INTRODUCTION (4 min):
At NACC, in the context of being on the road for a month: Josiah asked me: “Daddy after we get to heave, will we have to go anywhere else?”
Thank you for your support. It is a great honor to be affiliated with First Christian Church in Yuma, AZ – a church that God is using mightily to reach out in the area of missions.
You are positively affecting literally 1000’s of people in extending God’s Kingdom here on earth. You are making a difference in people’s lives – helping people to hear the Gospel for the first time. You are to be commended.
It has been an honor to be affiliated with Walter & Jeanette Ridgley for the past 15 years – also Eugene & Helen Morse – both couples whom you support.
Thank you so much for your prayer & financial support!
For the past two years, we have been living in Columbia, SC, where I have been attending Columbia International University. With God’s help, I completed my degree this past May 20th.
Since then, I have returned to Thailand for a couple weeks: to attend a conference, as well as get the ball rolling to return this summer.
On August 21st, we’ll be returning to Thailand and will once again be working with North Burma Christian Mission.
The purpose of our returning to Thailand is (VISION STATEMENT): To holistically evangelize the lost, while equipping and mobilizing potential Christian leaders to proclaim the Gospel in Southeast Asia, China and beyond.
We desire to help train and mobilize strong Christian leaders, and facilitate them becoming world Christians and reaching the lost among them – particularly the 18 unreached people groups in the northern Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, and southwest China region.
SERMON (15 min):
In order to carry out a vision, values must be in place.
For you see, values is what drives one’s visions.
One must be “values-driven” and “vision-focused.”
Everyone has values, whether you know it or not.
Your values – or lack of values – will determine what your vision is – or isn’t!
The Lillie family has FOUR CORE VALUES:
These values are foundational to our ministry – they will drive our vision.
Ask yourself this morning: Are these values in place in your life?
Our first core value:
1.) Authentic Christian Living (Galatians 5:16-24: read): We are committed to glorifying God by loving and obeying His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. We realize that to live such a life is impossible without the enabling power of His Holy Spirit working in and through our lives.
ILLUSTRATION: What a joy it is to see a life transformed!: Uncle Tong in Gong Lom – only Christian in his neighborhood. Family are not Christians. Demons want him out of neighborhood as having a Christian is “bothersome.” Uncle Tong is steadfast – he’s been transformed.
Our second core value:
2.) Biblical Authority (2 Timothy 3:16: read): We are committed to bringing every aspect of our ministry as well as our personal lives into conformity to the Word of God. We believe the Bible is without error and is God’s authoritative Word for faith and practice.
ILLUSTRATION: Uncle Can in Gong Lom: Buddhist monk for 14 years. “Strong Christian.” Came to all our services. Had dreams/visions. One dream: told him to sacrifice to demons or his brother would die. In 2 years, Uncle Can died!
The Bible must be our authority, or we can go astray – get away from the truth.
Satan’s power is only through deception.
Is the Bible – God’s Word – the authority for your life. Are you commited to obey it?
Our third core value:
3.) Prayer (1 Thes. 5:17: read) We are committed to fervent, continuous prayer for both our personal lives and ministry.
When the Ridgleys and I worked in Wiang Hang, we quickly discovered that the more we prayed, the more we saw God moving; and the less we prayed and functioned in our own strength, the less we saw God’s blessing being poured out.
When we prayed, we saw people come to the Lord, land purchased for a building, and a church & buildings built.
Sometimes, the fruit of our prayers happened years later:
STORY: Bok: In our youth group – came all the time, but never made a commitment to the Lord. Grew up – put in prison for life for running opium. Suntawn, the evangelist, held Bible Studies with Bok in prison. Bok said he learned the Gospel early in life, but never became a Christian. Now, he was ready. Suntawn baptized him in a barrel in the prison!
You may pray and pray and pray, and never live to see the results. Perhaps you will. Prayer is effective.
ILLUSTRATION: Continue to pray for Walter as he makes trips into the northern part of the country he is working. Pray for his health and safety – and family back in Chiang Mai. Pray for contacts. The Ridgleys have been working there for several years. We have trained them – especially Walter who has mentored & poured his heart and life with these people. Now, there is fruit and many people are becoming Christians.
I am convinced that God – in His sovereignty - has chosen to work through our prayers.
Are you praying?
Our fourth core value:
4.) World Evangelization (Matthew 28:19 & 20: read): We are committed to make Christ’s last command our first priority. We seek to fulfill the biblical mandate of the Great Commission by helping to make disciples of all nations.
Whole sermons can be preached and courses in seminaries taught, or books written about each of these points – including the last point.
However, let me ILLUSTRATE this last point with a few statistics and a story.
STORY: Sila; Tida & Lawaan; Suwan; Suntawn & Noy; Daeng
CONCLUSION (1 min):
Our core values: (1) authentic Christian living (2) biblical authority (3) prayer and (4) world evangelization
The task is monumental, but we go with confidence, knowing that our Lord God is going before us, and that through the mighty working of His Holy Spirit, people will enter into His Kingdom.
Yearning for the lost
Once you have accepted groaning as an essential part of life, then you have the strength to yearn for people. We yearn firstly for the lost. Paul expresses this yearning in Romans 9:1-3, ‘I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ, for the sake of my own race….’ You can see how the yearning has produced hurt in him. As he contemplated the lostness of his own people he was broken up inside. Today people do all they can to avoid such pain. I believe this is one reason why so many Christians ignore or reject the doctrine of lostness of people outside Christ. They don’t want to face the pain that such a doctrine will bring. Charles Spurgeon discusses those who say, ‘I could not rest comfortably if I believed the orthodox doctrine about the ruin of men.’ Spurgeon’s response to this is: ‘Most true. But what right have we to rest comfortably?’
So because yearning produces pain, people avoid yearning too. In fact this yearning is a missing factor in ministry today. But it is yearning that produces urgency in ministry. This is expressed in 1 Corinthians 9:16: ‘I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!’ He was passionate for the gospel. The rest of this chapter expresses how this passion caused Paul to forfeit the rights of an apostle and make so many adjustments to his lifestyle in order that he may reach as many people as possible. Imagine hearing this highly-educated Pharisee who was also a Roman citizen say, ‘Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone to win as many as possible’ (1 Corinthians 9:19). He climaxes this description with the unforgettable words, ‘I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some’ (9:22).
Today we are afraid of such urgency. Perhaps people we have trusted and yearned for have hurt us. Perhaps projects that we earnestly gave ourselves to ended in failure resulting in disappointment and humiliation. So we don’t want to break through that protective shield that we have built around our emotions, because it makes us too vulnerable to pain. That’s why we don’t yearn for people with the urgency that Paul had.
There was a time when urgency was one of the things that attracted people to the gospel. It is said that Benjamin Franklin would go to hear George Whitefield preach because there before his eyes he could watch a person burn with passion. Today instead of urgency we have excellent programming, entertainment, and the promise of temporal blessings to attract people. In a generation dedicated to feeling good, we will avoid pain at all costs.
Buddhism in Thailand
Buddhism is the religion for more than 93% of Thailand’s population. Of the other 7% of the population, 3.9% are Muslims, 1.7% Confucianists, and 0.6% Christian. Though the king is designated the protector of all religions, the constitution stipulates that the king must be a Buddhist.
Buddhism is a central and unifying force in Thai society. The Thai regularly make merit by giving gifts to the temple, attending festivals, and having their sons ordained. In Thailand, Buddhism is a syncretic religion: it incorporates a mixture of pre-Buddhist Hindu beliefs and practices, interwoven with animism and Theravada Buddhist philosophy and rituals. Signs of the religious tradition are everywhere in Bangkok and throughout the country.
Soon after dawn, Buddhist monks in robes (which vary in colour from dark saffron to bright orange) can be seen making their way along the canals and narrow streets. People wait to fill the monks’ bowls with food and provide other essentials, a practice that Buddhist teaching says will reward the giver with merit. Most young men become monks for a short time so that they can accumulate merit for their families. Almost every Thai house has its own ‘spirit house’ to accommodate the spirits from the land on which the house stands.