This Change Is Everything: The Hope and Future of Gospel Mission
By Shane on in Blog with No Comments
I’m excited to release my book, This Change Is Everything: The Hope and Future of Gospel Mission. What’s the book about? Read below and you’ll get a good idea. 🙂
I recently heard from one of our students who is serving in the Middle East. She regularly meets with the president of the Muslim Student Association on one of the campuses there. Over the past semester they have become good friends and trust is being built.
This Muslim student said she has been having a “dream about the prophet Jesus visiting her.” Our missionary told her friend that it is very special that Jesus would visit her in a dream. The Muslim girl responded that it actually isn’t very special at all. It isn’t special because she has thirteen friends in the Muslim Student Association on campus who are have having the exact same dream.
It’s actually not unusual for a Muslim to experience Jesus through a dream. I’m so glad that this girl, who recently graduated from college, was there to help her new friend know the real Jesus. She literally helped her interpret her dream! This is just one of many stories I hear of how God is working through young people around the world. It’s awesome.
The worldwide spread of Christianity, in many ways, has been carried out by young people, especially college students or recent college graduates. We see this in the Bible and we see it in history. My book speaks of an amazing story, the storytellers, and the stumbling blocks.
In college, I studied Political Science (well, I at least went to lectures about it). I remember one of my professors lecturing on how the nations of the world were in constant change throughout history. New borders were created and new countries emerged. He would show maps of the world over time to demonstrate how countries have changed.
But when the Bible speaks of nations, it’s not referring to pictures on a map. “Nations” in scripture refers not to political lines, but to unique ethnic groups and languages. When God speaks of his desire to know the nations, he is speaking of knowing the unique cultures he has created.
God introduces his love for the nations in Genesis. But his love for the nations, and his desire to know and be known by all cultures, is repeated throughout the entire Bible. From start to finish, this story is everywhere in the Bible. The main story of the Bible, its theme, is about spreading knowledge of God to all people in every nation and in every language. Bob Sjogren, in his book Unveiled at Last, calls this storyline “a unifying thematic backbone permeating God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation.”
The story of the Bible is very clear: God’s love for all nations and his love for the unique cultures he created. The Bible, and all of history, is also very clear when it comes to those who told the story. From the early days of the Bible through the present, we see example after example of God using young people to bless the nations.
Here are some fascinating facts about the world changers we will look at in the book:
* Centuries ago, a shepherd boy named David, who happened to be about seventeen years old, destroyed the greatest warrior in the world. Why, exactly, did he do it? He did it, according to the Bible, to share with the world how great God is. This young man says he did it “to show the whole world that there is an extraordinary God in Israel” (1 Samuel 17:46).
* God used a young woman named Esther in the Bible to save an entire culture.
* All but one of the disciples of Jesus Christ, those who eventually spread Christianity, were all young, likely teenagers, when he chose them.
* God called a young man named Patrick at the age of twenty- two to share the story of Jesus in Ireland in the fifth century. The results are almost unbelievable as God used him to reach an entire generation.
* The first missionaries sent from North America were all under twenty-three years old.
* God called a young man, a sophomore from Occidental College in Los Angeles, to share God’s story with Indians in southern Mexico. Within a decade he translated the Bible into their language, planted several churches, taught them how to read, and trained them in life-saving health measures.
* The greatest athlete in Great Britain’s history gave up his sport to become a missionary. He took his friends to China and shared with people who had never heard of Jesus Christ. He was twenty-two years old.
* A nineteen-year-old from the University of Minnesota dropped out of college, bought a one-way ticket to Colombia, and landed in the jungle without knowing anyone. Just a few years later, an entire tribe had heard of God’s love for them, and several became missionaries themselves.
THE STUMBLING BLOCKS
The story of the Bible is remarkable. There is a reason why it is referred to as the good news. The fact that God created us, and desires to know us, is good news! The good news is that Jesus died for our sins and was raised back to life so that we might live with him forever.
I love to help people understand that God has called young people throughout history to share this story, to tell the good news. Over the past twenty-five years, I have seen consistent stumbling blocks young people encounter as they consider telling God’s story here at home or overseas in missions—many are the very same obstacles I faced when I was that age, when I was considering how I could help share God’s story. The second half of the book will look in more detail at the four main stumbling blocks young people face as they consider telling God’s story to their friends and to the nations.
HIP HOP FOR JESUS IN TOKYO
Ten years ago, a girl I know, Michelle, went to Japan for a year to work with college students as a missionary. After training, and with an open heart, she began to make friends with students on campus in Tokyo. She noticed that Japanese students really love their music; they love hip-hop and dancing. So Michelle did something I would never have done in a million years: she started a hip-hop dance club.
A few times a week Michelle would gather her new friends and they would dance. Michelle would teach, they would practice together, and then go out to eat. After a month or so, a student in the club, Yukina, asked Michelle why exactly she was in Tokyo that year. She said, “I am here to help students like you understand God’s love for them. He has changed my life, and he can change yours too.”
Fast-forward ten months. Yukina had become a follower of Jesus through her friendship with Michelle. Yukina eventually led her sister and her parents into a relationship with God. The next summer they were baptized as a family. Lives were changed as they heard and understood the story that is so consistent through the Bible—God’s heart for the nations.
God wants you to be a major player in his story. He wants to use you to be a blessing to the nations, and to those around you, as Michelle was to Yukina and her family in Japan.
This book is written with you in mind. God wants you to understand his story, and his love for the nations and cultures he has created. Many of these nations live right here in your own dorm, neighborhood, or school.
But be warned, as you come to understand God’s heart for the world, your heart will grow as well. You will become a world-changer.
For more information or to purchase the book go to Amazon or: