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Blackaby, Willis say missions is outcome of experiencing God

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–The call to salvation is a call to be on mission with God to share Jesus Christ with the billions who do not know him, two noted Southern Baptist leaders said.
When someone trusts Christ as Savior, he or she automatically becomes part of God’s plan to reach the whole world with the salvation message, they said.
Henry Blackaby, who wrote “Experiencing God,” and Avery Willis, who wrote “MasterLife,” teamed up in a seminar to teach “Experiencing God on Mission” July 24-26 during the first-ever International Missions Week at Glorieta, a LifeWay Conference Center in New Mexico.
“God is the One who is on mission,” Blackaby said. “God is the One who has been at work throughout eternity and throughout history to bring the lost to himself.”
“God is at work all the time, everywhere,” Willis said. “God calls you to himself so you can be on mission with him.
“God has a bigger plan than just to appoint every Southern Baptist as a missionary,” he said.
The two leaders — whose respective discipleship materials have exerted extensive influence around the world — said the ultimate goal of missions is that God will be glorified throughout eternity.
“There is no way God can be glorified throughout the whole earth unless his people go throughout the whole earth,” Blackaby said.
“Worship of God — not missions itself — is God’s ultimate goal,” Willis said.
Both referred to biblical references about people from “every tribe, every nation, every tongue” gathering around God’s throne to praise him forever.
God’s kingdom will last forever, but missions will come to an end someday, both speakers said. Missions is the avenue for gathering the heavenly chorus, they said. It will become unnecessary in eternity.
Blackaby said, “God’s ultimate goal is for you to respond to him, so that you will never question where he wants you to go.”
Both speakers cautioned about allowing temporal matters such as material possessions and physical security to stand in the way of following God’s will.
“You can’t go any further in your walk with God than your love relationship with God,” Blackaby said. Loving and trusting God go hand in hand, he said.
A true test of faith occurs when God asks a person to do something he or she realizes can’t be done without God’s assistance — and then the person acts with confidence in God’s leadership.
“God initiates a covenant of promise and obedience with his people in order to accomplish his mission throughout the world,” said Willis, who is senior vice president for overseas operations at the International Mission Board. “What is it God wants to do among [Southern Baptists]?
“Southern Baptists were nobodies — just simple, plain, ordinary rural people,” he said. “[In the past 150 years], God took us and multiplied us and formed us. So, why has God blessed us?
“Not because we have money or because we are so smart. It’s because he wants us to be on mission with him throughout the whole world.”
Lest Southern Baptists think too highly of themselves in the missions endeavor, Willis pointed out, “the biggest thing happening in missions today is the way those who were receiving missionaries are now sending missionaries.”
Blackaby agreed. “Very soon the Third World countries may be sending more missionaries than [Christians in the United States] are,” he said.
Both noted that Christians all over the world are mobilizing to do missions, and closed doors throughout the world suddenly are swinging open. That global expansion points to a coming grand finale in missions, they said.
“We’ve never before seen the marshaling of the people of God globally like we are seeing today,” Blackaby said.
He said this “great movement of God” may mean Jesus’ return is imminent.

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  • Louis Moore