- Phone: (706) 548-2246
- Mailing Address: 2390 West Broad Street, Athens, GA 30606
Family of Great Commissionaries:
The late Angel Martinez has become one of my favorite evangelists and preachers to read. He passed away about 20 years ago but made an enormous impact on local churches. He was the first to be invited to preach the 1949 Los Angeles area-wide crusade. He declined, commenting that his ministry was with the local church. The second man they invited you know of-Billy Graham. Angel Martinez was so humble he stepped aside, and the world has been different ever since.
In one message he stated “one thing that astounds me about the love of our Savior is it’s omniscience. He knows everything about us, and he loves us. He knows the past. We have a tendency to forget the past, especially the things that we do not like about ourselves. Jesus knows our past and he loves us still. Not only that, he knows the future. The future is unknown to us, but he is conversant with your every sin, every failure, every evil thought, and every sinful act that we are going to commit from point now until point death, and he still loves us. Human loves are built on ignorance. We love others because we do not know too much about them, and they do not know too much about us. But Jesus knows the past and the future, and, knowing all of that, he still opens wide his arms and invites us to come to him and be saved” (Unused Perfume, 57).
I saw love demonstrated my first night in Ixchiguan, Guatemala. The missionary I stayed with invited a couple of men to join six others of us for dinner. These men have been thrown out of their homes for alcohol problems (Sebastian and Alfonso, two Tajamulco Mam, see picture below). Broken and lonely they joined us, nervous about being surrounded by preachers and missionaries.
During dinner, Pastor Rudolpho Mendez of Indiantown, Florida and I shared God’s love with these men. We told them of John 3:16 and 2 Corinthians 5:21. We told them they are in the world, so God’s love is for them! We shared about the great exchange at Calvary of our sins to Jesus and Jesus’ righteousness to us who trust Him, then we encouraged them to call out to God like he loves them and always will. They did, and you should have heard the sinner’s prayer that gushed out of them. A revival broke out amongst us with eight men around the table trembling and rejoicing over the love of God.
Overcoming alcohol addiction is a lifelong effort. Sebastian and Alfonso will struggle. Both men will probably struggle with relapses, temptation, discouragement, and loneliness. They will have to learn a new way of handling their sorrows and fears. But as they struggle, they will never struggle apart from God’s love.
God’s love for our world needs to define how we view the Sebastians and Alfonsos of the world. His love should define how we view God and how we view church ministry. For this reason, the love of God will define how we shape our budget and give to missions. The love of God will define our calendar. The love of God will define what we do with our worship center, facilities, and property.
On Sunday June 24, in a called church conference, I ask our Great Commissionary church to, upon recommendation of our deacons, to compose a committee that will study, design, and oversee the implementation of a plan to use our property, facilities, and location to attract and reach our whole community with God’s love. (See page 1 for more information).
How can our property, facilities, and location “shout” out to our community? “God loves you! Come here to Beech Haven and worship Him and learn more about Him.” Studying, designing, recommending, and overseeing a plan to answer that question will be this committee’s task. At several points we will seek your input, the input of specialists, and mostly the input of God’s Spirit.
All this because God loves the world, and this causes me to say . . .
I Stand Amazed,