Are we mercenary or missionary?

Years ago, a friend’s son got confused and called me a mercenary instead of a missionary — in Portuguese. My friend thought it was hilarious; I, not so much.

The words are similar enough in both languages, and I’ve used them together on occasion. You’ll see others doing it, too, since their meanings offer a sharp contrast in motivations.

Today, I read an article with those two words in the title. The author noted how Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s staff are real believers, so much so that many of them continued working for his presidential campaign after money was short and salaries went unpaid. Continue reading “Are we mercenary or missionary?”

Keep doing

Some people will laugh at you, Mt 9.24. Others will ignore you, Mt 9.30-31. Still others will accuse you of being evil, Mt 9.34.

Like the Lord Jesus Christ, keep doing what you were called to do, Mt 9.35-38.

‘Apart from your Father’: Nothing escapes God

As impressive as it is, the human mind is extremely limited. In recent years, man has sought to understand better the mind. One hears frequently how it has such a huge, unused potential. But how we are easily distracted! How quickly the mind forgets! How many things escape its notice!

Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
Matthew 10.29 NET

Nothing escapes God. He sees and controls all.

  1. The context of this verse is the sending of the Twelve to preach the Good News. The principles of the limited commission apply to the Great Commission. If we give priority to God’s work, he will give priority to caring for us.
  2. The contrast of the verse with v. 28 does not clash in the ears of Jesus: “fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” We must balance the fear of destruction by God with his love as Father. These are two essential truths about God that we must take into account.
  3. The argument of the verse is from the lesser to the greater. If Father God cares for that which is less important, in his great divine plan, certainly he will care for those — his children — who are most important to him, v. 30.
  4. The framing of this verse is familial. God is Father. We are children in his family. His fatherhood indicates the divine love and his loving care of us. If he includes us in his great mission, certainly he will give us what we need to fulfill it and will protect us in carrying it out.
  5. The objective of this verse is to inspire confidence in God, so that the disciples may fulfill the mission. “So do not be afraid” v. 31. Thus, we will not be afraid of our adversaries, v. 26. Here we have every motivation needed to dedicate ourselves body and soul to his work.
  6. The field of activity of this verse is the will and omniscience of God. Nothing happens without him knowing. God takes care of the minutest details. The phrase is literally, “without your Father.” The biblical versions added several terms in order to clarify: will, consent, permission, knowing. The field of activity is the Godhead himself. God knows, guides, supervises, protects, provides.

Gasp! The ark of his covenant was seen within his temple

Book of RevelationChapter 11 of the book of Revelation begins and ends with the temple of God. In v. 1 it seems to represent the church in its service to God, but in v. 19, the heavenly habitation of God.

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.
Revelation 11.19 ESV Continue reading “Gasp! The ark of his covenant was seen within his temple”

Don’t rescue the inflatable doll

Goal of rescueThe police in Shadong, China, got a phone call about a woman’s body floating in one of the province’s rivers.

So a rescue team of 18 policemen spent 40 minutes fishing out the body, only to discover it was a life-sized inflatable doll.

Do we know what we’re out to save? Are the objects of our rescue efforts clear in our minds? Will our efforts have been for naught, after we have toiled long and hard? Continue reading “Don’t rescue the inflatable doll”

Be shrewd

Just think how much more individuals and some congregations could do if they would just spend as much time thinking about the growth of the kingdom as they do planning their vacation or where to set the thermostat during worship. via MercEmail (06-20-12)

Great thought by Steve Higginbotham on the parable of the shrewd steward (though he forgot to change the title). Jesus seems wistful when he says, “For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their contemporaries than the people of light” (Luke 16.8 NET). Continue reading “Be shrewd”