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From the Editor -
David Pryor
Ripe for the Harvest
Featured Article
Every Christian is a Missionary
By David Pryor

"Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." (John 4:35c, KJV)

Welcome to FaithWriters Magazineís newest column, Ripe for the Harvest! The theme is "Mission at Home and Abroad." With that in mind, we will explore various aspects of "mission work" each month.

In this inaugural edition, we will consider Mission at Home. Hence, this monthís column title, "Every Christian is a Missionary." That title is a statement of fact, not a question nor an exhortation.

Some, however, may doubt the validity of such a statement. So, let us consider the word Christian for a moment.

The word Christian only appears three times in the Bible. Its first appearance is in Acts 11:26c (KJV), "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."

The title Christian was not originally used to describe the believers in Jerusalem. Instead, it was applied first to the believers who had begun to obey Christís command to "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15b, KJV) and be witnesses for Him "both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8b, KJV)

Of course, these disciples fled to Antioch because of persecution, but the Lord was with them and many people in that city believed and turned to the Lord (Acts 11:21). Eventually, the first "missionaries" sent out of a local church (Paul and Barnabas) would come from this same assembly of believers.
A Study in Contrasts
By Al Boyce

Ecclesiastes 12:12, "And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh." (KJV)

The heat of the day was chastened by an oak that seemed to hold up the sky. Below, her clothing a patchwork of perspiration, a woman placed sandwiches on plates and passed them to men and women who shuffled through a line like ants on a concrete slab.

Read Complete Article...

No Time for Mr. Willie
By John Kenney

The sanctuary of Mt. Nabor Community Church was filling up quickly, and fellowship was in the air. Sunday was always a special day in the small community of Mt. Nabor. The members of this warm, welcoming church were excited to see each other and enjoy the before service conversations.

Pastor James Royce had been the leader of this congregation for almost fifteen years, and his congregation had always been very supportive of him.

Read Complete Article...

Considering the setting in which believers were first called Christians, we can develop an accurate definition for the title Christian. A Christian is both a "follower of Christ," and "one sent by Christ."

This brings us to the title Missionary. This word never appears in the Bible. However, the dictionary defines it as "one sent on a mission." The root of the word, mission, means "to send." We may therefore justifiably define the title Missionary as "one sent on a mission by Christ."

What then is the mission of every Christian? To obey our Lordís command and preach (proclaim) the gospel, as did the believers first called Christians at Antioch. However, fulfilling our mission does not always mean going off to some far away place.

Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:18 (KJV) concerning His disciples saying, "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." Jesus left us in the world after our salvation so that we might serve and proclaim Him right where we are.

Speaking to His disciples, Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earthÖYe are the light of the world." (Matthew 5:13-16, KJV) Notice that He said "you," not "they." He was speaking to all His disciples, not just those called to some special service somewhere. What Jesus explained to His disciples in that passage applies to us today. It reveals Godís will for your daily life and mine.

Salt and light are used as illustrations of how our lives should have an effect on the world around us. We do not have to strive to become these two things that are found in any home anywhere in the world. Jesus said that as believers in Him, we already are salt and light.

What attributes do these two substances have that should also be found in our lives? Salt is a preservative and prevents decay. On the other hand, if salt loses its savor, it is good for nothing. Light has nothing in common with darkness. In fact, its very presence dispels darkness. Our lives likewise should display these attributes of preservation and illumination.

Does our presence stop certain kinds of conversation? Does our life affect the conduct of friends and acquaintances? Do people know that we are a Christian by both our words and deeds? Do we make a stand against sin and evil in the world?

It has been said that the best witness is not to try to convince others that our way is the right one. Instead, the best witness is living in such a way that our lives make no sense apart from our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

This monthís Ripe for the Harvest articles illustrate this very point of being a "missionary" wherever we are -- proclaiming the precious gospel of Christ and being salt and light in the world.

The Award-winning article by Al Boyce, "A Study in Contrasts", gently reminds us that we need to move beyond self-centered Christian living and become Savior-centered, letting our light shine in the world.

"No Time for Mr. Willie" by John Kenney on the other hand, slaps us out of our complacency by showing the potential results of losing sight of the reason Jesus left us in the world.
Godís Work in Godís Way! - David Pryor and his family are brethren missionaries living in Paraguay, South America. They are purposed to pursue the Biblical plan for missions and prove that New Testament principles still work today (web: http://pryors.net/). David has been a born-again believer in Christ for 36 years. Their family has been involved in international missionary work for more than 15 years.