I love the thought of the gospel marching triumphantly around the globe as God in Christ is building His church (Cf., Matt. 16:18). And I am particularly moved by this reality today as a team from our church left this morning for Peru to minister to hundreds of local pastors and their families. The third annual Amazon Mission Festival sponsored by JungleMaster Ministries is officially underway (see overview video below).
This ministry of outreach, encouragement, and equipping is a powerful reminder that the gospel knows no borders. God will be “exalted among the nations” (Ps. 46:10) and He is using short-term ministry teams like ours to accomplish this ultimate end in the farthest reaches of the earth. Indeed, this is why missions exists. Taking his cue from the Lord’s Prayer, this is how John Piper explains it:
An recent article in The New York Times highlights the "chilling" abortion rate in New York City. And it has the attention of the city's religious leaders:
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York joined other local religious leaders on Thursday in calling for a new effort to reduce the number of abortions in the city. The annual figure has averaged 90,000 in recent years, or about 40 percent of all pregnancies, twice the national rate. The archbishop, at a news conference in Manhattan, called the citywide statistics "downright chilling."
Albert Mohler puts these startling statistics in the context of the national abortion rate of 22 percent, while reminding us that in 2008 (the last year full numbers are available) 1.2 million abortions were performed in the United States. Mohler is helpful in raising our view beyond New York City when he observes that, "The abortion rate in New York City staggers the moral imagination, but the abortion rate nationwide is itself 'chilling.'"
I'm writing this post even as this morning I learned that members of our church just became grandparents for the fourth time with the birth of baby Luke. And a young couple in our church is due with their first baby any day now. There is awful irony in a fallen world where there coexists the joyful embrace of new life and the mass killing of the unborn. Indeed, Mohler is right when he laments that "we are a murderous people, and the blood of the innocent cries out for justice."
On January 23 we will recognize the annual Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. My hope and prayer is that God will awaken His church to labor for life well beyond that day.