A risky business

Watch out for the consequences of anger. It kept Moses out of Canaan, when in the dry and desperate desert, hitting on a rock, he failed to glorify God and disobeyed before Israel. Vultures weren’t biding their time over the bodies of the people; Satan was hovering to devour a soul.

James reminds us that “human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness” (James 1:20 NET). Moses’ outburst did nothing to further God’s purpose. This from the meekest man on the earth. Just imagine how bad it gets for those lower on the meekness scale.

• An American Christian joined us yesterday at church. Our city is an industrial and technological center, so it’s not uncommon for Americans to travel here on business. Some of them are Christians who search us out. (We even set up a small English-language website to make it easier to find us.) It speaks highly of these brothers and their faith that they went out of their way to find us.

Even though they don’t understand the language, they benefit from being present and encourage the brethren as well. It’s a deep spiritual impulse that prompts people to do this, when it would be much easier to justify missing the meeting of the saints. Though Hebrews 10:25 isn’t ignored, it’s like the mission of God dwelling in the heart: it’s much bigger than a mere command. This bond is forged by God’s Spirit.

• Whenever I read or hear a parent say they moved to a congregation for the youth program, I see the tail wagging the dog.

• Paul’s letter to the Philippians, like so many of his, is a missionary document. A thank-you for support. A heart-warming note of gratitude and joy for cooperation in the gospel. Unevangelistic Sunday-goers won’t see it. The non-evangelists miss it. Those who call themselves Christians but have never won a soul skip over the salient parts of the cooperative mission in the letter. But the letters breathes the spirit of gospeling.

• Remember the old adage that love is a verb? Gospel is action. Not merely God’s in Christ, but the loud march of motivated feet into the world. Gospel, you’ve tired of hearing, means Good News. News means movement. A word travels, a message arcs from mouth to ear. If the gospel isn’t being told to the whole world, we should fold up and go home, and quit pretending we’re Christians.

• Many (how many is too many?) churches are spending millions on themselves and throwing a pittance to missions. In the growing world economic crisis, the inevitable budget cuts hit those fartherest from the home base. Because many of those churches are self-serving clubs whose goal is to cuddle the members. (That’s why we have church members.) But the church has no other mission than to save souls through the message of Christ crucified.

• A risky business, soul-winning. As the Lord meant it to be. Once the gospel is presented to someone, a relationship will either go forward toward the Lord or apart with the gospel as the wedge. So the Lord meant when he said he did not bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:32-42). The faith will either unite people in the strongest bond or, often, those who reject it will react in the strongest terms and with extreme measures.

What a joy to be a part of this divine project, is it not?

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J. Randal Matheny

Servant of the Lord at GoSpeak
Randal and his wife have lived and worked in Brazil since 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. Randal's a lefty, a chocolate lover, an author and a poet.

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3 thoughts on “A risky business

  1. Well observed and stated Randal! I suppose Brazil in some ways is not too different from Scotland. Prayers that we may all be willing to do our part in this great divine project.

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