Dr. Arnold Cook

Guest Contributions



Are You Making Your "MIFG"?

Dr. Arnold L. Cook

I attended a VIP breakfast Monday. Over 100 men enjoyed a full course breakfast with all the trimmings. Then they heard a Christian testimony and a gospel message. So what’s special about that? This was the 144th consecutive VIP breakfast—held on the last Monday of every month for 12 years. Who makes this happen? The Lions club—the Kiwanis or some other service club? When we became residents of Eastern Gate, I soon met the man behind this breakfast. Stu’s a short quiet man. I call him “the chaplain.” But with big heart to reach people for Christ. I see him walking about speaking quietly with the many neighbors he knows. He’s the man behind the 144 men’s breakfasts. Making his MIFG! Over the years in my travels, I’ve been profoundly impacted by ordinary Christians quietly “making their MIFG” in this world.

I found myself at a Family Ranch Camp in Manitoba as the Missions speaker. So what’s your problem? Culture shock! I just returned to Canada from 10 years in Latin America. I felt like a fish out of water. How can I communicate with these people? What can say that would connect with them? Upstairs in the old ranch house I was struggling with my messages. Then God gave me this thought: “What’s the real bottom line of Christian living? Answer? Discovering how you can best serve God with your whole heart for His glory.

I reported on how God was working in Colombia, South America. Every message was sprinkled liberally with the question: “Are you making your ‘MIFG?’” So the contest was on. “What does MIFG mean?” They got off to a bad start with the “M”. It had to mean “missions” after all Cook’s fanatic about Missions. The “I” –influence, involvement?? All too weak. Some got the “F” and the “G”—‘for God.” Finally a teenage girl nailed it: We must make our “Maximum Impact for God.” That week my “signature sermon” for the rest of life was born—MIFG.

Paul frequently explodes with expressions of his passions. Philippians 3:12 is one of these outbursts: “I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Some suggest he’s using wrestling terms. Jesus has put a “full nelson” on me for this ministry, so I’m putting a “full nelson” on this ministry for Him. Jesus greatly encouraged a woman who poured expensive oil on His head. His disciples criticized her for such waste. But Jesus said: “She did what she could. . . . I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (Mark 14:4-9). This Gospel of Mark is often the first book translated in new language areas. Think of how many people know about this “unnamed women” around the world? Her MIFG outlived her by centuries in almost every country of the world.

Where were you on September 20, 1981? I was in Lima, Peru. On the front page of the Lima Times I read about a Canadian young man who had just finished his MIFG. For the first time in our history our flag flew at half mast for a non political citizen. Terry Fox had died. But not before he raised millions for cancer, running across Canada on one leg. But the impact of this young man from a Christian home continues to this day as the “Terry Fox Run” is done annually across the land.

I was knocking on doors in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Inviting people to evangelistic services in their community. An elderly man answered the door. When he heard the invitation he invited me in. Told me his story. As a young boy, he attended a school for poor children founded by a Mr. Morris, an Englishman. He brought me a little chorus book that Mr. Morris used to share the Gospel with the children. He had received Christ, but had wandered away. He came that evening and came back to Christ. Today there’s a stature of Mr. Morris, “the man who loved the poor children,” in a Buenos Aires plaza. He made his MIFG.

Miss Ruby Johnston was a secretary at our Bible College in Regina. Chinese students from Hong Kong began arriving in the city to study. She befriended these young men. Some of us were recruited to teach them English. Within a few years, girls started to arrive. Then came marriages. Miss Johnston helped them with their weddings. Mary-Lou my wife sang solos at some of the weddings. Arthur Lui became the first Christian. Trained for ministry and pastored in Kitchener. In 1960 a Hong Kong Pastor came to pastor the first Canadian Chinese Alliance church in Regina. Today there are over 65 such churches. Miss Johnston finished up her MIFG in the early 1980s. The Chinese people insisted that she be buried in the Chinese cemetery in Regina, because “She is our mother!”

She was the mother of five children—grounded! What could she do to serve God? Her New Jersey home was across from a large high school. Someone told her about a 17year old fellow who was an “unholy terror” in the high school. She began to pray for this fellow George. Later she heard that he had given his life to Christ.

He became the George Verwer, founder and long term leader of Operation Mobilization. OM have two large ships that sail the world, visiting ports of “limited access countries selling books and sharing the gospel.” God continues to use this dynamic missionary movement. A “grounded mother” did what she could—prayed and made her MIFG.

I’ve preached this message many times. (In Spanish it is making your IMPD—“impacto maximo para Dios.”) I visited a missionary colleague in Buffalo, N.Y. Spoke in the local Alliance church on a Sunday morning. Unbeknown to me, a young banker was there that morning. He was struggling with a major career change. He had been invited to leave his lucrative bank position and work as the treasurer for the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Nyack, N.Y. God’s used the MIFG message to make a major career change. He has served for 20 years with distinction. He heard I had MIFG on my license plate. He asked if he could have one, when I changed my plates or passed on to glory. I sent a plate to Dwayne Wheeland last fall.

At the VIP breakfast Monday, I sat beside a retired gentleman who was barely mobile. He shared how he was finding his evangelistic ministry was greatly curtailed. “But the two avenues I’m still working are visits to Tim Horton’s donut shop where I talk to people about the Lord. Then the second opportunity is with the “tele-marketers. I ask them if I can have equal time after they give me their sales pitch. Many are very responsive to my sharing Christ with them. But a few slam down the phone.” Here was a man barely able to move around, still making his MIFG. Today I shared with my first telemarketer. Some are new Canadians still struggling with the language. We can encourage them and share Jesus.

What’s needed to make our MIFG? Just two maps: One to get us back to the cross on a regular basis, to die to self and sin and be filled again with the Holy Spirit, the greatest evangelist who must have our tongues and feet to do His work (John 16:8-11). The second is a map of world need. Where are the greatest needs that I could meet? Some may be across the world, but most will be right in our daily routine. “Our mission field is often our pathway.”

“If we are not living our lives on the wave length of the Great Commission, our lives are irrelevant to the destiny of history” (Robert Coleman).

Arnold Cook, August 24, 2005

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