Do you remember taking geography in middle school? If you are like me you would struggle to find on a map or a round globe in the corner of your classroom nations like Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Can you imagine trying to spell these names on a fill in the blank test without the aid of spell check? As of last year there are one-hundred ninety-six (196) nations laying claims to parts of planet earth. Of course that number could have changed overnight. To be honest, I would be lucky to name fifty of these countries much less the whole exhaustive list.
One of my family’s favorite vacation destinations has been Disney World in Florida, and my personal favorite of the theme parks has to be Epicot Center. One of the reasons I love Epicot has to be the ability to stroll on a beautiful afternoon around the lake winding through eleven villages representing countries from around the world like Mexico, France, Germany, Morocco, Italy, China, Norway, Japan, U.S.A., England, and Canada. These exhibits not only capture the sights and sounds of these diverse countries but also the smells—the aroma of fresh hot dishes from around the world! Yum, Yum! Now you figured me out!
Speaking of diversity on display, my wife Robyn has flowing through her veins bloodlines of at least five nationalities including French, Irish, Welsh, English, American Indian, and possibly a touch of German. My family tree has its primary roots in Scotland and England. Our union has practically created the European Union flowing through the veins of our children and you throw in the bloodline of Philip Scott of England and you get “King George”—my grandson!
You see in a real sense we are all world citizens to one extent or another. I have found this to be especially true in El Paso—one of the largest border cities in the world and the “center of the universe” as our own Steve Jones calls the “Border Plex.”
One amazing afternoon, Jesus gathered his disciples around him for His final briefing before He ascended back to headquarters. With the clear distinct words of a commanding officer readying his charges for D-Day He declared: “All authority in heaven and earth has been given unto me…” Translation,” I am in command, and this will be our mission.”
“Go and make disciples of all nations….” The Kingdom of God set its sights on touching and changing every nation in the world from its first salvo. The Kingdom of God never intended on being some kind of Middle Eastern “Mom and Pop” operation. No, Jesus gave his followers, what Jim Collins so affectionately calls a “BHAG”—a big hairy audacious goal!
Guess what the order still stands!
As you know by now First “International” Baptist Church enjoys “practicing heaven on earth.” Every Sunday when we gather together for worship we witness a glimpse of what John saw as he wrote: “After this I looked, and behold, 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, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”(Rev. 7:9-10 ESV)