By Steve and Lisa Carlsen
Looking to Serve in The Middle East
The Perspectives Class is coming again in January 2016, and if you have ever feared that God would send you into the mission field overseas, don't attend it. Why not? Because your eyes WILL be opened to truth and you WILL see God's heart for the nations. And yes, you might very well, end up overseas.
We just wanted to prepare you, as a couple who attended the Perspectives class, then spent a year in Thailand and currently working toward going into the Middle East to work with the Syrian refugees. The Perspectives class ruined us (for the good). The class pricked our hearts and emotions much like sea water flooding a ship, as the exterior hull gives way to a breach. We had this sense of being undone, incomplete, in need to find restoration, to follow Christ deeper. In our case, it was living water which flooded our souls.
However, it's not fair to say that IF you attend this class, the Lord will definitely call you to go overseas. But, you WILL DO SOMETHING! You WILL be "ruined" for the better. He may ask you to stay and help finance others who feel called to go. He may ask you to welcome students from overseas who come here to attend school, allowing them access in your home. You will either Go, Send, and/or Welcome.
The Perspectives class teaches that our God WILL receive glory, no matter if we refuse to spread the good news or not. His plans can't be thwarted (Job 42:2, Proverbs 16:9). If you attend this class, you will come to understand possible strategies to reach the nations for Christ. You will examine different perspectives on what God is doing both today and throughout history. You will notice that when believers stop spreading the good news of Christ, God uses persecution to get people going, so they will.
Some of the terms you will learn are "involuntary going" and "involuntary coming." We see these principles fulfilled by the current surge of refugees, who are fleeing areas filled with violent persecution. Some of those fleeing are fervent Christians. They enter areas where missionaries can now join them, whereas, it was nearly impossible to do this beforehand.
Historically, we see that America once was number one in the world for the sending out of missionaries. Our country's passion for evangelization has cooled over the years. Sadly, we are slipping into last place, with the persecuted countries now doing most of the sending. The churches in these areas are thriving, despite the persecution.
Our missionary God responds by sending those people which are in difficult places here. He WANTS them to come in contact with us! However, we personally have been hearing negative remarks about this "involuntary coming." As a couple who understand what God is doing, we love this tremendous opportunity. It breaks our heart when people become angry and bitter over the many immigrants or refugees coming here. Yes, there are dangers and yes, there are dangerous people. But as the Lord tarries, not wanting any to perish, we are promised that the righteous WILL be persecuted, not protected FROM it! We have to trust that God KNOWS what He is doing. We have to trust in His sovereignty. Our prayer would be for the body of Christ to utilize this opportunity for His greater glory!
Perspectives 2016 class will be held at Keswick Christian School, January 10 through May 8, 2016 on Sunday evenings at 5:30 - 8:30 pm.
Visit www.Perspectives.org to register for class. We are offering college credit as well as certificate reading level. Contact Bernie Hackett at 727-265-6999, or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.