I am about to preach to the OMF China Alight conference. I'm very excited about this opportunity to encourage, bless and strengthen believers from that mighty country.
But I am also excited because it was at a similar missions conference at this conference centre 23 years ago that God used a sermon by Terry Virgo to call me into preaching. I was 18, I attended because friends of mine were going to Nepal and Pakistan with Interserve, and I had zero expectations of God doing anything with me. I went to the second Bible message with no expectations and was met so powerfully by the Lord that I walked out literally weak at the knees. I knew what God would use me to do for teh rest of my life, I just had no idea what that would look like, how to start, who to talk to, or how to advance it in any way. Talk about a weak vessel.
I've never spoken here before but am on my face praying hard for any 18 year olds here. I know how God can touch in power and change whole lives in the space of minutes. O God, please do your mighty work.
My title is "The Joy of the Lord in Missions" about which I am thrilled. The joy of the Lord is our strength for world evangelisation. Therefore the questions of what it is, how we get it and how we are sustained in it are matters of absolutely primary importance. We cannot call people to come and praise him unless we are a praising people, nor to be glad in Him unless we are abundantly glad.
I feel (and am!) a tiny, insignificant bit player in God's global purposes. Nevertheless God uses the things of this world that are not to shame the things that are, and the foolish to shame the wise. So I can pray with confidence for him to use ripples from here to accomplish whatever he wants. I may never see any results and probably won't. But that doesn't mean He isn't working. He wants to produce faith and worship among His people, and missions to the uttermost parts of the earth that arise from hearts that are abundantly glad in the Lord and take pleasure in worshipping Him.