It is More Blessed to Give than to Receive!

heart of fireSince 2009 Living Oaks Baptist Church has been working with McAuliffe Elementary School for their meet the teacher night. We provide a snack supper and drinks for the students, teachers, and parents. We also donate bicycles, skateboards, razor scooters, footballs, basketballs, and soccer balls as door prizes for the kids that show up and register. We have also been able to provide every student in the school with a brand new backpack to start the new year. It is always a wonderful night at the school and they are so kind to allow us to work with them.

I share this because I just received several hand-made “Thank You” cards from the students. They are so appreciative that someone would generously give them a special gift. As a church we decided years ago that we wanted to give ourselves away and expect nothing in return. That is how we started this ministry at McAuliffe. Little did I know how much I would personally get from giving without expecting anything in return. But today when I read through the children’s beautiful expressions of gratitude  I understood more clearly what Jesus meant when He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Faithful Giving

We have been working our way through the book of Acts.  This week we will be looking at the story of Ananias and Sapphira from chapter five. In this sermon we will examine a few principles of faithful giving.

I hope to see you Sunday at Living Oaks Baptist Church at 10:45 during our morning worship service!

Karachi

In our Week of Prayer for International Missions, we are looking into the life situation of missionaries serving around the globe—today we are going to Karachi, Pakistan.  We will read the story of a man who came to Christ and set his heart to win his homeland for Jesus.

Aadam Channar* was only a boy when Baptist missionary Hu Addleton first brought the Gospel to his province in Pakistan. Today he is an evangelist trying to reach Pakistan’s largest city.

“Karachi is the largest city in Pakistan. When we arrived there [in 1956], it was 1 million population. Now it’s 17 to 18 million,” said Addleton, who retired after serving 34 years in Pakistan with his wife, Bettie. “It is a picture of the whole country, because you have every ethnic group living in Karachi.”
About 97 percent of Karachi follows Islam. Christians make up only about 2 percent of the city’s population, according to the US State Department.

Channar grew up in a tiny Hindu village very different from the bustling hub of Karachi, but that did not keep him from approaching the city with the intention of sharing the good news of Jesus among its many people groups.
“God gave me this vision: ‘Go [to] Karachi. Leave your home, area, village.’ So God sent me here,” Channar said. “That’s why I am in Karachi.”
Addleton, who discipled Channar, encourages Southern Baptists to continue giving through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

“We ought to continue to pray for [Pakistani Christians] and to challenge people to go,” Addleton said.

Please pray for Channar as he represents the Lord as His heart, His hands, His voice in the city of Karachi, and ask that more Pakistani Christians would respond to God’s call to do the same.
*Name changed

If you would like to follow all of the testimonies from the International Mission Board you can click here.

If you would like to contribute to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to help support missionaries all around the world, please send a check to:  Living Oaks Baptist Church, 8855 East 91st Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74133.  Please write “Lottie Moon” on the memo line. One hundred percent of all the gifts we receive will go to help missionaries share the good news of Jesus.

Streets of Danger

In our Week of Prayer for International Missions, we are looking into the life situation of missionaries serving around the globe—today we are going to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Eric Reese is a missionary who serves in the slums of Rio.  In 1992 I personally spent two months serving in one of the slums just outside Rio.  The Favelas (slums) in Brazil are unlike anything you have ever seen in the United States, so any missionary who lives and serves in these areas is in need of our prayers.  Here is Eric’s story from the IMB website:

It’s late at night and missionary Eric Reese can hear gunshots in the streets behind him. He’s heading home to his wife, Ramona, and two daughters, thanking God that he’s able to. Eric’s mission field, the urban poor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is often a dangerous one. “In these communities, it’s an ugly evil you’ve got to deal with,” Eric says, “but you’ve just got to deal with it. We can’t stand here and just let these people shoot and kill each other without the Gospel being preached.”

 A police officer from a church in Texas gave Eric a gift he still uses today—a bullet-proof vest. This isn’t a common tool for missionaries, but Eric and his family are thankful that someone cared enough to offer an extra measure of protection, especially during night ministry. “It’s important to note that I cannot use a bullet-proof jacket when ministering in slums run by drug dealers because they would see me as a snitch. In these settings, Jesus has been my covering,” Eric says.

 When we give to Lottie Moon, we provide for expected needs of our missionaries, like homes, cars and medical needs. But Southern Baptists are also dedicated to providing extra measures of protection for those who are willing to risk it all for the sake of Christ.

If you would like to follow all of the testimonies from the International Mission Board you can click here.

If you would like to contribute to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to help support missionaries all around the world, please send a check to:  Living Oaks Baptist Church, 8855 East 91st Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74133.  Please write “Lottie Moon” on the memo line. One hundred percent of all the gifts we receive will go to help missionaries share the good news of Jesus.

Life Saving Call

Each year at Christmas the Southern Baptist Convention takes up the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.  One hundred percent of this offering goes directly to missionaries serving all around the world.  As part of this offering, we always have The Week of Prayer for International Missions.  Sometimes, they share stories of the challenges missionaries face.  Other times, we can read about the individuals they are ministering to or the people groups they are working with.  In honor of this week of prayer, I want to share with you some of the testimonies of those who have given their lives to serve far away from home in obedience to the call of Jesus.

Today, I want to share with you the story of Kiyoshi Sugioka, a 53-year-old man from Tokyo, Japan from the IMB website:

Kiyoshi Sugioka entered the busy Tokyo train station with a single purpose in mind – to end his life. Dressed in a business suit and dress shirt, the 53-year-old looked like any of the hundreds of Japanese businessmen crowding the station.

But on that day in July 2009, Sugioka’s life was dramatically different from those surrounding him at the station. He had hit rock bottom. In one year, Sugioka had lost two jobs, his family, his home, his honor and even his identity. Sugioka was unemployed and homeless.

He stood at the edge of the platform, preparing to jump. Then he remembered a phone number he had in his wallet. IMB missionary Josh Park had given him his cell phone number when he had met him two months before. Sugioka called Park from the station.

“When I saw him … he was in really bad shape,” Park said. “He look tired, weary and worn out. “I just listened to him talk,” Park continued. “I remembered that he wasn’t interested in hearing the Gospel … then he said, ‘Tell me about God.'” After Park shared the plan of salvation, Sugioka prayed to receive Christ. Following a few weeks of discipleship, Sugioka was baptized in Tokyo’s Tama River in August 2009.

“He introduced me to God and Christ,” Sugioka recalled. “It was a world I didn’t know. I felt like I was born again.” Park didn’t learn until later that Sugioka had been on the brink of suicide when he called. Southern Baptists provide Park with the cell phone service that costs about $50 a month. Thank you for giving so Sugioka could make a life-saving call.

To read more about Kiyoshi Sugioka story click here. If you would like to follow all of the testimonies from the International Mission Board you can click here.

If you would like to help support missionaries all around the world please send a check to:  Living Oaks Baptist Church, 8855 East 91st Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74133.  Please write “Lottie Moon” on the memo line. One hundred percent of all the gifts we receive will go to help missionaries share the good news of Jesus.