To the ends of the earth!

BPEA Ministry Updates

Jul 29, 2013

Israel - Day 7

[John] will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:17)

Today we visited the site where it is believed John the Baptist baptized Jesus. This is also near where Elijah and Elisha would have crossed into the wilderness where Elijah was taken up. How fitting that the spot where Elijah ascended would be the spot where one “in the spirit and power of Elijah” would base his ministry. How fitting that in the same spot Jesus would be baptized and Holy Spirit would descend, driving Jesus to prepare for and enter into ministry.

This area had been closed until very recently. Due to tensions in that area it was a closed military zone. The Israeli Government has put a lot of work into being able to open it to the public and we were blessed to be able to visit. Today we were all baptized in this spot. We had all been baptized before, but this was not just a ritual or a tourist photo op. We all felt a significance and power behind the moment. Bill baptized each of us and then I had the honour of baptizing Bill. I believe that we all came out of that water different than when we went in. We could feel Holy Spirit descend on each of us in a fresh way to prepare for the next season of ministry and life that we’re all entering.

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John the Baptist is one of my favourite men from the Bible. There is so much to honour about John as I reflect on this wild man living in the wilderness. He, like Elijah before him, was a voice of righteousness in a society that was corrupt and sinful. He was not impressed by the titles or ranks of men. Yet John knew that his role was simply to prepare the way for Jesus. He told people about the one coming who would baptize with “Holy Spirit and fire.” He understood that when Jesus came, it would be necessary for John to decrease. A forerunner is sent to announce the coming of the bridegroom, Jesus. This friend of the bridegroom does not draw attention to himself, but rather points the focus towards the one coming. The church is called to operate in a similar “forerunner anointing.” Jesus is coming back and I believe that it will be very soon. While no one can know the day or hour, we can look at the signs of the times and see that the hour is drawing imminently nearer. I feel urgency in my spirit to prepare the way of the Lord.

We cannot just sit in church and wait for His return. We must go and proclaim the message God has given us! Many people don’t understand the Arctic ministry. Why would you spend so much on so few? Because the bridegroom is coming! You can never place a monetary value on a soul. These precious people at the ends of the earth were worth God sending His only son to die. Surely they are worth the trouble and expense to travel across the cold tundra and share the gospel! In August our team in Arctic Russia will be going out to minister. The cost for the trip will be approximately $3000. In February Bill and I will travel with our workers across ice and snow to share the gospel with the people there and it will be expensive. But in the light of eternity and all Jesus has paid for us, it is such a small price to pay. John the Baptist chose a difficult life. John made very tangible sacrifices to proclaim the message he was given. John ultimately lost his life for it. It is 2013 and we have a choice to make. I’ve heard stories of sacrifices families have made to support the missions work that we do and I’ve wept with joy as I heard the hearts of these amazing people. I’ve watched the video of Bill and the team risking their lives to bring the gospel. It is not the easy route. But there is no other option for me.

We must “make ready a people prepared for The Lord.” The gospel MUST reach the ends of the earth and it will take our time, our resources and our dedication to see this accomplished. But what a joy! One day, at the wedding feast with Jesus, we will see all those whose lives we’ve touched. One day, you who have supported so faithfully will meet the many people from the north whom you have helped bring into the kingdom. I can see so vividly that meeting as you embrace your Eskimo brothers and sisters for the first time. I can hear them thanking you. “Thank you for sharing the gospel with me! Thank you for providing for me when I was hungry and cold! Thank you for loving and praying for me! Thank you for placing such a high value on me!” You may never see them this side of eternity, but on their behalf I say thank you. Thank you for caring and supporting. You are a vital part of changing lives at the ends of the earth. Thank you.

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