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FIRST-PERSON: God’s Word still stands & it still says, ‘Go’

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–When thousands of Americans lost their lives in the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon a year ago, the rest of the United States looked for answers. People went to churches, mosques and temples to pray. They watched television, listened to news commentators and tried to make sense of what they heard.

But most of them couldn’t. So they stopped flying, stopped spending and clung to their families.

The sad truth is that many Christians — including many Southern Baptists — responded the same way. Some canceled overseas missions projects and retreated behind the walls of their churches.

As a result, the advance of the gospel around the world has been hindered and people haven’t heard the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. Adults in Muslim countries haven’t been lifted to the Father by a prayerwalking team. Children in South America didn’t hear the name of Jesus from a university Baptist student group. Victims of natural disaster in Asia never saw the love of Jesus in action through high school students.

All because of fear created by Sept. 11.

“But we’re still praying. And we’ve kept giving to Lottie Moon” to support our missionaries, we say.


In our day and age, praying and giving aren’t enough. More than a billion people haven’t even heard about Jesus, much less had the opportunity to accept him. And many of them won’t have an opportunity until someone like you goes to tell them.

The twin towers of the World Trade Center fell on Sept. 11, but the Word of God stood strong. And it still says, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

The command of Christ is clear. What we often overlook, though, is what Christ said before and after his commission to his followers.

He said two things: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” and “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

When Christ calls us to go to the difficult places, he does not ask us to go alone and he does not send us unprotected. He goes with us, and with him he brings all authority — authority over airplanes, over terrorists, over emotions that threaten to disable us.

All he requires is our obedience. And our willingness to do whatever it takes to make sure all people have the opportunity to accept Christ — or reject him.


The early Christians understood Christ’s command. Though government and religious rulers worked to demolish their faith, they stood tall — in the face of ridicule, imprisonment and even death.

Notice their prayer, recorded in Acts 4:24-29 (NIV):

“Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.’ … Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.”

These Christians faced more than a vague threat on national landmarks. They faced direct threats to their own lives. Yet they still obeyed with joy and boldness.

They were Christ’s servants — freed from sin and death and willingly giving their lives for their Savior.

We may think twice when military jets fly close overhead. We may offer an extra prayer when we board airplanes. But let us refuse to let fear dictate our conduct. Let us continue to pray, “Grant that Thy bond-servants may speak Thy word with all confidence.”

Let us live our lives for our Savior who has commissioned us and promises to walk with us — even to the end of the age.
Roten is a writer with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.

    About the Author

  • Manda Roten