Reach Your World
December 20, 2017
For the past fourteen years The Biblical World has had a booth at the International ASI Convention. My wife Helen, Patti Swensen, a volunteer, and I look forward each year to the opportunity to share how to use Biblical World materials in evangelism and small groups. The hours can be long, but the reward is always great.
This year we came directly from exhibiting at the Mid-America Union pastor’s retreat in Omaha, Nebraska, to Houston. After a full week of exhibiting we were tired and had just wrapped up a long Thursday evening when I got a text message from my good friend, Dan Houghton: “Are you still around tonight? If you are, I need to talk with you.”
I thought, It is after 11 p.m., I am tired and still have a long walk to the JW Marriott. What has happened that he needs to talk with me at this hour? Something must be wrong.
When we met that evening, Dan shared how the nominating committee had come to a consensus to ask me to serve as the ASI VP for evangelism. I was shocked—it was the last thing I expected to hear from Dan. I immediately thought, I am working on so many new projects, and my nose is barely above the water line. I don’t have time for this.
But as Dan shared how the nominating committee decision unfolded, I could feel the Holy Spirit nudging me. Then another friend I had spoken with earlier that evening called and explained why he thought I should be involved.
Dan asked me to talk with Helen and pray about this invitation. Walking to the Marriott that night I had a long “conversation” with the Lord about this situation. I must confess that it was mostly complaining on my part. “Lord, you know we are just starting a new film project,” I said. “I am researching and writing, and getting ready to leave for filming in the Bible lands. I can’t do this.”
Then the Lord reminded me of how I often complain that people go around the world to witness, but don’t feel comfortable witnessing to their neighbors, patients, or customers. “Tony, this is your opportunity to help ASI develop tools so that each member can feel comfortable sharing the Good News with the people living in their world.”
By the time I reached the Marriott, I was convinced that this was truly a God opportunity. After working out a few details, we accepted the invitation and look forward to working with our committees and chapters to develop and implement tools so that each member can impact their neighborhood.
My heart is touched each year as I listen to the reports on Sabbath morning concerning how and where our offerings will be used. This year tears moistened my eyes as I listened to the report about how the picture roll project would provide tools for members to penetrate areas of the world that do not have electricity. I increased my offering commitment and pray that each picture roll will help the fulfilment of the mission of the first angel of Revelation 14 flying in midair with “the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people” (Revelation 14:6).
But this mission includes more than just places that do not have electricity. It is every nation, including the United States and Canada. Every tribe, including the educated and less educated, wealthy and poor. Every language, including English, French, and Spanish. And every people, including our neighbors, customers, and patients.
My dream, my hope, and my prayer is that we will be able to help you discover tools you can use to reach your world and that we can fulfill the mission of Revelation 14.