Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth
This week I was able to make a last-minute trip to Indianapolis to attend Cross conference. Cross is a conference aimed at university-aged students with the purpose of mobilizing students to fulfill the Great Commission by bringing the gospel to the ends of the earth.
I attended the first-ever Cross conference in 2013, and was hoping to attend this one as well, but didn’t think I would be able to go, until around 4:30pm on the night that the conference started. An old friend and I hopped in her car, and drove through the night landing in Indianapolis around 3:00am. After a lengthy check-in, we were off to bed for 2 hours of sleep before waking up for the second day of the conference (our first day!).
Let me stop here and comment on how sweet of a gift it is to gather together with ~2,000 college students to seek the glory of the risen Saviour. I am so, so grateful for the opportunity to gather to hear the word preached, to worship in song, to listen to testimony of those who have been sent out to the mission field, and to fellowship with new friends. Throughout the course of the past three days, the Lord has shown Himself to me in new ways, my passion to see the gospel proclaimed to all the nations has been strengthened, and I have come away from Cross with a greater sense of urgency to be involved in missions. While I don’t feel that the Lord is calling me to overseas missions at this time in my life, I am content where He has called me to send others to the field and to make disciples where I am now.
Over the course of the past three days I have been able to hear David Platt, John Piper, Afshin Ziafat, Conrad Mbewe, Thabiti Anyabwile, Kevin DeYoung, Richard Chin, Mack Stiles, Zane Pratt, Tripp Lee, and many others speak; and Matt Boswell lead us well in worship. It is so encouraging to see so many faithful men (and women – many had their wives with them!) who the Lord has used remarkably throughout their lives. One of them pointed out that there are only three options: to go, to send, or to be disobedient. I am grateful that these men have been obedient to do as the Lord has directed. While this looks different for each individual person, and while I’m sure there have been seasons where obedience has not been easy or immediate, I am thankful for the faithful example of obedience to the Word of God that they are able to demonstrate for me.
In addition to the speakers at the conference, there were also several books given away. These books included titles such as Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper and Evangelism by Mack Stiles. The book I am most excited to have received is an abridged version of Operation World, titled Pray for the World, that gives leads the reader to pray for the nations and to impact unreached people groups. There are over 6,000 people groups that are considered unreached, meaning they have little to no access to the saving hope of the gospel. Throughout Cross conference, the sessions focused on sending and going overseas to share the message of the gospel with those who have never heard, because, as David Platt said:
“Our God is worthy to receive the praise from 6,000 more people groups on the planet.”
I am excited to go through this book in the coming weeks and months because I believe that it will be an excellent resource in praying for the nations in order to make an impact. I am also hopeful that for those who feel called to go to the field, this book will help the to learn more about various unreached and unengaged people groups and that perhaps through the study of these different groups, those who are called to go will feel a clear call as to which specific people group the Lord is leading them to. As David Platt also pointed out:
“Unprecedented opportunities abounding right now for the spread of the gospel among the unreached, if only we will take them.”
Afshin Ziafat similarly said:
“A proper understanding of the gospel is fuel for radical discipleship and mission.”
If we properly understand the urgency and the significance of the saving gospel of Christ, we will cease wasting time on passing things, and we will focus on Kingdom growth. We will send, or we will go, but we will not be disobedient to the clear command of the Lord in the Great Commission. Thabiti Anyabwile said it well, when he said:
“Hell is real,
Time is short,
Jesus says ‘Go.'”
I am thrilled that I was able to attend Cross 2016, and am anticipating hearing reports of how the Lord is working in the lives of those who received clear commands to GO to the nations, as well as those who have been commanded to stay. I am excited to hear from those who feel the Lord calling them to embrace the opportunities abroad, not by becoming full-time career missionaries but using alternative ways to spread the gospel in places that are hardened to the gospel such as through business-as-missions. J.D. Greear suggests:
“Why not make the expansion of Christ’s kingdom the primary factor in what you choose for your career”
I am excited to hear of those called to send who are faithful in sacrificially giving to missions and are faithful in supporting missionaries in prayer. I am grateful that the Lord gifts each one of His children differently, and that as such there will be different, unique calls for each follower of Christ.
If you missed out on attending Cross Conference 2016, don’t worry – you will be able to listen to all of the messages online in the next few days! Check back often to see when they are posted!