City of Refuge is a church and resource center that ministers to the 30314 zip code, one of the poorest areas in Atlanta. They provide the space for several organizations to provide services and resources to the community such as shelter for homeless women and children and vocational training such as 180° Culinary Academy.
City of Refuge is led by Pastor Bruce Deel who has been married to his wife Rhonda Deel for almost 30 years and they have five beautiful daughters.
CHC was founded by Lori Kim and seeks to serve Clarkston’s refugee community while building relationships that allow the Gospel to be shared. CHC services and resources include: after school tutoring (Raya After-school Program), a thrift store, ESL/Citizenship Class, and Family Care program. There are also opportunities for growth and discipleship through CHC’s programs: Youth Leadership, Small Group Mentorship, Children’s Camp, and Children’s Church. God has allowed the Sunday ministry of Children’s Church to be especially fruitful. Many of the children that attend are from Muslim and Hindu backgrounds. Thus, every weekend is an important opportunity for the Gospel to reach communities in Clarkston that are normally very closed.
According to David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, 47% of Christians believe that it is inappropriate to share the Gospel, yet 94% believe that receiving Jesus Christ into one’s life is the best gift that anyone can receive. Over the years, the church has created a cultural paradox that both promotes and discourages the sharing of the Gospel. Despite this paradox, God’s people are called to spread the Good News to the ends of the earth.
In Acts 17, Paul and Silas share the Gospel within Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. Paul does not ignore the cultural norms at the time but uses these norms to relate with his audience. In each of these visits, he first makes a cultural connection with the natives and then shares the Gospel to them. Some refused to listen and to repent, while others were receptive. A good number even attacked Paul and Silas in public, but the two brothers remained faithful to their mission.
Through Paul’s evangelism to the Athenians, we can learn how to show dignity and respect when we evangelize to strangers. We can also see how God moves people’s hearts, as they hear the Gospel for the first time. Throughout this missions week, may we learn to depend on God as we fulfill His mission in our homes, campuses, and workplaces through the sharing of the Gospel.
What can we learn about God from this passage? In what ways can we depend on the Lord this week? In what ways can we, personally, right now in our lives, make disciples, teaching everything that Christ has commanded?
Lord, I pray that you would give us the strength and courage to share your Word with those around us. Help me to depend on you as I share. Would you please change people’s hearts to repent and turn towards You. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Timothy had an opportunity of a lifetime to be recruited and mentored by one of the most humble, smartest and greatest leaders in history and to join him in his missionary journey. And, Timothy was ready for it, not because he had predicted Paul would ask him and got ready, but because he lived every day in faithfulness.
Before Paul’s arrival, Timothy was already living a life of surrender to the Gospel as a disciple (v.1), and this was confirmed by how others spoke of him (v.2). However, his life was not without challenges. Because of his biracial status, he was often discriminated against by both sides. Yet, over the years he had built the character to do whatever it took (even circumcision by a stranger, v.3) to reach everyone with the Gospel (both Jews and Gentiles) in spite of their prejudice against him.
His calling to become a missionary and pastor did not start when Paul found him. It began in the small, daily adjustments he made to follow Christ when no one was watching. His conduct over his short, young life evidenced his commitment to God and eventually placed him in a good position to seize Paul’s invitation.
Not all of us are called to a life of full-time ministry like Timothy, but all of us are called to a life of full-time discipleship, whether others notice or not. God calls us to surrender as evidence of our commitment to Him, and He places us in a position to minister to others no matter our arena of life.
As you spend time this week praying for missionaries and their mission, would you also ask your Lord, “where is my mission?”, “who do you want me to share with?”, and “what must I do today in order to be ready for any opportunity You send me?”
The Lius have been serving as missionaries in Singapore for four years and served in Indonesia for ten years before that. They have three beautiful daughters. Their church captures many demographics: young expat families with children, some Singaporeans, and young adults in grad school or working professionals. Singapore is a bustling city and it is not uncommon that people are very career focused and ambitious.
Chris and Shinhe Cho have recently moved to Singapore from London, England. Before living in London for 2 years they were members of JCA for several years and served in many capacities. They are tentmaker missionaries who are eager to employ their skills in business and customer service for the kingdom. They have a beautiful daughter who is 2 years old.
Pastor Dave and Pie Kwon were sent out by JCA to plant Journey Community Church in 2011. JCC is located in the Raleigh-Durham area at the heart of the Raleigh Research Triangle. The church community includes many college students, graduate students, and working young adults.
When Paul and Barnabas arrive at Jerusalem, they report about the number of Gentile converts to Christianity. What a great victory for the Kingdom of God, right? Not exactly. The Pharisees are arguing over whether the Gentiles need to be circumcised to show that they’re truly Christians, an act that used to be prescribed for Israel. But since the induction of the new covenant under grace, no external signs were required. Only a profession of one’s sinfulness and a confession of belief in Jesus Christ’s death for one’s sins was necessary. Paul and Barnabas state that it is grace that saved them, not grace plus adherence to the law.
However, we tend to believe God will be more pleased with us if we adhere to His rules. This is known as religiosity, believing that if we keep to the rules God has for us, He will love us more and bless us more. In fact, Paul and Barnabas said God made no distinction between law-keeping Jews and non-law keeping Gentiles: they were both saved by grace, and it’s their faith that God used to cleanse them (v.9). In other words, God’s grace is enough!
Praise be to God for his unmerited unconditional love over us!
Cathy was sent out in Dec 2018 as a 1YR intern in East Asia. She has the privilege of s3rv1ng and supporting various min teams and sg. With the start of the new sch00l semester at the end of Feb 2019, she will begin d1sc1pl1ng s1s’s. She has been ble$$ed getting to know the ch here, particularly the s1s’s.
Have you ever been mistreated or misunderstood because of your faith? Paul and Barnabas were misunderstood many times as they traveled and spoke about salvation. Many thought they were crazy. In the synagogue, some of the Jews “poisoned [the Gentiles’] minds against the brothers” and “the people of the city were divided.” Then later in Lystra and Derbe, people thought Paul and Barnabas were gods because of the miracles they performed in Jesus’s name. Yet, many people still hated Paul and Barnabas and attempted to stone them to death.
Even after being stoned, however, Paul got up and went back into the city. What do these stories show us about God? When have you faced adversity? This could be from friends, family, coworkers, or strangers. In what ways can you be bold and get back up?
Thank God, He has not left us to face the world alone. Paul and Barnabas had each other’s back throughout all of the persecution. Then, when they returned from preaching, they came to the local church for encouragement and prayer. They shared testimonies from the field and recuperated with fellow believers. Don’t be afraid to live boldly even if others think you are crazy. You are not alone. We are in this together. In what ways can the local church be more of an encouragement to you as face hardship and even mistreatment? In what ways can you, as a member of the church, support others who persecution?
Lord, let me yearn for You! I want to be more consumed with being in Your Presence and doing Your will than I am with difficulties in my life. Stir me up to seek You and find You throughout today. In Jesus’s name, amen.
The Holy Spirit speaks! (v.2) When we are tuned to God in word, worship, and prayer, there in the closeness the Spirit gives direction. We learn from Acts 2:42 that the early New Testament church was devoted to prayer. Believers gathered in one room praying and seeking God’s counsel. Acts 13 illustrates how the church in Antioch met to pray and fast as they sent off Barnabas and Paul for their mission trip. The practice and power of prayer was a vital aspect of the church.
From the passages above, there are two important elements of prayer for us to practice. This first is desperate faith. What are you asking for that cannot happen unless the miraculous hand of God comes through? Are you desperate to see God move? Second is persistent prayer. We ask the Father again and again, not giving up, until our prayers are answered. Have you stopped praying for something? Consider how you could continue praying for it, or ask God to help you better understand the situation: Lord, how should I continue to pray for this?
Lastly, we see Paul and Barnabas responding immediately in obedience to the call of God to take the Gospel to other places. In light of your prayers, is there something God has asked you to do (act upon), that perhaps you are delaying? If so, why?
If not, ask the Lord if there is something that He wants you to do. We may think that we have nothing special to offer to the Lord. But all of us have been set apart by God for His work and worship. Remember that Jesus’s sacrifice already sets apart those who place their hope in God.
Lord, let me be entirely devoted to You! I need to hear from You that because I am your child, I am set apart for You. Holy Spirit, speak to me and help me to know what You would like for me to do. All that I am is Yours. In Jesus’s name, amen.