That’s is absolutely true and more so today. I came across a Puritan poem-prayer that articulates this longing a lot better than I could…
My dear Lord, I can but tell Thee that Thou knowest I long for nothing but Thyself, nothing but holiness, nothing but union with Thy will. Thou hast given me these desires, and thou alone canst give me the thing desired. My soul longs for communion with Thee, for mortification of indwelling corruption, especially spiritual pride. …Read More!
[Re-posted from Feb 2016] Talking of Christian Eulogies -Watch Monty Williams, the 44-year-old associate head coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team, bring the gospel to bear on the “loss” of his beloved wife, Ingrid:
May the Lord make each of us more like this man: even when hurt and in deep pain, he is fixed on God-centered hope, with an eternal perspective, freely offering forgiveness and freed from bitterness and complaint.
Usually God’s children are able to most affectionately pour out their hearts before him in private. Here, they find their affections free to wrestle with God. Here, one finds most communion with God, and enlargement of heart. In private we are wholly at leisure to deal with God in a child-like liberty. Now, will you omit this duty where you may be most free, without distraction, to let out your heart to God? The sweetest experiences of God’s saints are when they are alone with him. ~ Thomas Manton
A couple of years ago there was a Japanese minister who caught the eye of mainstream media when he lamented on his behaviour of not accounting for public funds. He publicly wept and brought a press conference to an unprecedented pause. I keep wondering what happened to Mr Ryutoro Nonomura there after – was he being remorseful or was he repentant? So, whats the difference?
I came across this article from a blog from the yester years that tries to explain alittle more by going into a bible story….
And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. (1 Kings 21:27)
Ahab was a wicked king, as anyone familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures will know. From the beginning of his reign until the end he defied the Lord God of Israel, in whose stead he reigned. Two verses earlier it is written: “But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.” (1 Kings 21:25)
After King Ahab took possession of the murdered Naboth’s vineyard, God sent Elijah to prophesy against him. Elijah told Ahab that Jezebel would be eaten by dogs, that he himself would have his blood licked up by dogs where Naboth had died, that God would cut off his posterity and all his descendants would have ignominious deaths. Upon hearing this, Ahab humbled himself before God by tearing his clothes, putting on sackcloth garments, fasting, and mourning.
How long all of this went on we are not told. We are told that God honored his self-humiliation and postponed the fulfillment of the prophecy until after Ahab’s death.
An old cliche says there is a silver lining in every cloud. In a sense this is true for the follower of God. In Romans 8:18-39, Paul tells us that God can turn the wicked events that happen to Christians into an advantage for the righteous. Joseph’s life is an excellent example (Genesis 39-41). After being sold by his own brothers, Joseph spent 13 years as a slave and in prison. I can’t think of many good things to say about Joseph’s situation, yet Joseph rose from his miserable state to become the second highest man in Egypt. However, we often overlook an important point. Pharaoh appointed Joseph to manage Egypt’s produce during the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine. How did Joseph, the son of a nomadic herder, learn to manage the wealth of a nation? Much of it came from the wisdom that God granted him, but notice that in both Potiphar’s house and in jail, Joseph was placed in a position of management. In both places, Joseph was second only to Potiphar and the jailer. He ran their affairs so well, that neither man had to concern himself with his daily affairs. In other words, God used Joseph’s bad situation to train Joseph for a larger future task.
God turns many bad events into something good for every Christian, but have you ever wonder if anything good can come from the works of a false teacher?
Charles H. Spurgeon was born at Essex, England, June 19, 1834; led his class at every examination in school at Colchester; converted December 15, 1850; preached first sermon 1851 at age 16; became a pastor in 1852; published more than 1900 sermons in his lifetime; died 1892, he was mourned by thousands.
In Spurgeon’s own words:
I had been about five years in the most fearful distress in mind, as a lad. If any human being felt more of the terror of God’s law, I can indeed pity and sympathize with him. Bunyan’s “Grace Abounding” contains, in the main, my history. Some abysses he went into I never trod; but some into which I plunged he seems to have never known. I thought the sun was blotted out of my sky–that I had sinned so against God that there was no hope for me. I prayed – the Lord knoweth how I prayed, but I never had a glimpse of an answer that I knew of. I searched the Word of God; the promises were more alarming than the threatenings. I read the privileges of the people of God, but with the fullest persuasions that they were not for me. The secret of my distress was this: I did not know the gospel. I was in a Christian land, I had Christian parents, but I did not fully understand the simplicity of the gospel.
“I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn to obey. I asked for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things. I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise. I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. …Read More!
Costi Hinn discusses when he started to see red flags growing up in the Prosperity Gospel movement. How did God open his eyes to the true gospel? Costi Hinn is the nephew of Benny Hinn, a prosperity televangelist. He has been saved out of the Prosperity Gospel and now embraces the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Read more of this post
Church growth strategies have been named many things by many pastors. Others call it “vision casting” others call it being “purpose driven” and others merely call it what it is….pragmatism. I came across these ten interesting myths that made me chuckle:
1. If You’re Not Growing, Something’s Wrong
If growth and a bigger crowd is “always” the result of obedience then some of the OT prophets will have some serious explaining to do.
Of course, if you’re not growing—or you’re declining—I think it is cause to evaluate what you’re doing, but it’s not a given that something is always “wrong.”
God could be doing something different—more Jeremiah and less Peter…
2. The More You Grow, the Healthier You Are
We would love to believe this one. It certainly feels good to have a bigger crowd. There’s a built-in justification for ministry leaders when more people show up, I know. However, just because your church has more people attending doesn’t mean your church is completely healthy. In fact, it might be cause to closely evaluate the message the crowd is hearing…
3. Contemporary Music Will Save Your Church
It can help at times—depending on the community and the people you’re trying to reach—but it’s not always a help. In fact, sometimes it’s an obstacle.
Changing your music and the feel of your worship gathering should have a reason bigger than, “We want to reach young people!” or, “We want to stay hip.” Hopefully, the music you sing is an authentic expression of your distinct makeup as both a church and a community and not a grasp at straws for church growth. …Read More!
Sangomas, Umthandazeli and Umprofethi are common names used in South Africa for the local go-betweens or witchdoctors that mere mortals need to approach so as to discern the will and favour of God.
In this episode, Blaque Nubon of The Gospel Coalition Africa(TGC Africa) digs deeper into the practice of witchcraft and use of these go-betweens and how ingrained it is in many churches in Africa. Saneliswe Jobodwana tells of her testimony and journey to grace and true freedom in Christ as she speaks about witchcraft in the church.
In 1939 when King George had to muster some courage and give his Christmas speech – as the second world war loomed heavily over the future of Great Britain, Europe and the world, he borrowed the words of a poem written in 1912.
The poem had actually been first published just two years before the first world war. Interestingly it is so suitable for such a time as ours when now with the COVID-19 virus pandemic we see a foggy darkness descend and grip the world and life as we know it appears to be coming to a slow distressing ebb for the 21st-century millennial. For such a time as this…
“The Gate of the year” also titled ‘God Knows’:
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
It’s coming to that time of the year and Christmas is in the air as they say. From movies to merchandising ads every one seems to have the same Christmas thought. Or do they? Say, your little ankle biters walk over to you and this year tell you they are not going to celebrate Christmas. What will you tell them are your reasons for celebrating or not? Here is a good link with resourceful answers…
The debate [reports Got Questions] about whether or not Christians should celebrate Christmas has been raging for centuries. There are equally sincere and committed Christians on both sides of the issue, each with multiple reasons why or why not Christmas should be celebrated in Christian homes. But what does the Bible say? Does the Bible give clear direction as to whether Christmas is a holiday to be celebrated by Christians?
First, let’s look at the reasons why some Christians do not celebrate Christmas. One argument against Christmas is that the traditions surrounding the holiday have origins in paganism.
This is an old humorous clip. It features a Baptist Church singing about Christmas (Er, plus 12 Doctrines that their pastor taught them). The kids seem to learn an earful in one seating…Please, sing along! 🙂
“You wonder why people choose fields away from the States when young people at home are drifting because no one wants to take time to listen to their problems. Ill tell you why I left. Because those Stateside young people have every opportunity to study, hear, and understand the Word of God in their own language, and these Indians have no opportunity whatsoever. I have had to make a cross of two logs, and lie down on it, to show the Indians what it means to crucify a man. When there is that much ignorance over here and so much knowledge and opportunity over there, I have no question in my mind why God sent me here. Those whimpering Stateside young people will wake up on the Day of Judgment condemned to worse fates than these demon-fearing Indians, because, having a Bible, they were bored with it—while these never heard of such a thing as writing.” Jim Elliot
By the words “to save” we understand the whole of the great work of salvation, from the first holy desire onward to complete sanctification. The words are multum in parro: indeed, here is all mercy in one word. Christ is not only “mighty to save” those who repent, but He is able to make men repent. He will carry those to heaven who believe; but He is, moreover, mighty to give men new hearts and to work faith in them. He is mighty to make the man who hates holiness love it, and to constrain the despiser of His name to bend the knee before Him.
M and J were a missionary couple who were working in Uganda. (Story was first posted in Feb 2013) Every week they sent updates on their progress with evangelism in the community or the growth of the local church and new orphanage that they are setting up. Some times there were moments of deep heart ache (especially when the gospel was rejected) but nothing lightened up my heart with a good old laugh than this particular week’s ‘veggie tale’. Apparently not every thing that is green and leafy is lettuce:
The Mistake – (J writing) While at the trading center on Saturday, I saw two ladies sitting on the veranda of a little restaurant with bags of green leaves for sale. The leaves were a lovely shade of green, and I thought I should buy some of them and take them back for our orphan children to eat. I asked the ladies how much one bag would cost, and they replied, “It is seven hundred shillings.” That seemed a little high to me for greens so I went into the little restaurant and gave out some more tracts and asked the owner (who happened to be a lady that I knew quite well) how much a little bag should cost. She said that 700 shillings was the usual price. So I went back outside and started digging in my purse for the money. I was going to buy 7 bags to take home so there would be enough for all of the children to enjoy. As I was digging in my purse, the lady inside the restaurant called out, “Who are you buying that for?” I replied that I wanted to take it back for the children at home. “What children?” she asked. …Read More!
If you have never heard of Samuel Zwemer, he was one of the first American long term missionaries to…wait for it…the Arab world of the Middle East. He sought to go about God’s mission aspiring not to be famous but to be faithful:
Some missionaries are known for their great fruit, their many converts, churches they started, or hospitals they helped build. Samuel Zwemer is not known for these things. After 38 years of missions work throughout Arabia, the Persian Gulf, Egypt and Asia Minor, Samuel had seen his efforts produce fewer than 12 conversions to Christianity.
Yet producing converts was not the ultimate goal for Samuel. The man who would become known as the Apostle to Islam wrote “The chief end of missions is not the salvation of men but the glory of God.” We are faithful to God’s call on our lives for no other ultimate goal than that of bringing glory to God.
Many ask that isn’t God’s purpose in mission and evangelism ruined by unbelief; especially when the gospel is taken to villages and hard hearted people groups who refuse to be receptive and responsive to the message?
It isn’t “The Parable of the Soils” in Matthew 13:1-23, but The Parable of the Sower, as Jesus himself called it (v. 18). The importance of this title is to show that it was Christ’s word, or the gospel, that is sown and that it is His intention to sow seed on the soil (people) who will not believe, as well as on those who would. Jesus is unambiguous. He clarifies that the gospel is able to be understood by a subset of those who hear (“to you it has been granted,” v. 11), “but to them [the rest] it has not been granted.” This surely had a special impact meant for the Jewish audience, as we see by reading Christ’s long quote in Isaiah 6.
The evangelism/mission cause can never be thwarted by the unbelief of the masses who will “keep on hearing but will not understand,” any more than Jesus’ own earthly evangelism was hindered by it. It has always been part of the plan that people will not understand. If a missionary hacks his way through jungle and finds no reception in some villages, it isn’t defeat. …Read More!
“Remember the perfections of that God whom you worship, that he is a Spirit, and therefore to be worshipped in spirit and truth; and that he is most great and terrible, and therefore to be worshipped with seriousness and reverence, and not to be dallied with, or served with toys or lifeless lip-service; and that he is most holy, pure, and jealous, and therefore to be purely worshipped; and that he is still present with you, and all things are naked and open to him with whom we have to do. The knowledge of God, and the remembrance of his all-seeing presence, are the most powerful means against hypocrisy.”
― Richard Baxter
Is it possible for a missionary’s zeal to dwindle and spiritual life go dry? Not only is it possible, it will become a painful reality unless deliberate steps are taken to avoid this peril. One of the enduring misconceptions about missionaries is that they are super-saints, entirely immune from the doubts, temptations, fears, struggles, and sins that plague everyone else. Not only are we encumbered with the common burdens of all believers, but these trials are even more exacerbated on the mission field…
Pray that your missionaries will maintain daily, intimate fellowship with The Lord. Our spiritual life and ministry depend on it. ~ David Sitton
Free missions book courtesy of To Every Tribe ministries and David Sitton: Warfare Prayerebook here.
Oh how the words of some hymns just linger in the recesses of your mind and nourish you with rich spiritual truths. Today I will feature the first two verses and the last verse of William Cowper’s hymn ‘There is a fountain filled with blood’
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains…
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away… …Read More!
Why do so-called Christians forsake the pure wine of Gospel joy for the adulterated poison which the whore of the world smilingly holds out to them in her golden chalice? Is it because the message of the Gospel, which once sparkled in the preached Word, and furnished comfort to mourners, has now gone stale? Or has that stream of spiritual joy which has run through the lives of saints for so many generations, without mingling with the world’s polluted pleasures, at last fallen into them and lost its divine nature? No, the Gospel stays the same. . . and the joy it brings is as refreshing and restoring as it has always been. It will be lovely as long as God and Christ continue to be life, for it flows and is fed from their heart.
The problem is not in the Scripture; it lies in those who say they hold to it. Those who insist that they obey this Gospel are not like holy men and women of earlier times. The world has grown callous, and men’s priorities and affections have chilled and become cold. Our palate is no longer chaste; it no longer prefers the heavenly foods served in the Gospel. The cheer is as lively as ever but the guests are as deadened by constant contact with the world. We have grown debauched in our judgments and corrupt in our principles; no wonder that our joys are carnal.
Error is a whore that lures the heart away from Christ and His spiritual joys. Once the mind is confused by error and begins to malign the truth, it affects the heart, poisoning it with carnal joys. Here, then, is the root of the misery of our times. ..Read More!
Look around in the world, and you may see some in every place who are objects of pity, bereaved by sad accidents of all the comforts of life, while in the meantime Providence has tenderly preserved you .- John Flavel
In this day and age when kids think being a missionary and going into all the world is dressing up like an Avenger or Captain America or one of those Marvel comic characters and busting a few skulls in the process makes you realise there’s a whole lot of teaching to be unlearned and re-learned the right way.
Needless to say Scripture is clear when it explains God’s desire for his church to participate in global evangelism (Matt 28:18-20, Acts 1:8) and take the good news of the gospel to the ends of the world. Scripture is equally clear in explaining God’s desire for his people to train up their children in his ways (Deut 11:18–21, 32:46, Prov 22:6; Isa 38:19; Eph 6:4; 2 Tim 1:5, 3:14–15).
Mike Pettengill has written an article on how to engage the youth from an early age to understand missions. For the expansion of Christ’s kingdom, it is vital that the youth in our churches be taught about God’s passion for the lost and that he desires his disciples to reach out to non-believers and teach them about the grace and mercy of Christ.
Here are seven ways (adapted from Mike) on how your church can reach the kids of your congregation and teach them about the importance of world missions:
1. Study Missionary Biographies
In your children’s church and youth groups, include a series of stories about the great missionaries of the past. Tell your kids about the incredible missionaries who have served in the name of the Lord. Revere the martyrs and laborers who sacrificed for God. Let the youth see how these great servants were not super-Christians, but simply obedient Christians. Have the youth study, write, and report on their favorite missionaries of today and the past.
2. Video Conference With Missionaries
Help the children of your church get to know missionaries by asking missionaries to use video conferencing technology to talk directly to your Sunday school or VBS classes. Take a few minutes to interview the missionaries and their kids and let the kids of your church ask questions that interest them. Help your youth to get to know the missionaries your church is supporting and praying for. Allow the kids to learn missionaries are normal people just like they are.
3. Study Biblical Missions
Make concerted efforts to regularly study what Scripture says about the relationship between the church and missions. Help your youth understand missions and evangelism are central themes throughout the Bible. Train the kids of your church to see missions was on the heart of God from the beginning of time and that it is a command every church is to follow. Learn about biblical missionaries like Abraham, Jonah and Paul and study how God used average disciples to accomplish amazing things. …Read More!
“Christ can soften hearts which seem as hard as the millstone. He can bend stubborn wills which have long been set on self-pleasing, sin and the world. He can create, transform, renew, break down, build and quicken with irresistible power. There are no incurable cases with Christ. Let us never despair about the salvation of others for as long as we live. Let us name them before the Lord day and night and cry to Him on their behalf.” J.C. Ryle
Is the truth that which I imagine to be revealed to me by some private communication? Am I to fancy that I enjoy some special Revelation and am I to order my life by voices, dreams and impressions? Brothers and Sisters, fall not into this common delusion! God’s Word to us is in Holy Scripture. All the Truth that sanctifies men is in God’s Word! Do not listen to those who cry, “Lo here!” and, “Lo there!” I am plucked by the sleeve almost every day by crazy persons and pretenders who think that they have Revelations from God. One man tells me that God has sent a message to me by him—and I reply, “No, Sir, the Lord knows where I dwell and He is so near to me that He would not need to send to me by you.” Another man announces, in God’s name, a dogma which, on the face of it, is a lie against the Holy Spirit. He says the Spirit of God told him so-and-so, but we know that the Holy Spirit never contradicts Himself. If your imaginary Revelation is not according to this Word of God, it has no weight with us! And if it is according to this Word, it is no new thing! …Read More!
God brings different seasons in our lives to teach us different lessons. There are times of joy, plentifulness and happiness and there are also times of difficulty and trials where our most immediate cry is almost”Lord, how long?”
This is an excerpt from an article of a man who learnt of the comfort that only comes from the God of all comfort when he and his family went through a very tough time:
I had known throughout my ministry, of course, that God comforts His own. I had taught about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, our paraclete, who was sent by Christ to help us. And I had seen that the reading of the Bible brings solace to sorrowing hearts and peace to those in great turmoil.
But now my wife and I are experiencing God’s comfort for ourselves. In the months since Elsie’s stroke, we have known daily the comfort of the Savior, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the precious Word of God…
The faith of the Christian should grow stronger in times of trial and trouble. Trials have a way of digging up the soil of our hearts and turning up weeds. That is good for us, for it is not in the sunshine but in the storm that we discover the depth of our need. Someone has said, Great soldiers are not made in the barracks nor on the parade ground, but on the battlefield where the going is tough.
Trials provide opportunities for us to get to know God better. In his epistle to the Colossians, Paul assured the Christians that he was praying for them on a regular basis. Included in the list of things for which he prayed was the request that they might be increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10). Paul knew that one of the secrets to a full and blessed life is getting to know God better.
Here are seven of Jim’s fifteen tips for starting well as a pastor:
Preach within your range. The Bible is like a mountain range, and some peaks are a lot higher than others, so don’t set out to preach beyond your capabilities. We grow into the task of preaching, so don’t set out to preach through revelation as your first series, or John 14-17 or 2 Cor. 10-13. (I tried the latter, and am still scarred by the experience.) Preach what your congregation needs to hear most, and what you can make clear and apply well. Your preaching will reach first class standard after about five years, and test match standard….maybe! meantime, know your limits. John Chapman says ‘Preaching’s not that hard. It’s just the first forty years that’s the worst!’ After twenty four years I am starting to appreciate that quip more and more.
Make a preaching plan for your first few years that takes you to a different genre of Scripture in each ‘term’ of the year. I watched my pastor in Abingdon, Simon Hutton, do this in his early years in Abingdon, and it is a great plan (which had never occurred to me). So we had Exodus 1-15, Colossians, some of Mark, Job (the best early series), Amos and Micah, and so on. As he tackled each series, so he became used to handling that Scripture genre ready for whenever he handled a similar book in future. See your early years in preaching as developing your skills gradually.
Consider how much you owe to his forgiving grace, that after ten thousand affronts he loves you as infinitely as ever; and after a myriad sins, his Spirit still resides within you. Consider what you owe to his power; how he has raised you from your death in sin how he has preserved your spiritual life, how he has kept you from falling, and how, though a thousand enemies have beset your path, you have been able to hold on your way! Consider what thou owest to his immutablity. Though thou hast changed a thousand times, he has not changed once; though thou hast shifted thy intentions, and thy will, yet has he not once swerved from his eternal purpose, but still has held thee fast. Consider thou art as deep in debt as thou canst be to every attribute of God. To God thou owest thyself, and all thou hast. “Brethren, we are debtors.”
If God is for us, who can be against us?
Do not be discouraged at the difficulties and oppositions that will rise up before you when you begin resolvedly to walk with God. Discouragements turn multitudes from religion, and provide a great temptation for many young beginners to turn back. Israel in the wilderness was ready to retreat to Egypt. God himself will have his servants and his graces tried and exercised by difficulties, and Satan, will quickly raise up storms before us, as soon as we are set out to sea.
But God is on your side and has all your enemies in his hand, and can rebuke them, or destroy them in a moment. O what is the breath or
fury of dust or devils, against the Lord Almighty! In the day you entered into a covenant with God, and he with you, you entered into the most impregnable rock and fortress, and covered yourself in a castle of defence, where you may (modestly) defy all adverse powers of earth
or hell. If God cannot save you, he is not God. …Read More!
It’s the 21st century now and it’s been awhile since we heard of nation wide outpourings of a sense of conviction over sin and a turning to the Lord in revival. It almost feels like no body prays for revival any more.
Speaking of which I recently went to Wales. Yes … the land of the Welsh revival of 1904! Oh yes again… I also had an opportunity to visit a church with an interesting historical root – the church at Blaenannerch. It’s pronounced differently by the Welsh and markedly differently by the English – Pahaha. Please just don’t ask me to explain.
Well, it is quite sobering what happened in that year in Wales. Listen to this account…
Thousands of people were saved. Public houses became almost empty. Men and women who used to waste their money getting drunk were now saving it and giving it to the church. They were using their money to buy clothes and food for their families.
Stealing and other offences became less and less. Often a magistrate came to court and found that there were no cases for him to try.
Men who blasphemed learned to talk purely. The miners put in a better day’s work but the pit ponies could not understand what had happened to the miners as they spoke to them more kindly. They were so used to being sworn at that they became disobedient!
People who had been careless about paying their bills or paying back money they had borrowed gave back all they owed.
David Livingstone gave his life to serve Christ in the exploration of Africa for the sake of the access of the gospel.
Here is what Livingstone said to the Cambridge students about his “leaving” the benefits of England:
For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. . . . Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? …Read More!
There is a book I am yearning recklessly to read and I will not abandon this pursuit. The book Reckless Abandon has been aptly summarised in this blog post from Cripplegate…
“It wasn’t the half-naked woman breastfeeding her baby on one breast that captured my attention. Rather, it was the piglet munching down on the other breast that stunned me into silence.”
So begins David Sitton’s autobiography, and I must say that the tone of that first sentence captures the tenor of the book. Reckless Abandon is a the summary of Sitton’s 35 years as a church planter among unreached people groups in Papua New Guinea, with a few forays into México (and one pit-stop in Minneapolis). The introduction explains that for Christians there is no such thing as a risk, because the worst-case scenario to all of our actions is death (“airmailed to Jesus” is Sitton’s phrase), and the rest of that book demonstrates this kamikaze world view.
If Jesus is worth more than our lives, then we should be willing to face death to take the gospel to the nations. What would a person’s life look like if they a) actually believed that, and b) actually lived that out? Reckless Abandon provides a good answer to that question. Sitton labors among the most difficult to reach groups in PNG, capitulates home to get a wife, returns to PNG until he gets expelled, then recapitulates to the states to start a lifetime of tourist visas. Reading this book made my passport feel tired.
“Fathers and mothers are the most natural agents for God to use in the salvation of their children. I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother. Neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the young heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring. A man with a soul so dead as not to be moved by the sacred name of ‘mother’ is creation’s blot. Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother. Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me. How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape the wrath to come? Read more of this post
This note was written while Charles Spurgeon was in Venice. We all love Spurgeon for his impeccable use of the English vocabulary. This note to his wife when he was being plagued by mosquitoes will make you see the human and mortal side of the Spurgeon as he battles the mundane. This should be a light hearted read for you…please do not laugh (well enjoy it whichever way)
6 a.m.—I awake grateful for another night’s peaceful rest, only to find myself very badly bitten by mosquitoes. A mosquito is the most terrible of beasts. A lion delights in blood, but he does not suck it from living animals; he does not carefully prolong their tortures. A viper poisons, but he is generally content with one use of his fangs; but these small-winged serpents bite in scores of places in succession.
My hands are a series of burning mountains. The creatures are as nearly omnipresent as Satan, which means that, though a mosquito cannot be everywhere, yet no mortal can be sure that he is not near him, or tell where he is not. Curtains are a delusion, pastilles are a snare; the little enemies are irritated by such attempts to escape their malice, and give you double punishment. O Italy! I have shed my blood for thy sake, and feel a love of thee (or something else) burning in my veins!
O that the Lord would be pleased to pass by some of you at this time! O that he may call you by his Spirit, and make you a willing people in this day of his power! For I know my calling will not do, unless he, by his efficacious grace, compel you to come in. O that you once felt what it is to receive Jesus Christ into your hearts! You would soon, like Zaccheus, give him everything. You do not love Christ, because you do not know him; you do not come to him, because you do not feel your want of him: you are whole, and not broken hearted; you are not sick, at least not sensible of your sickness; and, therefore, no wonder you do not apply to Jesus Christ, that great, that almighty physician. You do not feel yourselves lost, and therefore do not seek to be found in Christ. O that God would wound you with the sword of his Spirit, and cause his arrows of conviction to stick deep in your hearts!
When we have young children going into teenage or young adults at church it’s not un often that the topic of modesty comes up. Some say women must dress modestly so as not to stumble the weaker ones (read brothers). Either way – its good you are reading this article as this is a good opportunity to reflect on a couple of things. Modesty is an issue that should be looked at with alot of seriousness and thoughtfulness both by women and men.
Tom Hicks when writing about this prickly issue actually highlights 5 important points as he cautions on modesty.
I recently read an article about modesty that prompted me to write this post. The article says that women, particularly young women, should dress modestly to keep their brothers from stumbling into sin. I’ve talked that way in the past, and I’ve even taught it, but I’ve come to believe that it’s not helpful. Biblical modesty is really about humility and the glory of God.
1. Modesty as Humility. Often when Christians speak of modesty, they speak in terms of dress, but in reality, modesty is about not “showing off” any of your attractive qualities in words or deeds. It’s about refusing to set yourself above others and refusing to draw attention to yourself as an end. Modesty means not bragging about our work accomplishments, not showing off how intelligent we are, or even how “godly” we are, and it also means not showing off our physical bodies. Modesty means that we regard others as more important than ourselves and refuse to make ourselves out to look better than others.
2. Modesty is a Matter of the Gospel. Because of Christ’s imputed righteousness, we don’t have anything to prove to anyone. We are clothed in His holy robes of perfect obedience, which means we don’t have to grasp for the high opinions of men, the attraction of others, or for feelings of superiority over them. As believers in Jesus, we already have Him and all things in Him. Jesus says we will inherit the earth. We are seated in the heavenly places with Christ. God says we are “righteous” and that we are His “sons.” It really doesn’t matter what others say or think about us and it doesn’t matter whether others desire us. God wants us. He accepts us freely. Therefore, we can be modest.
I am currently reading a rare and out of print 1993 book that was kindly given to me by a retired pastor and I have reached the interesting section on ‘church discipline’. Indeed my coffee cup is filled to the brim and I am sprawling on a tiny chair as I indulge in savory words of virtue and wisdom. Okay lets back track a bit -church discipline -this of course is a delicate issue facing any congregation of Christians:
On one hand, believers are sensitive to the claims of truth on the conscience. They are further aware that truth is for the purpose of promoting godliness. Consequently, sin is to be taken seriously, and discipline when necessary, is to be administered according to the gravity of the offense in question. ‘If your brother sins,’ says our Lord, ‘correct him.’ (Matt 18:15).
On the other hand, Christians are aware that the truth has not been entrusted to the church in abstraction from the welfare of the people who are recipients of that truth.
If sin is exposed and corrected, it is only to the end that Christ may be glorified by the recovery and restoration of his errant sheep (cf James 5:19-20). The problem of church discipline, accordingly resides in the BALANCE of the truth and love of people… Read More!
Do you ask how it is with me? Just as the weather is this morning. My heart is cold as the snow under foot, and cloudy as the sky over my head. Not a beam of sunshine, but it is a mercy to have daylight. It will not be always winter, though it has been a long winter with me. We want a revival at Olney both for the shepherd and the sheep. Yet my mouth is not stopped. I can sometimes talk loud and look big in the pulpit, but how different a creature am I behind the scenes! Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord!
Perhaps up to 800 years of Adam’s 930 (Gen 5: 5) were spent watching human culture deteriorate from the perfection that he and Eve once enjoyed. He experienced the heartbreak of a murdered son and of another being a castaway (Gen 4: 15-16). His heart was grieved as he witnessed his descendants sliding deeper into a culture of “sexual immorality, impurity , sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies” (Gal 5: 19-21). What a contrast to that perfect pre-sin wholesome culture of “love, joy, peace , patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5: 22-23)!
It is therefore no wonder that when one preaches the gospel to the ultra modern millenial or the most savage unreached tribe and they come to a realisation of their helpless state, both are anxious to free themselves from their degraded cultural practices. The light of the gospel brings them hope.
Oh how wonderful it is to hear that even though we like sheep have gone astray, each one in his own way -the Lord has laid on Christ the iniquity of us all.
It is not that often that televangelists and faith healers open their doors and have their theology and doctrinal practices tested against the standard of scripture. More often than not these offices always come shrouded in mystery and sadly mysticism. However a brave Chris Rosebrough managed to get an interview with Brian Powers a popular televangelist and faith healer and they decided to go through some honest doctrinal issues.
We live in days of abounding religious profession. There are more places of public worship than there ever was before. There are more people attending them than there ever was before. And yet in spite of all this public religion, I believe there is a vast neglect of private prayer. It is one of those private transcripts between God and our souls which no eye sees, and therefore one which people are tempted to pass over and leave undone.
I believe that hundreds of thousands never utter a word of prayer at all. They eat. They drink. They sleep. They rise. They go forth to their work. They return to their homes. They breathe God’s air. They travel on God’s earth. They enjoy God’s mercies. They have dying bodies. They have judgment and eternity before them. But they never speak to God. They live like the animals that perish. They behave like creatures without souls. They have not one word to say to Him in whose hand are their life and breath, and all things, and from whose mouth they must one day receive their everlasting sentence. How dreadful this seems; but if the secrets of men were only known, how common.
Adoniram Judson, Jr. (August 9, 1788 – April 12, 1850) was the first Protestant missionary sent from North America to preach in Burma. Judson is remembered as the first significant missionary in Burma, as well as one of the very first missionaries from America to travel overseas. The story of his biography has touched many people, however I will just dig into a small bit here and it’s his letter to his prospective father in law shines some light into the kind of person he was and his passion for missions and evangelism of the dangerous heathen lands:
“I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world ? Whether you can consent to her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life? Whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death? Can you consent to all this, for the sake of Him who left His heavenly home and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall resound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?”
Adoniram Judson ended up spending his missionary career not in India, but in Burma. During his thirty-seven years of service there, he persevered through seventeen months of brutal imprisonment, several bouts of life-threatening illness, and the death of two wives and six children. He succeeded in translating the Bible into Burmese and compiling an English-Burmese dictionary. He waited six years for his first Burmese convert, but by the time of his death in 1850, there were a hundred Burmese churches and over 8,000 Burmese Christians. A very readable biography, To the Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson, recounts the epic story of his remarkable life.
That is a good question to ask a lady called Jean. I have had a really wonderful evening hearing of the missions work among the deaf in Austria. I must say any day I hear of God’s glorious works in the salvation of any soul I am always intrigued and amazed. This time I was glad to hear of how the gospel is spreading among the deaf in Klagenfurt, Austria. Jean Ellis has given over thirty years of her life to work in Austria. Her ministry in affiliation with Grace Baptist Mission (GBM) has almost been exclusively among the deaf and their families. By God’s grace some have come to repentance and faith in Christ and by the grace of God the number of deaf believers is growing who are now led by local sign language using pastors grounded in sound Biblical teaching. The work in Austria has been blessed with conversions and even baptisms.
The work among the deaf:
There have been many challenges in the work; part of the challenges were to translate the Bible into Austrian sign language, prayers of the leaders and new believers. Much prayer is still needed for missionaries to this community group (as well as to many missionaries to deaf people around the world). More missionaries are needed to special needs people whether deaf, blind or mute. Why? Because we as believers have an obligation and a commission from the Lord to spread the gospel. Besides…
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? [Rom 10:14]
May God send workers in to the harvest. May the Lord equip the workers for the harvest. May the glory go to Him alone.
“If anything is hated bitterly, it is the out-and-out gospel of the grace of God, especially if that hateful word ‘sovereignty’ is mentioned with it.
Dare to say ‘He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and he will have compassion on whom he will have compassion,’ and furious critics will revile you without stint.
The modern religionist not only hates the doctrine of sovereign grace, but he raves and rages at the mention of it. He would sooner hear you blaspheme than preach election by the Father, atonement by the Son, or regeneration by the Spirit. …Read More!