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Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Mission church on water
(Click on photo for larger image)
"All Over The World"
Note: Our message is a little longer due to some illustrations. Scroll down to "Great Commission" graphic for brief exposition challenge.
Message summary: The Gospel of Jesus Christ continues to be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). “All over the world this Gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth” (Colossians 1:6).
How does your church building look? For many of us the answer would actually be pretty much the same. Some are larger, some are smaller. But here in the states they are generally nice buildings with interior plumbing and comfortable seating, classes and offices. Most people arrive in cars and park in a paved parking lot.
I saw our lead photo in a mission magazine and it reminds me of how church buildings look different in other parts of the world. Click on the photo or here to enlarge. It's a tiny one room church built on the water with a preacher seen in the center. It looks like people are arriving in a boat or maybe their listening from the outside, kind of like the drive-in services many churches had early in the covid era.
One of my memorable preaching recollections was in a church like this sans the water. It was in a small city named Fusagasugá in Colombia, South America. As I recall people walked to the service and it was just a one room building with hard benches for seating. I preached through an interpreter, a missionary named Myrna Wilkins, and the congregation seemed pleasantly receptive, perhaps intrigued by the tall man from the states. At the conclusion I will never forget the national pastor said, "perfecto", although the message was hardly perfect!
In Bible College in the seventies we sang a song we haven't heard for years but did find a YouTube version to share (see below for link).
All over the world the Spirit is moving
All over the world as the prophets said it would be
All over the world there's a mighty revelation
Of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea
Today we will share a story that Myrna shared with us that illustrates another way church "buildings" look different. A time when an airplane was used in preaching the Gospel, with the pulpit being in the air!
For many years aviation has been a great aid to missions. Of course we are now able to get mission workers to the field much faster. Also consider how many have been on short-term mission trips, a concept virtually impossible when it took several weeks to travel to and from distant mission fields.
But small planes are also used to reach the most remote parts of the world using jungle landing strips with organizations such as Mission Aviation Fellowship, JAARS and others. Each August we have a special weekend here in Lancaster County featuring mission aviation. Many years ago I attended this and had a ride in a plane that could take off and land (STOL) on very short runways.
We believe Myrna's story will encourage readers today and remind us that indeed, in our own lifetime, the Gospel of the kingdom is being preached all over the world.
Of course some of the most remarkable stories come from the mission field and this story tells the amazing way the Cuna tribe who live in the San Blas Islands (location on Google map) off the coast of Panama in the Caribbean first heard the gospel message.
Morris, a young boy from the Cuna tribe, moved to Costa Rica and was evangelized as he lived along the Caribbean coast. As an adult he felt called to take the Gospel to his own tribe, the Cuna people, and he used a rather creative means.
He met missionary pilot Mike Hines, who had a slow flying Helio Courrier airplane fitted with a 7,600 watt loud speaker system capable of being heard from the air as the plane circled above. The plane flew out over the islands and, as it did so, Morris preached the Gospel in his native tongue to the tribes people below. There was a cloud cover so the natives could not see the plane, but only heard his voice.
Afterwards the clouds lifted and Morris directed the people below, “If you would like to believe in Jesus Christ wave a white cloth or flash a mirror to indicate your faith.” As the plane flew over, scores of the natives waved cloths in the air and flashed mirrors upwards! It would be some time later that Morris learned that the people of his native land had a long standing legend that one day they would hear a message and it would be delivered to them from a voice in the sky!
Morris later went to the islands and developed churches among the people. Myrna met him in 1980 at a Bible School in Colombia and she heard the story first hand from him.
Indeed this Gospel has been preached since our Lord Jesus Christ gave the great commission just prior to His ascension to heaven and is being preached today. He said, “And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
The apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians some 30 years later, “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth” (Colossians 1:6). Today may this Gospel also bear fruit and grow in each of our lives. May we also see it reproduced and growing in those to whom we minister and through all who serve him all over the world by so many different means!
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we are grateful for the various means and the variety of people to whom You choose to deliver the life-changing Gospel message that gives us a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. As we have been tremendously blessed in receiving this gift of eternal life, stir us to action in reaching others with the same message of salvation so that they are snatched from the fire, bearing fruit and growing as we journey together here below. Bless our missionaries who use unconventional means to present the Gospel and protect them from enemy warfare. We do pray for our many brothers and sisters who are jailed, persecuted, and separated from family because they stand for Christ. Keep us strong in our spiritual walk as we experience growing ridicule and the passage of laws that mock our faith and strip us of our Christian freedoms. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
I have been interested in aviation practically all my life. I grew up near an Air Force base south of Kansas City (Richards-Gebaur) and our school had many base kids. I have an odd interest of chronicling every airport I have flown in and out of which now totals 51. About 30 years ago I was a Civil Air Patrol Chaplain and recall some flying lessons as I sat in the back seat listening in when a junior pilot was being trained in instrument rating. I got an interesting spiritual lesson from that experience I share here.
My most memorable flight took place in a P-51 Mustang, a WW2 era fighter plane. Bob Walker, my cousin's husband, was an avid pilot and as a high schooler I was visiting my cousins in Tulsa (a year before I met Brooksyne) when he offered to take me for a ride in his P-51 (photo to right). I excitedly agreed. The P-51 was the last of the prop fighters prior to the jet age and is a very powerful plane.
Bob (photo to left) handed me a helmet and a barf bag, sternly informing me if I messed up I cleaned up. (I didn't need the bag!) What an experience it was including sharp turns and a low roll over Tulsa. I peered down and spotted my family waving up to me, and most thrilling was a high speed pass over the airfield in which he piloted the plane at full throttle buzzing the airfield just over the runway before shooting practically straight up. I experienced the most G's ever in my life to this day. Afterwards he told me he could have done more such as flying upside down but didn't want to scare me.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"All Over The World The Spirit Is Moving" Video
This colorful cacophony of steel is "art" work outside the Penn State Health Children's Hospital.
Personal update: Yesterday Brooksyne had day surgery at the Hershey Medical Center. The surgeon reported to me that it went well. We arrived home after 9 last night and she is recovering and seems much more chipper this morning, although she will be at a slow pace for the next six weeks.
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