Pastors, let's move Lottie beyond $175M
    December 4 2013 by Johnny Hunt, Baptist Press

    WOODSTOCK, Ga. – I wrote this letter in late October while ministering to a people we [First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga.] adopted in the Middle East. I woke up at 2:30 in the morning, my heart heavy for the nations. I could not get the recent shortfalls of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering off my mind. I got up and wrote what you are now reading. Please read each statement prayerfully and carefully. My wife Janet and I will personalize the challenge before we give it to our church. It is my prayer that God would use our church along with the fellowships of the Southern Baptist Convention to touch the unreached people groups of our world, especially those that are unengaged by anyone for the Gospel.
    I have often heard it said that “if you don't see it before you see it; you will never see it." I can see Southern Baptists coming together on mission with purpose to empower a called-out people to touch the nations. Do you see it, the fulfilling of the Great Commission? There is a movement, a mighty movement in place in our hearts, our churches, our associations, our states and our convention. God is allowing us to join Him in touching the nations. We are coming together and it is rallying around our mission -- to make Christ known everywhere.
    My heart has been moved as I have heard from [IMB President] Tom Elliff and others concerning the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. We have had a goal of $175 million for several years, only to fall short each year. We have been noted as a people on mission for God. It is my prayer that we would step up to the plate this year and empower our International Mission Board to do what God has called them to do -- send the called and equipped to the nations. Would you consider your Lottie Moon Christmas gift as your gift to the Lord Jesus Christ as we celebrate His birth?
    I have often felt that what is important to you as a leader, the pastor, is what is important to your people. Let's make Revelation 7:9 important. Remind our people to get a glimpse of that day around the throne when every tribe, every nation, every people will be there because of God's marvelous grace and the faithfulness of His dear people to make the Gospel known.
    By the will of God, I am going to lead First Baptist Church of Woodstock to send its largest Lottie Moon Christmas Offering ever. I am going to do it predicated on 1 Chronicles 29:14, that everything I have was placed in my hand by God. Even the gifts I give Him were actually His to me. I am going to challenge you and our people with 1 Chronicles 29:3, that we set our affection not on the house of God as David challenged the people in building the temple, but that we set our affection on the nations coming to know God. In 1 Chronicles 29:5 the people consecrated themselves to the Lord and in verse 6 they offered willingly. Let's give while our hands are warm. Remember you will never miss anything you give away and we are never more like Jesus than when we are giving. It is my prayer that each of us will do now what we will be glad we did when we stand before the Lord. Let's give in light of eternity.
    I would like to make some suggestions to my Southern Baptist brothers and sisters:
    1. Would you give more to Jesus through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering this year than you spend on any other person or gift?
    2. Would you prayerfully consider giving the amount equivalent to a week's tithe to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering?
    3. Would you pray about giving a week's income to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering?
    4. Would you pray about having a Lottie Moon Christmas Offering yard sale with all proceeds going to the nations?
    5. Would you pause right now and ask your heavenly Father what He wishes to give through you?
    What would happen if we began to believe God to really help us be faithful and sacrificial in going and giving to the nations? I believe that if we will be faithful in giving our missions gifts, it will embolden our missionaries on the field. I believe our own churches will be overwhelmed by our unity around God's mission. We could make Jesus known in a new way around the world.
    It is my prayer that each of us would allow God to transform our hearts into hearts for the nations and realize that God indeed loves a cheerful giver and that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
    Southern Baptists, we can do this! In Jesus' name, let's all challenge our churches to give far over and above. Let's lead out as pastors not only by exhorting our people, but by emulating these principles of generous giving before them. Let the worshippers arise so that others may have the privilege to worship God with us. Let's exceed the $175 million goal. Let's do it in Jesus' name and for Jesus' sake.
    Merry Christmas and God bless you,
    Johnny Hunt
    Pastor, First Baptist Church Woodstock, Woodstock, Ga.
    Former President of the Southern Baptist Convention (2009, 2010)
    (EDITOR'S NOTE - The following letter by former SBC President Johnny Hunt, initially written to pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention, appeared in the Winter 2013/2014 issue of SBC LIFE, journal of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee.)
    12/4/2013 11:52:48 AM by Johnny Hunt, Baptist Press | with 0 comments
    Filed under: generosity, Lottie Moon, offering

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