It is really hard for me to believe this, but I am about to take my 30th trip to Asia. Where I’m going, exactly what I’m going to be doing, how long I’m going to be there are going to have to be left for another occasion for security reasons, but this is my 30th trip to Asia coming up. Please cover this trip in your prayers. It takes about 24 hours for me to get from here to there, though in this particular case, it’s actually going to be a two day trip there and a two day trip coming back. Most of my trips, it takes about 24 to 30 hours to get from my house to where I’m going In Asia. Just think about that. That means I have spent 30 days going back and 30 days coming home. That’s two months of my life in which I have spent doing nothing but sitting on a plane trying to get to work.
I always tell people I love my work. It’s getting to work that is the challenge for me. Why do I do it? It’s because the work that God has called us all to do is worth all the sacrifices that are required of us. The hardships, the tiredness, the sickness, the reward is so great, not only in terms of eternity, but we get to see lives change and transform. We get to see pastors get a vision and an understanding of the Word of God in parts of the world where the Bible is not well taught and they are able to teach other pastors how to teach well. To be able to see the impact of their ministry multiply is a treasure of this world that I want. It’s not more possessions, it is more of the kingdom that you want to see built and established on the earth as it is in heaven.
One of the most severe warnings in the Bible has to do with how do we go about doing the good works that God has called us to do? One way to summarize Paul’s warning in 1 Corinthians is that all of our good works are going to be burned. He said they are going to be burned. They are going to be tested with fire. Let me read the exact scripture to you. He says in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, “No one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid in Jesus Christ. This is the foundation of all of our good works of ministry. Now, if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw. Each one’s work will become manifest for the day. It will be revealed by fire and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” This is a pretty stern warning that we should not build our ministry with wood, hay, stubble, or grass. It’s really a reference to going about the work that you are doing in ways that are consistent with the eternal kingdom of God. For me, that means starting with the word of God.
So we are off to Asia now to carefully teach people who are called to teach the Bible to more and more people. It is really important that we get it right to do this. We pray a lot. We study a lot. We talk a lot. We make sure that what we teach in our four questions is both accurate and simple enough to be understood, so much so that it can be quickly retaught. We are about big things right now. These are gold, silver, and precious stone kinds of topics. We’re talking about the value of human life and human dignity. We’re talking about helping people recognize the enormous evil of shedding innocent blood. We’re talking about the eternal essence of bringing the good news of God’s forgiveness to those who are alienated from God because of their guilt and shame. And we’re talking about equipping and motivating the church to become an army of good Samaritans.
These are really important things, and so it’s important that we approach it with integrity, that our lives kind of match up with the holiness of the gospel as well as the content of the gospel. Otherwise, you are going to fall into manipulation, psychology, health and wealth gospel kind of stuff, which allures people in for their worldly pursuits and then mixes it up with heaven in an ungodly way. There are all kinds of ways to pursue a ministry that can manipulate or even look successful in terms of numbers, but its essence is still wood and hay. All of what we are doing will be tested by fire, including the work that we do in Asia. It’s going to be tested to see if it was built on the foundation of Jesus Christ based on the word of God matching up with a life that is consistent in terms of bringing glory and admiration to the gospel.
We will be in Asia once again full of the knowledge that Passion Life is going to be burned, and what remains after that burning, we hope, is purified. We know God saves lives and glorifies those seeking to change lives through the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit honoring the work of his word. These are the things that drive me to take very long airplane rides to difficult places. I encourage you to pray for our team and pray for the church in much of Asia, which is under great persecution in many parts of Asia these days. Let’s build on a strong foundation with the gold and the precious stones of the gospel itself. Thank you.