Every December we have the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions. This offering is named after a famous missionary to China who was from Virginia. One-hundred percent of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is given to support international missions. Last year, your giving was used to engage 827 people groups, plant 12,368 new churches, and baptize 47,929 new believers! 535,325 people heard the gospel!
Not only is this offering the largest missions offering in the world, but we would also say it is the most strategic. It is a cooperative effort to fund the largest mission organization in the world, the IMB (International Mission Board). Support missionaries spend around 40% of their time trying to keep their support up. Our missionaries do not have to worry about that and can focus 100% on mission work.
The IMB is focused on taking the gospel to the least reached places of the planet. They are focused on church planting which is the best long-range mission strategy. They have some of the best training and provide some of the best support to our missionaries.
Because of the pandemic, we are blessed to have missionaries stateside giving us a rare opportunity to hear directly from the field what God is doing. At Liberty, we often say, “It’s not our seating capacity but our sending capacity.” Liberty is blessed to have three couples currently serving as IMB missionaries at the same time. On Sunday we got to hear from them up close and personal. If you missed it, I encourage you to watch it here.
Why tell you all this? Because our theme for December is “Hope.” 2020 has been a different year and a difficult year for so many. But, because of Jesus, you and I can have hope. Not just you and I, but the rest of the world as well.
Hope for the world is seen throughout scripture. In Genesis 12, we read that “all peoples” will be blessed through Abraham. In 1 Chronicles 16:24 David says, “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.” In Matthew 28:19-20 we are told to make disciples of all ethnic groups. And, in Revelation 5 and 7 we read that in heaven there will be people of every tribe, tongue, and ethnicity worshipping around the throne.
Not every Christian will go to the nations, but every Christian has an important part in reaching the nations and sharing the hope of Jesus with the world. I encourage you to pray. A.B. Simpson says, “Prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work.” A.T. Pierson adds, “Every step in the progress of missions is directly traceable to prayer.” We can also give. On our website now you can give directly to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Additionally, when you give of your tithe to Liberty, you can know that a portion of that also goes to support the IMB. Finally, we can go. God may be calling some of you to go to the nations. For others, He may be calling you to go next door. We just finished studying the beatitudes. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus made it clear what our function is as believers. In one word it is INFLUENCE. We are to be salt and light. Hope for the world means we are salt in a decaying world and we are light in a dark world. Salt produces thirst. Hope is bringing people living water. Hope is bringing people the light of the world. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Mt. 5:16).
“In his name the nations will put their hope” (Mt. 12:21).