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Logo of GYC 2015: Called. Chosen. Faithful.

6. Small Beginnings

Homer Trecartin


Homer Trecartin

President of the Midle East and North Africa Union (MENA)



  • January 2, 2016
    3:15 PM
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This message was presented at the July see twenty fifteen conference called. Chosen. In lieu of a Kentucky. For other resources like this. Visit us online at W W W G Y C Web dot org Let's go ahead. Of our heads for prayer. Father God. Thank you. That you love each one of us that you know all about us. Thank you that you have a plan for our lives. And Lord we don't always see it. Sometimes what we think is nothing. Would in the eyes of heaven. Be much greater. But maybe we need that. If we saw how big and effect. Our efforts had. We might become puffed up and proud. So maybe that's why you let us see only small glimpses of what's happening sometimes. We pray that your Holy Spirit will be here with this this morning. And this afternoon and. And give us your wisdom and around this entire facility is. So many groups are meeting. Pour out your Holy Spirit on all of us we pray in Jesus name. Amen. All right. Come on in. We. You know we all have goals in life. We. We set it at least maybe not maybe not. We may not write them down or tell them to too many people but. But we. We have certain things that we want to do or accomplish. And. And I suppose. Maybe just in our hearts at least all of us would like to accomplish something big for God. There's nothing wrong with that. But how do we feel. If we're not accomplishing something big. Or if other people around us are not accomplishing something big how do we feel about them. You know would we make a sacrifice. If we thought we could baptize hundreds by making that sacrifice. Would we make the same sacrifice. If we knew we might work our whole life and not see hardly any results for. What. What are our goals how how high are goals. And are we willing to do things that may not have such big results. One of our problems. As individuals and as a church as. Organizations have the same problem let me take it out of the church realm and look at a business. If a business. Is wanting to sell some particular product. They're going to go to the places where they can sell the most of it right. They're going to ignore the places where there's not going to be very many sales. But that doesn't work for us. Because the Gospel needs to go to. How many people. Everybody that means rural. As a church we've done very well in the rural areas and in the islands. We've not done very well in the cities. Most of the people now live in the cities in the Middle East and North Africa especially. Almost all the people. We have. We have a few rural areas in Algeria and a few in in Jordan a few in Turkey. But most of our area. You've got. Sand all around you and you only have water. Where you decide to build in these salinisation plant and so everybody lives in the city. If we're going to reach them. We need to live in the city. Yes OK. Thank you. Let's try that better. Sorry about that. Thank you. We we need to be working in those difficult areas. And some. What the other problem we've had is. We go to where we can baptize. And that's good. We need to be. But what about the areas where we're not going to be able to baptize lots of people where it might be years before we would have one baptism. You know one. When our early church started reaching out the early ad been a started reaching out in missions. They often went places where it was years before they saw their first baptism. We've for the last twenty thirty forty years we have somewhat ignored the areas where we can't go in and hold a series of meetings and have a big set a baptism. We've not spent much time or money. Putting people into those places where we knew it was going to take a long time. For there to be any results. But in our part of the world. There are results. It's just they're slow. It takes a long time to build trust in a friendship and. And eventually. About tism. So I want to talk to you a little about that today. You know in two thousand and sixteen. You see here now. And in a way. Christmas. Was a small beginning wasn't. Jesus came as a baby. It was a small beginning I think sometimes we focus too much on the size of something when it starts. And usually the things I talk about. Are things that I've been wrestling with. OK of. Probably was a year ago now maybe a year and a half I can't remember exactly. I was almost feeling overwhelmed. Barber and I have been for years now. In the Middle East and North Africa Union. A few years before that before we were at the General Conference we lived in Cyprus and worked throughout the Middle East so in a way it was coming back home but it's been for four years in a week I think that we've been there in the Middle East. And and it wasn't too long ago year and a half or so that I was that I was wrestling with some issues. I was looking at the immensity of the task in the Middle East and North Africa. I was looking at the massive challenges we faced in the governments and with finance and with all these other things. I was looking at the tiny number of admin a sweetie have. And I was really feeling overwhelmed. How are we going to do it. But you know. I praise God that no matter how often we read the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy. We can of read a passage many times before but often God gives us. On the very day we need it. Just the passage we needed doesn't it. I don't want to ask you to raise your hands but I hope that you're following along with the revived by his word readings that. That have been going on and now it's called Believe. Believe it's prophets I think we're doing both then. And sometimes with our trips barber and I get behind a little bit so sometimes we read ahead a little bit we're not always on the exact same day as everybody else but what we're reading. And. And we were reading through that year. Again that. The passages that were being looked at and all of a sudden I came to. Two little chapters that I've read over and over before in my life. And they've always been meaningful to me. But they really were what I needed. Those days. There's some promises there that have given me great courage. And I think they'll give you courage to for whatever challenges might. Awaits you as you leave Jew I see and go back to wherever home is or wherever God sends you. But first I want to start with a little story. I love stories. Not very. Primarily a preacher I'm much better as a storyteller Hi. I'm not a very good teacher either but I do love to tell stories and. This is a story that. Hardly fits with the news releases that we see sometimes of. You know three thousand baptisms in one day and. And I praise the Lord for those. But this one is so. Quite different from that. Maybe by the end of the seminar you'll feel like that it does fit with the seminar at least. But we as in all of the. Talks that we've been doing I've been trying to be careful in most of them anyway. I've not made it i'm always been trying to be careful about giving too many names. We are. They said they were going to post all of the seminars. And we didn't know that when we prepared for these seminars and so we've asked them to hold them back for us for a few days and we're going to edit out some of the names that I've given. And then they'll be posted. But on this one today they're not going to have to edited out because I'm and. I'm going to change the names or leave them out. I'm just going to call them one of our workers. Many of you would know the names if I gave them to you. It's somebody who has been quite prominent now been tism. He and his wife. Moved to our area. Year or two ago. They were new to our countries they're still like all of us getting used to the people in the places in the language and customs. They're taking language study. And their language teacher recently introduce them to some friends of his now this is not a picture of the friends it's just a stock photo that we used to illustrate them I wouldn't dare show you a picture of the friends even if I had one. But the language teacher. Is a Christian. In fact he's a Baptist. But he never takes is a Baptist pastor to see as Muslim friends. He always takes this ad been a spy stor that studying language with him. To see is administers. His Muslim friends. Why do you think that is. Well he's not worried. Because the admin a spa doesn't drink alcohol doesn't eat pork doesn't pray to saints he feels very comfortable taking him to see the Muslim friends so he. He took them to this. To this Muslim family. They are not just a common ordinary family. He's a powerful Sunni Muslim general. He has a high position in government. He's highly respected in the Muslim world. As they sat in the home the wealthy home of this very influential Muslim general politician all kind of combine. The man turned to them and. Immediately this is their first visit. He turned to them and started asking them deep spiritual questions about Jesus about the second coming about salvation about sin. Lots of deep spiritual questions. In front of his children. After a while he dismissed the children and he turned to our admin to all and he said. I wanted my children to hear the answers to those questions from a real Christian. As. They were talking. The wife. Leaned over to our admin a slate he and whispered. We're believers in our hearts. Now. Our admin a slate he tried not to look shocked and let her mouth dropped open. She just patted the lady on the arm and tried to just be calm. But here was a powerful Sunni Muslim general politician highly respected. Who it to all appearances. Were faithful Muslims. But they were saying we're believers in a way that clearly indicated they were followers of Jesus. Ok this. Missionary family. Has like all of us sometimes felt like you know. What good are we accomplishing. We're just studying language we're just going on a visit with our teacher we're a poor family I mean how could we possibly have any impact. Well live. They have been back to that family two or three times by invitation. And one of those trips. As they were sitting in the Muslim general had invited many of his. Muslim friends. It was quite a high level dinner. That they were having to attend and they're not real comfortable in those situations but they were going because they were invited and. After the meal or at some point in the in the process. The husband in the wife. The Muslim general and his wife started talking to the pastor at one of the tables. And soon the Muslim general got up and left. The discussion spiritual. Many deep spiritual issues. And the pastor's thinking in his mind oh oh no. What did I say Lord that upset him. I'm sorry I've been trying to be careful I want I want to answer their questions but I don't want to upset them. After that he was done talking to the wife there in the. I mean they weren't in a private room they were in a big room with people milling around different places after they were done later on the Muslim general came over beside him and he said. I just wanted my wife. To have total freedom. To ask any questions she wanted to without feeling afraid that I was there. OK. Something is going on in their hearts even though to all appearances. If you were to see them on the news some day and you very well could. You'd think this is a Muslim general. But something's going on in their heart. Today we're going to do something that we don't usually do is a group. But these passages that I read that day were so powerful to me that I want to read them with you we're going to read an entire book of the Bible together. And it. It's not a long book it's one of the shorter ones is two little chapters. I'm going to read from the New International Version you can follow along on the screen or follow along in your own translation. Many times for study and at home and preaching I'll use the New King James Version. But for the flow of it. The new the new not New International Version the New Living Translation. I don't use the Living Bible. Much But that that's a paraphrase but the New Living Translation. In some places flows so smoothly and nicely I want to read it to you from there. We're looking at the book of high guy had guy chapter one. And Chapter two. On August twenty nine. Of the second year of King Darius's reign. The Lord gave a message through the prophet guy it desirable son of Shelagh feel governor of Judah. And the Jesuits son of John Sadak the high priest. This is what the Lord of Heaven's armies says. The people are saying. The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord. Verse three. Then the Lord sent his this message through the prophet had guy. Why are you living in luxury of houses while my house lies in ruins. This is what the Lord of heavens army says. Look at what's happening to you. You have planted much but harvest little you eat but are not satisfied you drink but are still thirsty you put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes. This is what the Lord of heavens armies says. Look at what's happening to you. Now go up in the hills bring down timber and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored says the Lord. You hope for riches. But they were poor for rich harvests but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home. I blew it away. Why because my house lies in ruins as the Lord of heavens armies. While all of you are busy building your own fine houses. It's because of you that the heavens withhold the doing the earth produces no crops. I've called for a drought on your fields and hills. A drought to wither the grain and grapes and olive trees and all your other crops. A drought to starve you and your livestock and to ruin everything you've worked so hard to get. Then Zorobabel son of shell Attila and Jesuit son of jihad back the high priest. And the whole remnant of God's people begin to obey the message from the Lord their God. When they heard the words of the Prophet guy whom the Lord their God had sent. The people feared the Lord. Then had a guy the Lord's messenger gave the people this message from the Lord. I am with you. Says the Lord. So the Lord sparked the enthusiasm of Zorobabel son of Shelah till governor of Judah in the enthusiasm of Jeshua son of jihad back the high priest. And the enthusiasm of the whole remnant remnant of God's people. They begin to work on the House of their God The Lord of Heaven's armies. On September twenty one of the second year of King Darius's reign. Chapter two. Then on October seventeenth of that same year. The Lord sent another message through the prophet Hey guy. Say this desirable son of Shelah till governor of Judah and to Jeff son of Jaws attack the high priest. And to the remnant of God's people there in the land. Does anyone remember this house. Does not see. Does anyone remember this house. This temple and its former splendor. How in comparison does it look to you now. It must seem like nothing at all. But now the Lord says Be strong Zorobabel. Be strong. Jeshua son of jihad back the high priest. Be strong all you people still in the land. And now get to work. For I am with you says the Lord of Heaven's armies. My spirit remains among you. Just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid. For this is what the Lord of heavens armies says. In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth the oceans and the dry land. I will shake all the nations in the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this temple. I will fill this place with glory says the Lord of heavens armies. The silver is mine. And the gold is mine says the Lord of Heaven's armies. The future glory of this temple will be greater than in its past. Says the Lord of Heaven's armies and in this place I will bring peace. I the LORD of Heaven's armies have spoken. First can. On December eighteenth of the second year of King Darius's reign the Lord sent this message to the prophet Hey guy. This is what the Lord of Heaven's armies says. Ask. This question about the law. If one of us carrying some meat from a Holy Sacrifice in his robes and his robe happens to brush against some bread or stew. Wine or olive oil. Or any other kind of food. Will it also become holy. The priest replied No. Then hey guy asked if someone becomes ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person. And then touches any of these foods. Will the food be defiled. And the priests answered. Yes. Then hey guy responded. That's how it is. With this people in this nation says the Lord. Everything they do. And everything they offer is defiled by their sin. Look at what was happening to you before you began to lay the foundation of the Lord's temple. When you hope for a twenty bushel crop you harvested only ten. When you expected to draw fifty gallons from the wind pressure found only twenty. I sent blight and mildew and hail to destroy everything you worked so hard to produce. Even so you refused to turn to me says the Lord. But think about this eighteenth. Day of December. The day when the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid. Think carefully. I am giving you a promise now. While the seed is still in the barn you have not yet harvested your grain your great vines fig trees pomegranates and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day forward. I will bless you. On that same day December eighteen the Lord sent this second message to hey guy. Tells the rubble the governor of Judah. That I am about to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow royal Thrones and destroy the power of foreign kingdoms. I will overturn their chariots and riders the horses will fall and their riders will kill each other but when this happens as the Lord of Heaven's armies I will honor a user of a bull son of shell until my servant. I will make you like a signet ring on my finger says the Lord. For I have chosen you. I the LORD of Heaven's armies of. Spoken. So what's going on here. Well the book of. Ezra. I don't worry we're not going to read the book of Ezra. We. We just are going to read those two short chapters. But you might want to read the book of as Or again because the book of as rest starts before had a guy answerable and covers the same time period as ria. You're a member of the scribe he gives many many details of what was happening. How a guy and Zachariah brought messages. But not really gave details like Ezra did. As realists the number of people that originally left Babylon. He lists the amount of cattle silver golden temple dishes that. That they took with them. He counts. He tells the account of how they got together there. When they first arrived in Jerusalem and. And begin to lay the foundation of the temple and this is before high guy and Zachariah. They they started to lay the foundation of the temple. And then he tells how the older ones among them. Wept at the sight of that. Miserable looking. Row of stones that they were trying to put in place. You can imagine. The older people had seen the temple in all its glory. Everything was so perfect and beautiful. And now here they are looking at a ragtag group of people that have just come out of balance years in Babylon. And they're trying their best they're not engineers they're not builders but they're trying to lay the foundation of the temple. And it must have looked miserable. And then as for it talks about how they. Those older people wept. At the sight of it. I just want to insert a little parentheses here it's not what I'm really talking about. But I'm in that category of older people now. OK I can remember a lot of things that a lot of you can't remember. I want you other older folks that are here with me. I want you to go back and re read Ezra three. Later you can do that. I want you to notice the terrible damage they did. Those older people. Us older people. By remembering how things were in the past and criticizing what was trying to happen now. You know we we need to remember what happened in the past we have that famous quote that we refer to often. But often we look back at the past and how good it was and we criticize what somebody is trying to do today. We cry. Over how nice it was then and how miserable it seems now. And we do terrible damage. When we do that. But let's go on I've got to talk about something else. That crying by the old people wasn't all that went wrong. Ezra tells us how the enemies begin to try to interfere with the work. In chapter four of as are averse to. He says that they came and offered their help. Help. They really didn't want to help they just wanted to get on the inside and be able to try to disrupt things. They weren't allowed to. So then. Verse four says they tried to frighten the workers. That didn't work too well so verse five they tried to bribe people to work against them. With all those problems discouragement begin to set in so you've got the old people crying about how bad it is now and how good it was in the past. You've got all this problem from the outside happening in and everybody started to get discouraged. And they quit working on the temple. And seventeen or eighteen years went by. While everybody just live their lives. Built their houses. Planted their fields took care of their animals went to school whatever they were doing. They just live their lives. Instead of doing what God asked them to do what he asked them to do. He had sent them back to rebuild the Temple had any. That was. That was their job that was the command given them to go rebuild the temple. But they weren't doing the work he had given them they were just living their lives. They were sinning. You notice. At last at that point later on there were some problems they weren't sinning. They just weren't doing what God told them to do. Now I can identify was bull and Joshua and the others. The work we've been assigned in Mina that's a painting on the wall of my office. Of our country is I didn't put the names on there forever come to my office I'll give you a quiz. See if you how your geography is whether you know which countries are which by the way it. It's a huge territory. It's way bigger than the United States in fact there are only three divisions in the world church that have as much population. Or as much land. As this union. If I put a pin right here in the corner. Of that's. Western Sahara. Morocco Western Sahara. If I put a pin there and flip the whole thing over. Iran this is Iran Iran comes over to San Antonio Texas. If I put a pin over here in the corner of Iran and flip it over that way. It comes over somewhere near the Philippines and Japan in that area and it's a massive territory. It takes me longer to fly across that territory. Than it does to fly from Lebanon to the United States. It's huge. We have so few. Adventists and so many people living there and I've told you about some of that in some of the other seminars. The work that we've been assigned is not only huge it's difficult it's dangerous it's a lot like the work that Zorobabel and Joshua were facing. Going into what was almost enemy territory. Yeah it was kind of back home after seventy years but. But it was enemy territory and they were trying to do a job that nobody around them wanted them to do. We're trying to do a work in men of that. I could go out on the street or go to a government office and there is nobody that would say yes we want you to do this work. There were people. There are people in our territory who pretend to want to help us with the work. But in reality they're just trying to infiltrate. So that they can find some way to hinder it. We're absolutely convinced that we have spies in our churches. We probably have spies as employees of the church. I am not going to let that worry me. I pray for everybody. If somebody is common and there there is a spy in there listening to the messages I hope that it touches their hearts. We live our lives as transparent as we can live them. We're careful what we say and how we say it and what we do but we're going to go ahead with our work. No matter what. And there are governments and religious systems around us that try to block the way forward. There are mountains of in possibility that seem to be in front of us. But I don't think this message is just for me. I think it's for all of us. God is assigned us all together. The work of reaching. Everyone in the world. And we want to do it in this generation. And see Jesus come. Even the Muslims of the United States. There are millions of them here. We're in a free country. They need to be reached. But most of them say they don't know a single Christian personally. Somehow we've got to become their friends. And even the five hundred million people in the Middle East North Africa Union need to be reached even the people here in downtown Louisville need to be reached. Everywhere. We've got people to reach. Have we perhaps a come to the subtle temptation to just take the easy road. Have we have we fallen into the trap of just quietly living our lives. Not rocking the boat too much. Leaving the work for someone with better skills. Or for some time in the future when things get easier. I have been told repeatedly in churches here in the United States. By dedicated ad been a smear members. It's too dangerous to work in the Middle East and North Africa. Why waste our time and money on them. They don't want to see anyway let's go somewhere where they want us they'll say. They'll say we just need to wait till God changes the situation and it becomes easier. And eventually those comments. Begin to eat a way. In my mind and I almost start to believe them. And then I read some verses. Like what we just read. In hey guy. Remember it wasn't just the people who had settled down. Joshua And Zorobabel. Had also settled down and were just living their lives leaders or human. Leaders. Given to the same discouragements and. And pressures that everyone else is facing. They were all godly people they wanted to do what was right they had made great sacrifices to start the work. But little by little. Under the intense pressures that they were facing. They had begun to spend their time and effort and money. Not on bad things. But on the easy things. And not followed through with the difficult ones. They had left the work of God for some time in the future. When they hoped it would be easier. Was God happy with that. No and that's the message that had a guy starts out with isn't it. He shows them clearly that God was not happy with what they were doing. You see God isn't the God of the zeroed. His commands have always gone against what makes sense from a human perspective. Over and over again we see things like. God asking a Noah. To build an ark. When it's never rain before. Right. We see him telling an Abraham to go where he's never been and raise up a great nation when he has how many children. None. We see God sending a bunch of slaves to conquer mighty cities and mountains filled with giants. We see him sending a Jonah to a place that delighted in torturing their captives to death. Now I want you to think about that one for a minute. To put it in today's terms that would be like one of you having a dream tonight. And God telling you to pack up your backpacking catch the next flight from Mosul Iraq and preach to ISIS. OK there are no flights to Mosul Iraq that I know of but. You somehow if that was the dream and you were supposed to get there. And actually that's almost exactly what God asked Jonah to do. Mosul is where Nineveh was the ancient walls of min of our right there just outside of Mosul. The people of Nineveh. Like the people like ISIS. Were brutal. They took great joy in finding creative ways of torturing their captives to death in the most gruesome ways. It's no wonder that Jonah didn't want to go. But God sent him. And in one way or another God has sent us to reach out to all of the people around us. We often see God. Sending a boy up against a giant with only a sling right. We see him preaching that the road to his kingdom is narrow and steep. We see him sending twelve an educated fishermen tax collectors out to turn the world upside down with their message. But don't forget that in the process. You know we look at the glory part of that story. We think about how. How in one generation they reached. Everybody in the then own world we talk about how how many people were coming into the church in those days. But don't forget that those twelve apostles and most of the others were beaten. Stoned. Dipped in boiling oil shipwrecked banished crucified. And beheaded. In the process of doing what God sent them out to do yes they turned the world upside down. But they paid a great price. To do it. Or did they. They did what God sent them to do. God commanded Zorobabel and the others three build the temple he had performed miracles to get Cyrus. To send them to give them funding for their journey and for what they needed to protect them. But one things got difficult. They had done like we so often do. And they stopped doing the work of God commanded them to do. They said let's wait for an easier time. And I wonder if maybe. We sometimes say the same thing that those returned exile's did the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord the time hasn't yet come to give it to do the work that God has given us to do. And the work God gives you to do may be different from what it is that he gives me to do but often. That work we say Well Lord you know all K. let me finish my degree first. Lord let me make my first million first and then. Not OK. God doesn't say. To put it off for the future. He said I want you to do it now. Are we doing it. Or are we saying not now maybe later the time isn't right. So year after year goes by we live our lives we build our houses we go to school and get our degrees and I'm not against that I think we need to get our degrees. There will be people in university. When Jesus comes they will be part way through a degree there will be people partway through building a house. When Jesus comes. That's not wrong if that's what God has told you to do. We need people doing those things. But so often we put off doing what he told us to do. And we do something different. Sometimes it almost seems as though God is talking to me like he did back in HI GUYS day. And here I want to paraphrase. The first. Well. I want to paraphrase Hey I want verses five to eleven. So I'm not going to put it up on the screen that says you can look at the picture of Morocco if you want to Morocco is a beautiful country. Well what did we do here. Maybe you can't look at the picture of Morocco. OK let's see there. OK. I don't know what I push. But let me paraphrase. Those few verses that we already read but I want to paraphrase them put parts of them into today's language a little bit more. This is what the Lord of Heaven's army says. Look what's happening to you. You've planted much but you harvest little. For years you have invested in buildings. Planned programs operated schools gone to school gotten good jobs hired pastors. But what can you point to his results. This is what the Lord of Heaven's Army says look at what's going to happen to you. Now go and do the work I've commanded you to do. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored says the Lord. You hope for a rich harvest but they were poor. And when you did get a few new members I blew them away. Why. Because the people of the cities around you still sit in darkness. As the Lord of heavens armies. While all of you are busy arguing with each other about methods and theology and women's ordination. Taking care of your own families and friends. Your forgetting those who may still never have heard. And the many many cities where there is still not a single Seventh Day Adventist. It's because of you that the heavens withhold the do of the Holy Spirit. And the church is not growing in some areas. I have called for a drought on your fields and hills and churches. A drought to wither the grain in grapes and olive trees to terrorize your countries and destroy your economies. A drought to starve you in your livestock and to ruin everything you've worked so hard to get pretty bleak isn't it. I heard a few amens. Amen not in meaning that yes that's wonderful but Amen in recognizing that that speaking to our hardass. It made me squirm when I read it that day. Is that what I've been doing. But I'm so thankful God doesn't leave us there. He quickly moves. From that description of how bad things are to promises for the future. I ended. In verse eleven paraphrasing verse eleven. The very next verse verse twelve says. They heard the message. And they started to work. And the immediately. In verse thirteen. God says. I am with you. He has just told them. He was against them. He was withering. He was blowing. He was drying. And now he changes immediately when they take the very first steps. It says they decided to start to work again. When they take the very first steps. He turns around and says. I am with you. Then three weeks later in Chapter two God sent another message. He says. Don't get discouraged by how things look right now. Marked down today's date. And watch. You will be able to tell that from today on. I started blessing you. Mark down today's day. You'll be able to tell that from today on. I started blessing you. Today you've stepped out of your comfort zone and I will bless your efforts. Not even mountains. Not even mountains can stand in the way he says. I will provide what you need. And I will shake out. Anyone who is hindering this work from going forward. Do we believe the shaking time. Is taking place and will be taking place. Part of the purpose of it is to shake out. Those who are hindering the work. From going forward. A few years ago. The office of admin A Smith. At the General Conference got an old diary or memoir. It was a handwritten one by an old mission pioneer missionary pioneer. Many years ago. She's dead now she was in Australia Mrs Ferris. She's dead now but her son found this old yellowed note book in a closet and he sent it or gave it to admin A Smith. It was gripping. As you read the. The account. Not perfectly written not something ready to be printed but. But powerful as you read this ladies remember and. Of what it was like being a pioneer missionary. There were accounts. Of they were in the South Sea Islands and there were confrontations with devil doctors there with disease there were crash boats. It was one time that. That she was going along in a dugout canoe with one of the babies in her arms and the other baby in the dugout canoe with her. And they hit a submerged log in the water that they didn't see. And it threw the baby out of her arms into that black water and. And for a few seconds certain minutes that seemed like hours. She couldn't see the baby but. The other min the local men dived in and around down in the roots and they found the baby and brought it up and. And the baby was OK. There was war. There was almost total lack of communication with the outside world. You know mission today is very different from what it used to be when Barbara and I first went. We we didn't have e-mails. We would. We were living for a few months as volunteers in a lawsuit two down in South Africa. And we would drive an hour. Once a week. To go out to a place where we could get a fax machine and send the fax home and tell everybody we were still alive and. If we sent out a letter it would take weeks to get home and weeks to get back and. Now today we have email we have Skype we have all kinds of things that are one. Under full. But you know we're placing people in Menna in situations where they're almost as isolated as the early missionaries that went into Central Africa. And for months nobody knew where they were whether they were alive or what until. Till message could get out. The reason is not because there's not technology. There's. Excellent cell phone technology. Excellent Internet. But they don't dare. Communicate with us and tell us much of anything we've got one couple. That we've put into a city where we have told them not to contact us while they're in there we send them in with six months worth of money. And we asked them to plan to come out in three months knowing that it might be four or five and hoping we have a cushion of money that they'll make it. But when they come out. We'll meet them and be able to talk we can't talk while they're in there they can e-mail their family. They're in a university and they can tell about their studies and their shopping and just talk and we've. We've told the family that if there's a crisis. For the family to contact us and we'll intervene. But the moment the government knew that they were connected to us. There would be trouble for them. So they're isolated. We try to have retreats that we can bring our students in our tent makers to because many times they go for months at a time. Just two or three of them. In a living room. Singing their songs in a whisper so they don't bother anybody. And constantly watching what they say. Praying and wondering. Do I dare say this or don't I dare say this Lord help me what. Well. Sometimes they need to break. To let down their guard to have a group of people they can sing and pray with and read the Bible together and. So we offer retreats. Once or twice a year we bring them out. Give them a break and a chance. But this family. Was having a problem with. Communication it took a long time to get any messages in or out. One time the husband went to a general conference session in the United States. Now back then. He didn't hop on a plane and a few hours later he was here. He had to take a mail boat out to another island and catch another boat in another boat and. Months later he would be finally coming back home. Not. Days later. When he got to the United States he came down with typhoid fever. It was so bad that the doctors finally gave up they said there is nothing more we can do for you Pastor Farris you're going to die tonight. You have just a little bit of energy left we think you should write a letter to your family. And send it to them. Pastor parish wrote a loving goodbye letter saying that he wanted to meet them in heaven. And posted it. Weeks went by that. Dying love letter finally reached the family. In that remote. Mission Station. But I want you to picture with me for a moment. The range of feelings that Mrs Ferris probably went through. First of all. She's waiting. Day after day week after week month after month hoping that he'll be coming back soon. And then she sees the mail boat pull in that's their lifeline with the outside world so she rushes down from the hut. To the to the edge of the water there. Gets the mail bag all excited she's looking through it while she's walking back toward the hut. Oh there's a letter from him she pulls it out. Probably tears it open while she's walking. And starts to read excitedly. Only to read his dying love letter to the family. Saying I want to see you in heaven. Probably collapse there on the ground sobbing the kids probably want to know what was wrong with mommy. There was nothing she could do. She couldn't pick up a telephone and call anybody. She couldn't even get on the mail boat and leave it had already gone. It was days or weeks before the next mail boat came. And when it did it brought another letter saying Praise God I didn't die I'm recovering and I'll join you soon. But for those several days or weeks she thought she was a widow with two little kids out there in a remote mission station. With no connection with the outside world. What a sacrifice. Years went by and they finally returned to their home in Australia. But for the rest of her life. That pioneer mission mother. Felt like a failure. Over and over she would tell people what. How they wasted their time. In that mission work they didn't accomplish anything she said why she would. Agonize with God and cry out to him. Why didn't you send somebody that could have accomplished something. We had one baptism here and one baptism there and almost nothing. For the years and years of work. She wasn't complaining about the sacrifice. She was complaining that they had been so ineffective. They hadn't accomplished anything. Finally when she was ninety five years old her family convinced her to take a mission cruise through those islands. One place after another they stopped where she had lived and worked and. It was it was a really powerful. Moving experience for her. But especially when they came to one point one of the most difficult places they had lived in work. As they came around the corner. Suddenly she burst into tears. Because their on the bank were a thousand and seven. They administers praising God and. Thanking her and her family for sacrificing to bring the gospel to them. Where she thought she had wasted their time. She had planted seeds. That went on and had yielded a rich harvest. We may not always get to see the results of our labors like. Mrs Ferris did. Pastor Ferris never saw them. He didn't know what God had accomplished from their reason. From their work. But there will be results. And I mention to you that hag I had another prophet. That was prophesied in with him at the same time. Zachariah. Zachariah for. Verse ten. God says. Do not despise these small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. Zachariah and hag I were both writing to Zorobabel and Joshua both challenging them with the things that were going wrong. Both saying it's time to get back to doing the work of the Lord. Zacharias as don't despise the small beginnings. The crooked foundations that you're trying to lay. Don't despise the small beginnings. For the Lord read Joyce is to see the work. Finish. No the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. Yes he wants to see it finish. But he's not looking for the mass baptisms he's not looking for the finished temple. He's looking for people that will step into the Jordan River. Who will start to lay the foundation of the temple. Who will begin to do. The language study. He's he's thrilled with small beginnings. Seems to me that the major message from these two prophets to God's people then. Is the same as his message to me and all of us today. Don't despise the small beginnings. And that. That's what thrilled my heart as I read it. I was complaining about the few members that we had. I was thinking about. Past years in the Middle East and North Africa when there were hundreds of workers and. And several thousand members most of whom of now died or left the countries. God is saying Don't think about the glory days of some other time and place don't look don't look scornfully at the little things that are being attempted now. Don't criticize those you think don't know as much as you do or aren't working in the way you want to work. Just get started. Do the best work you can. And remember. God loves. Small beginnings. On the cross. Jesus had very little to rejoice over didn't they. There were no church buildings. There were no institutions. There were no mass baptisms John the Baptist's had mass baptisms Jesus doesn't appear did. There were only a handful of terrified men and women around the foot of the cross. Pretty dismal. If you want to think about starting a world work. But the Bible says that he endured the cross for what. For the joy that was set before him. What do you mean. Joy set before him. Is about to die and he's got a handful of weeping crying terrified people at the foot of the crosse. His joy wasn't based on what he could see around him that day was it. His joy it was based on what he could see by faith in the future. And I believe that today God is rejoicing. As he looks ahead and sees the end results. He isn't looking for buildings and institutions we need those. We need buildings and institutions. He's looking though for people. Hundreds thousands millions of people. People of every race age economic level and culture with outstretched arms. Waiting for him to come. It will happen. Don't get discouraged. Don't despise the little attempts that you see people doing around you or that you're trying. Let's get to work and look forward in faith. What the future will hold. God loves. Small beginnings. We've got about ten minutes I think. Let's have a prayer first and then we'll have some questions. And see if we can do a little discussing. Dear Lord. I want to thank you so much for the power of your word. Thank you for its ability to come to us at the time we need it most. To lift our spirits to encourage us to say to us. Don't get discouraged at the small beginnings. Keep on with the things that you're trying to do. Think there are probably many here in this room. That can identify with that. They've tried something it hasn't seemed to work. Maybe it was a neighbor they've tried to reach out to or. Somebody that they wanted to touch their lives and. They maybe didn't don't seem to be accomplishing much. I pray that you will lift their spirits also help them not to worry about how big the results seemed to be. But just to be doing the work that God has given us to do. Thank you for your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the things that you do give us that we can do. And we pray that you will guide us day by day in Jesus name. This message was recorded at the G twenty fifteen conference called. Chosen. Faith in Louisville Kentucky. Supporting Ministry of a Seventh Day Adventist Church. Seeks to inspire young people to be Bible based. Christ centered and soul winning Christians. To download or purchase other resources like this. Visit us online at the web.


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