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Modern-day David takes on Goliaths to reach America's cities for Christ
By John Gaskin
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)--Bruce Schmidt is a modern-day David assisting Southern Baptists in an effort to take on several Goliaths -- American's major cities -- for the cause of Christ. But God hasn't delivered this David from lions and bears, but rather, from witch doctors, bullets and even crazed buffaloes.
Speaking April 4 at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Schmidt declared that because of his experiences in Kenya and Uganda, he is confident God can change the reputation of a city, noting, "God is in the life-transforming business."
Schmidt is a career missionary with the International Mission Board on a short-term assignment with the North American Mission Board. He is assisting with the board's Strategic Cities Strategies.
Schmidt, in his chapel message at the Kansas City, Mo., seminary, spoke from on Habakkuk 1:5, which is God's message to the Jewish nation that he would do amazing things that they would not believe even if someone told them.
Many people today do not know about God's amazing ways because they are too afraid to place themselves in places where God can show them his amazing activity, Schmidt.
During a span of less than four years, Schmidt witnessed a movement of God in Kenya that resulted in more than 100,000 Masai people coming to faith in Christ.
Going into Uganda, Schmidt saw God turn a valley of death among a very hostile tribe into a place of life and reconciliation where it is not uncommon to see 500 to 1,000 people sitting under a tree worshiping Jesus. He has even seen witch doctors become evangelists.
"I take witch doctors very seriously," Schmidt said. "Spiritual warfare is real and if you are not serious about it, God needs to wake you up. If you get serious, you will become desperately dependent on intercessory prayer and totally dependent on the Word of God."
While serving in Kenya, Schmidt and his family were ambushed under the orders of a witch doctor. He and his 14-year-old daughter were wounded by glass and shrapnel. Bullets meant for their death missed them. "God's security is wonderful. This was not a disaster, it was a deliverance," he said. "We saw the almighty hand of God intervene. I read Psalm 56 to my family that evening. It concludes, 'You have delivered me from death.'"
The confidence in God that such events produce is evidenced by Schmidt's daughter who, one year after the ambush, is spending her spring break on a mission trip to Argentina.
Sharing other remarkable stories of deliverance, Schmidt told the seminarians to follow God in confidence that God will protect their families. "There is amazing opportunity, amazing difficulty and amazing security. Psalm 91:9 says that when you make the most high your dwelling, even the Lord is my refuge, no harm will befall you. Risk is not determined by where you live, but by where you dwell."
Schmidt added, "The great need in ministry is for men to get close to God. There are gimmicks and trends to help you grow a great church -- but until you are desperate for Almighty God, until you are close to God, you cannot experience the power and promise of God. The promise of the Great Commission is God's presence. The byproduct is fearlessness."
In a humorous moment, Schmidt shared that he once heard a cry for help from neighbors who were being attacked by a buffalo. He grabbed a Masai spear that was a decoration in his home and ran out to help. "All the way there I was praying that God would show me what to do with the spear. When I got there, God made it very clear. There was a Masai warrior without a spear. I handed mine to him and I climbed a tree. It took four men with spears to stop that bull. My spear was the one that was used to pierce the animal's heart and bring it down.
"God's will is not a blueprint, it is a scroll, and God reveals what you need to know, when you need to know it."
Referring to the Strategic Cities Strategies of the Southern Baptist Convention, Schmidt said he believes God is getting ready to do amazing things in these cities and encouraged students to volunteer for mission opportunities in America and internationally.
"God is going to do something in your day," Schmidt said. "He is pouring out his Spirit around the world. We are in the decade of the harvest." A special event is planned for July 8 in Chicago called "Taste of Chicago." "An additional 1 million people will be in Chicago that day. We need 30,000 volunteers to help take the gospel to that city."
Stressing the urgency of the need to be a part of what God is doing, Schmidt said, "Delayed obedience is not procrastination; delayed obedience is sin."
Used with permission.