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Thursday, July 17, 2008
Guess what? I sung for the Missionary Orientation meeting on Tuesday morning, July 15, and they loved it! I had several sincere compliments throughout the remainder of the orientation sessions which ended at noon yesterday. The Assistant Director said, "Fred, I had no idea what a good singer you are." My reply was, "Well sure. I'm a professional. I once sung at a little Baptist Church and they gave me $200. Do you know the difference between an amateur and a professional? A professional gets paid. An amateur does it just because he loves it." Also I had several compliments on the 15 minute devotional I shared. Would you like to hear a synopsis? LoL. O.K. Glad you asked me to share it. Here goes.
Three "C's" For Successful Missionaries"
1. C - Call
My thoughts about call are probably different than what you've heard. I've heard it said a number of times, "You know Fred, I admire you for what you do...but you know people have to have a "call" before they can do anything like that. I often say, "No! I don't believe you have to have a "call" to go to Africa...or Asia...or anywhere else in the world. All you need is a "want to". I've seen young people go to Africa - and stay - just because they wanted to. Some went for Anheiser (or is that Anhauser?)-Busch; others went for the spirit of adventure; some went for the United States Government. So why not us?"
I told them of Quinton Griggs, an older man who had been raised in the Church of God but who had never been saved. I think he was about 60 - 65 at the time this incident took place. He came to the altar to pray for salvation. He prayed. He cried. He begged God, "Oh Lord, Please Save Me!" He prayed for a long time. But when he had finished praying he said, "No, I'm not saved. The Spirit has to draw me. I can't get saved until that happens." When I began to quiz him as to what it meant to him to be saved, he quoted John 6:44 where Jesus says, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." Also he quoted John 6:65 which says, "And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." I asked, "Do you wnnt to be saved?" "YES!" He answered with emphasis. "More than anything in the world!" "Well, what do you think it is that makes you want to get saved if not the Spirit of God! It's the Holy Spirit's job to make you want to get saved. That's what made you come to this altar tonight."
So if we have a directive from our commander-in-chief (and we do in Matthew 28:19) then why can't we go if we have the "want to". Besides - who do you think it is that puts the "want to" in you? God is the one who causes us to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Cf Phillipians 2:13) Yes, it helps to understand that God is who made us want to; especially when we get into sticky situations and frustrations and tough times come; AND THEY WILL COME.
Two things about culture. Your culture and Their culture. Of course you know what culture is: The definition which I really like is: "Culture is Learned ways of doing and being."
Let me be right up front with you. You are who you are and you will never be one of them. Accept the fact that you are different from the people where you are going and respect those differences. Besides, Jesus taught that we are to be like "a city on a hill" or like "a candle on the mantle." (O.K., Candle on the candlestick.)
Don't allow "culture" to become an excuse for sin. If it violates the teachings of the Bible but it's culturally acceptable, culture does not make it o.k. to be polygamous, or to lie, etc., and etc. We are not exporting American Culture, although it is found in the Bible! Don't believe me? Read Romans 1. It is the kind of culture Jesus came to change. Got the picture?
God created you. You are unique. He knew all about you - your warts and freckles - the good parts and the bad parts of you when He called you. Or should I say when He put the desire to go to the place of service you are going. He knew you -yet he loved you. Awesome.
So when the frustrations begin of going through customs and immigration, and they will; when the frustrations with headquarters come, and they will; when the disagreements with fellow missionaries come, and they will; when it dawns on you and you realize that you are imperfect, and you will ... Just remember your CREATOR is who designed you and know that He is still on His Throne in Heaven. And I concluded with these verses:
Romans 8:26-31 "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Then I sung the song for them titled "I Need Not Leave With The Burden". and concluded by asking them to sing with me the chorus of, "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go" Many had tears in their eyes as we concluded with prayer. Can you say from your heart, "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go, Dear Lord; O'er Mountain or Plain or Sea; I'll say what you want me to say, Dear Lord; I'll be what you want me to be!" ???
- Fred Alton
- Cleveland, TN, United States
- I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.