“At Northstar, we host an annual Mission Sunday and make it a priority for our church in order to encourage our church family to be the church globally. By highlighting the mission partnerships that we have, it helps the people of Northstar find opportunities to invest their lives beyond the local church. It is a reminder that we are part of a much bigger body of Christ, all on mission together.” – Lead Pastor, Jeff Noble
Before the sermon began we paused as a body of believers to lift up Paris in prayer, in the wake of the terrorist attacks on their city. We broke up into groups of 3-4 and prayed that God’s leaders will emerge and be a light to the city of Paris during this dark time.
In dark days, we are reminded of the brokenness of our world due to the sinfulness of human hearts. We were reminded that it is not someone else’s sin, but it is our own sin that has contributed to the devastation we witness almost daily. In John 10:10, we’re told that Satan comes to “steal, kill and destroy” but that Jesus has come so that we may have life more abundantly. And so we prayed earnestly for Paris and for its people to experience the comfort of Christ. We asked God to raise up His people in that city and country to be lights of hope and love.
We also prayed for Resonate Church, based in Indianapolis. The Pastor of Resonate Church, Davey Blacksburn, lost his wife, Amanda in a home invasion robbery. They have a 1-year old son, Weston, and Amanda was 12-weeks pregnant. We know that God draws near to the brokenhearted and can use tragedy and pain for His glory. Our prayers were focused on God revealing His mercy and comfort in such hard times. We prayed for Davey and the new church. We were encouraged by the statement that Pastor Davey shared on Resonate’s Church website:
It’s impossible to communicate all the emotions my heart has been forced to process. My wife was such a beautiful, gracious, loving woman of God. I have not only lost my ministry partner and support but also my very best friend. There is no way to prepare yourself for circumstances like these. As deeply as I am hurting I am hopeful and confident that good things will come of this. I rest in the truth of Romans 8:28 that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose….I hold firm to the belief that God is still good, that He takes our tragedy and turns it into triumph, and that the best truly is yet to come.
Our time in prayer and petition on behalf of those hurting globally prepared our hearts well to hear from David Englehart, the Director of Christian Challenge at New Mexico State University. David has served as a campus minister for over 30 years and has a heart for the gospel of Christ to be spread to the nations.
David began his message by pointing out that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are two keystone events in the Christian faith. These events make it possible for everyone to have a personal relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. The implications of the cross do not stop there. Not only is Jesus a Savior to each individual who accepts Him as their Lord, He also is the savior to all of the nations.
We learn in John 4:23 that one of the reasons Jesus died was for worship.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
Psalm 86:9 supports this but adds that all the nations that must worship.
All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name.
From Genesis to Revelation the phrase “all the nations” is repeated over and over. This emphasizes that the great news of the Gospel is meant for all nations, tribes, and tongues. In response to God’s word and His truth we must engage the nations of the earth intentionally. If we look to the cross without seeing the nations we are missing the point.
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. (John 10:16)
One of the most compelling places in scripture that emphasizes the need to share the gospel amongst the nations is found on the cross, literally. When Jesus was nailed to the cross, Pilate fashioned a sign that said, “King of the Jews.” He wrote those words to mock Jesus, but God used his hatred for good. The sign was written in Aramaic, Greek, and Latin. Pilate unintentionally proclaimed the gospel in all the major languages of that time.
In Isaiah 49:6 we have a unique look at God the Father speaking to Jesus, the Son. In this passage, He is making it known to Jesus that He must be a light for the entire world, not just the Jews. As we follow in Christ’s example, we must also strive to be a light for the entire world, sharing the gospel among the nations.
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
It is not enough for us to reach those right around us, our family, our friends, our town, or even our country. Salvation through Jesus Christ is for all peoples to the ends of the earth.
After hearing the message, it was our prayer, simply, that God would open our eyes from the “people blindness” that prevents us from seeing the world the way He sees it.
When the message concluded, members and guests were invited into the cafeteria to meet representatives from over 15 different ministries and agencies that Northstar supports and serves with. Each rep had a table set up which members and guests could get information about how to participate actively in missions and ministry – locally and globally.