Obedience in Spite of Fear

Obedience in Spite of Fear

Imagine Mary hearing the angel’s stunning message! How would you respond? Mary, probably still  a teenager, responded with initial fear, deep humility, amazing faith, and joyful obedience.

In Luke chapter 1, we see she was afraid when Gabriel told her of God’s plan (vv. 29-30), and she probably feared what her community would think. She knew she was not important (vv. 48, 52). Yet, she had visionary faith that God’s plan would impact generation after generation (vv. 50, 55)! She rejoiced in the privilege to serve and obey (vv. 38, 46-47), as Elizabeth also noted (v.45): “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

Around the world, teenage women and men by the millions are obeying with similar amazing faith.  In India, many commit to Jesus because, like Mary, they are stunned and overjoyed to learn that God invites poor people to work with Him!

They are feeding people, praying for healing in Jesus’ name, helping other poor people – and multiplying new disciples and churches.

This Christmas, we say with Mary (vv. 46-47): “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”

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Is Christmas Worth Celebrating

Is Christmas Worth Celebrating?

Is Christmas Worth Celebrating?

One of the great joys in Joel and Becky’s* work has been to see Tazig* believers celebrate Christmas and remember God incarnate in their own culturally relevant ways. 

Last year one of their teammates’ sisters returned to visit her Himalayan family. Priscilla’s* sister has lived in the United States for the past ten years and has become an American citizen. 

As Priscilla and the other Tazig believers were making plans for their Christmas celebration, her sister, Amrita,* asked, “Oh, you are going to celebrate the English New Year?” 

Priscilla replied, “No, we are making plans to celebrate Christmas when the Creator God came to the earth and lived as a human.” 

Amrita never understood Christmas. For 10 years she had heard people in the United States say, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.” Since her people celebrate the Tibetan New Year over multiple days, she thought Christmas was just the start of our New Year’s celebrations. Amrita had never heard the Christmas story. 

Thankfully, Priscilla told her about God sending His Son to the earth and all about Christmas. A few days later, Amrita joined the Tazig Christmas celebration, knowing for the first time what it was all about.

How does this happen? How does a person live near multiple churches, likely work side by side with at least a few Christians, and never hear about the reason we celebrate Christmas? Of course, BEYOND is all about sending long-term teams to unreached peoples to start movements of reproducing disciple-makers. But, we share this story as an encouragement. 

There are lost people in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and communities who haven’t heard the Good News. They might look just like us, or they might look different. They may have just arrived, or they may have been born in our hometowns. They probably know what a church is and have heard the name “Jesus,” but they haven’t heard the Good News. 

The honor of telling them belongs to all of us – not just pastors and missionaries. Jesus gave all His followers the responsibility to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything [Jesus] commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20). Will you be obedient to Jesus’ last command? Go ask someone if they would like to hear why Christmas is really worth celebrating.