September 19, 2019

The Missionary Call Book Review

The Missionary Call by M. David Sills

M. David Sills in his book The Missionary Call does an excellent job of helping Christians to, as he says, “discern their place in God’s plan for the world.” Dr. Sills’s book brings insight to many of the questions and struggles Christians today have about world missions. The things that made this book so enjoyable to read were its readability, its logical flow and its practicality.The author’s mission in writing The Missionary Call is to help the reader better understand the place God has called him to in regards to missions.

The first thing that stands out about Dr. Sills’s book is its readability. While he has his Ph.D and is a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Sills’s book is not highly technical or academic. Joe Martin said of The Missionary Call, “Can a book be brief and thorough? Clear and Scholarly? Simple and profound? Practical and heartwarming? This one is. It will be a great help to many.” When Dr. Sills deals with topics such as understanding God’s will or defining the missionary call, he does so without adding unnecessary commentary or information that would otherwise clutter his thoughts. This is an important aspect that I appreciated about The Missionary Call.

The second thing that I noticed about The Missionary Call was the flow of the book. Dr. Sills has done a terrific job of ordering the book in a logical fashion. He separates the book into three sections: (1) What is the Missionary Call, (2) Understanding Your Missionary Call and (3) Fulfilling the Missionary Call. In the first section Dr. Sills deals with defining the missionary call and how to know God’s will. The second section builds on the first by helping a person understand his specific missionary call. Finally, in the third section he deals with the mission field, hindrances and challenges of the field and answering the missionary call. Dr. Sills wrote the book in such a way that each section builds on the section before it giving it a clear, logical flow.

The final thing that stood out to me in the book was its practicality. Dr. Sills’s book provides the reader practical help and information in regards to missions. This includes things such as: how to prepare for missions, hindrances to getting to the field, challenges on the mission field and many others examples.  And he does not make these topics difficult but highly accessible for the readers of all ages. The Missionary Call will help readers discern God’s will for their lives regarding serving the Lord in full time missions.

The Missionary Call is one of the best books I’ve read on the topic of world missions. I would recommend Dr. Sills book to anyone who has a heart for missions, desires to be a missionary or just wants to learn more about “God’s plan for the world.” Dr. Sills’s book is a great help in understanding what part you play and where God has called you in His plan for this world.

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Book Description:
Christians of all ages recognize the heartbeat of God to take the Gospel to the nations and wrestle with the implications of the Great Commission in their own lives. The Missionary Call explores the biblical, historical, and practical aspects of discerning and fulfilling God’s call to serve as a missionary. Pointing the reader to Scripture, lessons from missionary heroes, and his own practical and academic experience, Dr. Sills guides the reader to discern the personal applications of the missionary call.

About the Author:
 M. David Sills (D.Miss. and Ph.D., Reformed Theological Seminary) is associate professor of Christian Missions and Cultural Anthropology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He joined Southern Seminary after serving as a missionary in Ecuador. While with the International Mission Board, he served as church planter and general evangelist among the Highland Quichua people in the Andes and as a seminary professor at the Ecuadorian Baptist Theological Seminary. David and his wife, Mary, have two grown children.

The Primary Purpose of Global Evangelism

I suppose it really all began around the age of six or seven.

If you had asked me at this time (or any other age after that) what I wanted to be when I grew up, you would have received the definite answer, “I want to be a missionary!”

Of course, I didn’t come close to understand all that being a missionary entailed. In my over-imaginative mind, I assumed a “missionary” was someone who went into jungles and rain forests on the other side of the world, having loads of adventures, and occasionally telling people that “Jesus loves you” (my family and I were not Reformed until about three years ago). I had always loved the idea of adventure, and since, to me, this whole idea of being a missionary could co-exist with the idea of “church”, I thought it would be the only adventurous thing I could ever do with my life that my parents might approve of.

I was saved at fifteen. Since then, and especially in this past year, God has radically changed my outlook on global evangelism. While I still aspire to become a missionary, my ideas regarding the true purpose and goal of missions is completely changed. Actually, I am here dealing more with Global Evangelism than with missions in general. Yes, there is a difference; all Christians are “missionaries” in the sense that they bear the gospel and are told to share it with all they come in contact with. The idea of Global Evangelism carries with it the idea of one or two individual Christians going amongst a people group with little to no gospel access whatsoever, and there sharing the Word of God.

Why would a Christian ever consider being a missionary on the other side of the world? What could possibly motivate Christian men and women to travel into hostile countries, putting their lives on the line, in order to share the gospel? Why would young Christians such as Jim Elliot move to a remote swamp in South America infested with mosquitoes, gnats, and spiders (not to mention cannibals) with virtually none of the comforts he left behind in the States?

Many times I have heard this answer given; “Because of compassion for the souls of the Lost”. That is, according to these people, the “Great Goal” of global evangelism. While there certainly must be a healthy amount of compassion for those poor and impoverished people in Africa who may go their entire lives without ever hearing of their great need for a Savior, this is not the primary reason we evangelize the nations. It’s a good reason, but not the main reason.

The first and most important reason for Global Evangelism is the glory of God. Does that surprise you? We don’t go for the people, we go for God? It shouldn’t surprise you. Just as we read in 1 Corinthians 10:31, a passage we should all be very familiar with; So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Likewise, we read in Isaiah 66;

“For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.
(Isaiah 66:18-19 ESV)

God is glorified when souls are saved. God is glorified when His children direct all of their efforts towards knowing and obeying Him. God is glorified in the deaths of His saints. Therefore, missions of all sorts, both local and global, are pleasing and glorifying to Him. As I have heard and read missionaries make the almost unanimous (and seemingly callous) observation from their experiences on the mission field, “Compassion for the Lost will not keep you on the mission field. Evangelism is hard. Living in another culture is hard. People are hard. Persecution is hard. Once you live in that sort of environment for a few years, you abandon every ideal and fantasy you may have had at one time about missions being “romantic”. Only a burning zeal for God’s glory will keep you on that field.”

Zeal for the glory of God gets you to the mission field, and zeal for the glory of God keeps you on the mission field. It is like that missionary (I can’t remember his name) who was serving in India. He walked into a temple and saw all of the idol-worship that was taking place. He covered his ears and ran out of the temple weeping and crying, “I cannot bear living if God’s name is to be so dishonored!” It was that same burning, all-consuming desire that God’s name be hallowed among the nations that lead men and women such as Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, Gladys Aylward, Lottie Moon, the Disciples, and Paul the Apostle unto the uttermost ends of the earth.

I encourage you to spend a significant amount of time in prayer concerning missions. Pray, as Christ instructed, “for God
to send out laborers into the harvest“. Pray for the missionaries currently around the world, that their ministries would bear much fruit, whatever that fruitfulness might look like. And lastly, pray that God would create in you a greater desire
for the salvation of nations. But remember, as my Pastor says; don’t pray unless you’re willing to be sent.

Elizabeth
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I am Forgiven–Romans 4:7-8
I am a Slave of Christ–John 12:26
I am set-apart–2 Timothy 2:21
I am a new creation–2 Corinthians 5:17
I am striving to be Biblically Feminine–Titus 2:3-8
I am becoming The Proverbs 31 Woman–Proverbs 31:10-31
I am a warrior against the World, the Flesh, and the Devil–Ephesians 6:10-20
I am being conformed to the image of Christ–1 Peter 1:13-20
I am a sinner saved by grace alone–Ephesians 2:8, Romans 5:8
I am a follower of Christ Jesus alone.

Faith in Testing, Provision in Lack

Maranatha Logo

The following is a paper I wrote for school. It is a true story and I hope it is an encouragement to your faith!

I  could not believe that someone would steal the much needed funds from our Christian school! In May of 2009 when I was in eighth grade my school, Maranatha Christian Academy, was broken into and the safe containing twelve thousand dollars was 4 stolen; that money was supposed to go to pay the teachers’ end of the year salaries. Through the godly example of Pastor Bell, my principle, and witnessing first hand the provision of God I learned two very important things. First, how I should be thankful and trust God in every situation and secondly that God can and does provide for the needs of His people.

 As mom pulled into the school to drop my brothers and I off at on that early Monday morning I noticed a couple of police cars in the parking lot. That was unusual and wondered what the police would be doing there. As I walked to the lunch room I saw police tape roping off the computer lab down the hall. I joined my friends and our discussion revolved around what had possibly occurred.

Then, suddenly, the bell rang dismissing my classmates and I to our homeroom class. I took my seat in one of the front row desks and wondered what my teacher, Mrs. Tipton, was going to tell us about what had happened at the school. Mrs. Tipton crossed the classroom to the yellow wooden podium in front of the class; in a clear, serious voice she informed us that someone had broken into the school over the weekend and stole nearly twelve thousand dollars out of the school office. Later, I learned that the person had come in through an unlocked window in the computer lab, had broken in one of the office doors and stole the safe from the office. As we were dismissed to our next class we all could not believe that such a thing had happened to our school.

When I heard that Pastor Bell’s first response to the theft had been to pray a prayer of thanksgiving and to give the whole situation over to God I was surprised, but encouraged to see his faith and trust in God. Furthermore, I was encouraged when Pastor Bell in an interview with a local newspaper said “This instance is not just about a safe … God will use that person for his glory. This is the Lord’s doings. It’s marvelous in our eyes. We’re going to thank him. It’s his safe. It’s his money. It’s his school that sits up on this little hill and we’re going to trust him.” Even in such a desperate time for the school, teachers, and students Pastor Bell remarked to my Bible class that week that he was not angry with the person who had done this but rather was praying for whoever it was that God would change their heart. As I would go throughout my school day, Pastor Bell would be totally at peace, his faith placed firmly in Christ and seeing that helped to strengthen, grow and encourage my own faith.

Before long word got out about the burglary and newspapers and news channels were at the school interviewing teachers, administrators, students and parents about what happened. As the story made its way online and onto multiple television news stations calls began  flooding in with people wanting to know how they could help. The community was coming together to help our little school in need.

Amazingly, less than a week after the twelve thousand dollars was stolen God provided and began to restore back to the school almost two times what had been lost! As I waited in the office the Tuesday after the theft waiting to go somewhere after school I saw and heard God working marvelously to provide for the school. As I sat in one of three green vinyl chairs available in the front office I heard the secretary on the phone with someone wanting to donate to the school. Also, a person came into the office with a donation to help, but it did not stop there!

During most of the school day Pastor Bell had not been at the school. He had gone to Atlanta to meet with a businessman who had called him wanting to meet. He arrived back a little after school let out at three fifteen. He was on the telephone for a while but when he hung up I walked to his office door and saw tears flowing down his face. For a second I was concerned about whether everything was okay. Pastor Bell relieved my concerns saying that everything was okay and that he had just been overwhelmed by God’s goodness and provision. He told me how amazing God was and how He had worked. He told me about donations coming in and the businessman he had met with who gave him a ten thousand dollar donation for the school. Seeing and hearing first hand of God’s provision and Him restoring back two times what had been stolen had a tremendous impact on me and made me start crying there in his office. All I could respond with in absolute amazement was, “God is so good.” and “Praise God!” God was doing something amazing that no one could have imagined!

As Pastor Bell reflected later, he said, “I think as things developed throughout the day, what blew my mind was just how much people were saying, ‘OK, how can we help?’ “They said, ‘In this day of bailouts and people not recognizing their responsibility, you committed to help these families and stick to it and we want to help you.’” The community came together and gave over two times what had been stolen from the school. God provided and showed us how powerful he is and that he takes care of his people.

Because God allowed me to witness thankfulness in trial and His provision in He showed me how I should be thankful and trust Him in every situations and to know that He can and does provide for His people, often in ways not expected. When trials and hardships come my way I know that I am to be thankful because God is working in the situation to accomplish His goals. In future trials I can have confidence that God will take care of me because His word tells me so, but also because I have witnessed His provision and care for those who have put their trust in Him.

Making Your Life Count for Eternity

Hey everyone! I wanted to write on the topic of “Making Your Life Count for Eternity.”I recently heard a dear friend of my family preach on this and wanted to share some thoughts. One of the first questions a person would think of when hearing this topic would be, “How do I go about not wasting my life?”. Well, let’s see!

The beginning of a person’s life counting for eternity is his salvation. By God’s grace when He saves a man He saves a him from living a life separated from God and living for things that have no eternal value. To do so is ultimately a waste.

The Lord says in Luke, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” A person living for eternity must forsake sin and carry his cross. But, Christians shouldn’t think that they are losing anything when they deny themselves, but rather as Don Currin put it, we are gaining unsearchable riches, joy and happiness in Christ. [Read more…]

John Harper – Hero of the Titanic

John Harper

It was April 15, 1912, when HMS Titanic sank beneath the icy waters of the North Atlantic, taking with it 1517 lives. The largest and most luxurious ship at the time was gone, reminding the world of our frailty as human beings. But there is more to the sinking of the Titanic than a historical tragedy. There is a story of courageous heroism and unshakable faith.

John Harper was aboard the Titanic when she set sail from Southampton, England, on her maiden voyage. An evangelist originally from Glasgow, Scotland, he was well known throughout the United Kingdom as a charismatic, passionate speaker who led many to Christ through his gift of preaching. In 1912, Reverend Harper received an invitation to speak at the Moody Church in Chicago, U.S.A. On April 11, 1912, John Harper boarded the Titanic.

Titanic: The Ship of Dreams

Titanic: The Ship of Dreams: John Harper
The ship that would never be sunk, a ship of dreams becomes a ship of nightmares as it is swallowed beneath the freezing Atlantic Ocean. Hit by a massive iceberg it was as much the arrogance of the ships owners and operators that caused the tragedy of the Titanic on 14th April 1912. 1,517 people perished that night but there was at least one man who was focused on saving souls amidst the horror.

As the icy waters brought the life of John Harper to a close he still had the energy to call one final person to come to Christ. This is a story of tragedy but it is also a story of faith and courage and eternal hope.
Check out the book!

Some of the wealthiest people in the world were aboard. While many passengers spoke of business deals, acquisitions and material desires, John Harper was diligently sharing the love of Christ with others. In the days leading up to the tragedy, survivors reported seeing Harper living like a man of faith, speaking kind words and sharing the love of Christ.

On the evening of April 14, as passengers danced in the ballroom and tried their luck at the card tables, John Harper put his daughter to bed and read his devotions as he did every night. At 11:40pm, the Titanic struck an iceberg. The “unsinkable” ship was doomed. Either in disbelief or unaware at the time, passengers continued about their pleasures. It wasn’t until the ship’s crew sent up a series of distress flares that passengers realized the seriousness of their situation. Then chaos ensued. [Read more…]

Introduction

Dear readers of haleydempsey.com,

What a privilege to be asked to post on this website with Haley! I wish to express my gratitude to her for extending the invitation to me. I have followed her website for about six months now, and I am really looking forward to writing with her.
I wish to say a few things in introduction to give you an idea of my vision, passion, and walk with our Lord, so you can know perhaps a little bit about me.
I was saved in February of 2011 after a long period of doubt and questions. God showed me the truth of His Word early one morning while reading the scriptures, including such passages as Psalm 51 and Romans 9. Since my salvation, God has developed in me a passion for global missions. Currently, it is my earnest desire to go to Africa as a full-time missionary as soon as my education is complete (about five more years).
Some of my Christian heroes include Charles Spurgeon, Paul Washer, David Breinard, David Livingston, CT Studd, Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, Eric and Leslie Ludy, John Piper, John MacArthur, DA Carson, Katie Davis, George Wittfield, Richard Wurmbrand, Gladys Aylward, Esther Ahn-Kim, and Helen Rosevera.
My favorite portions of Scripture (if I could limit myself to a few!) Might include Job 38-41, Romans 9, Psalm 119, Psalm 23, Hebrews 11, 1 Corinthians 10, John 19-20,2 Coronicles 17:14-22, Matthew 28, and the books of Proverbs.
In my free time, I also enjoy drawing and writing. Generally, I write historical fiction and base my drawings off scenes from those books 🙂
AS I said, I am really looking forward to posting with Haley! This website is a medium that I pray God will use to reach many people.

Your Sister in Christ,

Elizabeth
I am Forgiven–Romans 4:7-8
I am a Slave of Christ–John 12:26
I am set-apart–2 Timothy 2:21
I am a new creation–2 Corinthians 5:17
I am Biblically Feminine–Titus 2:3-8
I am becoming The Proverbs 31 Woman–Proverbs 31:10-31
I am a warrior against the World, the Flesh, and the Devil–Ephesians 6:10-20
I am being conformed to the image of Christ–1 Peter 1:13-20
I am a sinner saved by grace alone–Ephesians 2:8, Romans 5:8
I am a follower of Christ Jesus alone.

New Author on My Blog

Hi everyone, I wanted to let you all know that I have added a new author to post on my blog. Her name is Elizabeth. She is sixteen, loves the Lord and believes God is calling her to missions in Africa. I have talked to her a good bit and look forward to reading her posts! I pray that as we post on this blog it is an encouragement to you and strengthens you in your faith. God bless!

The 1 Timothy 4 Teenager

1 Timothy 4:12Hey everyone. I wanted to write about something I have been thinking about recently. Young adults (teens) I am talking to you. Even as Christian teens we are looked down upon and expected to be disrespectful, rebellious, lazy and irresponsible. It has become the cultural norm to expect little or nothing from someone between the ages of 13 and 19 just because they fall in that category. This is NOT what we are called to as Christian teens. Our teen years are years when we learn, grow and prepare for the years ahead of us. The verse I am sure all of us have heard or memorized, 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

Matthew Henry explains this verse in his commentary on 1 Timothy saying, “To conduct himself with that gravity and prudence which might gain him respect, not withstanding his youth: “Let no man despise thy youth; that is, give no man an occasion to despise thy youth.’’ Men’s youth will not be despised if they do not by youthful vanities and follies make themselves despicable; and this men may do who are old, who may therefore thank themselves if they be despised.

To confirm his doctrine by a good example: Be thou an example of the believers, etc. Observe, Those who teach by their doctrine must teach by their live, else they pull down with one hand what they build up with the other: they must be examples both in word and conversation. Their discourse must be edifying, and this will be a good example: their conversation must be strict, and this will be a good example: they must be examples in charity, or love to God and all good men, examples in spirit, that is, in spiritual-mindedness,in spiritual worship,—in faith, that is, in the profession of Christian faith,—and in purity or chastity.”

It is hard as teens in this world to live like this when so little is expected of us. We need to step up and be what Christ has called us to be: examples of love, spiritual mindedness, purity, and edifying in our discourse. We can not do it of our own will or might but only through God working in us to make us more like His son. I hope this is an encouragement to you!

Related Books

Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper

Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris

Start Here by Alex and Brett Harris

The Hidden “A” by Haley Dempsey

A Character Analysis From the Scarlet Letter

The Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale is a well respected man, but in spite of his apparent godliness and purity he refuses to reveal himself as Hester Prynne’s lover for fear of public reproach. In “The Scarlet Letter” Nathaniel Hawethorne does a wonderful job of bringing Arthur Dimmesdale to life through dramatic scenes and his captivating personality. While the Reverand appears to be a pious man, he hides his sin trying to make it right himself. If he reveals his sin and repents, he will find peace that he cannot have any other way. Reverend Dimmesdale is an example of the effect of sin upon a person’s life, how any person can be hypocritical, and that no matter how hard a person may try to hide his sin, your sins will always find you out.

Reverend Dimmesdale is an man with a very sensitive conscience in regards to sin, but chooses to conceal his sin of adultery from the public. As a result of remaining silent, the minister’s health declines drastically over a period of seven years and he is seen with his hand constantly over his heart. The narrator of the story remarks, “Poor, miserable man! What right had infirmity like his to burden itself with crime? Crime is for the iron-nerved, who have their choices either to endure it, or if it press too hard, to exert their fierce and savage strength for a good purpose, and fling it off at once!” (pg. 169) The Reverend is too feeble and weak to carry the guilty weight of his secret sin; it is a greater burden than if the whole world were placed upon his shoulders. Dimmesdale’s refusal to confess ultimately brings him to his death, where in his last moments he confesses his sin and reveals the letter “A” that is on the skin where he holds his hand over his heart.

In addition to the effect of sin on Dimmesdale’s life, he is seen to be extremely hypocritical . Even in Hester’s public sentencing, Dimmesdale pleads with her saying, “Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee, on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life. What can thy silence do for him, except it tempt him-yea-compel his as it were to add hypocrisy to sin.” (pg. 74) The Reverend pleads with her to reveal her lover to the crowd, but instead of stepping forward himself and speaking up, he leaves it up to Hester. Dimmesdale refuses the idea of public shame and therefore does not reveal himself as Hester’s lover. Dimmesdale’s hypocrisy is revealed again by Hester’s daughter Pearl when speaking to her mother in the following, “‘What a strange, sad man is he!’ said the child, as if speaking partly to herself. ‘In the dark night-time, he calls up to him, and holds thy hand and mine, as when we stood with him on the scaffold yonder! And in the deep forest, where only the old trees can hear, and the strips of sky see it, he talks with thee, sitting on a heap of moss! And he kissed my forehead, too, so that the little brook would hardly wash it off! But, here, in the sunny day, and among all the people, he knows us not; nor must we know him! A strange sad man is he, with his hand always over his heart.’” (pg. 267) The Reverend’s life is seen as being one of hypocrisy; he is the godly, esteemed minister in public, while in reality he is a guilty adulterer hidden beneath his public position in society. [Read more…]

His Testimony by Marcelina Spencer

I was reading a friend’s blog and came across this post that I thought I would share with you. If you are interested in reading more posts from Marcelina, visit http://marcelina-spencer.blogspot.com/ 

Who so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son (John 3:16)? 

Our Lord came down from Heaven to die on the Cross for our sins. We, as humans, can’t ever make “right” the burdens our sins has caused us. That is why I glory in my Savior who loved us so much that He would die for our place, to die and take away the punishment of our sins. Now, because I have that knowledge, what am I to do? I live and go on the day praising Him for His love and follow in His ways and His steps. Why wouldn’t I? If someone died for you, took up your sins and burdens on their back, wouldn’t you live your life imitating his loving, unconditional, gracious actions to the world? To the community? And wouldn’t you tell the world about it?

I have a Savior who died for me, and His death on the cross at Calvary marks my life, remembering His love and grace bestowed so graciously towards me. And His resurrection, raising from the grave, reminds me of the ultimate power the Almighty holds here and forever. This is no dead god but a living God I glory in.

Recommended Books:
Heart for God by Sinclair B. Ferguson
The Heart of Christ by Thomas Goodwin
Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ by John Bunyan