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Loving the World
John 3:16

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

We've just listened to people from our congregation quote this precious verse in over a dozen different languages. My thanks to Steve Kennedy and Susan Jones who organized the linguists for this morning.

As I listen to this verse in English, I can understand the words, but it is difficult to understand the meaning until I hear it in different languages. Only then does the phrase "so loved the world" really come through.

After the events of 9-11, professional Baseball changed an age-old tradition of singing "take me out to the ballpark" during the seventh inning stretch by asking the crowd to stand and sing "God bless America" together. In these days we invoke God's blessings upon America, as we should, but when we do, we cannot forget that the gospel is not the property of America, neither do we have exclusive claim to God's love. The gospel belongs to the whole world-the world that God created and that He loves.

Christmas did not begin with a love for Americans, it began because of God's love for the world. Because God loves the world, some of us are compelled to go to "the uttermost" parts of the earth. People like Jessie and Wendy Jennings.

Jessie was away for a few days and Wendy was ministering alone. A child from the village was in the hospital, so Wendy faithfully went each day to minister to the family and pay for medicine he needed each day. In the Philippines, the hospitals will not tabulate a bill for medicine, rather, they require payment for it before it is administered.

Jessie and Wendy Jennings are missionaries for the International Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Their assignment is Evangelism in the Philippines.

They live in the village of their target group without many modern conveniences we take for granted. The water supply is inconsistent. Each morning, Wendy has to make a judgement call whether there is sufficient water in the tank for the family to have the luxury of taking a shower that day.

Their job is to win the confidence of the people they live among and win them to faith in Jesus. It sounds simple enough, but sometimes their commitment compels them to perform tasks not in their job descriptions.

The last day Wendy went to the hospital, she was in a hurry. Her intent was to take public transportation to the hospital, spend a few minutes with the family, then hurry to her daughter's school to attend a special program.

Her plans changed when she arrived at the hospital; the little boy was dead. "How are you going to take him home?" she asked the mother. "I don't know," she cried. 

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