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Chosen to Engage with Our World

This morning I’d like to start off by taking a poll. By show of hands, how many people here have served God as a missionary?

Perhaps I should remind you of what exactly a missionary is: As we said last Sunday, a missionary is “ anyone who shares the Gospel with others”.

So that means, you would be a missionary if you traveled to another country, learned another language and shared the Gospel with someone who has never heard about Christ. But that also means that you would be a missionary if you went to Bible camp and told the kids in your tent about God’s love. And that also means you would be a missionary if you talked to your neighbor across the fence about how Jesus has changed your life.

The fact is, God has called all of us to be missionaries. The command that we read last week in Mark 16:15 applies to all of us:

15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” Mark 16:15

God wants everyone of us to proclaim the Good News where ever we go. But I told you all this stuff last Sunday. What’s the message for today?

Well, today I want to get a little more specific – a little more personal. Today I want you to consider your personal, unique call from God to be His missionary.

Have you ever wondered why God made you the way He did? Why are you the way you are? Why did God give you certain talents? Why did He make you really good at some things and not so good at others? Why did He give you your unique personality? Why are there some jobs that you really enjoy and some jobs that you really don’t care for?  And why did God give you the family that you have? Why where you born in the place and at the time that you were?

Why did God make you the way He did? Was it just some random rolling of the DNA dice? Or did God make you that way for a purpose? Let’s see what the Bible says…

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 29:11

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:13, 16 (NLT)

That doesn’t sound like random chance to me. It sounds to me like God made you with a specific purpose in mind.

How many people here like to bake? When you are baking, do you just start throwing random ingredients together, bake for 1/2 an hour and see what you end up with? Or do you start with a final product in mind, and then choose your ingredients accordingly?

That’s what God did with you. He didn’t just randomly throw you together to see what you would become. He carefully, thoughtfully, and specifically created you how He did, where He did, and when He did for a very specific purpose.

Do you believe that? It’s true.

We read earlier from Acts 9 about Saul.

15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. Acts 9:15

Saul (soon to be “Paul”) was specifically created by God to bring the message of the Gospel to the Gentiles and to Kings, as well as to the people of Israel. God set it all up. He gave Saul just the right personality, He had him born at just the right time, he gave him just the right parents and just the right training. And He allowed just the right circumstances to come into Saul’s life. And He did all of that so that Saul could fulfill his purpose.
He does the exact same thing for you. If your still not sure if you believe me, then let’s look at another example: Jeremiah 1:5-8. God says to Jeremiah…

5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.? Before you were born I set you apart? and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

There it is again! God creates us for a purpose. We are built to order. God has a job for us to do, and he builds us exactly the way we need to be in order to successfully accomplish that job.

That alone should be very encouraging. We are built for success. God has prepared us in such a way that if we follow him and do what He asks us to do, we will be a smashing success.

So what is our job? What did God create us to do? Well, I’ll have to give you two answers for that.

Answer #1. I can’t answer that question, because I’m not you. I don’t know what specific role God has for you. But if you look at how you’re built, you’ll probably get some ideas. If you look at a waffle maker and how it’s built, you’ll probably get some idea of what it’s purpose is. If you look at chainsaw and how it’s built, you’ll probably get some idea of what it’s purpose is.

So in the same way, if you want to know your purpose, start by looking at how you’re built. How has God equipped you? What are you good at? What experiences of life have you had? What are you passionate about? That’ll give you a good start. The rest comes when you listen to God and follow his leading.

Answer #2 (to the question, What did God create us to do?) He created us to be missionaries. To share the good news. To make disciples. That’s everybody’s job – but how you do that is dependent how God has specifically built you.

For example, God specifically built Beryl and prepared her in every way to be a missionary in India. He created her to have a heart for the people of India. He put her in the right place at the right time with the right circumstances and gave her everything she needed to be a successful missionary in India.  But He didn’t build Walter that way. That wasn’t his purpose. His purpose was to work on the trains – being God’s witness to all the people that He would meet over his lifetime. But He didn’t build me that way. Or you that way.

We are all called to be missionaries, but we are all created do that in very different ways. So my question for you this morning is “Are you doing what God created you to do?”

For too many Christians, the answer is “no”. Too often we set our own agendas and try to do what WE think will make us successful. Or when God shows us what He wants us to do, we make up excuses. The Bible is full of that. Moses claimed he couldn’t speak well. Saul & Samson both said their families were too insignificant. Jonah just got up and ran away. And even in the passage we looked at today, Jeremiah had an excuse.

5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.? Before you were born I set you apart? and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
6 “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”

But how does God respond to that and all our excuses…?

7 The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. 8 And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

God will be with you. Not only has He equipped you and prepared you to do exactly what He’s asking you to do, He will go with you every step of the way.

You’re not too young. You’re not too old. As long as you are still on this planet, God has a purpose for you. You’re not too poor. You’re not too busy. And believe it or not, you’re not too sinful. God will do amazing things in our lives when we start using our lives for Him.

So all excuses aside, will you submit to God’s plan for your life and be the kind of missionary that He wants you to be?

Maybe at this point in your life, God’s asking you to be a missionary to your family. To take responsibility for the spiritual well-being of your children. To teach them and to train them to be disciples of Jesus. That’s a huge responsibility, but God has placed you as their parent – will you be a missionary to your family?

Maybe God’s calling you to be a missionary to your town. Maybe He wants you to share the Gospel with your neighbor. Maybe He wants you to be His witness in a community organization. Maybe He just wants you to be His witness at the Jolly Seniors. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to boldly share the good news with the people in your community?

Maybe God’s calling you to be a missionary in a new ministry. Maybe God’s equipped you and put it on your heart to start some sort of new work. Maybe there is some need in the church or in the community that God wants you to step up to the plate and meet that need in new way. If He’s created you to do that, will you do what you are created to do?

And maybe God’s calling you to be a missionary in the traditional sense. Perhaps God would have you travel to another country and get involved in bringing the Gospel to the people there. Perhaps to Columbia working with the disabled? Or maybe to Mexico City planting churches.

Last Sunday we were introduced to such a family. Jim & Shari Cottrill live and work in a suburb of Mexico City with their two kids Nathaniel and Hannah. And as we saw in their video last week, God is using them in some very cool ways to start churches in places where no church exists. They are doing what God created them to do.

Well, this week we are going to hear from them again. If you remember we took a little video of ourselves and we sent that to them this week, and now today we’re going to learn a little bit more about how we can get involved with what God’s doing down in Mexico.

Four ways we can be involved:
Commit to pray for the church in Ixtapaluca. It’s interesting that they are going through some of the same issues as our church – building projects. I think we can relate very well.
Write a letter/note stating your support. What an encouragement we can be to them by simply writing a note saying, “We are for you. We serve the same God. We are building the same church. You are our extended family.” Hope to collect them by Wednesday so I can email them, but any letters any time I would be happy to pass on or give you the mailing address for yourself.
Next Sunday, I’d like to collect a special offering for their building project. God has blessed us so much with our building project, wouldn’t it be great to be a blessing to them in their project. Consider this week what you could give towards this project.
Jim extended an invitation to us come down in person and help them out. So I’d like us to begin planning to send a team of us to go down to Ixtapaluca, Mexico and spend a week or so serving the people there. It would be a fantastic opportunity for God to use us in a totally new way.

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