On Sunday mornings, on the way to the church meetings, we see people walking, jogging, and riding bikes. All along the short distance we travel, dozens of people have risen on their day off to take care of their health.

All the people rose early in the morning to hear him in the temple area.
Luke 21:38 CEB

In the meantime, few manage to get up in the morning to meet with Jesus.

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. People delight in repeating that phrase. And it has a tad of truth to it. Continue reading

The Church offers itself as the human space of fraternity in which every believer can and must experience that union among men and women and with God which is a gift from on high. The Acts of the Apostles is a splendid example of this dimension of the Church: there we find described a community of believers profoundly marked by fraternal union, by the sharing of material and spiritual goods, by kindness and sentiments (Acts 2, 42-48), to the point of being of “one heart and soul” (Acts 4, 32).

If every vocation in the Church is a gift to be lived for others, as a service of charity in freedom, then it is also a gift to be lived with others. Therefore it is discovered only living in fraternity. via New Vocations for a new Europe

I might tweak that quote by saying that it is God who offers the church as this human space, but obviously she offers herself if the Lord does. Sometimes we’re ready to live for others, but not with others. Our gifts can be employed only as we do both. So I agree with the sentiments expressed here, in spite of its source.

pede-recebeA cartoon shows a mature couple, seated in the living room, reading the paper. She thinks, without speaking, “We’ve been married so long, we know what each other thinks.” And he thinks, without speaking, in reply, “That’s not true!” Nobody knows what another thinks or needs unless he speaks.

Yes, brother, let me have some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.
Philemon 20 NET Continue reading

DoctrineAnother earthquake in the world yesterday, this time in the eastern U.S., 6.0 on the Richter Scale, happily, with no deaths. Any tremor, and I’ve felt several there and here, reminds us that the earth isn’t exactly terra firma (in Portuguese, that would be terra firme).

However, God’s solid foundation remains standing, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from evil.”
2 Timothy 2:19 NET Continue reading

individualityPeople today are treated as members of a group. There’s much talk about the various generations and their characteristics. Media adopted massification, a term which the dictionary defines as the “adaptation of a phenomenon to the masses, to a great number of people, by the suppression of differentiating characteristics which it presented.”

We don’t have names any more, but numbers.

But I hope to see you right away, and we will speak face to face. Peace be with you. The friends here greet you. Greet the friends there by name.
3 John 14 NET Continue reading

Kyle Massengale of the Madison AL church had me on his iQuest podcast last night as a guest. The assigned topic was “Water in the Plan.”

You can tell from the title that baptism was the subject. We covered some of the usual ground, but had some interesting items in the mix that you might not normally expect. So don’t think ho-hum and move on. The story I conclude with is worth hanging on until the end.

Skype was quirky last night and didn’t work. (I blame Microsoft!) I wound up calling on a land line. My part of the podcast lasted for an hour, so I’ll have a hefty phone bill this month. But it was worth it.

Perhaps because of the land line, there was an echo in the first part of the podcast behind me. But their geek guy got it fixed. The archived file was edited, and it sounds normal.

We were originally scheduled for two weeks ago, then came the tornadoes through Alabama. After that, I forgot about it until Kyle buzzed me on Facebook a couple of hours ahead. So I jotted down some talking points to go with. Kyle was great at keeping the subject moving.

I found myself stammering for the English words. Too many “uhs” in my speech. Perhaps it won’t take the listener’s attention away from the subject matter.

This was my second experience at being a guest on a podcast. iPreach was my first go-around.

Eugene Peterson wrote that “all Christian service involves urgency.” (Quote from my reading.) Indeed, so. David Hersey, in his article, “Salvation Is,” says salvation is urgent, quoting Hebrews 3:7 and 2 Corinthians 6:2. People step into eternity every day, never to look back, never to return, never to have an opportunity, for once the door to time and space and earth closes behind, destiny is sealed. All service in the kingdom of God is urgent, because all is tied to our spiritual status before God. That’s why we often link to and recommend our little online study.

• The urgency and seriousness of the Christian enterprise doesn’t mean one can’t enjoy the light-hearted side of life. One can’t be intense all the time.

• Do people need to know about the church before conversion? I’m with Joy Jensen on this one: Continue reading

I published this text today on the Portuguese website. Things do not look well for the church in Brazil, on the eve of the anniversary of the first mission team’s arrival in 1961.

There are brethren, supposedly mature, and so many others with two feet in the world, using a Facebook application to answer the most absurb and immoral questions about their friends.

There are speakers using foul language in their classes and sermons.

There are camp directors promoting casinos and soap operas in their sessions.

There are supervisors of congregations approving adultery in their midst. Continue reading

Office Internet was out all last week, except Tues. Still out, and the tech people say it’s a problem of theirs that won’t get fixed until maybe Thurs. So I brought the laptop to the office and found somebody’s wifi. So I’m connected, for now, until they decide to switch it off.

Yesterday I spent most of the day in my unconnected state doing planning for next year. I’m going to propose to the SJC saints that we set up a 10-year plan for the Bible school. We have some material written by the former evangelist here, another brother and me, but will have to produce the rest. Continue reading