A lesson from a low-flying plane

The region where we live is made up mostly of gated communities. The advertising trucks with their large speakers can’t drive down the residential streets with their tinny sales pitches. So when I heard a distorted audio advertisement outside this morning, I wondered how the business had gotten to us to get out his message. Then I heard it: overhead, a low-flying single-engine plane was zigzagging across the skies piping out the sound. Continue reading “A lesson from a low-flying plane”

Think beyond Rome

GospelIf all roads lead to Rome, then all roads leave Rome for the world. If the capital of the Roman Empire was the center of all, she should also be the center for the preaching of the gospel.

But I have written more boldly to you on some points so as to remind you, because of the grace given to me by God 16  to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. I serve the gospel of God like a priest, so that the Gentiles may become an acceptable offering, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:15-16 NET

Think beyond Rome. That’s what Paul wants the Roman Christians to do, recognizing that the gospel is for all, and that he was sent to the Gentiles to preach to them the Good News of Christ. His plan to go to Spain serves as a great opportunity for them.

Think beyond our congregation, our neighborhood, our city. The letter to the Romans ought to serve the same purpose for us.

Gospel ministry a single task with a single message

This longish quote packed with truth is deserving of careful meditation. The commentary is based on 1 Timothy 6:20: “O Timothy, protect what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the profane chatter and absurdities of so-called ‘knowledge'” (NET).

Second, Paul’s language emphasizes continuity. Timothy was to carry on with a mission given by Christ to the apostles much earlier (compare 1 Cor 15:1-3; 2 Tim 2:2). The gospel ministry is a single (though multifaceted) task with a single message, which is to be transmitted through the generations by servants whom God chooses (2 Tim 2:2).

Third, this task is a sacred one, as Paul’s choice of “deposit” terminology confirms. God has planned that the evangelistic mission be executed by the proclamation of the gospel. The mission depends on the gospel message. Consequently, God’s servants in each generation must guard it–that is, faithfully proclaim and protect it. The threat to the message and the church’s mission posed by the false teachers in Ephesus was Paul’s main reason for writing.

via 1 Timothy 6 Commentary – Final Charge to Timothy – BibleGateway.com.

Elegy for a Departed Missionary

Elegy for a Departed Missionary

by J. Randal Matheny © 2011

Remembering missionariesThe fallen of God none mourn;
But for a moment’s thought
Might some consider and learn
What God in man hath wrought.

Flung abroad and thrown
To save the far domain,
Unheard, unheralded, unknown,
Shone truth in splendor plain.

In years of faith and doubt,
He served the Word with prayer,
With much or little, without,
Or burdened with many a care.

Just as he quietly served,
So too he died, ignored;
To heaven by God removed
To gain his just reward.

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My deepest feeling is satisfaction

clipboardIn recent months, a Brazilian brother has been putting together the Sunday service roster for Taubaté; the same has been happening in SJCampos for quite some time. Because of that, it’s not unusual any more for me not to be teaching or preaching on a given Sunday. At times, I feel, maybe, left out? I like teaching and preaching. I don’t feel miffed or think that they’re trying to slight me. Sometimes, I think they’re hoping to save me from being inconvenienced. But if they think they can carry the ball, my deepest feeling is satisfaction.

With that freedom from heavier Sunday responsibilities, especially in recent weeks, I’ve devoted more time to writing and to putting websites in order. Today I took some time to answer the question from a Brazilian brother, up in the northeast, as I recall. He asked, “What would the perfect church be like?” Continue reading “My deepest feeling is satisfaction”

Down to 10-12, church closes

Church closings

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?

 

A worthy appeal from a servant of God

Please read this story. Eddie has helped our work in so many ways, it’s hard to count. Though we’d worked together long before, I finally met him in 2006 at the first Preacher’s Files Lectureship in Berryville, Ark. We have a bit of history together in our work on the Internet. He hosts many of our sites and keeps them going. Please read about his time for a change and consider it carefully.

Two weeks into trip

* The Sherman Drive congregation in Denton TX and the Central church in Chandler OK (see links here) have signaled their desire to participate with us in the GoSpeak ministry. We’re grateful for their decisions and pray this association may glorify the Lord.

* The lower portion of Mom’s heart was beating faster the the upper part. She’s been doing tests and seeing doctors. Looks like meds may take care of the problem, but it will take a while to tweak the treatment. We came in to Paragould directly from Denton Sunday night to spend a bit of time with her and dad and check up on her. Continue reading “Two weeks into trip”

3 letters of John, one major concern

Patterns, groupings, clusters. They exist, though sometimes it seems they’re the elusive aliens hiding among the humans.

One pattern of groupings is the Johannine epistles. John’s three letters, together, contain a message that is greater than any single one. The apostle’s concern is not to support false teaching and to be sure to support the preaching of the gospel, by means of three imperatives. Continue reading “3 letters of John, one major concern”