How can something so good be a cause for guilt? In Acts chapter one, we see Jesus leaving the earth and taking His place beside God the Father. His task is finished and now He “passes the baton” to His disciples. He said to them, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (v. 8). The assignment is not complicated or impossible. We are to be witnesses. A while ago I was called into court to “be a witness.” I didn’t have to search for information, or worry about what people would think; I simply told what I saw and heard. I believe the Lord is speaking to us who are part of His church. He is challenging us not to be overcome by the problems of sin and darkness. He is calling us to make a difference. The mission we are given is not beyond us or too difficult. We are to simply to tell what we know to be true. Jesus rose from the dead and is willing to forgive the sins of every person who comes to Him! He gives the gift of eternal life to all who believe in Him! This is Good News! So, the question is, “Why don’t we witness more?” I ask myself the same question, and here is what I come up with. We walk in fear more than faith. We’re afraid of what people may think of us, or that we may not know an answer someone may ask. Also, we don’t witness much because we are distracted by the “tinsel and glitter” of the world. The things of this life get so much of our attention that we hardly even think about the things that matter most. During our Missions Convention, the Lord is speaking to us about witnessing more. He is faithful because He not only tells us what to do, but He empowers us! We need to ask Him for more of the Holy Spirit, so that His power would replace our weakness and fear. God doesn’t want us to be filled with guilt because of our silence. We can do what He calls us to do!
Pastor Mark Boucher
Sometimes we do things over and over and forget the reason why. This Sunday we begin a special Missions Convention. Why? Is it just because it’s “something we’ve always done”? Is this just an event on the yearly calendar? Why emphasize missions at all? The answer comes from the life of Jesus. His whole life was a mission. He came from God to hurting, lost people and made a way for us to know God! Then, in a dramatic moment before leaving this world to go back to the Father, He turned to his disciples and proclaimed, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21). We don’t have a missions convention just to give you the opportunity to meet special people who serve locally or share the gospel in places all over the globe. The greater purpose is to ignite the love of Christ within you for the mission He has given you! If you are wondering what your mission may be in life, read the account of Jesus calling His first disciples. He was walking beside the Sea of Galilee and saw Simon (Peter) and Andrew, and said to them, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Here Jesus presents the mission of life for a disciple of His: to follow Him and to help others know and follow Him. The specific details of our personal mission in life are as different as our gifts and talents. However, the core remains the same. Jesus loves us and wants us to walk with Him…so that we may know His heart and His ways. From this relationship, He gives us the mission to love others and influence them toward the Savior. So, the focus of missions at Highway Mission Tabernacle is not “out there” somewhere; it is inside your heart. May our love for Jesus connect us to His heart, fulfilling His mission to share the hope we have in us with those without hope. Our vision: “Following Jesus, loving people, sharing hope!”
Pastor Mark Boucher
“But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said” (Exodus 8:5).
While considering again the account of Moses and Pharaoh, I kept asking myself, “How could Pharaoh have such a hard heart?” You remember the story…. God called Moses to command Pharaoh to stop enslaving the Israelites and let them go. Moses and Aaron performed miracle after miracle in the presence of the Egyptian king. At times Pharaoh gave in when the heat was on, but when the immediate effects of judgment cooled off, it was back to ignoring God. Here was a man who had a front row seat to some of the greatest miracles recorded in the Bible, but still he turned his back on God! Just before sending His final judgments, God gave Pharaoh and Egypt another chance. Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and proclaimed, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me’” (Exodus 10:3). In the bitter end, Pharaoh refused to listen, instead leading his soldiers into the watery grave of the Red Sea. This story helps us understand something about God and ourselves. First, God will allow us to harden our hearts if that’s what we want. Along with a hard heart comes stinging consequences and harsh results. We can “play God,” but we can’t determine the outcome. As someone noted, “Play stupid games, get stupid prizes.” Second, this story helps us understand something about our own hearts. The reason we end up with a hard heart is because we refuse to humble ourselves. In our deception, we somehow think we’re smarter than God—that we really don’t need Him. Will we learn from Pharaoh? His life shouts to us, “Don’t harden your heart…trust and obey God.” The choice is ours.
Pastor Mark Boucher