Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions On Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. Thanks for listening to episode 52 of Missions On Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. We are doing a short series on essential missions books.

Today I want to take you through two sort of segments. One is if you think you might be a missionary or know someone who thinks they might become a missionary, this first set of books will apply to you. You can help other people do some good reading and preparation that will help them along the way. The second set is primarily for families, I'll say, and it includes some good biography resources. Again, I want to appeal to you to give me your feedback and suggestions for other material. Just email me at ministry@propempo.com. That's ministry@propempo.com.

First book today is a little book by John Piper called Don't Waste Your Life. Originally, it was actually written for early retirees, for people considering what do I do with the rest of my life? I have health and possibly wealth. I can be self-supporting. I can go anywhere in the world to serve. I can use my expertise in business. It was written for that audience. But in recent years, it's been used almost exclusively for young people to challenge them because it is a punchy message, don't waste your life.

Another one similar to it that I like a lot is a book entitled, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will or How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, et cetera. It's written by Kevin DeYoung. It's just a great, very simple, straightforward look at a biblical framework for deciding what is God's will in your life. It does apply to what we often refer to as the missionary call. How can I decide if I'm actually called to be a missionary? We've written lots of stuff on the propempo.com website about this, so check it out.

These next few books are for those who think that they have pretty high confidence level that maybe God is actually calling them into missions. And if you are a friend of someone like that, you can pass on these recommendations of books for them. The first one is a book called Here to There: How to Get To Your Mission Field. It's authored by David Meade, published by propempo.com. It is a great book that's been used in many of the cross conferences and bible school missions conferences in the past to give to people who feel like, "Okay, maybe I'm called. Maybe this conference has awakened me to the need and I can meet that need. God can use me in that way." This Here to There book is step-by-step, it's short, eight chapters that talk about how you can qualify and prepare yourself to go to the mission field.

I often recommend this next little one even for short-term missions. It's called Foreign to Familiar by Sarah Lanier. It is a guide to understanding hot and cold climate cultures. It's not so specific about a specific culture or country. It has great overall guidelines for how to think about culture and how to relate to different types of cultures across the geography around the world. I recommend it. It's small, easy to read, a great book on understanding cultures.

This next book is my highest recommendation right now for how to raise funds for ministry. It could apply to a shorter term type of ministry. Usually it's going to apply to people who have to raise funds for several years at a time or for a whole career. It's entitled Funding Your Ministry: An In-depth Biblical Guide for Successfully Raising Personal Support by Scott Morton. This gives a great biblical background for the history of ministry fundraising, the way that God supplies and some very practical steps in terms of communication and things that you can do to enhance and enable your fundraising goals.

This next book is a long forgotten classic by Mabel Williamson, entitled Have We No Rights? It was originally published in 1957 and the subtitle is A Frank Discussion of the "Rights" of Missionaries. But there is a modern updated version actually from a completely different country called My Rights? My God? by Robin Wells. What Will You Do with your life? It basically is a takeoff on Mabel Williamson's really good classic book that describes how it is to be a missionary and basically give up your rights for the sake of Christ and the gospel.

The last book in this little series is MissionSmart. It's written as one word. MissionSmart: 15 Critical Questions to Ask Before Launching Overseas. It's written by my dear friend David Frazier, and included in these chapters are questions about practically how to dig into cultural adaptation even before you leave for the field. It is an excellent pre-field training and mentoring guide for the pre-field candidate and those that are guiding them in their preparation for mission work.

Now, let's get into some fun biographical books. The first one is Too Hard for God? by Charles Marsh. Again, this may be out of print. It was written about a generation and a half ago about Charles Marsh's long-term ministry and service in the country of Algeria. One of the greatest things about this book is not just what it says and the hardships of his life in ministry there, but some of the amazing things that God did among the people that he was ministering to and Charles Marsh's amazing insights into culture. He seemed to have a God-given knack for seeing and understanding culture in a right way and not in a judgmental way, but accurately dealing with it with respect to ministry and proclamation of the gospel to these Arab Muslim people in Algeria.

I don't think it's too much to say that the recent decades of spiritual revival in the Berber people in Algeria is largely because of the foundational work of Charles Marsh who never lived to see the fruit of all that labor. So we give glory to God and recommend this book Too Hard for God? by Charles Marsh.

This next biography is my all-time favorite. I've read it multiple times. I've recommended it multiple times. I usually keep several copies on my shelf to give away to key people. It is Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot. It is from the life and journals of Jim Elliot who was her husband and was martyred in Ecuador. The story of Jim Elliot's life and testimony and fervor for the Lord Jesus Christ is amazing. It's mostly in his words from his journals. It is a fantastic model, particularly for young men and sometimes I say for young men in understanding a proper godly relationship to young women. You just cannot read this book without feeling like you're standing close to the flame of fire of the Holy Spirit and passion for Christ and his word.

This next book is called From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions by Ruth Tucker. I recommend this book widely. It is an anthology of short biographies. Some of the big heroes in history have a little bit longer biographies. Some of them have much shorter biographies. She deals with it in a systematic and timeline sort of way to demonstrate how God used these individuals, men and women, for his glory in planting churches all around the world. It is a fantastic book. I really recommend it for every Christian family's library shelf so that you can read these things to your kids or they can read them over a period of time and just stand in awe at God's goodness at working through frail people to advance the cause of his kingdom.

The next is a little book I recommend called Becoming a World Changing Family: Fun and Innovative Ways To Spread The Good News by Donna Thomas. This is just a really good practical book that you can use in your family to generate knowledge and interest in missions in very simple ways that include some crafts and ideas that will help your family relate better to the world and the people of the world.

The next two books deal with an issue that is very little recognized in our churches today, but needs to have a greater elevated status in our thinking for where we live right here, right now. The first one is The World at Your Door: Reaching International Students in Your Home, Church and School by Tom Phillips and Bob Norsworthy. This book opens up a lot of the information, statistics and some experiences along with practical information about how to reach out to international students in your area, whether that be a small college or a big metroplex. There are literally millions of international students, many of whom come from unreached areas of the world that are living and studying in schools near us.

The best times of the year around Easter and Thanksgiving and Christmas these Christian, or at least oriented toward God kind of holidays are wonderful times for these students to visit you in your home and see how your family observes these holidays and use the opportunity to express the gospel and show them biblically why it is good to give thanks, why Jesus Christ really did rise from the dead, why Christmas is such an amazing holiday, not because of the gift giving and all the pizzazz, but because of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Most internationals, even internationals that are residents who are immigrants in our area rarely set their foot inside the door of an American Christian. We need to change that.

The second like it is called Internationals Who Live Among Us: Doing World Missions at Home by Neal Pirolo. Internationals Who Live Among Us is again an appeal for American Christians to get off of their couch and into the lives of internationals who live among us for the sake of the gospel. Many of these that are here in the United States are here for a limited amount of time, and they will be going back to positions of influence in business and government in their home country. We need to reach them while we have an opportunity for Christ right here at home.

The last book for today is entitled Parents of Missionaries by Cheryl Savageau and Diane Stortz. Parents of missionaries, this topic is just not talked about enough. It is one thing for our kids to go overseas as missionaries. It's another thing for the parents, whether they're believers or unbelievers to cope with that. Their grandkids are going to be born overseas or taken overseas, a long way away from them. Opportunities to see them are just not common. The sending church really needs to get behind ministry to and support of parents and perhaps siblings and uncles and grandparents of missionaries who go. They need ministry to comfort their hearts, to encourage them to think positively and make a positive contribution to the ministry of their family member who's serving overseas.

Let me tell you from my experience, it's hard enough for the missionary to live overseas with all the strain and stress of a cross-cultural life often in much simpler conditions than what we have here, and then to have the constant dripping anxiety of parents or siblings or relatives that are expressing concern and being very negative about their life overseas. There are wonderful positive things about living and ministry overseas, and parents need to grasp that. This book will help. There are support groups that help with that. There are other books that deal with that, but it is just not talked about in our missions committees, in our church leadership, how to minister to parents of missionaries and help them have a God-centered sovereignty of God attitude about their family member serving overseas.

I've got to say, these books over these two weeks are really just the tip of the iceberg of what's out there. It's the tip of the iceberg of what's in my library. There are a lot of other books that are more academic, that are more theological, that deal with culture in a deeper dive. These that I've shared with you over the last episode and this one should be a great start for your understanding and helping those around you to understand the full scope of missions and culture and missionaries and how we can prayerfully be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission together.

Thanks for joining us today on Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. I trust that you'll find more help and resources on the website, propempo.com. Please preferably consider supporting this ministry. Now to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever, amen.

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