From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is full of reminders that God’s heart is for ALL the nations. Beginning in the first book of the Bible, God says to Abraham, “…I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you…and in you ALL the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” In the last book of the Bible, John saw in heaven: “…a great multitude that no one could number, from EVERY NATION, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes…”
And in between, we see over and over not only God’s heart for the people of Israel but God’s love for the whole entire world. Jesus said, “For God so loved the WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes on Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
Additionally, God calls His own people to love the foreigners, the strangers, those who are different in language, skin color, and ethnicity. “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.”
(If you are interested in learning what the other Bible passages are, let me know)
One of the last things Jesus said to His disciples before He physically left them was, “Go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS.”
What an amazing, strategic, opportune, gracious, exciting opportunity God has given to As Is Church to be planted in Rockwood where THE NATIONS have come to us! With over 88 languages being spoken in the homes of Rockwood residents, we have such an amazing possibility of reaching the world through our own “backyard”! Thank you, Lord! I don’t need to leave my job, my family, my language, my culture to fly to the other side of the world (at least not today). I can walk down the street. I can talk to a visitor at church. I can patronize an ethnic restaurant (and chat with the workers). I can EMBRACE THE FOREIGNER in the midst of all the “unwelcoming shouting and protesting”. I can step out of my comfort zone without leaving my country! I can take a step toward my Laotian neighbor with going to Laos, or my Ethiopian neighbor without going to Ethiopia, or my Afghani neighbor without going to Afghanistan.
Barberry Village is one such place in Rockwood…an apartment complex where the nations are gathered in one central living experience. For the last couple of years, As Is Church has been consistently reaching out to the BV residents with the love of God, practically demonstrated through offering food, clothing, fun and friendship. It is not always easy. We make mistakes. It is not always comfortable. We must be consistent. It is not always appreciated. We don’t do it to hear “thank you” from people.
But it is always a part of joining God in expressing His love for the nations.
Where everyone has a name.
And everyone has a story.
And everyone matters to God.
And because they matter to Him, they matter to us.
Director Of Embrace The Village