I am a missionary

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I am a missionary.

I’ve denied that title for years, but that’s what I am … and if you are a follower of Jesus, so are you.

We are the sent ones in a world hurting and in need of hope.

That title is engrained in our new identity in Christ as deep as our status as God’s children, but for some reason we’re less likely to own it.

A few weeks ago, I sat in a meeting with my church’s elders. God is clearly as work in our members, but they shared that less than 7-percent of us are sharing our faith often. That’s above the national average, yet it starkly contrasts with the 97-percent of our body that say we’re comfortable sharing our faith and testimony.

How can that be so?

I’m going to speculate it’s because we—the American Church—have mistaken God’s command to remain unstained by the world to mean remain unengaged with the world (James 1:27).

Instead of dining with sinners and calling them to repent and believe in Christ Jesus, we spend our evenings in Bible studies, community groups, and church services with people who are already brought into the fold.

Meanwhile billions outside of our Christian culture are destined for hell.

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but that is the spiritual reality we profess to believe as disciples of Jesus. He says He is only way to an eternity with God, and over three billion people in our world haven’t gotten an opportunity to know Him (John 14:6).

That stat alone should spur us to action. But does is it?

Have we become so content and comfortable in our churches that we’re willing to forsake Christ’s final command to make disciples of all nations, including the lost people who live across the street?

The Acts of the Apostles documents thousands coming to faith in Christ within minutes. Do we even share our faith often enough to see our churches grow by a few hundred new believers–not church hoppers–each year?

I know I am not near as faithful as I want to be in sharing the gospel, but, wow, I am convicted. Eighty-three people groups remain unreached by the gospel in the United States alone, meaning they have limited to no access to the gospel. In a predominately Christian nation with unlimited resources, this should not be the case.

I feel a God-given responsibility to play a role in changing that. Do you? If yes, spend a few minutes reflecting on these questions … and then act.

  • How much time do you spend at your church each week?
  • How much time do you spend intentionally among non-Christians each week?
  • Do you know how to share your faith?
  • Who in your direct sphere of influence needs to know there’s a God who loves them so much that He sent His only Son to die so they could know Him?
  • What are you going to change to live a more missional lifestyle?

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” –Romans 10:17


He Keeps and Cares


I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore. -Psalm 121

Before leaving for South Asia, I knew my trust in God would be put to the test. Our travel schedule alone took us through the Middle East, across country on a small domestic flight, and along winding mountain passes before the real part of the trip ever started.

Weeks out a team member shared Psalm 121:3 as a prayer request. Looking more into the Psalm, I decided it would benefit me to memorize it before leaving.

If I hadn’t, my experience in the foothills of the Himalayas would have been anxiety-ridden. Most of the time I had no clue what was happening or where we were headed. But the first half of the trip passed with my steps firmly trusting God.

And then my foot slipped … and I ate it.

Thanks to the turtleshell of a pack on my back and a borrowed trekking pole, I escaped injury. But I tend to take things a little too literal and threw an inner hissy fit … clearly God didn’t care about me if He let me slip and fall (see Psalm 121:3).

I stewed for an hour until I met my tent-mate on the trail. She listened to my frustrations and asked if I was hurt.

“No,” I said. “See, God does care,” she said.

Oh, how she was right about that.

You see, this was the longest day of our hike and my team happened to be the best at taking the long route to camp.

Roughly seven miles in we started descending into a valley–home to one of the only pastors in this remote region of the world. We stopped at his house for water and rest before the final push to camp.

As we left, Ezekiel 37 ran through my head, like it had just days before.

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of theLord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” -Ezekiel 37:1-5

There are a lot of valleys in South Asia … most of which are spiritually dead. They don’t know Jesus and haven’t heard His message. But that wasn’t the case here.

Here God breathed life into dry bones … and He cared enough to show me.

He cares about me. He cares about my teammates. He cares about those we carried the gospel to. And, friend, He deeply cares for you. Do you believe it?

[Travel] The Latin Word for “Flex”

Missionary is a Latin word for “flex.”

My gullible self immediately thought our trip leaders were serious when they opened our training day with this line … for my easily persuaded friends out there, missionary doesn’t actually translate to “flex” in Latin.

Although they were facetious, their words served as a forewarning of the travel woes to come when our 6:00 p.m. flight to the other side of the island was cancelled without reason, rescheduled for 4:00 a.m. the next morning, and we didn’t have a hotel room to stay in because we’d checked out that morning.

Did I mention everyone was emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually drained from spending five days in a knock-out, drag-out fight for the gospel?

So what do you do in a foreign land when your flight is delayed for no apparent reason?


At our first stop, we explored the nooks and crannies of a 400-year-old 10922807_10100113124564690_5949600144154495871_nfortress and watched the sun kiss the Caribbean waters goodnight.

Then we climbed to the third floor of a home/restaurant for a coast-side dinner and laughter hour where delirium kicked in and a few teammates lost their mental marbles.

Around 9:30 p.m. we headed back to the airport to waste time and rest in the lobby before our 2:00 a.m. flight check-in … only to find out the airline conveniently forgot to mention they provide complimentary hotel rooms for situations like ours.

10974655_10152634977031517_4535731372048368680_oWe laid our heads down for about 2.5 hours before our alarms went off at the ungodly hour of 1:00 a.m. and we headed back to the airport in hopes of making it to our day’s destination (enjoy this glamor shot to the left).

Our flight remarkably left on time and we landed in the country’s capitol at 6:30 a.m. After another 4-hour catnap at the hotel, we headed out for a day of touring one of the most vibrant and historic cities I’ve wandered in my short 23 years of life.


In retrospect, I’m glad airlines in developing countries don’t get uptight about canceling a flight. I trust there was a divine reason our initial flight didn’t make and the Lord gave me another opportunity to work on my patience. The way I see it, it was a win-win.

It turns out this being flexible thing isn’t so bad after all.

myTunes Monday: I Love You

I’m surrounded by friends who have impeccable music tastes. The music I enjoy most is usually one of their suggestions and is rarely heard on the radio. Anthony Mossburg’s “I Love You” points me to the cross and leaves me in awe of the Christ’s love on display. I hope it does the same for you. Remember, you’ve never been unloved.

My thoughts of you are more than the sands in the sea. I loved you long before you knew me. So, I wiped your slate as white as snow. This love I give, you will feel and will know because I walked on water just to see you for a while. And I came from heaven just to say you are mine. If ever you should forget just how I feel about you…I love you.

How sweet it is to be loved by You.

[Missions] Haitianniversary

1920223_10152265509670049_147863128_nA year ago today I met this little man. We talked and prayed, but mostly we played. A $1 frisbee linked two hearts from completely different worlds. Only God could use simple things, like a piece of plastic, to change lives. He used a young Haitian boy to show me love isn’t confined by language. He used eight days in Haiti to teach me fearless faith. He used brokenness to reveal His beauty and power to redeem what seems unredeemable.

We serve a God that claims possible the impossible, and proves it daily. Don’t nullify the cross.

[Reflection] Jesus: The Ultimate Valentine

Sometimes I spend time reflecting on what the Lord has taught me. One of those moments happened last week. I’m so glad I stumbled on this post I shared a couple Valentine’s ago. These words ring true today, and always will. Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!

February 14, 2012:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16

It’s Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air, flowers are being delivered and bellies are growing from a plethora of heart-shaped chocolate boxes, all of which have become symbols of Hallmark’s biggest holiday.  Despite receiving a cookie from my coach after 6am practice – Happy Valentine’s Day! – and a bag of M&M’s from my professor – I know, pretty good haul – it hit me hard this morning that the greatest Valentine’s gift doesn’t come in a heart-shaped box. In fact, the best gift I’ve ever received came in the form of a blood stained cross. Has Hallmark sold one of those lately?


Despite my opinion that we should show love daily, Valentine’s is meant to be a “special day” centered around showing affection towards the ones you love most.  As a Christian, the greatest act of love I’ve ever felt was that fateful day when my sinless Savior was tortured and hung on a cross for every sin I’ve ever committed, am committing, or will commit.  Chick-flicks – my favorite movie genre (Yep, definitely going to see The Vow tonight with my lovely FCA ladies) – constantly emphasize loving someone enough to take a bullet for them and that is exactly what Jesus did for us.  He was sinless, yet suffered the most shameful death of His time to save our lives (I’d just like to take a moment to emphasize He died for us WAY before we were even thought of on this earth – pretty awesome, right?)…now that is true love.

I’m going to pose a challenge for today: Don’t dwell on the gifts you receive or your relationship status. Instead, bask in the love of Christ, keeping your eyes focused on what is eternal.  After all, Jesus doesn’t give us gifts that will wilt or be devoured in a few days – or in my case, minutes – He gives us everlasting life!

Praying you are overwhelmed by Christ’s unconditional love today and always,


[Reflection] Laced with Love.

Love. That’s my goal for 2014. Not the mushy, chick flick, lasts-a-couple-weeks kind of love, but the selfless, entering-into-pain, unconditional, messy kind of love. I want to love God, love Jesus and love others more recklessly abandoned than ever before.


Because Jesus tells us love is the most important thing we can do, and there’s not enough love flowing in the world. There’s a lot of like disguised as love, but when the going gets tough, like walks out the door. Love stays. Think about it. Jesus had the power to remove himself from the cross, but he stayed. He stayed for me. He stayed for you. What are you going to do about that kind of love? I’m going to lace 2014 with it. Will you join me?


“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 22:36-40

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:35

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” -1 John 3:16-18

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” -1 Corinthians 13

[Heart Fuel] Gratitude

A couple days before Thanksgiving, I had an incredible conversation with a great friend who recently returned from a mission trip. As we concluded our talk, he asked how he could pray for me and immediately prayed with me. I explained to him how The Lord answered months worth of prayers for a job and my grandpa’s health in 48 hours, and shared with him that less than a week later, I felt indifferent to His goodness. I was disgusted with my heart condition, but hadn’t been able to put into words what I was experiencing until my dear friend lovingly rebuked my gratitude-less heart. That was it! Gratitude was the word I was searching for. During a season of Thanksgiving, I was lacking gratitude towards what The Lord had so graciously given me. I can be such a punk!


The following morning, I wrote these words in my journal:

Lord, give me an attitude of gratitude. I’m so quick to forget the blessings you’ve given me. I’m thankful one day and indifferent the next. I want a heart that’s constantly in a posture of worship, praise and adoration. You deserve nothing less than my constant reverence. Thank you for the cross of Christ and the forgiveness and righteousness it clothes me with. Despite my shortcomings, you love me, pursue me and make me whole. You don’t call me to half-hearted pursuit, you call me to die completely to self in order to find life. My tendency of complacency reveals my heart for self-sufficiency. It says “Thanks God, but I probably could have figured this out on my own,” when that is the furthest thing from Truth. Every breath comes from you – my head knows that, but my heart doesn’t always believe it. I plead for a heart transplant, so that I may continue to be molded more like Christ. Amen. 

My bout of indifference towards answered prayers reminded me that I should always have an attitude of gratitude. My world can be spiraling out of control, but with Christ as my Lord and Savior, I always have something to be grateful for.