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October 14, 2022

9 Reasons We Celebrate Global Focus

Brad Nelson

Pastor for Global Outreach

Beautiful Fall greetings!

Recently I was asked why we do an annual Global Focus and give up two weeks of sermons, activities, and events to focus on global evangelization. Let me give you nine reasons why we celebrate Global Focus each year.

1. To remind us that the harvest is plentiful. Luke 10:2 says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” There are nearly 8 billion people in the world today, and 3.4 billion people are unreached with the gospel. There is an abundance of ripe fruit on the vine and what is needed is more laborers to harvest the fruit.

2. To remind us of Jesus’ love for all peoples. God sent Jesus into the world not to condemn it, but to save sinners (John 3:16–17). Because Jesus loves those who don’t believe in him, we too are to likewise cultivate love for those without the hope of Christ. Pray for a heart of love and boldness to share: to the neighbor on your street, to your co-worker—and pray for the poor in the city, for an international student, for the refugee seeking asylum, and for the unreached peoples across the globe.

3. To remind us of God’s growing global kingdom. We should be amazed to see the global church grow and see God is saving sinners around the world. This work of God cannot be stopped by suffering, persecution, sickness, conflicts, or natural disasters. In fact, God uses those events to grow his church. It continues to flourish in the soil of suffering around the world. We may lament the growing secularization in the west, but we rejoice that the church is advancing in China, Brazil, Congo, Philippines, SE Asia, the Middle East, and through the dispersing of Ukrainian refugees across Europe.

4. To remind us that we are all called to be making disciples. God commissioned his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching all that Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:18–20). The Great Commission has been given to the church, and it is the joyful privilege of every Christian to be a disciple-maker.

5. To remind us that Bethlehem has a rich history of sending missionaries into the world and wants us to continue being a missions-minded church. In our 151-year history we have sent out approximately 245 missionaries, and we want to continue to send more. From Ola & Minnie Hanson to Burma in 1890, to the most recent global partner sent two months ago to an unreached sensitive area of the world.

6. To remind us that when we send our global partners out, we need to send them well. Third John commends those who have sent out ministers of the gospel in a manner worthy of God. Why? Because those who have been sent “have gone out for the sake of the name” (3 John 6–7) We have a Nurture Program to help train our future global partners. Once we send them, all are required to have a Barnabas Team to hold the rope for them. They need dedicated prayer warriors and folks who will care for and love them while they’re on the field and on home assignment. Join the efforts to advance the Name of Christ by joining a Barnabas Team.

7. To remind us to pray faith-filled prayers. The task of world evangelism is a massive and costly task. It will require time, energy, money, sacrifice, inconvenience, suffering, and dedication. But it is the most worthy of tasks in all the world. It will be accompanied by God’s presence, joy in Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit. So earnestly pray big prayers for the nations and remember the words of Jesus, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

8. To remind us to use the riches God has given us to advance the gospel. Jesus teaches us to not lay up for ourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, but to instead lay up treasures in heaven. For where our treasure is, there our heart will be also (Matthew 6:19–21). Our Global Focus reminds us that our regular tithing to the church is directly supporting our 112 global partners (in total, over the three campuses) through church planting, Bible translation, theological education, community development, medical work, and anti-trafficking. Over half of our global partners are serving in hard-to-reach, sensitive areas of the world! Please prayerfully consider redoubling your investment in gospel advance.

9. To remind us that Bethlehem exists to “spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all people through Jesus Christ.” This year’s Global Focus theme is “We Are All Sent.” We have many activities planned, all of which are outlined on our Global Focus 2022 schedule. We hope you are able to attend some of these events and that the passion for unbelievers will be stoked in your heart.

We know from Matthew 24:14 that “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!