The Christmas season is a time of reflection. It's a time to not only remember Christ's birth but also reflect on all that has occurred throughout the year. Over the past few weeks, we have celebrated and reflected on all that God has done through the Global Offering in 2022. Through your giving, the Lord has sent out, sustained, strengthened, and trained workers in some of the most least-reached places. We praise the Lord for His faithfulness in the progress of the gospel that has happened through the partnerships that we share with missionaries and churches all over the world. 

But what now? As Christmas has come and gone, and we have celebrated his work, what is our response to this gratitude as we head into 2023?

"We get to send the light, the light that's changed our lives. Into darkness God sent light and the light found me. In the grace of God, the light found me. What am I going to do? Keep it to myself? No! Let it shine! Send it, send the song of the gospel to the ends of the earth. That's what we do when we give to the Global Offering. It's not a program. Missions is what we do by readying the world for the coming of the Lord. It's an awesome, grave, and glad thing."

- Matt Mason

We continue working towards readying the world for Christ's coming. On December 18th, Pastor Matt reminded us of this. The mission of the church is preparing the world for His coming. So while we may find ourselves wondering what is next, Scripture makes it very clear. We continue on - not in a programmatic manner, but in a persevering manner. 

I am reminded of one of my favorite childhood stories, The Tortoise and the Hare. We all remember this story, about a slow tortoise and a speedy hare. But spoiler alert: while the hare is obviously "faster" than the tortoise, the hare runs too recklessly and must stop, thus not finishing the race. This allowed the tortoise to finish and win. The tortoise succeeded in finishing the race, not because of his amazing speed, but because of his sustainable pace and intentional approach. 

I believe the tortoise understands a concept here that we oftentimes have a hard time understanding. In a life of immediacy and fast results, it is easy to begin to think that we must do whatever is quickest and most urgent. However, just as the tortoise was slow and steady, we must remember Christ's birth was long awaited. 

Missions is a long game. So, while we celebrate all that occurred in 2022, the task is not yet complete. We move and we respond in faith accordingly. We continue on, not turning to our programs in a mindset of immediate results, but rather we patiently and expectantly wait, trusting that God is staying true to his word, bringing those of all nations to exalt his name. 

"...for the land will be as full of the knowledge of the Lord as the seas are filled with water. On that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples. The nations will look to him for guidance, and his resting place will be glorious." 

Isaiah 11:9b-10

This is what we are looking towards. Those from every tribe, tongue, and nation, praising the Lord. The kingdom come. So, Brook Hills, as Matt reminded us, never have we reason to despair. We believe the Good News! We pursue spreading the news of Christ to all nations with all joy!

"This grace was given to me - the least of all the saints - to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of Christ, and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. This is so that God's multifaceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. This is according to his eternal purpose accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Ephesians 3:8-11

As we close out 2022 and head into 2023, we go forward intentionally, like the tortoise, with the same task as Paul, to see the message of Christ's birth, life, death, and resurrection taken to all the world. God is at work to establish more churches among the least-reached. As we individually surrender to this mission, we each play a pivotal role. Here at Brook Hills, we do this by surrendering ourselves to His commission through prayer, giving time to the task, and supporting and sustaining workers who live and serve among the least-reached through the Global Offering. 

We are already looking forward to seeing how God continues to use Global Offering in 2023. Let's pray, faith family, for the year ahead. Pray that we would be more willing to surrender to his work through our lives joyfully. In 2023, may we be more willing to partner intentionally, pray desperately for the advancement of the Gospel, support sacrificially those who have gone, and utilize our finances and occupations for his glorious cause. The work is not yet finished. Let's continue on, steady and consistent as the tortoise, as Jesus our Immanuel, goes with us.