds everything being done. Missouri Baptists must align with God in His work. Pleading for God to send workers in the harvest is a must. Praying for the Lord to clear a spiritual path to protect His workers will be next. Each believer should often present the gospel. Finally, each church must plan to followup with intentional disciple-making of new believers.
After presenting these opportunities to a group of directors of missions, pastors and key church leaders in Sikeston, Jim McCullen (who writes excellent commentary on Bible lessons in the back of The Pathway) came up to me and said, “I guess you know doing all of that is going to be a lot of work.” I smiled and said, “Yes sir.” He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, “And I’m going to do every one of ‘em.”
May the Lord be praised for prioritizing these events in the coming months while Jesus tarries. (Mark Snowden serves Missouri Baptists as evangelism/discipleship strategist 573-556-0319 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)