Preaching partners

“I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel, from the first day until now, being confident… that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:4-6).

In what amounts to a piece of gallows humor, missionaries misquote Exodus 1:8 thus: “There arose in the church an eldership that knew not the missionary.” Continue reading “Preaching partners”

Love Yourself? Part 2

You might be forgiven for believing that I believe that, when Jesus says we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, he is not talking about self-love (Matthew 22:39), that I believe God does not love us.

This is distinctly not so!

While Jesus’ statement on the greatest commandment does not teach self-love, you should know that the Lord values you profoundly, far more deeply than any sappy pop-psychologists might indicate. Allow me to reassure you of the deep biblical teaching of God’s love. Continue reading “Love Yourself? Part 2”

Love yourself?

Here is, as they say on Facebook, an unpopular view.

I have noticed a fascinating trend with regard to Jesus’ second greatest command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). What this statement says, many insist, is that we should love ourselves, because Jesus says we should.

This is an excellent example of concluding the exact opposite of what the Lord is trying to teach. Continue reading “Love yourself?”

He was with them

Jesus was, we are told, going through the cities and villages of Israel, seeing their needs and struggles. I am not suggesting that other methods of outreach are not helpful – the internet, shortwave radio, Bible correspondence courses, short-term trips, but the best way to do mission work is to be there, with the people, for a prolonged period of time (Matthew 9:35-38).

At times, Paul was forced by circumstances to leave an area of work. In Thessalonians he was only able to preach in the synagogue for three weeks before being driven out (Acts 17:1,2). “That very night,” Luke recalls, “the believers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea” (Acts 17:10). Continue reading “He was with them”

Honor to whom honor is due

Last year we lost two great soldiers of the cross, Parker Henderson, 50 years in Thailand and Trinidad and Doyle Gilliam, 40 years in Malawi and Zimbabwe. It makes me think of Paul’s wise words to give “respect for whom respect is due, honor for whom honor is due” (Romans 13:7). A generation of great missionaries is moving on. Many of them went out to the mission field from 1945-1960.

I wonder who will take their place? Continue reading “Honor to whom honor is due”

Undercover boss

There is a television show using the above name that depicts the CEO of a company donning some disguise and working in a local branch. Imagine the CEO of Burger King or ACE Hardware going to a local branch in Baton Rouge Louisiana or Lufkin, Texas and seeing his company from close up. They take off their thousand dollar suits and don a company uniform. They leave their plush office with the view and live in a cheap hotel. Continue reading “Undercover boss”

Active listening

Active listening. Do you see the apparent contradiction in terms? Yet it is true: Good listeners are active listeners.

I imagine it is because of the low premium most of us place on the art of good listening.

  • Pray that the Lord will help you to be a good hearer of the word: Far be it from us to actually encourage the preacher by showing him that we care about what is taking place!.

Continue reading “Active listening”

Get off the grass

I don’t want to be the old guy who yells at the kids to “get off the grass.” I don’t want to grow into old age speaking in negative terms of the church, succeeding generations, and how everything was just peachy in my day.

To begin with, things weren’t just fine when I was younger. As is true of any generation, the people of God had their struggles against false teaching, arrogance, and apathy. Furthermore, there are many great young people being trained to serve the cause of Christ today. Many are already doing so with distinction. Urging young people to go back to the Bible and follow it completely is not the theological equivalent of yelling at them to “get off the grass,” however. It is sound, urgent advice. It is the theological equivalent of begging people to refrain from polluting the water supply. Continue reading “Get off the grass”

The sect everywhere spoken against

An awful lot of articles about spiritual matters on social media amount to setting up straw men. They find the person with the most extreme ideas and pretend that this represents Christians everywhere. They set up a straw man, whack him hard, and, watch him fall down. You can generally detect them in the “click bait” titles they use: “Why the Church Is Wrong About Forgiveness,” “Christians Are Wrong about the Nature of the Trinity, And Here’s Why.”

Cheap shots are being taken at something I love deeply: The church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It makes me think of the Jewish leaders in Rome: “But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against” (Acts 28:22).

Here are some of the somewhat less than accurate declarations made about the church: Continue reading “The sect everywhere spoken against”

Homesick for Heaven

What do these beautiful songs have in common?

“An Empty Mansion” (1937), “Beyond the Sunset” (1936), “Heaven Holds All to Me” (1932), “Never Grow Old” (1930), “I’ll Live in Glory” (1936), “In Heaven They’re Singing” (1937), “No Tears in Heaven” (1935). “Paradise Valley” (1935), “This World Is Not My Home” (1937), “Won’t It Be Wonderful There?” (1930).

First, it is easy to see, they are songs about heaven. They express the deepest longing, anticipation, and hope of the Christian heart. Second – did you see it? – these songs were all written at about the same time period, about 1929-1939. Are you following this still? Continue reading “Homesick for Heaven”