But when the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will receive power. You will be my witnesses—in Jerusalem, in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world. (Acts 1:8 NCV)
The words in the verse above are the last recorded words of Jesus here on earth before He went back to heaven. They must be pretty important. Of course, all of Jesus’ words are important. All the words in the Bible are important. But when the last thing the Savior of the world says is, “Go,” then I think all of us had better pay attention.
At Cross Culture we paraphrase that verse and say: You will be my witnesses – here, there, and everywhere. Put simply, followers of Jesus are to make a global impact. Believe it or not, I started writing this article the Friday I left for China. Our flight didn’t leave until Friday night, so I thought I’d get something written before I left town. Too many last minute things to do kept me from finishing the article. We got back yesterday, about twenty-four hours later than we were supposed to, but grateful to be home. This morning, in one of my devotionals I read this:
Join Me in singing My song. Together we will draw others out of darkness into My marvelous Light. (Sarah Young, Jesus Calling)
As you can probably tell, the devotional is written from the perspective that Jesus is talking to you personally. I’m sure you’ll hear more about it this Sunday, and in the weeks ahead, but there were parts of our trip that were frustrating, parts that were humorous, parts that were educational, parts that were inspirational, and I can’t lie, parts that were just plain weird. I mean come on, why would any sane person eat chicken feet?
To be sure international mission trips are adventurous, and I’ve seen God do some amazing things in various parts of the world, but truthfully, I don’t really like going. Cindi will tell you, I like being home. I like my bed, my pillow, my routine, my kind of food. I miss my family. I miss my Cross Culture family. (By the way, that’s really how I think of you.) I’m uncomfortable with strange foods, strange languages, strange smells, and strange customs.
But, back to that devotional: Join Me in singing My song. Together we will draw others out of darkness into My marvelous Light. As I read those words this morning I thought, “That’s why we go. That’s why we give. That’s why we share.” The Good News isn’t a “canned” presentation. It isn’t just reciting certain Bible verses. The message of God’s love is like a song that we sing; His song that we sing.
Have you ever heard someone singing a song and then you caught yourself singing that same song? That’s evangelism! That’s missions! Enjoying the life God intended for us, living in His peace, experiencing His presence, letting His love flow out of us. It’s like a song that catches the attention of those around us, and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, draws people, here, there, and everywhere, to that same song.
The result is more people singing His song, more people singing His praises. The result is more people in the family of God. We may not all speak the same language, but we can all sing the same song!
So I’m going to keep singing, in this community, in this country, and around the world. I pray you will join me in singing His song about His marvelous Light, because darkness has to be cast out of people’s lives here, there, and everywhere.
Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O Lord, and I will sing praises to Your name. (Psalm 18:49)
Dr. J. Clay Stevens is Lead Pastor of Cross Culture Church in Raleigh, NC. He is author of the book I Get It! Discovering How To Really live In The Promises Of God. His life mission statement is: "To take people from where they are to where God wants them to be."