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Elliff charges students to heed God's call

Elliff charges students to heed God's call

RIVERSIDE (Sept. 21, 2012) —“Two people per second will die in this world without hearing the name of Jesus,” Tom Elliff told students at California Baptist University Friday. “Is there anybody in this world who has a legitimate reason to expect that you’re coming to give them good news?”

Elliff, president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, asked students in chapel services at CBU to embrace the next thing God showed them about missions.

“If in this room alone we had people willing to respond to God’s call,” he said, “we could have the generation who could change the world. God is asking for our all. He’s asking for everything.”

The CBU community is currently preparing for the Oct. 10 application deadline for International- and United States Service Projects, two programs that send faculty, staff and student volunteers to serve on global and domestic mission fields. Last summer, the university launched the 300th volunteer team in the program’s 16th season.

Elliff told the audience to focus on three words when contemplating mission work – hear, hurry and heed. He urged listeners to open their ears to what God wanted to tell them, to not let their hearts harden to what God was telling them regarding mission work, and to hurry in their effort to do His work.

“If you are hard-hearted, you are hard-hearted because you decided to be,” Elliff said. “Not one person in the Bible is famous for what they thought or felt. They’re famous for what they did.”

As a missionary with his wife in Zimbabwe from 1981 to 1983 and during his travels as president of the International Mission Board, Elliff said he has seen parts of the world desperate for God.

“What are you supposed to be?” Elliff asked. “You’re supposed to be Jesus in those situations.”

Elliff challenged students to inquire immediately about opportunities for service.

“This could absolutely change the course of Christian mission if you are serious about this,” Elliff said to those who stood in answer to his challenge. “There are people who need Christ here and all around the world.”

Elliff compared God’s call to a key he pulled out of his pocket.

“This key is made to fit in one place,” he said. “I can do lots of things with it—tear paper or poke holes—but it only works the way it’s intended to work if I use it to start the ignition of my car. So, too, God has a specific plan for your life. Today if you hear His voice, don’t harden your heart.”

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by Kathie Chute and Grace Ferrell

Photo by Grace Ferrell