The book of Acts is often called, rightly, the book of conversions. We might do well to ask ourselves if our congregation could be called “the church of conversions.”
I’m sending an email to a number of friends and supporters about a veteran missionary in Europe who is losing support. You may be assured that this email is from me.
Considering the recent scam sent in my name, I’m taking care by this post to assure friends that this is a legitimate appeal.
If you’ve not received the request and would be interested in considering it, please contact me through the Ask page.
And the final word, akolytos (“without hindrance”) reminds us that neither the one who was sent to proclaim release to prisoners (Luke 4;18) nor his Spirit-led followers were hindered by imprisonment or even death.
— Dennis Hamm, commenting the last word of the book of Acts (New Collegeville Bible Commentary, 435).
A good resource on what sponsoring churches can do in support of the missionary on the field.
So, you are going to sponsor a missionary. Congratulations! God bless you! But do you know what you have gotten yourself into? Simply put, you have taken on one of the greatest works in the world, which can give you, your congregation, your missionary and his converts inexpressible joy or unbearable pain. I hope my remarks today will help you find in sponsorship the challenge, fulfillment, joy and success which God intends and which your missionary very much wants.
Somebody asked me just the other day about this, and now I don’t remember who it was. This is for you!
Here’s a great list to ponder over.
Roy Zuck wrote a book called Teaching as Jesus Taught and identified fifteen reasons that Jesus asked questions. Here is his list for your consideration:
- To cause someone to recall facts
- To promote conversation
- To point out something that isn’t true
- To get agreement
- To push for an expression of faith
- To prod for an opinion
- To prove faith and commitment
- To promote reflection and thinking
- To persuade critics of error
- To pull people up
- To pour out emotions
- To reveal motives
- To prick the conscience
- To pinpoint a topic
- To press for the application of the truth
A question isn’t always a mere question; they can also be used for evil, as did Jesus’ enemies. And they have many uses for good, as this list shows. We use questions without thinking, as a part of our dialogues. Perhaps more awareness might help us make better use of them.
Another whole area of study is how questions are used in other cultures and in what settings, and what they mean, which may be different than what they might mean to an American. (Or a non-American.)
Here’s a sad item from the latest issue of Magnolia Messenger, based in Miss., which I enjoy. See my comments at the end.
Warrington Church Closes Its Doors
Not good news!
May good come there from!
On Monday morning (1/9/11), brother Ray Herrington of Vicksburg, Mississippi, called. When I asked how his new year was coming along, he answered, “Pretty good; although some… not so good.” He then related a decision which “had to be made” and which became effective Sunday, January 9, 2010. After more than 40 years of spiritual services to the community of Warrenton, Mississippi, (a few miles south of Vicksburg), the dwindling congregation reluctantly; yet, permanently closed their building. Brother Ray stated that it was truly a “hard decision” and a “sad occasion.” But, as he said, “We had to face reality… we were down to about 10 to 12 and were just spinning our wheels.”
Brother Ray stated that most of the Warrenton members have made plans to become a part of the nearby I-20 church of Christ in the city of Vicksburg. He also said that the facilities of the Warrenton church were now “up for sale” and that interested persons could contact either of the two men who served as elders until the church closed. For more information, please contact: Ray Herrington at 601- 636-4197 or Mark Rhodes at 601-636-4443.
We join with brother Herrington in requesting prayers on behalf of our brothers and sisters who, reluctantly, felt the need to make such a sad decision. Lets all pray the work of the Lord will move forward in the community as brethren unite in faith with other brethren as all seek to glorify the precious name of Jesus Christ. Pray also for the proper disposal of the property and the dispersal of proceeds to help further the Cause of Christ.
I don’t write to criticize these good folk, whom I don’t know and whose situation I’m not familiar with. If I were in their shoes, I might agree with their decision. Whether I were to agree with it or not, is beside the point, since the Lord is the judge of us all.
Now, here’s my point: I would love to have that many people when starting a church. We had half that many when starting in Taubaté. Guará still doesn’t have that many people. How many times have I or another brother, when I wasn’t present, conducted the meeting alone? And this without a preacher or a church building.
Those may be the decisive factors. So few can’t support the overhead. But a few can meet in a home, teach neighbors, drive the stake of God’s kingdom into new ground. Or old, as it may be.
In one Brazilian city two women held out for several years, meeting together, praying for workers, claiming their city for the Lord. Now there are at least two churches there.
Do we give up too easily? Have we so identified one way of serving the Lord — with a church building and paid preacher — that we can’t see other means of fulfilling the Great Commission? Do we refrain from opening new territories because we don’t have all the paraphernalia and trappings we’re accustomed to?
What’s your take on this?
These folk know where it’s at. I like their description.
* Limited to God’s Work: We believe there are all kinds of good causes in the world today. However, the church’s mission is not to be spread thin accomplishing every good and noble cause. Rather, God has established the church to glorify Him and uphold the truth so people may be set free. We must not be distracted by other things (cf. Luke 10:41-42). Therefore, we do not get involved in politics, social welfare, recreation, entertainment, secular education, etc. Just as organizations like the American Cancer Society or the American Diabetes Association understand that they cannot accomplish their mission if they divide their efforts and resources to accomplish someone else’s mission, we recognize that we will never be able to give glory to God or uphold the truth properly if we strive to divide our efforts and resources to accomplish other missions. While we encourage and teach our members as individuals to be engaged in all manner of good deeds, we reserve the church’s resources for the work God has given it.
Would to God that every congregation of his people had the same singular focus!
Last night on Facebook, I posted this status, modeled after one sporting the names of four honor-worthy military men who’d given their lives for their country.
Charlie Sheen is all over the news because he’s a celebrity drug addict, while Roy Davison in Belgium, George Jensen in Tanzania, and Arlie Smith in Brazil have given or gave their lives to preach the gospel and had no media nor brotherhood attention. Honor THEM, their wives and families by reposting this status. http://nlt.to/php.2.29-30 See also: http://is.gd/qWrmI6