I was thinking this morning about how the Baptist World Alliance has shaped my view of the world. Because of BWA, …
I now have friends on virtually every continent, even though I’m a “home-body” at heart.
I have seen such great talent, giftedness, and understanding in these friends, even though I once thought the West had all of the answers.
I now pray “God bless your world,” even though I once prayed only “God bless America.”
I see God at work everywhere, even though I once thought the USA was the center of God’s work.
I am humbled by the great faith I see among people who live in difficult circumstances, even though I once thought I had sufficient faith.
I never set out to feel connected with God’s vast humanity and creation, but God has taken me there. My world is no longer centered in Dallas (my birthplace) or Georgetown (my home now) or Texas (my home state) or the USA (my home country). God has made me see that the world is much, much bigger than my limited spaces.
As a result, some dark spaces become evident where sin flourishes. People are literally dying because of their faith or being sorely oppressed. And others are lost in their religions, sometimes even using the name of Jesus in very unChristlike ways.
But, also as a result, some bright spaces become evident as the talent, giftedness, and beauty of God’s people and places are seen. The rapid expansion of God’s Kingdom did not just happen in the first decades after Christ; it’s still happening today as people come to faith. People really are allowing God to change them from being culturally captive to being primarily citizens of God’s kingdom.
This may seem rather obvious to many, but it was something I had to learn. I had to get out of my Dallas, Texas, USA, boxes in order to see more broadly that God is at work in all kinds of places and with all kinds of people, that global leadership is coming from elsewhere, that our hope is built on nothing else save Christ our Lord and His lordship is not centered in my spaces.
Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all” (Acts 10:34-36, NRSV).