Some people try to come across as being important by calling famous people or just a lot of people their friends. It’s “my friend” this and “my friend” that. Ever noticed it? It just feels fake. So I avoid doing that online. I recommended Weylan’s good crucifixion article on the WashTimes site this morning and wrote “my friend Weylan.” I almost removed the phrase, “my friend.” I do consider him a friend and trust he so considers me, but I didn’t want to come across in a false way. Ever feel that, too? Continue reading

RepentanceThe beginning gives an indication of character. So we have the saying, “The tree born crooked, late or never will straighten.” What the saying hints at from a negative perspective, Matthew declares, positively, about Jesus.

From that time Jesus began to preach this message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
Matthew 4:17 NET Continue reading

mission-gospelThe phrase takes various forms, but the idea is of not being able to see the forest for the trees. Em terms of God’s great and inclusive plan, for Paul, seeing one tree, one sees the forest.

So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.
Romans 11:1 NET

The letter to the Romans is nothing if not a great missionary declaration from the hand of a messenger whose vision includes the whole world, always with an eye to the next field to be worked. Continue reading

Most of what you’ll read about church leadership has been recycled from the business world by evangelical writers. Don’t count on finding much that will match biblical, Christian servanthood and discipleship. For starters, the language is all wrong. Do we still care about talking about Bible things with Bible words?

Randal’s Rules of Fine Dining: The messier the filling, the quicker it will slide out of your sandwich. I’ve always wanted to ask Queen Elizabeth how she deals with that. The Duke of Sandwich deserves noon-time imprecations. Continue reading

Why do people sleep in church? That subject has members of the GospelPreachers email list on Yahoo sharing stories. I shared this:

Once in a while, I see a Brazilian nodding off during a class or sermon. Two main reasons, methinks: one, 10-12 hour workdays, and spending Saturday and Sunday working for the Lord, traveling hundreds of miles in the process; two, taking two buses to get to church, spending an hour and a half to two hours, walking another 20 minutes with a six-year-old in tow.

Many times the reasons are trivial, but caution is needed before judging individual cases. Scott Wiley shared this story, reproduced with his permission:

Back in ’79 or ’80 I was visiting my grandmother and attended her congregation that Sunday.  An elderly brother fell asleep in about the third row and started snoring — I mean rattle-the-windows-out-of-the-sills snoring. The preached stopped and said: “Before I wake brother X, you should all know he’s been sitting up with his wife at the hospital all week. This is the first time he has left her room in days, and he only stopped home long enough to clean up and change clothes.” The preacher went back to his sermon started shouting and pounded the pulpit in the next few sentences of his sermon. The brother awoke, and no one to my knowledge ever mentioned it to him.

Not a bad reason to doze off, don’t you think?

The Maiden skipped out to the capital this afternoon, catching a ride with Jorge and Paula. She was to attend an evangelistic event tonight at the Ninth of July church, then go out with a group of young people to eat. She’ll spend the night with Jorge and Paula, then Paula will put her on the bus for home in the morning.

Very heavy rain tonight on the way home from the church in Taubaté. I might have averaged 70 km per hour on the Dutra interstate highway. Usually, such driving makes me nervous, but I was the cool cucumber tonight. After getting into town, the Missus and I got a bite at the mall, then brought home some doughnuts and made Earl Grey tea. Ah!

An American brother in Christ came from Rio last night to SJCampos. He’s here on business, and wanted to meet with a congregation, so he flew from Rio to São Paulo, then hired a car here. Took us out to a fine restaurant, spent the night with us. Turned out his flight out of the airport here was earlier than he thought, so he had to leave right before our meeting started. He searched the Internet for someone else, in São Paulo, who he knew years ago. He didn’t find him, but found us. We’d never met before. Continue reading

First some slightly technical stuff, then applications below the fold.

Using italics to indicate words not in the original text (not generally a good practice, to my mind), our deceased brother Harold Littrell shows a missing word in his translation of Luke 3:18, “Also with many other things he admonished while preaching to the people” (ESB). This verse gave me pause, because a Portuguese version (Edição Pastoral, for the curious) gave it another twist. My translation: “John announced the Good News to the people by many other means.”

The translation reminded me of 1 Cor. 9:22b, “I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some” (NET; emphasis mine). But there doesn’t appear to be much of a connection between the two texts. Most versions take Littrell’s “things” to be “words” (NIV, McCord) or join it to the idea of exhortations (NET, NASB, NRSV; “warnings,” NLT) also found in the verse. Most other Portuguese translations also go this route as well (CNBB, A21, ARA, NVI, TEB, BJ, BA).

So John was a wordy fellow. Continue reading