This weekend is dedicated to our foreign missions involvements. The goal of Sunday morning's missions collection: $140,000 in contributions and pledges. Prior to last Sunday morning's worship assembly, the missions committee distributed an explanation of the goal's "financial breakdown." The funds provide the core financial support for our missions commitments for the year 2001.

Bill Smith, an elder from the Whites Ferry Road congregation in West Monroe, Louisiana, will be our guest speaker. Adults, remember to assemble in the auditorium for Bible class.

The American mindset is fixed on permanent solutions. We want to "meet needs and solve problems" once for all time. When approaches are not "permanent fixes," Americans often consider such approaches a waste of time. American Christians are not immune to such thinking. Perhaps nowhere (among Christians) is this perspective's reasoning more evident than in foreign missions planning and work.

Care to guess how many thousand people Jesus taught? How many thousand people he healed? How many hours he spent serving others? The total number of miracles he performed? After years of unselfish service, after teaching thousands, after healing thousands, only one hundred twenty people were committed to Jesus after his resurrection (Acts 1:15). Peter first presented the resurrected Jesus as Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). Three thousand people responded. To us, that is an enormous response. However, it is a small group to start a worldwide movement.

Jesus was God's Son. He committed exclusively to God's will--even in death. Only he did exactly what God wanted in exactly the way God wanted it. Yes, he permanently solved evil's problems through perfect, continuing forgiveness. Yes, he made reconciliation to God a permanent option. Yes, he permanently created a people possessed exclusively by God. No, he did not end Satan's influence. No, he did not destroy temptation. No, he did not destroy evil's deceptiveness.

Through Jesus the solutions to evil are permanent. No change to the physical state of people was permanent. God's forgiveness solves the problem of evil one person at a time. Each generation decides its own response to God's love. The fact that one generation responds wholeheartedly to God's love does not guarantee the next generation will make the same choices.

Why do Christians commit ourselves to godly character? Why are we people of integrity? Why do we treat other people properly? Why do we respond to evil by doing good? Why do we show compassion instead of justice? Why do we share Jesus' good news with people who neither realize they need it nor want it? Because we seek permanent solutions? No. Because we know God. Because we love God for giving us Jesus. Because it is good, just as God is good.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 12 November 2000

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