Read Romans 15:14-29
It was almost exactly 16 years ago that I joined the staff at Grace Church in Wooster. Here, I have the privilege of working alongside of some incredible staff members and volunteers. Together, we help others to take next steps in their faith. I love our church!
Of course, I also love my family. My wife, Celeste, is a gem. God has allowed us to encourage one another in marriage for more than 36 years. There is no one I would prefer to hang out with than her. Together, we have two sons, a daughter, two daughters in law, and two (soon to be three) grandsons. In my spare time, I enjoy taking walks with Celeste, hanging out with family and friends, playing table games, writing, bike riding, and running.
Not everyone knows that Celeste and I lived for six years in Germany and that we speak German. We lived there engaging with Christ’s commission to make disciples of all nations. Thus, our time in Germany focused on evangelism, discipleship, leadership development, and church planting.
Now, perhaps you understand better why the passage from Romans 15 means so much to me. God used this passage to challenge us to consider moving to Germany years ago. You see, the apostle Paul had his sights set on Spain. What an amazing vision! Just a few decades after the ascension of Jesus, Paul was carrying the gospel around the Mediterranean rim. The book of Acts depicts his journeys to present day Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, and Italy…and that in a day without modern means of transportation. Paul’s passion was to take the gospel of Jesus to places where people did not know about Him. He had his eyes set on the western most reaches of the Mediterranean. To the apostle, that must have represented “the ends of the earth” as Jesus described in Acts 1:8.
Whether or not we uproot and learn another language, we can take the message of Christ’s death for sins, His burial, and His resurrection to people who don’t fully understand it. As a Jesus follower, each of us is called to move beyond the safe shores of relationships with other believers and into the waters where those are found, who don’t yet know Him. With whom are you doing that?