Be A Missionary Right Where You Live

Corrie Ten Boom is attributed to saying, “a person is either a missionary or a mission field.”  We understand that every person on planet Earth is either saved or lost.  If you are a Christian, the Great Commission is telling YOU to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).  This verse is not directed solely to full-time missionaries that live in a foreign country.  It doesn’t matter where one may live, or the occupation from which one receives a paycheck, every Christian has the duty and responsibility to share the Gospel with those that are lost and without Christ.

With today being January 1st, I want to challenge you, not to make a New Year’s Resolution, but to make a commitment to try and win (at least) one soul to Christ this year.  That’s not expecting or asking a lot.  Look back over the past year and see if you can remember when the last time was that you handed someone a Gospel tract, or even shared the Gospel with someone.  If you did not share the Gospel with anyone last year, never handed out one tract, or didn’t invite anyone to church last year, then shame on you!

Church growth should be more of a result of evangelism than by receiving people by letter from another church.  If every Christian in your church would win someone to the Lord this year, your church could double in size in 365 days.  Determine that in this new year that you are going to be a missionary right where you live, and stop acting like a “mission field.”

Christmas Time

The Christmas season is upon us.

You don’t have to exchange presents.

You don’t have to put up a Christmas tree.

You don’t have to listen to Christmas music.

You don’t have to decorate or put up lights.

You don’t have to wish people, “Merry Christmas.”

You don’t have to celebrate with family and friends.

You don’t have to go caroling with the other church members.

You don’t have to make Christmas cookies, or have a Christmas dinner.

You don’t have to wear Christmas sweatshirts, ties, earrings or necklaces.

You don’t have to watch Santa Claus, Frosty, or the other Christmas specials.

But, if you are a Christian, you should celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  No, Jesus was not born on December 25, but Jesus WAS born, and He DID live, died on a cross, was buried, and rose from the dead!  If it wasn’t for the BIRTH of the Savior, there would be no death, burial, and resurrection of the Savior.

God never commanded us to celebrate HIS birth, but celebrating the birth of the Savior began on the day He was born when the angels announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, saying, “Glory to God in the highest.”  I celebrate Christmas because I celebrate Jesus. The birth of Jesus was important back when He was born more than 2,000 years ago, and it is still important today.

“Inactive Ingredients”

I woke up this morning with a muscle pain in my back, so I went to the cabinet to get some acetaminophen (generic Tylenol).  I know that some medications are not supposed to be taken on an empty stomach, so I began to look for any type of warning on the label regarding this information.

At the top of the label, printed in bold letters, were the words, “Drug Facts.”  Underneath “Drug Facts” it read, “Active ingredient (in each caplet), Acetaminophen 500 mg.”  That’s it.  There was one active ingredient.  The stated purpose was, “Pain reliever/fever reducer.”  That’s what I needed.

As I quickly read the uses stated on the label about relieving minor aches and pains, there was also a liver warning if one exceeded the recommended dosage, and an allergy alert.  The label gave strict instructions about who should not use the product, and who should consult a doctor or pharmacist before use.

However, what got my attention was at the bottom of the label.  Interestingly enough, these words were printed so that everyone could know what is in the medication, besides the acetaminophen: “Inactive ingredients.”  (I will not state them here, but you can read them for yourself on the side of the bottle the next time you go to your medicine cabinet, local pharmacy, or Wal-Mart.

“Inactive ingredients?”  Really?  Why were inactive ingredients added to the acetaminophen?  Who decided to add random components that have no medicinal purpose to the pain reliever?  I was surprised to read that in each caplet there were NINE inactive ingredients, while there was only ONE active ingredient.  Think about it: 90% of what is in each caplet is inactive, or useless, while only 10% is active, or useful.

As I thought about this, it made me think of a lot of churches that have some, “inactive ingredients.”  Many church members (90%, or even more) just show up, but are inactive and have no purpose.  They are inactive in Sunday School, the choir, visitation (more like 99% inactive for visitation), and even tithing.  An inactive member is a useless member, much like the inactive ingredients in acetaminophen that serve no purpose.   It’s probably church members like this that cause the pastor to run to his medicine cabinet for acetaminophen!

Christian friend, don’t be a random “inactive ingredient” in your church, but rather, be an “active ingredient” that actually serves a purpose, even if you are only one in ten that does.  Who knows?  You may be the one that relieves your pastor from a headache caused by 90% of the inactive members.  You can be sure that your pastor will be grateful that you are an “active ingredient” in the work of the Lord.

Pray for Laborers

It is recorded in Matthew 9:37 and 38 that Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.”

Two thousand years have passed since Jesus said these words.  The harvest is still truly plenteous, and the laborers are still too few.  However, there’s not a lack of laborers because I haven’t prayed for them.  Are there still too few laborers because YOU are not praying to the Lord of the harvest and asking, or rather, BEGGING Him to send more laborers?

Please, pray with us that God will send more laborers in the needy harvest fields around the world.

Stop, Drop, and Roll

As a child, I was taught in my public elementary school that if you were to ever catch on fire, the three things to remember are: 1) STOP, 2) DROP, and 3) ROLL.

Unfortunately, it appears as if there are many Christians that have taken this to a spiritual level.  I know some Christians that used to be “on fire” for God.  However, they managed to put their spiritual fire out when they decided to STOP reading their Bibles and praying, DROP out of church, and started to ROLL in the mire of the world.

Christian friend, get out of the pigpen of the world, get back in church, and start having your devotions again.  Get on fire for God as you were before, and never STOP, DROP, and ROLL spiritually ever again.

Live-stream Ministry

Pastor, if you have a “live-stream” ministry in your church, praise the Lord!  You have an opportunity to preach to the world.  That’s amazing!

However, even though there may be more people watching you around the world than those sitting in your congregation, don’t forget that you have the awesome responsibility and privilege of being the pastor-shepherd of your own flock, the local church.  Don’t get distracted by the people you CAN’T see, but rather focus on the ones that you CAN see.

Missionary of Tomorrow

In March of each year we have a month of emphasis on Missions.  Each Sunday in March during our worship service, my colleague spoke about a missionary from the past, where and to whom they ministered, and other interesting things or quotes from the featured missionary.  As I was preparing the bulletin for last Sunday, I was about to text my colleague to ask him, “Who is the missionary for tomorrow?”  However, when I first tapped out the message on my cell phone, it came out, “Who is the missionary of tomorrow?”

As we look back in time to see the faithful, hard-working, pioneering missionaries about whom we love to read, I came face-to-face with this question: Who will be the missionary of tomorrow?  Where are the committed Christians that are willing to forego their own plans, goals, and dreams?  Where are the young men and women that will plant churches, start Bible schools, and open orphanages?  Where are the “millennial” Christians that are willing to leave their “safe spaces” to go out into hard places?  Who will come after me and take my place?  I know that I must be training nationals here in my field of service to continue the work, but where are the NEW missionaries that will come and plant new churches?  Wherever you are, “missionaries of tomorrow,” why not surrender today?  Although we needed you here on the mission field with us yesterday, we will be happy to see you “tomorrow.”

The Angels are Singing Again

I want to praise the Lord for the salvation of a young deaf lady on Saturday afternoon, March 18, that took place in the home of a deaf couple that live a long way from the church. From our house it took more than an hour to get there, and Becky and I were running low on faith since it was raining hard, not really expecting much of a crowd. Well, there were 35 people that showed up, 11 being children. I preached to the adults, and Becky taught the children. The man of the house has a small car, and he made three trips going around to pick up their deaf friends to bring them to the Bible study. It was rainy and cool, but the Son shone brightly today in the heart of Gabriely, as she put her faith in Jesus Christ. There was also another lady that wanted to talk to Becky, but she had to leave. We have scheduled another Bible study for April 15. Thanks for your prayers!

Electronic Devices in Church

To give your child an electronic device (cell phone, iPad, tablet, etc.) during the church service to keep them still and quiet is a bad idea. Not only does it teach them that what is going on in the church service is unimportant, but it also teaches them that they don’t need to listen to the sermon. Instead of giving them an electronic device to keep them still and quiet, TEACH them to be still and quiet at home so they will know how to act when they go to church.

However, if the parent is checking Facebook during the service, well now, that’s another post for another day…..

The Spider’s Web

Right outside my office window lives a big, beautiful garden spider.  I don’t like spiders, but she is beautifully colored.  She has made a web, and patiently waits for an unsuspecting victim to get stuck in her web.  I have tried to get her to come out of her hiding place by touching her web with a stick, but she knows the difference between a stick and a meal.  It’s amazing to watch, although I do feel sorry for her prey.  A few minutes ago, it appeared that something flew into her web.  The spider quickly came out to inspect the movement on her web.  Whatever it was either escaped, or was very still.  The spider waited, but after a couple of minutes, she retreated to her hiding place.

I have seen a moth get caught in the spider’s web, but the more it struggled to get free, the more it got stuck in the sticky entanglements of the web.  The spider quickly scurried down to the frantic moth, gave it a quick bite, and then wrapped it into a burrito to eat later.  It would have been better for the moth to have remained still, but the natural instincts tell it to fight for freedom, but to no avail.

Christians also get caught in sticky entanglements of sin’s temptation.  They either don’t heed the warnings of the Bible and their pastors, or they think that they won’t get caught because they are too sly.  The “beautiful” enemy has set a trap just for the Christian, waiting for him to fall into the web.  The best thing to do is to stay as far away as possible from the temptations around you.  When you do fall to temptation, it’s best to stop immediately right where you fell, without struggling to resolve the problem all by yourself, and pray.  Struggling alone usually makes the situation worse, but when you confess your sin to God in prayer, He will forgive you and release you from the perilous grasp of destruction.  There are consequences to giving in to temptation, and sometimes the scars remain the rest of your life.  However, there is hope, and you need not think that you are alone.  God is nearby, waiting for you to cry out to Him in prayer.  He won’t always break down the web and kill the spider, but He will hear and help you when you do get stuck in the entanglements of sin’s temptation.  Don’t struggle, but be still and pray, for God is only a prayer away.