Saturday, January 31, 2009

Great Commission in the Old Testament

The Old Testament [OT] job description for the people of God was to bless the nations (Gen 12:1-3). But the OT show little success at this. Indeed, just about the only times Israel provided much by way of blessing the nations was when they were exiled among the nations because of divine judgment.

We see Joseph in Egypt, blessing the nations--and the threatened seed of Israel--by exercising divine wisdom in the face of international famine. We see the Israelite slave girl telling her Assyrian over lord where he could find divine healing from leprosy. We see Daniel and his wise colleagues exercising wisdom on behalf of Babylonian and then Persian over lord. And the only time we see a non-exiled Israelite blessing the nations, it's the unwilling and embittered Jonah, who hated doing it and even resented it when his ministry did bless the Ninevites by provoking repentance, which forestalled divine judgment. And Jonah probably stood in as a type of OT Israel's failure to bless the nations, for failing to fulfill their reason for being.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Great Commission

When asked to open their Bibles to the Great commission, most congregations would open to Matthew 28:19-20. But if you think about it, why not open to Genesis 12:1-3? This was the job description for the people of God given to Abraham, the father of the people of God.

The purpose of God's people was to "bless the nations" (Gen 12:3). And lest you think these were deserving nations, read Genesis 11. The only nations there were (Gen 10) joined an international conspiracy against God (Gen 11). And what was God's response? Yes, he put a stop to the rebellion. But then he set about raising up a chosen people to bless those nations.

The 10-40 window is full of undeserving people. But God has called upon us to continue that task. That's why Janice and I work as missionary-educators throughout Eurasia.

10-40 Window

Yesterday, I described the Eurasia region that Janice and I serve as missionary-educators. In that post, I mentioned how much of the 10-40 window Eurasia comprised. If you compare the Eurasia map in that posting with the 10-40 window posted here, you can see what I mean.

The 10-40 window refers to the degrees latitude that mark a "window" of the least evangelized peoples of the world.

What does that mean in Eurasia? Eurasia's 44 countries and territories comprise 4,000 unreached people groups. And yet, less than 5% of Christian missionaries go to Eurasia!

Surely, you see a great gap in our obedience to the Great Commission. We're doing all we can through the training of pastors, evangelists, and missionaries to change that.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Kind of Place

I saw this a few days ago in a Philadelphia suburb. Now that's the way to assure proper caffeine intake.


Here's the Eurasia region that Janice and I serve. It includes the following areas:
  • Middle East/North Africa.
  • C.I.S. and Baltic States: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuana, Estonia, Moldovia, Georgia, Armenia.
  • Central Asia: All the countries ending in -stan plus Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Iran.
  • Southern Asia: India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives.

If you were to look up a copy of the 10-40 window, you would see a very strong overlap.


This is my second attempt at blogging. A few years ago, when blogging first began, I gave it a brief try but didn't think anyone would want to read my sporadic stream of consciousness. But lately, I've had quite a few people asking me why I don't blog and promising on their honor to read mine if I started it. So here goes. I'm blogging again.

I'll not try to define the nature of this blog narrowly. It'll just be my thoughts, which flow from my various roles:
  • Grandfather: Sometimes you just get me running on about my grandchildren, Anna, Kate, Jake, Chloe, and Sam.
  • OT Professor: Sometimes you'll get a bit of exegetical or background talk on things having to do with biblical studies, especially Biblical Theology, OT Theology, and OT Exegesis and Exposition.
  • Preacher: Sometimes I'll get "preachy," whether on a particular exegetical matter or on a topical concern.
  • Missionary: Often you'll get me in my missionary-educator role, especially explaining why it is that Janice and I give our lives to what we do. I'll offer a wide range of material on this, as time goes by. Sometimes biblical theology, sometimes personal musings, and sometimes reports on our work.
  • Photographer: I've had a long-time interest in photography and have returned to it with more focus--pun somewhat intended. If you would like to see a collection of my work, see the following site