Gospel-Fueled Courage, Even to the Death

Eleuthera 2010 Airplane Flight

Eleven years ago this month, I took part in my first short-term mission trip. It was the first trip that Grace Church took to Nicaragua, and thus began a solid ministry partnership with some key people in that country (especially Alicides Fuentes).

And thus began a change in my heart about what it looks like to live sacrificially for Jesus.

A few days before I left, I pondered the thought, “What if I were to die?” I was not panicking or considering backing out. I was just thinking about this possibility.

I decided to write Joanna a letter, which I would put in a place she would find after I left the house early on the morning of March 22. I wrote how much I loved her and our daughter Hannah, who was then 17 months old. (At the time I left, we were not aware that Joanna was pregnant with Elijah.)

I’m not going to lie. I bawled my eyes out as I penned that note from my desk at work.

Where Does Our Courage Come From?

As Matt Chandler reminds us, those who carry the gospel to dangerous places are displaying a Gospel-Fueled Courage. There is risk in the mission, but they know that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Chandler writes,

“The Christian living a life worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ is fearless, regardless of the situation. . . . Being fearless in our faith makes the gospel look big.”

As I shared with a young man last fall, people have told me that it’s weird and crazy to go from chemist (1999) to children’s pastor (2007) to ministering in Allendale (2011). But the really crazy thing would be to say that God made me and God sent His Son to die for me, but then me refuse to trust in Him.

When we live out our faith in radical ways, we proclaim the glory of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel Calls Us

Chandler continues,

“Be willing to get on a plane and go to dangerous places. Be willing to take the pay cut at work to do what’s right. Be willing, no matter who your opponent is, to be fearless. . . .

If we believe that our reward in heaven far surpasses all the comfort, convenience, and collections of the world, we, too, will be willing to consider them all as loss.”

What would it look like for you to take one step of faith, to have a little more gospel-fueled courage? Is that a new job, or cutting back hours to free up more ministry time? Is there a short-term mission trip you need to go on, or maybe there is a long-term assignment that God has been putting on your heart?

I encourage you to pray about this, and then get with your trusted community to share your thoughts.

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Acts 1:8

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