JOY TO THE WORLD!! By Carol Lee
JOY to the world,THE LORD IS COME! Let earth receive her KING;
LET EVERY HEART PREPARE HIM ROOM and HEAV’N AND NATURE SING.
JOY to the EARTH, the SAVIOR REIGNS! Let men their SONGS employ,
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains, REPEAT THE SOUNDING JOY
No more let sins and sorrows grow nor thorns infest the ground;
HE COMES TO MAKE HIS BLESSINGS KNOWN FAR AS THE CURSE IS FOUND.
HE RULES THE WORLD with TRUTH AND GRACE and makes the NATIONS prove
the GLORIES OF HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS and WONDERS OF HIS LOVE.
This song is EXPLOSIVE and EXPANSIVE in its JOY and eager desire to make the coming of our Savior known and His love, truth and righteousness experienced in each heart, individually as well as globally. There isn’t one square inch of heaven or earth where the song’s writer, Isaac Watts, doesn’t hope to hear the echo of this good news or see its full expression.
This anthem especially sings the exultant refrain of our human and divine story—the fulfillment of a long-ago Promise to a broken world—and urges us to appreciate the full impact of it:
- God sets the stage for His Story—the creation of a pristine world where His image-bearers would multiply and spread God’s Kingdom and glory until the whole earth was full of His glorious reign.
- A heavenly Rebel, Satan, in having coveted God’s glory and shaken his fist at God in defiance and cast out of heaven, seeks to take the pinnacle of God’s creation—MAN AND WOMAN—down with him.
- Satan appears to have wildly succeeded—BUT FOR THAT POWERFUL PROMISE from God Himself of a CONQUERING SEED
- Biblical history is a crescendoing narrative, stanza upon stanza upon stanza upon stanza, that tells a complex story, and inspires in us a yearning to see and sing the joyous refrain of the Long-expected fulfillment—Jesus, God’s Son, in human flesh, born of a virgin, born to destroy the works of the one through whom the destruction and chaos came.
The refrain is only an interlude between the stanzas yet to come, for not every heart has made Him room, the whole earth is not yet repeating the sounding joy, and the Savior’s blessings are not yet known “far as the curse is found”! The vast majority of humanity has not even heard this melody and message so that it may sing along in this joyful season of celebration.
SING AND CELEBRATE!
Do not let the somber warning of “BUT!” muzzle your joyous refrain. We cannot effectively enjoin others to receive a message we do not treasure and celebrate well.
- That our Long Expected Jesus entered into human history and fulfilled all that the Father had planned
- Jesus came to live, die, rise and ascend to heaven.
- He did this so that in living He would fulfill all righteousness,
- In dying He would become a curse for us so that we might become the righteousness of God,
- In rising, having been declared the Son of God, He would display victory over sin, death and the Devil and,
- In ascending He would return to His Father as the King upon His throne, as an Intercessor for all of us “Sinners-in-Chief” who call upon His name and,
- from where He would send His Holy Spirit to empower us to sing this song to every tribe, tongue, people and nation.
This Christmas, all of us at Reaching Africa’s Unreached (RAU) are delighted to be part of the great choir of those singing this song to the Nations in and around which the Lord has placed us—Uganda, South Sudan and the Republic of (North) Sudan.
- A little over a week ago, Paul George, Pastor Henry, Jacob and I had the privilege of accepting an invitation to the home and village of Metu Mountain Chief Kanyaba Salverio Lukere 11 for the special purpose of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with his family and all who gathered. Jacob had first met him back in 2010. Jacob preached from John 11 (the raising of Lazarus from the dead) with Pastor Tobious interpreting. I was given the opportunity to read the text in Ma’di and then, at the end to share John 3:16 and Jesus Loves Me in Ma’di. Some of the Metu Mountain pastors also joined in and gave messages of encouragement, exhortations and prayers. A very joyful day, for sure, of good news, good food and fellowship and open hearted response to the message!
- Pastor Tobious continues to oversee and care for the itinerant pastors in the Metu Mountains. They are keen to extend the reach of the Gospel to surrounding villages and have an eagerness to be equipped in the word of God and in their calling as pastors. Please keep praying for them—that they would not grow weary in well-doing, especially in the difficult conditions in which they live. We will spend Christmas with the church plant in Arapi/Gbari Metu Mountains.
- We praise the Lord for the good health and safety of Anzoa Gift who was able to return from India after her heart repair and pacemaker placement. Such acts of love are made possible by the generous hearts of RAU partners and they pave the way for the Gospel to be received with joy. We look forward to the day we can visit Anzoa Gift’s Metu Mountain village of Abeso not only to celebrate her life but also to see and celebrate the borehole which was provided through RAU for clean, accessible water. We are praying a church can also be planted in Abeso.
- We are grateful for our RAU team members who are faithfully singing the song of the Lamb to people of Moyo District in various places and settings. Zorah has had a burden to equip the youth in the church which we attend, training them to teach the young children through the New City & Westminster Catechism along with Bible memory verses. 2 Timothy 2:2 in action!!
- Co-worker, Paul George has been doing what he loves—hospital visitation for prayer and sharing the Gospel. He and Odendi Zakeo (our Ag Production Officer) have teamed up in Gospel friendship to go every Sunday when they share and pray and provide necessities such as soap. They are also involved in Prison ministry and hope to do that more and more. Paul and Zakeo are making the most of every opportunity to proclaim and display the love of Christ Jesus in our surrounding communities.
- Jacob has had an increasing number of opportunities to preach and to share the gospel and give out gospel tracts with community members. A few weeks ago, 3 men came to the gate wanting to know more about becoming Christians—2 of them believed on the Lord and prayed with Jacob and Pastor Henry. These 2 men are now attending regularly at Pastor Henry’s church.
- The resources (ESV Global Study Bibles and theological books) have been a blessing to many and those continue to be sent out regularly to various leaders in Moyo as well in surrounding districts, South Sudan and the Republic of (North) Sudan. RAU is grateful to the many who gave generously to purchase and ship them here!
- Early this year, before our journey to the USA, we met Abdul Rahim Zubair, a young Muslim 20-year old who had been tragically shot in the hip and paralyzed from the waist down, with little hope for recovery or for the Physical Therapy necessary for improved quality of life. He lives with his Mom (who has been doing all the heavy lifting in caring for him) in Yumbe. When he came to see us, there was little to be done except buy a wheelchair for him to allow him some mobility as well as respite for his mother. We are looking forward to a continuing relationship with this family struck by tragedy and to sharing Gospel hope with them. Pray with us and pray for Abdul!!
- Our dear friend and Gospel partner, Onduga Charles, is on FIRE to make Jesus Christ known and beloved and received as Savior among the Aringa of Yumbe. His zeal to raise up a generation of well-equipped, passionate youth stirs us to come along side him. In January, he will organize the annual youth conference where youths from the various sub counties of Yumbe district. We look forward to participating in that. He hopes to identify 10 or 11 young men who can be trained pastorally for new church plants in surrounding towns and villages in Yumbe District. RAU looks forward walking with Charles in this. Charles reports that many of the Imams/Sheikhs are eager to recommence the Christian-Muslim dialogs with Jacob like the ones done in the past.
- Omar, a former Sheikh and now a brother in Christ, has been giving his energy to meeting with Muslims in Yumbe to share his story and the Gospel with many. From his reports and videos we are encouraged to see his growth in the Lord and the impact of his faith in his hometown.
- Please pray for a Yumbe Sheikh A—— who has become extremely ill. He has a great desire to meet with Jacob and it is our prayer that at this meeting he will open his heart to Christ and trust in Him by the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray with us for that miracle–for healing of body and soul!
SOUTH SUDAN/REPUBLIC OF SUDAN (NORTH)
- In the fires of war and turmoil, God is forging men and women of faith from South Sudan and the Republic of (North) Sudan. They have been chased from their homes and have taken refuge in Settlements within Uganda.
- RAU is privileged to partner with them, especially through the faithfulness of Joshua Abraham, a pastor from the Sudan (Darfur) who is a Muslim-Background-Believer (MBB). Over the last 4 years, Joshua has attended many trainings in the Hall of Tyrannus and coordinated to bring other pastors from the camps with him. This last year, implementing 2 Timothy 2:2, Joshua gathered 26 leaders from Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement and took them through 14 Biblical resources provided by RAU relating to pastoral care, counseling, family life, economics and Bible literacy. This past December 17, we joined these leaders and their families and friends to celebrate their graduation from this course. It was a jubilation like we’ve never seen!
- Recently, RAU had the privilege of hosting for a few hours a group of men from Darfur, Sudan. They came with the purpose of greeting and thanking Jacob/RAU personally for the many Bibles, Kindle Fires and theological resources in Arabic and English which had been sent in the past and to load up their vehicle with many more books to take back to Darfur Sudan where people are eager to receive them. Pastor Adam told the story (which you may hear in the video below) of police in Sudan who confiscated the Bibles and books while also incarcerating many believers. During that time, the police began to read some of the books and, to the amazement of Pastor Adam, returned the resources stating, “We didn’t know Christians had such wonderful books. You must get more and give some to us!”
As COVID-19 and Ebola lose their impact and presence in Uganda, opportunities are, once again, opening up and filling up the RAU calendar. Gaps are filling up! There are new stanzas yet to be written and sung in God’s song!
- January: Yumbe Youth Conference and possible leadership conference in Bidi Bidi Settlement
- February: Jacob and I travel to Burnet, Texas for Hill Country Fellowship’s yearly Missions Conference (side benefit: we get to see Kenny and Anna and the kids!).
- April: RAU hosts authors of “Helping Without Hurting in Africa” as they teach the course by that name to church leaders from Metu Mountains, Moyo, Obongi, Yumbe and the Refugee settlements
- May: RAU hosts Paul Ortega’s team and Mbale Pearl Haven Ministries for a Medical Outreach at RAU and Metu Mountains Gbari/Arapi and Ayaa.
- Evangelism and discipleship in Moyo, Metu Mountains, Obongi, Yumbe, and refugee settlement camps. Hosting visitors who come to see RAU’s agriculture demo farm in action. Currently we are pruning the 640 grafted mangoes.
- Jacob weekly preaching on Tuesday morning on a local radio station beginning in the new year.
- July: return to USA for ABWE orientation as Associate Missionaries/itineration/family visits
- Continue to pray for the Pryce and Langworthy families as they raise support to join the RAU team.
- Pray for an increase in those who financially support RAU on a monthly basis. While we are very grateful for those who give to various projects and end of the year gifts we especially are grateful to those who give monthly. As the Lord has grown the ministry of RAU our monthly supporters are the ones who are carrying RAU’s Mission/Vision along. If you are not giving monthly, would you please consider helping us in that way? Please take time to peruse our website and see how we have sought to be faithful stewards of the gifts given. It is our desire that any charitable gifts that are given to RAU would not compromise what you are ALREADY giving to your local church and/or to other cross-cultural foreign missionaries. At this link you can read about RAU’s philosophy on missionary giving and how to give—> https://reachingafricasunreached.org/donations/
We joyfully and expectantly await every good thing which the Lord has planned for us in this coming year.
As the end of 2022 approaches, please remember Reaching Africa’s Unreached and prayerfully consider “joining the chorus” with your prayers and financial gifts as we sing the Gospel of grace in Uganda, South Sudan and (North) Sudan, most especially through the leaders RAU seeks to empower in reaching the many tribes and tongues they represent. Please enjoy this video which gives a brief history and vision of RAU:
PayPal Link for donations: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=WAR99DL4JFWXQ
Go to RAU’s Facebook page for up to date reports, pictures, musings, and exhortations: www.facebook.com/ReachingAfricasUnreached
RAU YouTube Videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRmHafoBSemE7jS8kEHCG6Q/videos
RAU’s Mission and Vision Statements/Statement of Faith: https://reachingafricasunreached.org/about/
The greatest evil is having the gospel and not doing everything within our power to get it to those who do not have it!
Sowing seeds of love and kindness should not be separated from preaching the gospel of sovereign grace but completely intertwined with it!
When at least 35% of the world; “the unoccupied fields”, have no access to the gospel, we (believers) must all do all we can to reach them. We who are saved owe the gospel to every lost person, most especially the 2.4 billion who will not hear unless someone breaks into their “unoccupied field” with no thought of their own life!
Sowing seeds of love and kindness should not be separated from preaching the gospel of sovereign grace but completely intertwined with it!
I am sure that none of us will say when in heaven that we prayed too much, we sacrificed too much, proclaimed the gospel too much, and were too passionate to get the gospel to those who have little to no access to this gospel of grace. Let us together press on to make it our ambition to preach the gospel where Christ has not been named!
Our goal in our gospel witness is to take our eyes off the “risk” and place them on the cause for the risk. When God compels us like this he often will not tell us the risks…after all there are no risks for the all-knowing, all-powerful God. So let us be AMBITIOUS (Romans 15:20) to see that ALL are reached with the gospel of grace (Romans 1:16) in ALL places…there are no closed doors to the gospel, just some which are more difficult to go through!
2 thoughts on “Joy To The World!!”
Joy! Joy! Joy! for all that God is doing through you, in you, and for you!
Did you ever notice how the composer of this Joyfilled Song began? “JOY TO THE WORLD THE LORD HAS COME. Jesus came D O W N from heaven.
LOVE IN CHRIST, Mike and Gail Rupprecht
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