Supposedly, there ought to be at least twice as many elders and deacons as preachers. (OK, not all congregations have supervisors and servants, but you get the idea.) But the latter talk more about what they do, share resources, get training, etc. Why’s that? Why is not more written about and offered to those servants besides preachers?

And, while I’m at it, why does the phrase “Christian ministry” refer so often to preaching?

We’ve had a fast and wild ride over the past couple of months, while traveling in the U.S., enjoyable every step of the way. We’ve seen old and new friends, enjoyed the most blessed hospitality, shared special moments with family.

I’m tempted to start a list to share with you, but a third would have to be left out, and I’d forget another third worthy of mention. Continue reading

Our friends know by now that our family doesn’t watch TV, hasn’t for the last, oh, 12 years. Not Brazilian, not American.

Sure, we watch a bit when with family in the U.S., mostly news and old movies. We see some TV when in the homes of other people, or at the local padaria when we stop in for coffee.

But our television menu is on the starvation side.

We do watch a few movies here and there, both in the mall cinema (rare) or rented for home viewing (less rare).

So you’ll probably not be surprised when I say I have never watched an episode of Oprah. I have no idea who Seinfield is or what he does. Madonna and Britney are just names to me. Shows like “24” or “Lost!” register absolutely no spike on the excitement meter, having never seen either. (I can’t say that about “House.”)

Don’t consider me deprived; I think of myself as blessed.

Because I do not waste hours at a time on television, I have hours to spend reading the Bible, praying to God, and meditating on his benevolence.

I spend hours encouraging people in good works. More hours in writing, of all kinds. Hours in thinking how to maximize efforts, involve more people in the business of the kingdom of God, motivate others to give up leadership for servanthood.

With limited time, we pay a price. Jack Lewis once wrote that if you want to become a biblical scholar, you can’t read comic books.

My mission is to move people toward God. To help those who have no relationship with him enter into Christ. To advance those in Christ closer to his throne, more like his image, deeper into his mission.

At times, I feel as if I’m an ineffectual missioner, because the fruits of the kingdom are not always in the visible results. But eternity will show the traces we have left.

Once we enter the heavenly gates, I imagine the Lord will show us, much as he revealed in the book of Revelation the invisible war behind the persecution of the Roman Empire, the spiritual fruits that were born as we dedicated ourselves to faithful service.

Or maybe our works will be burned up, and we’ll be saved with only the shirt on our backs.

Though we deeply hope and pray for the former, we confess that God is sovereign and he will do what is right by us and our works.

And Oprah? Her ratings will fade, and her show will end, like everybody else’s.

“Now what is sought in stewards is that one be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2 NET).