Friday, September 25, 2009

Brotherly Kindness

“Brotherly kindness” is from the Greek Word philadelphia which means “an affectionate involvement of our lives with others”, especially with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Commitment to Jesus Christ means commitment to His people!

In 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 (nasb), Paul gives instruction to the church in its relations with one another, “And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly [this is a judgment call], encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all men.”

Years ago the ship USS PUEBLO was captured by North Korea. Thirteen of the crew were put in one room and given assigned chairs. Everyday a Korean soldier would suddenly come in and beat the sailor in the first chair. This went on for three days. This sailor was slowly being beaten to death. Finally the other prisoners began to take his place each day. Each sailor knew what would happen when he sat in the first chair. They knew what was coming. But out of concern for his fellow sailor, they each took his chair!

When was the last time “in brotherly kindness” you sat in the chair of someone who was suffering? The chair of pain; of loneliness; of heartache; of grief; of poverty; or of helplessness?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Christian Love

The Greek word for Christian love is “agape” which means “sacrificial action for another person’s good”.

Many years ago when the Roman Empire was spreading throughout the world, King Tigranes of Armenia was taken captive. While standing before the conquering Roman general waiting for the death sentence to be passed, Tigranes fell on his knees before the General and pleaded for his family saying, “Do with me what you like, but I beg you to spare my family.” The conquering General was so impressed with the love of the king for his wife that he released the king and his family.

As they left the presence of the General, King Tigranes asked his wife what she thought about the General. She replied, “I never saw him.”

“What do you mean ‘you never saw him?’”, Tigranes asked. “You were standing within a few feet of him. You could not help but see him. What were you looking at?”

With tears now sparkling in her eyes, the queen gently replied to her beloved husband, “I saw no one but you. My eyes only saw the one who was willing to die for me.”

“But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, nasb).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Godliness

Godliness is reverence towards God and a life lived in obedience to Him.

1. Godliness requires recognition of God. “Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3, nasb).

2. Godliness requires an awareness of God and His control.

“The Lord God says, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go. I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8)

Jesus said, “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20, nasb).

3. Godliness demands obedience to God. The example of Jesus who said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work” (John 4:34,nasb).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Perseverance of a Christian

“…and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness…” (2 Peter 1:6, nasb).

True faith endures! Within the context of 2 Peter 1, perseverance (patience) comes from faith in the promises of God, knowledge of Christ, and experience of His divine power!

Why do we have so many quitters these days when the going has gotten difficult? Possibly you started well, but you gave up. Well, get back in the race. Get back in the battle. Move forward in faith and persevere to the end. The race isn’t over yet!

A father saved money to send his son to an elite school. The son decided to quit school; he could not take it. It was too hard and too boring. His father tried to convince him to stick with it. “Son”, the father said, “you can’t quit. All the great people you remember in history didn’t quit. Abe Lincoln, he didn’t quit. Thomas Edison didn’t quit. Nehru of India and Gandhi didn’t quit. Douglas MacArthur, he didn’t quit. Jose Rizal didn’t quit. And remember Joe Gonzales?” The teenage son interrupted, “Who is Joe Gonzales?” “See,” the father replied, “You don’t remember him, because he quit!”

Perseverance is the ability to endure when circumstances are difficult. Self-control has to do with the pleasures of life, while perseverance has to do with the pressures and problems of life. By faith, we must let our trials work for us because we know that God is at work in our trials.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Controlling Self

There are three (3) guidelines to controlling self:

1. Choose your environment. “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:14, nasb).

2. Trust God for help! “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, nasb).

We need to trust God to give us the strength to control and put to death the passions of lust, tobacco, alcohol, position, pride, and possessions. We need to trust God in dealing with anxiety, fear, and hatred. Avoid saying, “Well that’s the way I am!”

God, the great “I AM” sent His son Jesus to die to save you from your “I am”!

3. Counteract the bad with the good.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21, nasb).

If you have a problem with slander and gossip, speak a word of encouragement:

a. If a woman or a man tempts you, give them a gospel booklet and then run.
b. If your enemy offends you, bless them.
c. If your husband, wife or friend treats you badly, love and serve them anyway.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

As Christians, what are we to know in order to handle life successfully?

Four things to handle life:

1. We must know the Lord.

“…grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18, nasb). We grow in grace and knowledge of Christ as we read, study, learn, and obey the Word of God.

John Sung (the great Chinese evangelist in the 1930’s and 40’s) read eleven chapters of the Bible daily. By reading only 15 minutes daily, you can read the Bible every year.

2. We must know ourselves.

“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them. . .” (1 Timothy 4:16,nasb).

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think: but to think with sound judgment . . .” (Romans 12:3, nasb)

3. We must know right from wrong.

“We are to grow in the Lord to maturity, mature people who “have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14, nasb).

In regards to certain activities, we so often say “What’s wrong with it?” Perhaps we should instead ask “What’s right (good) about it?”

4. We must obey to learn.

Jesus says, “If anyone is willing to do His (God’s) will, he will know of the teaching. ..” (John 7:17, nasb); “So let us know (obey), let us press on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3, nasb).

So if you want to know God, obey Him!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pastors' Conference on HIV/AIDS

In August 2009, ACTION Zambia missionary Steve Allen went to a pastors' conference out in the Zambian bush. It was solely focused on HIV/AIDS training. The CROSS curriculum was taught to 23 pastors. CROSS curriculum is a 16-week course touching on the following: domestic violence, medical facts of getting the disease, and how Christians can fight. He also taught a lesson on counseling!

This curriculum is critical for these pastors. In the discussion times, one pastor opened up about his struggle to move away from the cultural views of women and adapt a more Biblical outlook. His views changed over the weekend as we looked at passages like Ephesians 5:21-33 which speaks of submitting one to another out of love (not just the wife submitting to the husband and in essence being his slave). It is vital that these pastors get this training as they are the key to reaching the Christian church of Zambia with HIV/AIDS training that is Biblical and changes people's hearts and actions.

--ACTION Zambia PLD Missionary, Steve Allen

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book Review: If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil

Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God--Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.
In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world-now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

As he did in his best-selling book, "Heaven," Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.

http://www.infibeam.com/BOOKS/INFO/RANDY-ALCORN/IF-GOD-GOOD-FAITH-MIDST-SUFFERING-EVIL/9781601421326.HTML

Monday, September 14, 2009

Somebody has to do it

Years ago, a writer named Anne O’Hare interviewed three world leaders: Hitler, Mussolini, and Roosevelt. She asked all three leaders the question, “How did you get where you are in the position of leadership you hold?” Mussolini puffed out his chest as he often did, and replied, “I came!” Hitler got a far-away look in his eye and said, “I was sent.” When she asked Roosevelt how he got to be president, he simply laughed and said, “Well, somebody had to do it!”

Let’s you and I be the “somebodies” (or even nobodies) who have to do it! Let’s be the people (God’s people) who see what good needs to be done and then do it!

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify God in heaven!”
(Matthew 5:16, nasb).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Leadership Paradoxes

In an editorial entitled “Leadership Paradoxes”, William McCumber states six things about people:

1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.

2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good anyway.

3. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

4. People favor underdogs, but only follow top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

5. People really need help, but may attack you if you do help them. Help them anyway.

6. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

These conclusions about people form “. . .an interesting commentary upon the Lord’s words: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ The value of an action lies, not in the response it will receive, but in the quality of the action itself. Doing what is right, because it is right and honors God, is abundantly worthwhile, whether it is understood, appreciated, or reciprocated.” (Herald of Holiness, 15 September 1982, p. 17)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The rest of mankind did not repent

by J.N. Manokaran

Swine flu created scare in the minds of people around the world. Earlier it was bird flu that scared the global population. Natural disasters of minor or major proportions keep happening around the world. What is the response of people to such plagues?

“The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Revelations 9:20, 21)

False Gods
With God’s gift of creativity, human beings are able to design and define their own gods. The technological advancement provides tools for creating more such gods. Every day new gods are created to meet a particular need or superstition invented to ward of evil or tool developed to provide self confidence. The super market for spirituality abounds with products and commodities for every need, for every person in accordance to the budget a person could afford.

With aspiration for more power to control their own lives, people start worshipping even demons. It is not worshipping, it is actually trying to appease the demons. Instead of repenting, human being invent some kind of spiritual ritual to ward off the evil.

Violence – murders
Among young people violence has become a life style. A majority of Americans feel that it is their right to own a gun. It is no wonder around five thousand youngsters loose their life in gang violence in US. Ragging, teen murders, suicides, domestic violence, dowry deaths and road rage are indication of violence in the modern culture. People are more driven by negative emotions like hatred rather than positive emotions like love. The tolerance level of people has gone down and so is the virtue of self-control.

Occult practices
Occult practices are glorified, considered as science in several cultures. Human beings are always in pursuit of power and knowledge. Adam and Eve chose both, which resulted in rebellion and disobedience against the Creator. Today humanity is seeking power and knowledge, from any and every source. The source could be legitimate or illegitimate, it doesn’t matter. Occult is becoming widely acceptable, sometimes respectable and becoming part of modern civilization.

Sexual immorality
Sexual immorality needs no description. For postmodern generation, that is over exposed to sex education and drowsed in moral stupor; sex is merely a physical activity between two persons with consent and not commitment. It is like playing a game of tennis. So, premarital sex and extra-marital sex has become normal in the society. Worse still is homosexuals and lesbians having special rights and privileges.

Robbing and looting
Humanity is losing its moral value base that robbing and looting is way of life. Corruption in corporate world, pursuit of profit without ethics, politics without principle and just pursuit of power; media playing the role of false prophet has looted people economically, politically and socially. Human rights violations is a daily news from many corners of the world. Human dignity is robbed by forced marriages, rapes, bonded slavery, war, riots and terrorism. Children are robbed of their innocence.

Call for repentance
God is speaking to humanity, time and again. Plagues or swine flu or tsunami are God’s trumpet call for humanity to repent, forsake sin and follow righteous. Instead humanity seems to devolve deeper into moral and spiritual decay rather than pursuing righteousness. But, there are individuals who are wise, who reflect and understand to ‘kiss the feet of the Son’ and take refuge in Him. (Psalm 2:12) The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10)

by J.N. Manokaran

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Book Review: "Reproducible Pastoral Training"

All of us (I hope) would like to “go therefore and make disciples”, but sometimes we do not know how.

Reproducible Pastoral Training is a timely and easy to read book written by missionary Patrick O’Connor.

Do not let the title fool you. This book is user-friendly, hands-on, and practical in making disciples who then reproduce themselves.

While the title suggests a focus on starting new churches and preparing leaders for the harvest, it also offers a practical look at how to do this. The book is an excellent biblical resource that is not a “new fad” or hard-to-replicate program. It is written from a perspective straight from the field and has been tried and tested. It is a required “must read” for every missionary and disciple who hopes to leave a mark - a mark which is hard to erase.

When I first saw this book and heard about the movement in western Honduras, I bought ten copies. I recently bought ten more! If I could get the book for $1, I would buy 1000!

O’Connor has spent nearly two decades as a missionary in Honduras. He cut his teeth in western Honduras, where he pioneered a brand new movement of churches in rural off-the-map locations. He calls them “chains of churches” and the Lord gave birth to many of them. Indeed, before the church planting movement genre became popular, these indigenous and nationalized cluster of churches, daughter churches and granddaughter churches were taking root.

O’Connor now ministers with Action International Ministries (ACTION), on loan from Missions Door, and we are thrilled to see him serve as Facilitator for the Church Planting Movement (CPM) worldwide. He was raised in India, and now returns often to train nationals in India for reproducible pastoral training.

O’Connor did not learn these concepts in a vacuum. For two decades, O’Connor learned and applied these concepts through his mentor George Patterson. Reproducible Pastoral Training presents Patterson’s model of outreach. It presents 68 biblical principles for action-oriented multiplication. The following are few of the 68 guidelines:

-Watch out! Here come wolves!
-Dramatize biblical events.
-Apply God’s oil to rusty organization.
-Spy out the land.
-Bond with the people and their culture.
-Permit the setting to shape your methods.
-Find pointers to Christ in pagan lore.
-Lead humbly and firmly.

Whether you are a pastor, academic, lay practitioner, housewife or a missionary on the field, I would encourage you to buy and read this book.

Gene Daniels, Author of In Search of the Indigenous Church, said this of the book “O'Connor has accomplished the missiological version of crossing Niagara falls on a tight-rope while blindfolded; he has writ¬ten an organized presentation of the principles for building up indi¬genous churches without turning it into another fad system. Bravo!”

Victor Choudhrie of India put it this way: “Reproductive Pastoral Training is an impressive, up-to-date manual on Church Planting that should be studied by all who are involved in church planting movements. The principles laid are universal and scriptural.”

Reproducible Pastoral Training can be ordered by phone or online:

Order by phone: William Carey Library (1-800-MISSION; 1-800-647-7466)
Order Online: http://missionbooks.org/williamcareylibrary/product.php?productid=533&cat=70&page=1

Friday, September 4, 2009

We begin our Christian life by faith (not works, but faith)

“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Peter 1:1-4, nasb).

This faith is in a “Person” who is Jesus, God our Savior (vs. 1-2). Not in a pop star or political star. Not in a position or political entity.

This faith involves God’s Power (vs. 3). Peter says, “His divine power has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness.”

This faith involves God’s Promises (vs. 4). Peter calls these promises God’s “. . . precious and magnificent promises.”

There are 7500 promises in the Bible. “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20, nasb); “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33, nasb)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

50,000 died in three days!

Fifteen years ago yesterday on September 2, 1994, I led a team of thirteen from Seattle and other parts of the US to Goma, Zaire (Congo) to work in a refugee camp of over one million Hutus from Rwanda. Over 50,000 had died in three days from Cholera. We put up medical tents and went to work. We hired 300 men to build stretchers to carry the sick to us. Hundreds were treated and saved medically and many more responded to the glorious Gospel of Christ. This little team of thirteen went to a death camp in Africa. All were fearful and feeling very inadequate to the overwhelming task, but in faith stepped forward anyway.

Someone said, “Don’t let the immensity of the task overwhelm you, but let it drive you to do something about it to the glory of God.”

As James says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17, esv).

(A side note: Even though this experience in the midst of death was terrible, sad and dangerous, it was the first step of ACTION’s ministry in Africa, with missionaries now serving in Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Container Bound for Uganda is for God's Servants!


ACTION, in partnership with Chapel Library (Mt. Zion Publishers; literature@mountzion.org ), has been collecting study Bibles and bible materials to ship to Uganda, Africa for needy pastors, Christian workers, and Bible school students over the past six months.

On August 28-29, Brother Clarence and a team of approximately 25 men in Pensacola, Florida worked for a total of 7 hours loading boxes of donated Study Bibles, Gospel booklets, books, and children’s literature (valued at $250,000) on to a 20-ft. container bound for Uganda on September 4.

Over the months, many individuals and publishers have assisted in this great task with donated literature and books. We praise God for His provision and funds through His people.

The container is scheduled to arrive in Kampala by October 24, 2009. Please pray with us for the safe arrival of the container to Uganda and that there will be no problems with customs.

We look forward to October when these Study Bibles, wonderful books and literature will be placed in the hands of those ministering the Gospel throughout Uganda. Praise God for the opportunity to partner together with others for His glory!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We Love You, Daddy

In a restaurant we were next to a large family celebrating a father’s birthday. There were several adopted children from Africa, other special needs children, and grandparents. It was quite a party of thanksgiving and honoring the father. When presents and cards were given, suddenly one of the children, who could barely speak, yelled out for all to hear, “We love you, Daddy!”

We were all moved at the unabashed love of these children for their father. They loved him because of his rescue of and love for these needy ones. This should be the same in our love for our Father in heaven. The Bible says, “We love (God) because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19. nasb).