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Language is not merely a tool

VVMI is a mission that focuses on proclaiming the Gospel to peoples in their native, heart language (vernacular language). This was recently posted by the Global Outreach Department at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN. It is a wonderful reminder of the importance of language, heart language.

When Jesus came in the flesh we explored some of the implications of incarnation the translation of divinity into humanity. (see Post 05) But as we enter holy week we meet a Messiah who is in the darkest hour of the human condition, face to face with the enemy of death. And yet his death is not completely like ours, just like his birth was not completely like ours. In his birth he came to make the message of God known in terms we could readily receive. In his death he was making a way that we could be received before the holy presence of the Father.

The biting pain of Jesus’ human crucifixion has been explored and expounded far more deeply by other authors but one aspect of his humanity is often overlooked – language. While language is not unique to the human condition, for God and angels speak intelligibly to mankind, the barriers of Babel still stand as a reminder of God’s mercy and judgment on the sons of Adam (see Post 06). Jesus, while yet on earth, was most likely trilingual speaking Hebrew (the language of his people and scriptures), Aramaic (the language of the region), and Greek (the language of the empire).

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying,”Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46 ESV)

The New Testament was written in Koiné (common) Greek and yet here we find a place where the biblical author does not just give us Jesus’ words in Greek. Jesus’ cry is recorded in transliterated Aramaic (though the first two words here are Hebrew) which Matthew then goes on to translate into Greek (Mark does something similar in his account, Mk. 15:34). Why employ this narrative device? Why here at the climax of Jesus’ ministry? Why sidetrack us with linguistic details in the record of his darkest hour?

For one thing, it shows us that at this moment Jesus was probably not crying out in Greek but in a mingling of his heart languages. For another, as the skies overhead grew dark in judgment, the mere speech of men would not suffice but out of Jesus’ heart comes the very language of scripture to clothe his anguish. Many have recognized this phrase as coming from Psalm 22:1 which Jesus may well have known in all three languages, but again he quotes it in the languages closest to his heart and people. Debates abound regarding what Jesus was doing here, but suffice it to say here, Jesus is drawing up these despairing words of the psalmist in the language of the common people and in a tongue close to his heart. It just came out that way.

Language is not merely a tool that we use to convey information or ideas. Language is much more fundamental than that, it gets to the very core of humanity. We are spoken beings who come into this world with a cry and leave with a groan, and in between is filled with an expression of our spokenness. But Jesus’ heart cry from the cross was so that our final groans would not be final. He groaned at his abandonment that we might rejoice in our adoption. His cry was real, and it really took our place.

So we say, “Hallelu-yah!”

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Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Missions Articles

 

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VVMI Team Update

Colin and Zach arrived in the Philippines and have several praises in direct answer to specific prayers:

  1. To go along with the good equipment sponsorship, God provided an additional and unexpected “no fee” third checked bag to Colin for the trip. More equipment could be carried and there was also room for a few clothes!
  2. A potential tropical depression (or worse) did not develop its full potential and moved away from the areas to be visited just before the team’s arrival in the Philippines. Air turbulence predicted by the pilot to be very bad did not occur. In fact, things went so well that the flight arrived over 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
  3. The team’s baggage all arrived and was located easily and then cleared customs without difficulty.
  4. VVM Director Bayani located the team without difficulty in spite of a brownout that made the lighting inadequate. o The team has been able to meet with several Bible translators who are encouraged by the good results of VVM’s Church Mobilization Initiative, and are hopeful that Bible distribution efforts and film production will expand.
 
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Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Philippines Trips, TRIPS

 

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All the Nations Will be Blessed

In Genesis 12, God tells Abram, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 

VVMI’s ministry partner, VIÑA, created “Deditos” to share the Good News of the Gospel with ethnic minority language groups in Guatemala.  On the other side of the globe, another VVMI ministry partner, Vernacular Video Ministry (VVM), was creating original Gospel-proclaiming films in remote tribal villages in the Philippines.  God, through VVMI, brought these two groups together.  They began to share a vision and goal of reaching children for Christ.  VIÑA shared, and VVM started the work of dubbing Deditos into multiple ethnic minority languages in the Philippines.

Through Abraham, and through VIÑA, all the nations will be blessed! This video CAN be viewed on Vimeo; just click “Watch on Vimeo.”

Here’s the episode, Los Hijos de Abraham (The Sons of Abraham) with English subtitles.

A dramatized Bible story using actual fingers as actors. We are a small non profit showcasing our videos on Vimeo. Anyone wanting to dub these videos into their own language, contact us and we’ll be glad to arrange it.
Una historia bíblica usando dedos como actores. Esta serie esta diseñada para ser doblado a idiomas autóctonas.

For more information on VVMI or any of our partners, please go to vvmi.org

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2011 in Missions Articles, VIDEO

 

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Why missions?

Why missions?  What is our mandate?  Where does the power come from?  Why can we trust that missions will succeed?

Here is a post from Bible-daily.org from today.  This website encourages daily Bible reading, and this year will be reading with an emphasis on seeing the God of missions.  Follow along this year!

In Acts 1, Luke tells us that, “ In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.”  

What commands did Jesus give right before he ascended?  In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Here is our mandate for missions.  Jesus has commanded us to go, to make disciples and to teach. And He promises to be with us, and not only that, HE has all authority and says that is the REASON we can go confidently.  HE is sovereign!

Jesus asked the disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit came on them with power, and then to go.  Acts 1:8 “ He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 

  • God is sovereign over all missions!
  • God has given all authority to Jesus…ALL!
  • God has given us the promised Holy Spirit and power for missions!
  • He has promised to be with us in missions!
  • We are to GO as He has commanded…missions!

Would you like to be involved with missions this month in a very practical way?  VVMI has two trips to the Philippines this month of January, and while it is probably too late for you to go this month, you can give toward a strategic project that the teams will  be bringing over.  This project is an iMac computer system that will be used to produce God-glorifying, Gospel videos for unreached peoples in northern Luzon.  We are especially excited that some new children’s videos, “Deditos”, will be dubbed into more than a dozen languages in 2010.

To give toward this iMac project, send your donation to VVMI, PO Box 37, Austin, MN 55912 or by going to GiveMN.org and clicking on the Vernacular Video Mission International page and following the donation link.

 

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Missions and the Glory of God’s Name

Originally posted at Bible-daily.org:

Isaiah 66:18-19  “For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory,  and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.

Recently I was struck by a comment made by John Piper concerning the missions commitment of the local church and its relation to the name and glory of God. His words were:  “If you say that you love the glory of God, the test of your authenticity is whether you love the spread of that glory among all the peoples of the world.”  That statement hit me like a truck! It was a wake up call. How can I, as a preacher of the Word of God, say I am passionately committed to the glory of God in all I do and yet not be passionately committed to spreading that glory in the world? I would pose the same question to you.

 How can you say that as a Christian you are committed to God’s glory, but you are at the same time not committed to spreading His glory in the world?

To read the rest of the article, click here:

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2009 in Missions Articles, PRAYER, VIDEO

 

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John Piper on “regular missions” and “frontier missions”…

John Piper, in a 1985 article, “The Need for Something New in Missions”

Most of what our missionaries do may be called regular or assistance missions rather than frontier missions. Regular missions is what you do when you cross a culture to assist an established church to minister to people of its own kind. This kind of partnership is needed up to a point but requires tremendous insight to know what kind of expatriate help is causing long term dependence.

Paul’s conception of frontier missions is seen in Romans 15:19-24.

From Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ, thus making it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on another man’s foundation, but as it is written,

They shall see who have never been told of him, and they shall understand who have never heard of him.

. . . Since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain.

It is astonishing that Paul considered his mission complete from Jerusalem as far around as northwest Italy. None of the churches in that region could have been older than 25 years, and most of them much younger. Yet Paul said his work was done. He did not establish a mission station and call to Antioch for reinforcements and settle down to assist the national church for a lifetime. He headed for Spain.

Paul’s conception of frontier missions is that it is constantly pressing beyond where the church is established to places where there is no witness to Christ.

My concern is not to criticize regular missions. My concern is to ask whether in our church or denomination there is a structure for the promotion and implementation of frontier missions as Paul understood it? The question is not: Is what we are doing bad? The question is: Are we doing all we should be? And: Is the allocation of our personnel and funds in accord with the biblical priorities?

Be sure to check out vvmi.org to see the way God is working in the Philippines and Guatemala, through “regular missons” and “frontier missions”

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2009 in Missions Articles

 

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Opportunity in Austin, MN

 

Darwin.ColinVernacular Video Mission International (VVMI) and the Outreach Committee of Faith Church ihosted a special open house-dessert reception for Colin Edwards, Executive Director of VVMI and Darwin Bayani, Field Director for Vernacular Video Ministry (VVM) in the Philippines. 

Faith Evangelical Free Church is located at 1805 12th St SW in Austin, MN

Questions? Post a comment, or email plarson@vvmi.org

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2009 in EVENTS

 

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