Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Knowing

Did you know that 30,000 people starve to death every day?

Did you know that 350 million people do not have access to the Gospel?!?

Have you let it sink into your heart that a child dies every three seconds?

That means dozens of children around the world will have died by the time I finish this post. What are we doing about it?

It's easy to let our eyes glaze over as we read statistic after statistic--especially if we've heard them before. But these are not numbers; they are PEOPLE.

Human beings that are just as precious and valuable as you and me.  We were just born in different places. Helpless children-think of their little faces, tiny fingers and toes, and brown eyes-are dying of preventable diseases and starvation. 25,000 a day.

Is the image still in your mind? Or is it fading away?

It's not that we don't have enough resources. The problem is that we're not distributing it correctly to the people who actually need it. Just a fraction of the church's (the body of Christ) resources would reach the world with the Gospel and eliminate poverty.

You want to know the hard truth?

We. Are. Selfish.

As a group. As individuals. We were born selfish and it takes a love from God to break us free from it and give us the heart to love like He does.

I'm forced to wonder if thousands of churches (not all...but a lot) believe that the world is limited to the U.S.A. Limited to their large buildings and new programs and nice sound system. What has happened to obeying the commands of God?

The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me." (Matthew 25:40)

Do we take that seriously? Do we really think we can live in our own little comfort bubble and then say to God on judgment day, "Oh, I didn't know." We do know and we have a responsibility to act. It is our privilege to alleviate the suffering of millions around the world and most importantly, tell them about Christ.

Where does your money go? When you give away money...where does it go? To your local church? Why?Are they actually sending 90-100% to reach the unreached, giving people clean drinking water, and feeding the starving millions? I highly doubt it. There is an explicit command in Scripture to reach the nations with the Gospel (the Great Commission) and there are hundreds of verses about caring for the needy. There is no "Thou shalt give to thy local church building." (The Old Testament tithe was to care for the tabernacle in which GOD Himself dwelt. There is a new command in the New Testament--the Great Commission.) Instead of giving directly to the people Jesus commanded us to reach and care for, thousands of believers give all their firstfruits to their local church. Again, I ask "WHY?". Because it's the culturally acceptable thing to do? Because *gasp* what if the offering bag came around and someone you know saw that you didn't give? To please your pastor? Those are completely wrong motives for giving. (I'm not saying that everyone who gives to their local church has these motives. I just want us to be wise stewards and think of the best way we can use the limited time and resources we have been given.)

We are supposed to give in secret so that our left hand doesn't know what our right hand is doing (Matt. 6:3). We are supposed to follow the example of the believers in Acts who supported missionaries and preachers/pastors who were actively reaching unreached peoples (yes, some of those unreached peoples were "local" because nearly the whole world back then was unreached). Nowadays, all affluent countries (North America and Europe) have access to the Gospel. They can read a book, go to a church, watch TV, listen to the radio, search the web, etc. There is plenty of readily accessible information about Christianity.
The body of Christ is worldwide. Yet there are believers (pastors included) whose families are starving to death in India and other countries (I have read the real stories!). There are thousands of communities and tribes who have never heard the Gospel! Native missionaries with a passion for God are already in the countries ready to preach the Good News...but they are hampered by a lack of support.

Are you beginning to see why I do not recommend giving all or most or even any of your money to your local church? I know I am saying things for which lots of people will hate me. I wish everyone could understand my heart for the lost and the passion God has graciously given me for the needs of the world. But that's not going to happen and that's okay. If nobody hates me in this world, I'm doing something wrong...I'd be following the crowd in everything no matter how wrong I know it to be.

There will always be people who do the normal thing and give every week to their local congregation. Churches across America receive billions of dollars every single year. We don't need to worry about them. Most give only 1% to missions and of that 1% only one percent of that is given to the unreached for a total of 0.01% being given to reach the unreached.  Is it any wonder millions have yet to hear and are going to hell every day? What the world needs is those who will be different. Those who will take a stand for Christ and care deeply about all believers and not simply those within a hundred mile radius from their home.

My heart is burdened with the knowledge that people are going to hell as I type. This generation (and the ones before and after) must step up and bring the Good News to those who have never heard of the name of Jesus either by sending or by going. (If you're rich enough, then both!)

Please take a few minutes to watch this video. I didn't create it but it is my heartcry. 

"Having seen all this you can choose to look the other way, but you can never say again, 'I did not know'." ~William Wilberforce

You know. I know. What are we doing about the needs of the world?

Note: I recommend checking out Gospel for Asia (http://www.gfa.org/) (wonderful for supporting native missionaries and there are many other ministries as well!) and The Jesus Film Project (http://www.Jesusfilm.org/) (another great ministry!).