Spiritual inertia

The one talent man did not commit adultery, embezzle or murder. All he did was to bury his talent (Matthew 24:25).

It was the easy thing to do.

God’s call is not to rest, retire or retreat; it is to resist and to grow, to fight on, to overcome obstacles. Significantly the Christian life is compared to a long distance race (Hebrews 12:1-3), and spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-12). I don’t know of a Christian retirement plan. Oh, of course there’s our hope of heaven, but when do we retire from serving God in this life? I am fascinated by those who say, “The time of my teaching or serving is over.” Just about the time a saint has learned the hard lessons of life he decides to hang up his spiritual spurs? Continue reading “Spiritual inertia”

Discouragement

I’m not sure if a preacher should be admitting this, but sometimes I don’t feel like worshiping. We might as well be honest, sooner or later we will suffer spiritual dejection.

Did you know that no less a person than the apostle Paul got discouraged? I wonder if many of his brethren were aware of this?

One dark night while he lay in bed and contemplated the tumultuous events of the day, God spoke to him: Continue reading “Discouragement”

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”

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”