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Prairie Schooners

Missions Compassion Servanthood

Source: Sermon

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Contributed By: James Miller | Date Posted: 2018-10-06

Scripture: Matthew 25:29 ; Matthew 28:18

Author: James Miller


In the American Old West, the pioneers used a kind of self-defense called "circling the wagons." It involved driving a wagon train in a circle so that the pioneers could camp inside and keep the wolves out.  Today, some people see the church as a circle of wagons, protecting them from the world around them.

The Hebrew people had to circle the wagons in Babylon.  They chose not to eat the Babylonian food or adopt the Babylonian customs.  They stayed separate, kept their rituals, preserved their culture, and protected themselves.  This lifestyle produced a group that would be called the "set apart ones," or in Hebrew, "perushim," which we translate Pharisees.  


The problem was Jesus took a different approach.  He taught His disciples to reach out to outsiders.  As a result, the Church started a mission to reach Gentiles rather than keeping separate.  With Jesus, there would be no circling of the wagons.

Funny thing about those pioneers.  They called their wagons "Prairie Schooners." A schooner is a sailboat.  Those tarps stretched over their wagons looked a bit like sails.  And like a boat that sets out to open sea, the pioneers weren't searching for safety but for adventure.

We must continue to do the same.  We are not here to keep people safe from the world; we are here to change the world. We're here on a great adventure; to reach lost people for Jesus, not to hide out from the world.

"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age'" (Matthew 28:18-20). 

The Search is On

Evangelism Missions Priorities


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Contributed By: James Miller | Date Posted: 2016-02-14

Scripture: Matthew 28:16 ; Luke 15:1

Author: Daniel Levitin


In 2009, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an organization under the US Department of Defense, conducted an experiment.  They hid 10 large, red weather balloons at various places around the country in plain site. They then offered $40,000 to any individual or team that could accurately identify the location of the 10 balloons.  The purpose was to test whether or not the public at large could help the government locate something that might be dangerous to the public at large.

53 teams and 4,300 people entered the competition. The winners, a group from MIT, succeeded in 9 hours. They did it by using social media. They offered up to $4,000 per balloon to anyone who would. If someone had a friend who told them where they balloon was, the friend got a percentage of the money and divided it with the person who actually reported the location of the balloon.


Jesus is the Good Shepherd who seeks out lost sheep.  He even leaves the 99 who are safe to go looking for the one. When money, or bragging rights are on the line, we'll go looking for all kinds of things, even red balloons, with a passion. But do we share Jesus' same passion for people who are lost?

No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets

Missions Commitment Servanthood

Source: “William Borden's life” by Howard Culbertson, published website (Southern Nazarene University), retrieved 5/9/15. For more, visit the link to source.

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Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-05-12

Scripture: Romans 12:1

Author: Howard Culbertson


Howard Culbertson writes for Southern Nazarene University:

In 1904 William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school. As heir to the Borden family fortune, he was already wealthy. For his high school graduation present, his parents gave 16-year-old Borden a trip around the world. As the young man traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the world's hurting people. Finally, Bill Borden wrote home about his "desire to be a missionary."?     

One friend expressed disbelief that Bill was "throwing himself away as a missionary."?

In response, Borden wrote two words in the back of his Bible: "No reserves." …?     ?     

During his college years, Bill Borden made an entry in his personal journal that defined him. That entry said simply: "Say 'no' to self and 'yes' to Jesus every time." …

Upon graduation from Yale, Borden turned down some high-paying job offers. In his Bible, he wrote two more words: "No retreats."

William Borden went on to do graduate work at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey. When he finished his studies at Princeton, he sailed for China. Because he was hoping to work with Muslims, he stopped first in Egypt to study Arabic. While there, he contracted spinal meningitis. Within a month, 25-year-old William Borden was dead.

When the news of William Whiting Borden's death was cabled back to the U.S., the story was carried by nearly every American newspaper. "A wave of sorrow went round the world . . . Borden not only gave (away) his wealth, but himself, in a way so joyous and natural that it (seemed) a privilege rather than a sacrifice" wrote Mary Taylor in her introduction to his biography.*

*Quotations taken from Borden of Yale, by Mrs. Howard Taylor, Moody Press, Chicago


Prior to his death, fully aware that he'd not live to accomplish his earthly goals, Borden wrote two more words in his Bible. "No regrets."

Serve Christ with no reserves, no retreats, and you too will finish the course of your life with no regrets.

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him" (Romans 12:1, NLT).

Football Huddle

Church Health/Growth Church/Body of Christ Missions

Contributed By: Eric Hollar | Date Posted: 2015-04-17

Scripture: Matthew 5:14

Author: Carl Van Wy

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We Died Before We Came Here

Gospel Die To Self Missions

Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2014-07-17

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:31 ; Luke 9:24

Author: Mitchell Dillon

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I Don't Think They Believe It

Evangelism Missions Sin Nature

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-03-14

Scripture: Luke 10:2 ; Matthew 9:37

Author: J. Oswald Sanders

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Offering Support

Giving Calling Missions

Contributed By: Nic Montoya | Date Posted: 2014-02-09

Scripture: 2 Samuel 17:27 ; Philippians 4:18

Author: Mike Sanchez

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Could God DVU People?

God's Love Marriage Missions

Contributed By: Jim Beck | Date Posted: 2013-02-11

Scripture: 1 John 4:10

Author: Cathy Drobnick

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Back-ordered Bibles

Word of God Missions Gratitude

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-11-16

Scripture: Psalms 119:20

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Give Me Souls Lest I Die

Evangelism Missions Spiritual Gifts

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-04-09

Scripture: Ephesians 4:11

Author: Illustration Exchange

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