Expect Great Things From GodBy Martin Kim
There was a young man long ago in England who asked some ministers if the Church had done all it could for the heathen, and received this answer: "Young man, sit down. When God pleases to convert the heathen world, He will do it without your help or mine." Who was this venturesome young man? William Carey. Mr. Carey eventually sailed for India where he served as a missionary for 40 years (1793-1833). "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God," was the mantra of this great man who is now considered the father of modern missions.
Does God really want us to expect great things from Him and attempt great things for Him? The Desire of Ages, speaking of our example, Jesus, states, "He expected much; therefore He attempted much" (DA 72). As followers of Jesus Christ, I believe God wants us to expect much and attempt much.
During 2006, the members of Seattle Central New Life, (the English ministry at the Seattle Central Korean SDA church) have witnessed how powerfully God can answer prayer when brethren step out in faith expecting great things.
In December of 2005 our church began giving all the loose offering money we collected every third Sabbath to foreign missions. We began doing this for two main reasons. First, we wanted to be more actively involved in fulfilling the Great Commission. Secondly, we really wanted to highlight the importance of foreign missions in the minds of our young people and encourage them to grow up thinking about saving souls for all eternity.
We felt that God led us to choose Adventist Southeast Asia Projects as the mission organization that would send our funds over. ASAP appealed to us because they were serving some of the poorest of the poor in the world, and we knew that the small amount of loose offering money we collected each third Sabbath, which averaged $200, would go a long way toward helping the physically and spiritually malnourished.
After our second collection in January, I listened to a message on tape by missionary pilot David Gates. I was inspired as he shared story after story about how God provided. And then I was really challenged when he said, (in paraphrase) "We will never have enough money to finish the work. How much will be enough? A million? Ten million? A hundred million? We need to go forward in faith and do the work that God has called us to do and trust the God of infinite resources to provide." I found myself agreeing with what I heard. I knew that if we didn't step forward in faith and trust God to do what only He could do, we would never finish the work. After hearing that message I found myself praying, "Lord, I want to step forward in faith. I want to see you do the kinds of things David Gates is talking about."
I prayed, "Lord, what do you want us to do?" And then I began thinking about our special offering for ASAP. I wanted to challenge our church to pray for a $500 offering, but decided that $500 did not require much faith at all. Then I considered a $700 dollar offering. That might require a little bit of faith. I finally concluded that it would definitely require a LOT of faith to ask for a $1000 offering. Since our last offering collected in January had gone to provide rice for the people of Vietnam, our group decided to provide Bibles for the Vietnamese in February. I showed up the next Sabbath and put this challenge to our members, asking them to pray for an offering of $1,000 so we could provide two hundred Bibles to the people of Vietnam. Every Sabbath and through the weekly church announcements via e-mail our members were reminded to pray for this special gift. I reminded them that when we pray, God moves and does that which only He can do. And we encouraged our members with the mantra: "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God."
We prayed for a whole month. God blessed us in February with an offering of $4,382. It was amazing! We had one visitor who came to our church one week before the offering was collected. He heard that we were praying for a $1000 offering. He left a check for $1,500. On the Sabbath that the offering was being collected, we had another visitor from California. He gave us a check for $500. And the rest of our members also gave generously. We were able to provide 876 Bibles!!!
Well, what do you do after you witness the power of prayer and you see God move in a mighty way? We decided that to pray for the same amount would show no faith. We decided to round up the last amount we received and pray that God would bless us with a $4,500 offering in March.
We prayed that with $4500 we would be able to provide many churches for Cambodia. It costs $550 to provide a bamboo and thatch church. With $4500 we could provide at least 8 churches! God blessed us with an offering of $6,684. Once again we witnessed God's power and grace! Many of our members who gave generously in February gave twice as much. On top of that, it so happened that on this same Sabbath, the leaders of New Life went to the Korean speaking Sabbath School program where one of our leaders shared about our special monthly mission offering. At the end of her talk she made an appeal inviting people to join us in giving towards this special offering. One member gave $2,000. The total given to us by the members of the Korean Church was $2,740. This was nothing less than "the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes" (Mk 12:11).
We prayed that our April offering would exceed $7,000. We praise the Lord that $8,470 came in to support the persecuted pastors in Vietnam. As we saw the various ways in which the money flowed in, we knew that God was providing us with a special answer to prayer. We knew this was not the result of luck or having generous members. This was "the Lord's doing." As we thought about the vast needs in Southeast Asia, we decided it was time to "launch out into the deep" (Luke 5:4). We began praying that God would bless us in May with $15,000 to support the Cambodian and Vietnamese radio ministries and to provide radios. The Lord blessed us exceedingly abundantly with an offering of $22,734. We realized that truly "Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing" (MH 481).
As we set our next goal of $25,000 we began asking Adventist Southeast Asia Projects where the need was greatest as we desired to make the greatest difference for the poor in SE Asia. Space does not permit me to write in detail the rest of the story of how God richly provided. To make a long story short, we saw over $120,000 come through our church in 2006 as we continued setting higher and higher goals. This experience has taught us much about the need to persevere in prayer. It has strengthened our faith and helped us learn to wait upon the Lord through the longer periods of time required to reach higher monetary goals.
As we see the signs around us that foretell of our Savior's soon return, my prayer is that all God's people would move forward in faith expecting much and attempting much as did our Savior Jesus Christ.
You can listen to the entire story "Expect Great Things From God" at www.audioverse.org.
Contact us to receive a free copy of the ASAP newsletter or call 269-471-3026.
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