Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Alone

In 1939, Dad Jespersen (my wife Margaret’s father) was serving alone as a missionary in China on the Tibetan border. There was absolutely no sign of celebration of Christmas in this small heathen village.

Dad was raised in a large Christian family in Canada who happily and joyfully celebrated Christmas to God’s glory every year.

Dad was lonely and sad to be alone with no Christians in the village, so he invited about twenty men from the small town to his little house, served hot tea and sweets and then explained the significance of this special day in December and the birth of the Son of God who was sent to earth to die for our sins.

So whether we are lonely or surrounded by many, let’s be sure to tell others of Christ this Christmas, God in the flesh!

Burnt Soup and Butter Biscuits with a Wonderful Wife!

A few days ago Margaret made an excellent lunch for several from ACTION. I went home at 11:15 AM to help her as she always prepares so nicely, but with all the care for dad, her time is limited.

Everything was great, but in our concern for setting a nice table, making tea, preparing the dessert and baking the biscuits, we forgot to stir the soup which burned! Margaret really makes great soup and worked on this so hard, but burned it was! Instead of throwing it out, however, we just added lots of hot sauce which helped to mask the smoky taste!

Results, we all enjoyed the “smoky” soup, salad, biscuits with Canadian honey, English tea, and dessert.

Why do I write this? Simply to say that even if the soup is burned, I would not trade my dear, godly wife for all the great meals in the world. Margaret is a great cook, wonderful homemaker, caring and loving wife, but her walk with God is what encourages my heart and helps set the example of Christ-like loving for His glory!

So, go ahead and pass the burnt soup. Living with such a wonderful person, anything tastes good! Glory!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Have you been accused of killing someone?

Soon after obtaining my driver’s license, I was driving on a main highway with one of my friends, Bob. A lady did not stop at a stop sign and I ran into her. Several people died in this terrible accident.

Later one of the widowers angrily came to my house looking for me. My grandfather was there that day and answered the door. The man said, “I am looking for that teenager who killed my wife.”

My elderly grandfather immediately grabbed the man by the collar, looked him in the eye, and said with force, “Young man, I realize that you are very sad over losing your wife. I have lost my wife also years ago. There is nothing so terrible, but you need to realize that my grandson had nothing to do with your wife’s death. It was someone’s fault who ran the stop sign and in whose car your wife was riding. Do not become angry in your sadness!”

Is this not the way we as believers act when there is a crisis or problem? We become angry. At work, home, school, or even in our church, when someone treats us rudely, we become angry and resentful. We strike out even to those who are not involved with the situation. It seems as if we have to blame someone for something. It is easy to become angry at others rather than trusting God in the situation.

“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, nasb).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The State of California is on Your Side

When I was less than 16 years old and after obtaining my drivers license early, I was involved in a major traffic accident involving two fatalities. I was driving on a main highway, and a lady, driving a car full of other women who had been working in the vineyards, ran a stop sign directly in front of me. I was driving about 55 mph with no way to avoid her. At impact, I lost most of my teeth, a good friend with me went through the windshield, and was almost killed. He panicked and ran from the accident scene. I ran after him and was able to tackle him a half a block away from the accident. No one helped me care for him because in those days people were sued for helping. I took off my shirt and wrapped it around his head wound which was bleeding profusely. When the ambulance finally came, I was bare-chested and covered with blood. I held my friend’s pressure points all the way to the hospital.

You can imagine the scene when I was in the waiting room as the medical staff took care of those seriously injured. I had no shirt, was scared, had thoughts of what had happened and didn’t know if my friend would die. There was blood everywhere. I knew already that others had died. My step-father’s car was totaled, and I knew the wrath of others would be upon me being a teenager driver.

About this time, a state patrolman walked in to the waiting room. He was an impressive figure, well over six feet in height. I always remember how he approached me, took off his hat, and asked if I was Doug Nichols. He sat down next to me, put his arm around me, and said, “Young man, I know you are very frightened. I have thoroughly investigated the scene of the accident, and want you to know that you are not in the wrong. People will be angry with you because you are a teenager, and there are several deaths, but I want you to know that you did everything right. Remember one thing, the State of California is on your side!”

My mother arrived soon afterward crying, and my step-father swore in anger at the loss of his car. Others were crying and screaming, and yet this state patrolman continued to sit with his arm around me.

What a great testimony of a public official, especially his example to us as Christian believers in our care of others even if they are in the wrong or thought to be in the wrong! The world is filled with people who are fearful, uncertain, and filled with pain. You and I as believers can put our arms around them and say something much greater than “The State of California is on your side.” We can say, “God is here, and He will care for you.”

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, nasb) ministering to people the grace and the peace of God through His Son Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I can't believe it!

by Doug Nichols

On a recent Saturday here in Seattle (believe it or not, it wasn’t raining), I stopped at a garage sale and picked up quite a few tools, stuffed animals and toys for ministry among needy children and the poor in the Philippines.

I was also very please to find a brand new leather-bound Life Application Study Bible which was still in the box! The price tag read $95 which I was able to purchase for only $10. This will make some needy pastor in the Philippines very happy; to be able to have a Bible to help him in the study, teaching and preaching the Word of God.

Even though it is wintertime, perhaps God will direct you to excellent bargains for toys, clothes, hygiene items, books, tools, shoes, and so forth, for God’s people overseas to be effectively used, not only in their personal life, but also in ministry of the gospel and compassionate care to the millions of the poor.

“Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans . . . in their troubles . . .” (James 1:27 NLT).

“They went out for the sake of His name . . . therefore, we ought to help such men, that we may be fellow workers with the truth” (3 John 7-8, nasb).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dear You hear about ... "Cherry pie for breakfast!"

Recently a friend told us a story of how after she was married for some time, she discovered that her husband’s favorite dessert was cherry pie. In fact, he liked it so much that he mentioned he could eat it for breakfast!

Soon afterwards, his wife got up early and baked a cherry pie for her husband for his breakfast to express her love for him.

I like cherry pie and so does my wife, but I do not think either one of us would enjoy it for breakfast. However, the story is a good one and holds a great truth, doesn’t it? Do we go the extra mile to bless people in the Name of Christ with things they might like to see, eat, or enjoy, simply as a way of expressing our love, appreciation and thankfulness to God for them?

Saying “thanks” and “I love you” is important, but it is even more important to express your love, thankfulness and appreciation to others by doing something for them.

God showed His love for us by giving us His all – His Son! “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son….” (Galatians 4:4 NASB)

So, are you going to be making a cherry pie soon?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Do you go to God with small matters, as well as big?

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Recently I woke up late at night meditating on this wonderful passage in Proverbs 3:5-6. What a wonderful, encouraging, as well as convicting passage of Scripture.

The next morning I went through Proverbs 3 again and read several commentaries on this passage. The saintly Matthew Henry, in his commentary on the verse, states that so often we only go to God with the big things that we consider to be important, rather than relying upon God on everything; even the small things.

I was bothered by a certain “small thing” that morning as I needed to take out the four heavy back seats of our van to make room for nearly $2000 worth of used Christian books that had been donated by a church for needy pastors in the Philippines. I was scheduled to speak at the church the next day. They had the books ready for me to load into our van after the service, yet I did not know how to remove the seats. To make things even more difficult, my hands are arthritic and I am dealing with high blood pressure which made the task even more frustrating.

As I was struggling as to what to do, I prayed, “Lord, to many people this may be a simple thing, so maybe it is. So will you help me figure out how to get the seats out of the van so I can load the books for needy pastors in the Philippines?”

I went back into the house to do more study for the message I was to give the next morning. After I had warmed up a bit, I put on a pair of work gloves and went out to try to figure out a way to remove those heavy seats.

Believe it or not, the seats were out and safely stored on our back porch out of the rain within ten minutes! I was even able to phone my strong and younger friend who had volunteered to help to let him know that he would no longer need to come as the job was done!

Yes, in all things we are to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”. I guess this might include abilities and strength.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

31 Reasons Why Believers Should Give Thanks

1.Because God is good. “O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” (1 Chronicles 16:34)

2.Because it is a correct response to God's righteousness. “I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.” (Psalm 7:17)

3.Because the Lord helps us. “The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.” (Psalm 28:7)

4.Because thanksgiving glorifies God. “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalm 50:23)

5.Because His name is good. “Willingly I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks to Your name, O LORD, for it is good.” (Psalm 54:6)

6.Because thanksgiving magnifies God. “I will praise the name of God with song And magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Psalm 69:30)

7.Because God is near to us. “For the choir director; set to Al-tashheth. A Psalm of Asaph, a Song. We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, For Your name is near; Men declare Your wondrous works.” (Psalm 75:1)

8.Because God will ultimately deliver His people from their enemies. 'So we Your people and the sheep of Your pasture Will give thanks to You forever; To all generations we will tell of Your praise.” (Psalm 79:13)

9.Because it is a good thing to do. “A Psalm, a Song for the Sabbath day. It is good to give thanks to the LORD And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High...” (Psalm 92:1)

10.Because God is faithful to all generations. “For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)

11.Because Gods steadfast love endures forever. “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” (Psalm 107:1)

12.Because of God's wondrous works. “Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men!” (Psalm 107:8)

13.Because God is salvation. “I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, And You have become my salvation.” (Psalm 118:21)

14.Because he is our God. “You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You.” (Psalm 118:28)

15.Because God has exalted His own name and His word. “You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You.” (Psalm 138:2)

16.Because thanksgiving is a characteristic of righteous people. “Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name; The upright will dwell in Your presence.” (Psalm 140:13)

17.Because we are His workmanship and the recipients of His mercy. The LORD is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD, And Your godly ones shall bless You.” (Psalm 145:9-10)

18.Because His anger has been turned away from us. “Then you will say on that day, 'I will give thanks to You, O LORD; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, And You comfort me.'” (Isaiah 12:1)

19.Because of Jesus' example of giving thanks. “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'” (Luke 22:19)

20.Because others have heard an account of faithful believers. “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.” (Romans 1:8)

21.Because we are no longer slaves to sin. “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,” (Romans 6:17)

22.Because we see God's grace working in other believers. “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus...” (1 Corinthians 1:4)

23.Because we are given victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. “...but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians15:57)

24.Because of answered prayer. “For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you.” (2 Corinthians 1:11)

25.Because God worlds through believers to spread knowledge of Himself. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)

26.Because we are commanded to give thanks always and for everything. “...always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father...” (Ephesians 5:20)

27.Because it is God's will that we give thanks always and for everything. “...in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

28.Because we see God's love demonstrated by other believers. “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater...” (2 Thessalonians 1:3)

29.Because God entrusts us with the task of serving Him. “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service...” (1 Timothy 1:12)

30.Because we remember believing friends. “I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers...” (Philemon 1:4)

31.Because we have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken. “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe...” (Hebrews 12:28)

Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good; his lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:3-5

All Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thanks for Talking Nicely About Your Wife!

Recently I visited a senior center in the Seattle area to register my 98-year-old father-in-law for one of its programs. While at the center, I had a cup of coffee and got into a discussion with three of the volunteer cooks. I happened to mention something about my wife, Margaret, and they asked, “How long have your been married?”

I replied, “forty-three years!” I mentioned how wonderful it is to be married to such a wonderful lady!

Later, as I walked to the parking lot, one of the cooks was also walking to her car. She stopped me and said, “I want to thank you for talking about your wife so nicely!We were all so encouraged.”

She went on to say, “Wives always appreciate kindness and love from their husbands.”

I later thought what a small thing this was and how speaking nicely about someone else encourages all those who hear.

Our speech, as God’s people, should always be seasoned with salt, giving grace to those who hear.

Colossians 4:6, Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt ...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Glorify God on a Football Program

One of our doctors helps coach a local Christian high school football team and the team is doing well. To encourage the young doctor, my wife and I went to a Friday night home game which the team won.

It was interesting to read the following on the game program:

“All extracurricular activities sponsored by Cedar Park Christian School are offered as opportunities for young people to enrich their lives. All we do should be a testimony to the love of Jesus Christ, and the actions of coaches and student-athletes should reflect a strong Christian commitment. We expect that all parents, students, coaches and athletes will accept decisions made by those in authority and demonstrate respect to opponents. We trust that your conduct will honor God at all times.”

Does your Christian school put a word of testimony on its school program for the public?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Can a Christian Starve?

Recently I read the book "Winning by Losing" by Richard Fowler. It covers Biblical paradoxes. What do think about the following on pages 80-81?

Writing to Timothy, Paul admonishes, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2: 15).

Dealing with the question of starvation or any other issue in Scripture, we must first rid ourselves of any biases apart from the illumination given us by the Holy Spirit. Second, we must work diligently in our quest for truth. And third, we need to handle God's word accurately.

Can a Christian ever die of starvation? The answer is definitely yes.

There have been accounts of Christians dying from malnutrition in concentration camps. It has also been documented that a group of missionaries starved to death on a small island when a storm broke their tiny ship to pieces on the rocks. The skeletons of those missionaries were found some years later. Notes they wrote were found, and in them the missionaries gave a day-to-day account of their experience until the last survivor became too weak to write.

So the question emerges; If Christians can die of starvation, why does God allow it to happen? The answer can be obtained from reading the account of Jesus healing the blind man in John 9. When asked "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work" (John 9:2-4).

No one dies by accident. God is sovereign. And any trial, whether it be hunger or sickness, is outlined in God's plan for eternity. As Christians, then, we are admonished to have the faith to believe that what¬ever happens to any of us in this life happens in order that the works of God might be displayed.

That is the faith I saw in the lives of my parents when I was growing up in Central America. On one occasion, with no food on the table and only flour in the cupboard, I recall my parents sitting us down around the table thanking God for what He had provided. Just then there came a knock on the door-and there on the porch sat two bags of groceries! Reading of God's provision is one thing. Experiencing it, however, has given me an unshakable faith in the God who works all things for our good and His glory.

The God who created us never forsakes us. And those believers who have been chosen by Him to endure deprivation in any sense can know a deeper peace and fullness through that deprivation than any sort of peace and fullness the world can offer. The person who can accept the hardest things from the hand of God as well as the easiest is the one whose faith is most honoring to the Lord.

Source: Richard Fowler, Winning By Losing: 11 Biblical Paradoxes That Can Change Your Life, Moody Press, 1986, p. 80-1.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A little Child ... waiting for someone to share the Gospel!

Recently, I read the following from the excellent book, Daddy, Are We There Yet (A global check-in on the world of mission and kids) by Sylvia Foth, Director of Kidzana Ministries. As you read this story, you will rejoice again in the sovereign plan of God of bringing a little child to Himself through the Gospel:

"A visitation team went out on Monday evening to spend some time with a sixth grade girl who had visited our church the day before. The team of two adults and two students were very excited about meeting someone new and watching for the opportunity to share their faith in Jesus. As they arrived they found the girl sitting on the steps outside her home: she was relieved to see them. She explained to the team that her mother was giving her the responsibility to choose her own religion. She had friends of many different faiths, and she couldn’t decide which one to follow. This girl was praying that the real God would send someone to explain the truth to her. Just then our team arrived. They were thrilled to explain God’s great plan for salvation and eternal life, and she prayed with them to trust in Jesus!"

I trust this will encourage you to be busy at your Father’s business of sharing the Gospel with all ages.

Doug Nichols


Daddy, Are We There Yet
(A global check-in on the world of mission and kids), (Page 177)by Sylvia Foth, Kidzana Ministries
www.daddyarewethereyet.org

Friday, September 23, 2011

Send Money, Honey, but Don't Come Yourself!

It is an honor to partner with, pray for, and financially support God's workers around the world,such as national missionaries in India, Filipino evangelists in the Philippines (and the Middle East), and African church planters in Uganda.

Every so often, I try to reread "Support Nationals Only" books. Recently I read an updated edition of one, hoping its misconceptions and misleading illustrations had been corrected. Possibly some were, but the book is still filled with inappropriate and out-of-date illustrations and misleading statistics especially in regards to finances.

As I read books, I mark quotes to share and to encourage others to read the book. However, I cannot do it with this book, as it is written in such an arrogant manner and tone. Statements are made throughout the book, such as "But God told me this is the way . . .," "I am convinced that . . .," and "I can see God's will is . . ."

The most serious, erroneous statements, however, are when the author says that if a church (in North America) is not supporting national missionaries, then this proves that Satan has sent the church a deceiving spirit to blind their eyes and therefore the church's thinking is diabolical. The author also says that if a missions committee asks for accountability regarding finances from those the church supports, that this is racism!

The bottom line teaching of the book (aside from pride - if you do not agree with the author you are wrong) is money! Instead of sending missionaries, send money to the author's organization!

So, dear friends, let's do all we can to support God's workers (national missionaries) around the world through prayer and finances, and at the same time, to obey the Great Commission in our local churches and send workers into the harvest field, whether they are Indians to Burma, or Brazilians to Uganda, or Americans to Colombia, or Canadians to the Philippines, or the British to Cambodia, or Filipinos to Turkey.

God still calls and the church is still to send. Let's trust God and be obedient to the heavenly calling no matter what the cost!

Question in closing: Are you supporting a national missionary (worker) personally or through your church? A great place to start is Partners International at website: www.partnersintl.org or phone: 800-966-5515.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

God Uses Ordinary People, Even the Not So Ordinary

When you feel God cannot use you, it is helpful to remember that Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a day dreamer, Jacob was a liar, Leah was ugly, Joseph was spoiled, Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon was afraid, Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, David had a affair and was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Jonah ran from God, Naomi was a widow, Job went bankrupt, Peter denied Christ, the disciples slept through prayer, Martha worried over everything, the Samaritan woman was divorced more than once, Zacchaeus was too small, Paul was too religious, Timothy had a stomach problem, and Lazarus was dead.

“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29, nasb).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sacrifical Giving

Two wealthy Christians, a lawyer and a merchant, joined a tour that was going around the world. Before they started their minister earnestly asked them to observe and remember any unusual and interesting things that they might see in the missionary countries through which the party was to travel. The men promised ― carelessly, perhaps, to do so.

In Korea, one day they saw in a field by the side of the road a boy pulling a crude plow, while an old man held the handles and directed it. The lawyer was amused and took a snapshot of the scene.

“That’s a curious picture! I suppose they are very poor,” he said to the missionary who was interpreter and guide to the party.

“Yes,” was the quiet reply. “That is the family of Chi Noui. When the church was being built they were eager to give something to it, but they had no money so they sold their only ox and gave the money to the church. This spring they are pulling the plow themselves.”

The lawyer and the business man by his side were silent for some moments. Then the businessman said, “That must have been a real sacrifice.”

“They did not call it that,” said the missionary. “They thought it was fortunate that they had an ox to sell.”

Copied, Today’s Christian Woman.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Experiences in Goma, Zaire in 1994 with Rwandan Refugees

by Doug Nichols

“Do not be afraid of sudden fear, nor of the onslaught (storm) of the wicked when it comes…” (Proverbs 3:25).

•Helped with a spinal tap.

•Carried and comforted babies sick with dysentery, pneumonia, malnutrition, meningitis, fear and loneliness.

•Drove five different vans and trucks.

•Lined up 15 children at a time in an orphanage to treat them for scabies.

•Being an advocate for children.

•Preached to 300 on a hillside mainly to encourage Christians in their walk with God. This was in a “toilet area” on the hillside. This was the only place available. This was a wonderful and glorious service, but very smelly.

•Put up a large 20-bed military hospital tent in pouring down rain with a crazy Puerta Rican/New Yorker (and 50 Rwandans all laughing at us!).

•Preached the Gospel daily to individuals and groups including about 15 men and women “bean cooks” in a make shift kitchen in a tent hospital run by Doctors without Borders. When I finished, one of the cooks said, “Thank you for that wonderful story!”

•Teaching the Word of God to 100 Rwandan workers for three hours. One man stated in his testimony, “There are two things you cannot have; my Bible and my wife!”

•Preaching the Gospel (John 3:1-16) one Sunday morning before hospital rounds to 600 on a hillside overlooking the Kimbumbe camp of over 200,000 people.

•Begging for Jesus. Every day I had to make the rounds to Christian and secular organizations to beg for beans, rice, wheat, blankets, tents, buckets, jerry cans, plastic coverings, gloves, clothes, milk, baby bottles, medicines, water, a truck, wheel barrels, stretchers, tracts, booklets and Bibles. When I drove, I would cry out, “Oh God, please supply, please be merciful, please provide.”

•Sharing the Word of God to team #4 every evening.

•Seeking to be a Christian before the pagan world of the UN officials. What a wicked bunch. They were seeking to build the city of man; God’s people were building the city of God!

•Someone said “Rwanda is a peaceful place these days because the demons are all gone. They are now living in Goma!”

However, Stan Lee (a missionary from Rwanda who was working with us in Goma) said, “The demons are finding it very difficult to work in Goma, because God’s people from around the world have come to Goma to do battle for the Sovereign Lord God.”

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Knowing God's Will

involves 7 things

These seven are: 1. Salvation, 2. Revelation (Word of God), 3. Conviction (Obedience), 4. Dedication, 5. Supplication (Prayer), 6. Separation, and 7. Transformation.

1. Salvation


Ephesians 2:8-9—For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.

John 10:27—Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."

2. Revelation (Word of God)


2 Timothy 2:15—Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.

Psalm 119:32—I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You will enlarge my heart.

2 Timothy 3:16-17—All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Luke 11:28—But [Jesus] said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it."

Hebrews 5:14—But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

3. Conviction (Obedience)

John 14:15—Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."

Matthew 7:21—Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.

4. Dedication

Romans 12:1—I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

5. Supplication (Prayer)


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18—Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

6. Separation

Romans 12:2―And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

1 John 2:15-16—Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

7. Transformation

Romans 12:2―And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

2 Peter 3:18―But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Our prayer should be, "O Lord, not my will but Your will...
in my life
in my family
in my finances
in my schooling
in my job
in my friendships
in my desires
in my service
in my words
in my dreams for the future
in all my world.

O Lord, Your will be done...
nothing more
nothing less
nothing else.
Amen!"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Few Statistics from Capetown 2010 Conference

(Found under: 01 Leadership Resources, 4-14 Global Initiative, 4-14 Booklet)

1. Christ followers as a % of total population
1990 – 2.5%
2005 – 4.7%

2. Estimated population of Christ followers
1990 – 87,535,000
2005 – 205,209,000
Average annual growth rate – 5.4%

3. Estimated total population
1990 – 3,441,271,000
2005 – 4,326,363,000
Average annual growth rate – 1.5%

4. The people of the 21st century will live in an urban world for the first time. Currently 50% of the world lives in an urban setting.

5. By the end of the 21st century 80% of the world will be urbanized.

6. The expanding slums and shantytowns of the world’s cities are already populated by one billion people. Nearly 40% of the developing world live in these dilapidated dwellings.

7. An estimated 10 million children suffer forced prostitution.

8. Malnutrition kills 35,000 children under five every day.

9. The number of street children has grown to 160 million.

10. 10/40 Window Statistics
Christ followers as a % of total population
In 1990: 2.5%
In 2005: 4.7%
Estimated population of Christ followers
In 1990: 87,535,000
In 2005: 205,209,000
Average annual growth rate: 5.4%
Estimated total population
In 1990: 3,441,271,000
In 2005: 4,326,363,000
Average annual growth rate: 1.5%

11. Population of children ages 5 to 14:
Top 10 Countries
India: 248,253,120
China: 180,084,594
Indonesia: 42,716,276
Nigeria: 42,716,276
USA: 41,819,347
Pakistan: 38,118,459
Bangladesh: 36,068,928
Brazil: 35,263,734
Ethiopia: 23,990,943
Mexico: 20,855,453
Total (Top 10): 709,595,962
Total (Others): 508,921,404
Global Total: 1,218,517,366

12. Our brains are 90% formed before we reach age 3 and 85% of our adult personality is formed by the time we reach 6 years of age.

13. Most people who will ever make a decision for Christ will do so before their 15th birthday. In the USA, nearly 85% of people who make a decision for Christ do so between the ages of 4 and 14. During the 20th Century, that age group was the single largest source of new believers for the American church.

14. By age 13, one’s spiritual identity is largely set in place . (George Barna)

15. By the time the typical child reaches age 9, the mental gears are shifted and the child begins to use internal cues to either confirm or challenge an existing perspective. As the child grows into adolescence, change becomes more and more difficult. By adulthood, only with great effort or under great influence will a person replace existing views and understandings.

16. Adults essentially carry out the beliefs they embraced when they were young. (Barna) This view challenges the stages of intellectual development formulated by Jean Piaget, et. al., contending that one must reach the age of 15 to be capable of reasoning as an adult.

17. More than 91 million children under 5 suffer from debilitating hunger. (36 D. Gordon, et.al, Study: Child Poverty in the Developing World (Bristol, UK: Centre for International Poverty Research, 2003).

18. 15 million children are orphaned as a result of AIDS. (36 D. Gordon, et.al, Study: Child Poverty in the Developing World (Bristol, UK: Centre for International Poverty Research, 2003).

19. 265 million children have not been immunized against any disease. (38 D. Gordon, et.al, Study: Child Poverty in the Developing World (Bristol, UK: Centre for International Poverty Research, 2003).

20. U.N. officials estimated in 2008 that about 33 million people worldwide are HIV-positive, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa. For years, the news about this crisis grew worse and worse; but now things are changing in some hard-hit areas. In fact, the full-scale reversal of AIDS is underway in the country where the crisis began—Uganda.

21. The physical health needs of children and youth are closely related to the broader problems of poverty. The staggering reality is that more than one billion of the world’s children—56%— are living in poverty or severe deprivation! (Stephen Langa, (Executive Director, Family Life Network, Uganda), discussion with the author, April 2006) A stunning 37% of the world’s children—more than 674 million (D. Gordon, et.al., Study: Child Poverty in the Developing World, Bristol, UK: Centre for International Poverty Research, 2003)— live in absolute poverty. Additionally, children living in what is defined as “severe deprivation” struggle with a “lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods.” They are also victims of “hunger and malnutrition, ill health, limited access or lack of access to education and other basic services, increased morbidity and mortality from illness, homelessness and inadequate housing, unsafe environments, social discrimination and exclusion.” (D. Gordon, et.al., Study: Child Poverty in the Developing World, Bristol, UK: Centre for International Poverty Research, 2003)

22. World Orphan Population
India: 25,700,000
China: 20,600,000
Nigeria: 8,600,000
Indonesia: 5,300,000
Ethiopia: 4,800,000
Bangladesh: 4,400,000
Pakistan: 4,400,000
Congo: 4,200,000
Brazil: 3,700,000
South Africa: 2,500,000

23. Over one-third of children have to live in dwellings with more than five people per room.

24. 134 million children have no access to any school whatsoever.

25. Over half a billion children have no toilet facilities whatsoever.

26. Almost half a billion children lack access to published information of any kind.

27. 376 million children have more than 15-minute walk to water and/or are using unsafe water sources. (Dan Brewster and Patrick McDonald, “Children: The Great Omission,” Lausanne 2004 Forum, http://www.viva.org/en/articles/great_omission/great_ omission_booklet.pdf (accessed February 17, 2009).

28. According to the World Health Organization, 85% of the world’s orphans are between the ages of 4 and 14.

29. According to the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, at least 300,000 children, many as young as 10 years of age, are currently participating as “child soldiers” in armed conflicts around the world.

30. But the fact is that it is not just poor children who are at risk. Actually, all children are at risk. Millions are at risk from poverty, but millions are also at risk from prosperity! Many children and young people today have everything to live with, but nothing to live for. (Stephen Langa, Executive Director, Family Life Network, Uganda, discussion with the author, April 2006)

(Found under: 01 Leadership Resources, 4-14 Global Initiative, 4-14 Strategy Handbook)

31. The 4/14 Regions
Africa
Middle East
Latin America —Hispanic
Latin America—Portuguese
Europe — Former Western
Europe — Former Eastern
North America
East Asia
South Asia
Southeast Asia
North Asia
Central Asia
South Pacific/Oceania
Caribbean

(Found under: 01 Leadership Resources, 4-14 Global Initiative, 4-14 Window Golden Age of Opportunity Brochure)

32. The most compelling fact regarding the relationship between the 10/40 and the 4/14 windows is that our efforts should be refocused on the 4/14 within the 10/40 in order to reach the most receptive persons in the area of the greatest need and opportunity.

33. A country-by-country comparison of the nations with the most age 4-to-14ers is revealing. India, with almost 20% fewer people than China, has over 30% more children and youth. This is largely due to China’s controversial “one child” policy. Nigeria and Indonesia, with half the population of the U.S., actually have more children and young teens in absolute numbers. In the U.S., 25% of the nearly 42 million school-age children are Hispanic—though Hispanics comprise only 15% of the general population. In Africa and in places such as Gaza, Afghanistan and Pakistan, 40 to 50% of the population is under age 15.

compiled by Kim Craig for Doug Nichols, ACTION Founder

Monday, August 22, 2011

Advice to New Missionaries

1.No Bible, no breakfast! Do regular daily devotions and be serious about this. “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 197:97, nasb)

2.Read! Read! Read! Read good books and read the Bible through at least once yearly! “Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18, nasb). Someone said, “If you do not read, you will not grow.”

3.Live by faith. “But my Righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38, nasb).

4.Build friendships with local believers, unbelievers and fellow missionaries. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1, nasb).

5.Network for the glory of God. “…but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another…” (1 Peter 1:7, nasb).

6.Preach the Gospel to others. “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, nasb).

7.Practice hospitality whether you are single or married and do this often. “Be hospitable to one another without complaint” (1 Peter 4:9, nasb).

8.Learn to love the Savior, love saints, and love sinners. “…You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:38-39, nasb).

9.Put on humility daily. “… clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…” (1 Peter 5:5b).

10.Be a servant of Christ by serving others. Remember manners are “the kindness of Christ in action.” “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 4:10-11, nasb).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Should we pray God's judgment on murderers of children?

by Doug Nichols
On a ministry trip in Africa, my wife Margaret and I witnessed some of the 20,000 children, toddlers to age 17 years, walking to the northern Uganda city of Gulu to sleep on the streets, in makeshift shelters, in dirt floor school buildings, and on hospital grounds.

They came to Gulu nightly to try to escape the killing and kidnapping by the demonic, blasphemous, terrorist rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), headed by the wicked Joseph Kony. Over the last 20 years, the Kony terrorists have slaughtered thousands in northern Uganda and abducted 25,000 children and is doing it again in Uganda and the Congo!

There are many terrorist and rebel groups worldwide who use varying degrees of violence. The Kony terrorists, however, specifically target children, murdering and kidnapping them for child-soldiers, slaves, and concubines.

Would it be right for God’s people worldwide to pray Psalm 35 in regards to the wicked Kony terrorist; to pray on behalf of the war-torn children of northern Uganda for the glory of God?

Should we pray as Christians the following from Psalm 35:1-8:

(vs. 1) “Contest, O Lord, with those who contend with the [children of northern Uganda]. Fight against the [wicked demonic Kony terrorist] who fight [kidnap, rape, and slaughter] against the [war town needy children].”
(vs. 2) “…rise up for [the children’s] help.”
(vs. 3) “Draw the spear … to meet [the Kony murderers] who pursue [the children].”
(vs. 4) “…let those [wicked terrorists] be turned back… who devise evil against [the children of Uganda and the Congo].”
(vs. 5) “Let ways [of the violent Kony rebels] be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them on.”
(vs. 8) “Let destruction come upon [the wicked Konites] unawares … into that very destruction let [these slaughterers of children] fall.”

Whether you feel about praying the above or not, please pray for the terrified children of northern Uganda and the Congo and pray that Joseph Kony, the “slayer of widows … and murderer of orphans” (Psalm 94:6) will be brought to an end; “O Lord, God of vengeance, shine forth.” (Psalm 94:1).

On behalf of the children of northern Uganda and the Congo,

Doug Nichols
Action International Ministries
nichols.doug@gmail.com
www.actioninternational.org

Action International Ministries (ACTION) is an evangelical mission of 240 missionaries emphasizing evangelism, discipleship and development especially in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. The prayer target of ACTION is for an additional 200 missionaries to take the gospel and compassionate care to the needy of the world, especially children.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Have you ever had a bad day?

If it wasn’t so bad, it would be humorous. Today while writing someone, I used the word “satanic” instead of the word “satellite.” While I was having lunch my dental partial broke. Where do I get my teeth fixed, when I am speaking Sunday?! My sciatic nerve is bothering me and I am not able to sleep at night. My leg went out today while I was carrying a heavy box. The contents went everywhere. The tires are bad on my car and have to be replaced before I go to southern Washington this Sunday. We leave Sunday morning to speak at a church and are driving four hours one way. My grandson was just told that he needs medical insurance to accept the sports scholarship at a leading Christian school. He has no money. There is not internet at our house. Margaret is trying to get her message for a Bible Study for a women’s meeting in the Philippines printed off, but our computer isn’t working right. Besides all this, I am old, takes me an hour to do the work of 10 minutes, and I am oh so ugly!

Humor aside, these are nothing in comparison to the suffering that many saints of God are going through worldwide, especially in China, India, the Middle East.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2).

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, “ (1 Peter 1:6).

Monday, August 1, 2011

Time in the Word of God (No Bible, No Breakfast)

There are many programs available to help you read through the Bible in one year. This year as last year, I have simply divided up my Bible in 360 days to read the Old Testament once (2 1/2 OT pages daily) and New Testament three times (2 1/2 pages of New Testament daily). This is only 20 to 30 minutes daily. I would encourage you to do something similar. Charles Colson said, "If we really understand what being a Christian means-that this Christ, the living God, actually comes in to rule one's life -then everything must change: values, goals, priorities, desires, and habits." A great habit is to spend time inWord of God; no Bible no breakfast!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

H. A. Ironside: Ordained of the Lord

by E. Schuyler English

1.However, neither the pursuit of knowledge nor the following of a trade deterred Harry from what he considered his calling. Photography was to him what shoemaking was to William Carey, the great missionary to India, who, when as a young man in England he was asked his business, replied, “My business is to serve the Lord; I make shoes to pay expenses.” (Page 59)

2.On the day that Harry Ironside left his job to enter into full-time work with the Salvation Army, his employer, J.F. Dando, said, “A good photographer has been spoiled to make a poor preacher.” (Page 61)

3.Ironside’s popularity as a speaker was further augmented by the unaffectedness of his person, the authority with which he spoke, the evident clarity of his thoughts, the simplicity of his teaching, and the brevity of his talks, which rarely exceeded thirty-five minutes. He felt that if he could not get this message to the audience in that length of time it was not worth preaching, and furthermore, that it was better to say too little than too much. (Page 174)

4.The late saintly D. M. Stearns once said, “I know of only one wholly consistent man who ever walked this earth. He was crucified at the age of thirty-three.”(Page 182)

English, E. Schuyler. H. A. Ironside: Ordained of the Lord, Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1976.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

God Uses Evil to His Good Purpose

1. God sends evil but He does not do evil. He permits evil, but He does not do evil.

“The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these” (Isaiah 45:7, nasb).

2. How does God’s will relate to our will?

“If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the Lord done it?” (Amos 3:6, nasb).

"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know-- this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death” (Acts 2:22-23, nasb).

3. God has ordained everything that happens in time and space; and that man still acts freely and even evil to His people.

“Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come closer to me.’ And they came closer. And he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt’” (Genesis 45:4, nasb).

Joseph said, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

“You sold me to Egypt for evil, but God meant that very evil event for good.”

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, nasb).

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Credible Filming

by Vishal Mangalwade

A rejection of the biblical, supernatural worldview does not make the secular world intellectually more sophisticated than believers who pray, "Thy kingdom come." It just makes it intellectually bankrupt. One only needs to view the latest eight Oscar-winning (including "best film") Slumdog Millionaire to see the inability of the secular mind to understand socioeconomic evil. The film powerfully portrays the evils that dehumanize the "filthy" rich and the powerless poor in India, but it does not even pretend to explain how such evils can rule a democratic country. Neither the film nor its hero has any strategy to fight evil. In fact, the film has no hero. Viewers feel good only because blind luck helps the lead character win millions and his beloved. Even though Slumdog Millionaire's portrayal of Indian slums is realistic, the story is unrealistic and romantic. Depressing films such as City of Joy and Ardh Satya (Half Truth) tell their stories more credibly. [page105]

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Gospel Brings Conflict

by Vishal Mangalwade

Jesus needed to deliver his disciples from racism because he was making them the light of the world, the salt of the earth for the healing of the nations. As the high priest predicted in John 11:52, Jesus died to make the scattered children of God one.

There is hope for the healing of the nations because Jesus confronted sins that separate people into people groups, such as caste, tribe, and race, that prohibit us from loving our neighbors across these divisions. With his wounds he paid the price for the healing of the nations, which includes reconciliation among hostile people groups. The West's failure to understand the Jesus of the Gospels has at times had tragic consequences, such as slavery and racism. A distressing truth is that even today American missionaries continue to advise Brahmin followers of Christ not to worship with believers from people groups other than their own. In the name of propagating the gospel, they export racist segregation from America to India, as though we did not have enough sins of our own. These American missionaries seek to become "upper-caste" Brahmins in order to win Brahmins, ignoring the fact that Jesus did not become a Pharisee in order to win the Pharisees. Jesus' opposition to his religious culture led him to the cross.

When people commit themselves to following God even if it means conflict with their culture, God is able to use them to transform unjust social sttuctures in favor of the enslaved, exploited, and oppressed. If they are willing to take up their cross, they will create ripples that never cease.

Friday, June 10, 2011

We Talk A Lot, How is Our Walk?

by Doug Nichols

A. Before Salvation:
1. “…in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience”(Ephesians 2:2, nasb).

2. “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind…”(Ephesians 4:17, nasb).

B. Now:
1. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10, nasb).

2. “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called…” (Ephesians 4:1, nasb)

3. “…and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 5:2, nasb).

4. “…for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as of Light”(Ephesians 5:8, nasb).

5. “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise…” (Ephesians 5:15, nasb).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In Ministry -- Start With Orphans!

A pastor of a church mentioned that on one occasion he did not know what do to in ministry. The church was having so many problems he did not where to begin.

In reading James, he came to verse 27 in Chapter One, "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world" (James 1:27 nasb).

So, he decided to start with these three very simple steps: 1) to care for orphans, 2) to care for widows, and 3) to keep his heart pure.

That is where he started in ministry, and God began to bless and use him in a wonderful way in his church family to the glory of God, not only locally, but also worldwide.

This is a good place for you and I to start today, isn’t it? To care for orphans, widows, and to keep our heart pure.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Truth aLeads to Compassionate Community

by Vishal Mangalwade

Genuine compassion calls us to confront social structures and cultural practices that make people miserable. Atheism destroys compassion by making human beings accidental products of ran¬dom chance in an impersonal universe. This deprives compassion of all moral significance. If nature does not care for a creature too weak and powerless to care for itself, why should we, especially if he or she is of no use to us? Human beings are special only if they are seen as created beings, special to their Creator. If humans are created as image-bearers of the Creator himself, then they are even more special. And if individuals are to relate to the Creator in an intimate, personal relationship and carry out the Creator's will in this world, then they are very special indeed. That is how Jesus saw this blind beggar. "Neither this man nor his parents sinned ... but this happened that the work of God might be dis¬played in his life" (John 9:3).

Because an "unknown" blind beggar is special to God, we must have compassion for him individually. This compassion must be visible in specific acts of mercy, but our compassion for him must go deep enough to create a society that can see that a blind man is a special person. He should not have to live a hand¬-to-mouth, insecure existence until one day he falls sick, becomes too weak to beg, and rots by the roadside to be eaten by beasts, birds, and worms.

A society that cannot see the intrinsic value of a blind beggar is blind to truth. Its blindness needs to be exposed so that it can be transformed into a humane and compassionate community.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Work is Good!

by Vishal Mangalwade

The answer came from historian Lynn White Jr.'s study Medieval Religion and Technology. His pioneering research into the history of technology led him to conclude that it was the Bible that made the medieval West the first civilization in history that did not rest on the backs of sweating slaves.

The first chapter of the Bible presents a God who is a worker, not a meditator. God worked for six days-so must we! To work is godly. The third chapter of the Bible teaches that toil came as a curse upon Adam's sin. Humans became the only species that had to eat of the sweat of their brow. Since toil is a result of sin, salvation includes deliverance from sin as well as toil-from mindless, repetitive labor that requires no choice.

So, why don't Western women haul water or dung on their heads? It is because, while the elite in other cultures used technology for power and pleasure, prestige and torture, Christian monasteries began developing technologies that liberated power¬less individuals from dehumanizing slavery. Toil is dehumanizing because it forces a human being to do what can be done by an ox, a horse, wind, water, or wheels.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Is God Glad That Osama bin Laden is Dead?

by John Piper, Desiring God

God's emotions are complex—like yours, only a million times more. Right now, your emotions about bin Laden are not simple, i.e. not single. There are several, and they intermingle. That is a good thing. You are like God in this way. This is a part of what it means to be an image bearer of God.

In response to Osama bin Laden's death, quite a few tweets and blogs have cited the biblical truth that "God does not delight in the death of the wicked." That is true.

It is also true that God does delight in the death of the wicked. There are things about every death that God approves in themselves and things about every death that God disapproves in themselves.

Is God Double-Minded?
This is not double talk. All thoughtful people make such distinctions. For example, if my daughter asks me if I like a movie, I might say yes or no to the same movie. Why? Because a movie can be assessed for its 1) acting, 2) plot, 3) cinematography, 4) nudity, 5) profanity, 6) suspense, 7) complexity, 8) faithfulness to the source, 9) reverence for God, 10) accurate picture of human nature, etc., etc., etc.

So my answer is almost always "yes, in some ways, and no in other ways." But sometimes I will simply say yes, and sometimes no, because of extenuating circumstances.

Here is why I say God approves and disapproves the death of Osama bin Laden:

In one sense, human death is not God's pleasure:
•Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? . . . For I do not pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live. (Ezekiel 18:23, 32).

In another sense, the death and judgment of the unrepentant is God's pleasure:
•Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself. (Ezekiel 5:13)
•[Wisdom calls out:] Because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you. (Proverbs 1:25-26)
•Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her! (Revelation 18:20)
•As the Lord took delight in doing you good . . . so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. (Deuteronomy 28:63)
We should not cancel out any of these passages but think our way through to how they can all be true.

God is Not Malicious or Bloodthirsty
My suggestion is that the death and misery of the unrepentant is in and of itself not a pleasure to God. God is not a sadist. He is not malicious or bloodthirsty. The death and suffering considered for itself alone is not his delight.

Rather, when a rebellious, wicked, unbelieving person is judged, what God has pleasure in is the exaltation of truth and righteousness, and the vindication of his own honor and glory. (For further discussion of God's heart in judgment see the section in The Pleasures of God called "How Is God Like George Washington?", pp. 147-149.)

When Moses warns Israel that the Lord will take pleasure in bringing ruin upon them and destroying them if they do not repent (Deuteronomy 28:63), he means that those who have rebelled against the Lord and moved beyond repentance will not be able to gloat that they have made the Almighty miserable.

God is not defeated in the triumphs of his righteous judgment. Quite the contrary. Moses says that when they are judged they will unwittingly provide an occasion for God to rejoice in the demonstration of his justice and his power and the infinite worth of his glory (see also Romans 9:22-23).

A Warning
Let this be a warning to us: God is not mocked. He is not trapped or cornered or coerced. Even on the way to Calvary he had legions of angels at his disposal: "No one takes my life from me; I lay it down of my own accord"—of his own good pleasure, for the joy that was set before him.

At the one point in the history of the universe where God looked trapped, he was in charge, doing precisely what he pleased—dying to justify the ungodly like you and me.

(Adapted from The Pleasures of God, pp. 66-74.)

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: www.desiringGod.org. Email:mail@desiringGod.org.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tradition or Obedience

Mark 7:6-8, "And [Jesus] said to them, 'Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'"

What are the traditions that I have allowed to come in to take the place of obedience to God? Would it be the tradition of social or political correctness or certain management leadership styles or the most recent "in" thing or book or a cliché or fear that is keeping me from following the commandments of God to love one another, to be pure, and to take the gospel to the masses?

Traditions that may be keeping us from aggressively trusting God and moving forward in faith to do something about the 160 million street children of the world, the 13 million orphans of Africa, 90 percent of the people who have yet to know Christ in the Philippines, and the over 95 percent of people in India who do not know the Savior. So, is it tradition or obedience?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Go Get Them!

Please consider helping recruit for the ministry of Action International Ministries (ACTION). Simply share the need for additional missionaries and the ministries of ACTION to your family, friends, and especially your local fellowship; trust the Lord to use you to help recruit for the Great Commission. You can inform people to go to the ACTION Web site [www.actioninternational.org] and apply online as the Lord leads. At present we are trusting God for many additional missionaries to serve with street and underprivileged children, needy pastors and in other ACTION ministries worldwide.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Feeding the Hungry

by Pastor Ron Mcconnell

It is impossible to share Christ with a hungry man or child until we have fed him. It is also impossible to share Christ with a dead man. Some people feel that simply a program to feed the hungry without gospel witness is not “evangelical Christianity” but it is! Evangelical Christianity is Matthew 25 as well as Matthew 28. In Matthew 25 Jesus said, “Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these (feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, care for the sick, and visit those in prison) you did not do it to me.’ (Matt. 25:45). In Matthew 28, Jesus said “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)

The question of good deeds versus good beliefs, or physical versus spiritual, or the social versus the evangelical, is not an either/or issue. One without the other is incomplete, inadequate, and therefore un-Biblical and un-Christian. It is both/and. We cannot have evangelical Christianity without a social consciousness any more than we can have evangelical Christianity without evangelism. We are called to follow Christ! He will always lead us to human need, whether physical or spiritual.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Prayer

Intercession literally means to stand between two parties and plead the case of one to the other. It means that we must take into account the mandate for world evangelization.

Systematically pray around the world:

Sunday – Latin America

Monday – Central America

Tuesday – North America

Wednesday – Europe

Thursday – Africa

Friday – Asia

Saturday – Nations of the Pacific

Intercede for the national church and missionaries in these areas, and for the suffering and poor.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Guidelines for Giving

By Pastor Valmike Apuzen

1 Corinthians 16:1-4

1. Punctual. Give on the First Day of the week. This speaks of regularity and habit. First Day – regular (Acts 20:7).

2. Personal. “Everyone” set aside.

3. Provisional. Set aside some amount of your funds! Abound preparation – give some thought.

4. Proportional – “As God has prepared you”
(Deut. 16:17) (16:16 not empty handed).

5. Practical – that there be no gathering when I come. No need for extra special offering.

Why give? Because we are stewards. God owns it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Scriptural Prayers for Revival

1.Lord, convict me of my specific sins that need cleansed in the blood.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, nasb).

2.Lord, give me the Spirit of prevailing prayer.
“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for word” Romans 8:26 (nasb).

3.Lord, burden me deeply over the headlong rush to destruction many engage in.
“I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Romans 9:1-3, nasb).

4.Lord, pour out your Holy Spirit mightily upon us.
“And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31, nasb).

5.Lord, revive your work in the midst of years.
“Lord, I have heard the report about Thee and I fear O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2, nasb)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pastors and IN-N-OUT BURGER

by Dave Jacobs

Smaller churches lack the resources of larger churches. This does not mean they will not be able to provide meaningful ministry to their members and community, but it does mean they will have to be more selective in what they offer.

In 1948, the first In-N-Out Burger was founded by Harry and Esther Snyder in Baldwin Park, California. Harry’s idea of a drive-thru hamburger stand where customers could order through a two-way speaker box was quite unique. In that era, it was common to see carhops serving those who wanted to order food from their car. Harry’s idea caught on and California’s first drive-thru hamburger stand was born.

The Snyder’s business philosophy was simple: “Give customers the freshest, highest quality foods you can buy and provide them with friendly service in a sparkling clean environment.” These principles have worked so well over the years that they are still the company’s fundamental philosophy. In-N-Out Burger has basically three items on their menus: burgers, fries, and drinks. There are no salads, no burritos, no chicken sandwiches. Think of the huge variety most other fast food chains offer. You would think In-N-Out made a mistake in limiting what they offer but they continue to be one of the most popular food chains in California, Nevada, and Arizona.

I think smaller churches need to follow the example of In-N-Out…do a few things well and, “Give customers the freshest, highest quality foods you can buy and provide them with friendly service in a sparkling clean environment.”

What do you have the resources to do? By adding more ministries prematurely are you running the risk of providing a poor product and equally as bad, burned out workers? It would be better to do a few things well than a bunch of things half-baked that burn people out.

-If you can’t do multi-media well…don’t do multi-media.
-If you don’t have the manpower (usually it’s womanpower) to do a full-on Sunday school program, don’t do one.
-If there are not resources and interest for doing small groups…let it go and wait until the time is right.

You get the point. Smaller churches need to copy In-N-Out not Dennys. Dennys offers everything you could ever want. In-N-Out…burgers, fries, and drinks. Since mission statements are so popular these days, perhaps your mission statement should be In-N-Out’s: “Give customers the freshest, highest quality foods you can buy and provide them with friendly service in a sparkling clean environment.”

Source: http://www.toddrhoades.com/?p=1631

Monday, March 7, 2011

Why Does ACTION Work in Crisis Relief?

Someone asked us recently “Why is ACTION involved with crisis relief? Why not just let large NGOs like World Vision handle it?”

A brief answer is that we want to follow Jesus by loving our neighbors (Luke 10: 25-37). ACTION works with evangelical missions, workers, networks, evangelical churches, and local ministries who are often near the place where crises occur. These believers have a desire to reach out in compassion to those in need in the name of Jesus Christ. They know our heart is the same as theirs so we are invited to serve with them.

ACTION is an evangelical mission committed to working in ministry (such as crisis relief) through local evangelical churches -- churches which minister compassionate care and the Gospel. It is true that ACTION is not a relief agency and it is not easy taking on added burdens of those in distress. However, Christ would have us do no less and we embrace His wish as our pleasure.

Most relief agencies from our observation and experience are not integrated with local churches and ministries the way ACTION is. We conduct our relief and mercy projects alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ as the Lord leads. It is our privilege to contribute resources and personnel toward their initiatives or mutually envisioned relief efforts.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Are Whales More Valuable Than Children?

“We can also teach our sons and daughters that there is a world of suffering beyond our own neighborhood. Unfortunately, our kids won’t get a reliable perspective of this plight through the media. In 1988, for example, the press sent an army of reporters to cover the story of three trapped whales in Alaska. Several governments cooperated to rescue these animals, and the media heralded this account to inquiring minds around the world. Sadly, the same year, more than a quarter of a million people died of starvation in the Sudan. Their terrible tragedy never made the front page.

In fact, more children die in the Third World every two days than all the American servicemen killed in the Vietnam War. In some countries like Tanzania, one of five children will die before the age of five from diseases such as measles, malnourishment, diarrhea, and malaria. This is the stark reality of life and death in the Southern Hemisphere.”

Train Up A Child by Rolf Zettersten
(pages 29-30)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sadness on a Plane

Recently I was on plane to Sacramento, California and sat next to a man who saw I was reading a New Testament. He asked me why we needed God?

I took out a Gospel booklet and began to share the Gospel with him. The man suddenly said, “I know all that stuff. I am a minister, I just don’t believe it.”

Rather than acted shocked, I continued to share the Good News looking for a soft spot in his heart so that he might begin to respond to the Word of God. However, he did not seem to soften at all. I left him with the Gospel booklet and my card and asked if we could get together sometime in Seattle where he lives.

Perhaps God will bring him to a place of repentance and trust in Him through the glorious Gospel of Christ.

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance” (Romans 2:4 nasb).

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Race Is On

Soon after trusting Christ in my early twenties, I worked the night shift at a plywood company mainly with Hispanics. We enjoyed each other whether we fought nor not. I worked on an 8-man crew (4 teams of 2 men on a team) that off-loaded huge crates of 50 4’ x 8’sheets of plywood from trucks. We would then unstrap each crate of plywood, inspect each piece and then stack them into piles of 100 good sheets. The stacks of plywood were then taken to another building to be painted for mobile homes.

In an 8-hour shift, each 2-man team would prepare two or three stacks of 100 good sheets ready for painting. My teammate was also a new Christian, and as we began to reach out to others with the Gospel and do Bible study together on breaks, we began to be concerned about our testimony in the lazy, union-controlled work environment.
So we began to pick up speed and work harder. Soon we were doing four stacks of plywood, instead of two or three. The other teams also began to speed up as they did not want to look bad. The race was on as each team began to race each other and still be careful of quality control. The amount of stacks increased. Soon it was three or four stacks by lunch, and eight or ten stacks completed on each shift instead of the previous two or three.

This became a problem as the painters then had to keep up and go faster on the paint machines. The union bosses then came in and made a fuss, but the management was so happy that they gave everyone a raise, extended our break and lunch times, and provided all kinds of amenities to the 250 workers. Our company became the most productive factory in California.

As young Christians this made a great impact on our personal life as we saw the difference Christ made in the simple matter of stacking plywood for the testimony of Christ for the glory of God!

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23, nasb).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Can a Hot Meal Prevent Suicide?

A man in Seattle living in an alley decided there was absolutely no hope. He had no job, no family, was addicted to alcohol and drugs, losing all hope and the will to live. Therefore, he decided to commit suicide.

Realizing that before someone died, one usually wants a last good meal, he went to a rescue mission in Seattle. At the mission he had what he thought was his last hot meal. However, it was served with love, compassion, kindness, and concern by the Christian staff. This caused the man to have a glimmer of hope. Later he heard the Gospel of Christ, turned from sin, trusted the Savior.

What opened the door for him was simply kindness of Christians reaching out with a hot meal with concern. Kindness is not the Gospel, but it opens the door for one to hear and respond to the Gospel.

We are concerned about a person’s suffering, hunger and pain, but especially the pain and suffering of an eternity separated from God.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).

Monday, January 31, 2011

Men Wanted With Pastoral Experience

Wanted men with pastoral experience age 55 years and older to help mentor and train pastors in the Philippines. If you are an evangelical, willing to raise your support with a passion for the Word of God and training pastors in ministry, perhaps you would consider serving God with ACTION’s Pastoral Leadership Development team in one of the 18 cities of Metro Manila (20 million people) with some of the over 40,000 untrained or under trained pastors in the Philippines. For application and more information check www.actioninternational.org.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Seven Laws of the Race

by Jim Elliff

The motif of the Olympic race was dear to the Apostle Paul. Did he sit in the stands in Athens or Corinth? Perhaps so. Regardless, parallels between "the games" and the believer's race in life were often on his mind. He (along with the author of Hebrews) gives us seven laws for running the race.

1. Run to win
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NASB)

2. Observe strict discipline

"Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training . . . . I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9: 25-27

3. Don't look back
"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14

4. Get constant encouragement
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, [see chapter 11 for a list of encouragers] let us . . . run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

5. Throw off restraints
" . . . let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

6. Discount pain

"And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:22-24

7. Don't let up until you cross the line
"For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

(Amazing) Grace

by Dr. Stephen Brown.

It s one thing to discuss the theological concept or doctrines of grace and even to understand grace in a cerebral way. It is quite another thing to experience the joy and freedom of grace itself. With that being said, one should understand something you want to experience or what you are presently experiencing. (Read Dr. Stephen Brown’s pamphlet “(Amazing) Grace” on the Reformed Theological Seminary web site here [http://www.rts.edu/Site/Resources/Booklets/Amazing_Grace.pdf].)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Imagine a world Without Filipinos

by Abdullah Al-Maghlooth | Al-Watan

Muhammad Al-Maghrabi became handicapped and shut down his flower and gifts shop business in Jeddah after his Filipino workers insisted on leaving and returning home. He says: “When they left, I felt as if I had lost my arms. I was so sad that I lost my appetite.”

Al-Maghrabi then flew to Manila to look for two other Filipino workers to replace the ones who had left. Previously, he had tried workers of different nationalities but they did not impress him. “There is no comparison between Filipinos and others,” he says. Whenever I see Filipinos working in the Kingdom, I wonder what our life would be without them.

Saudi Arabia has the largest number of Filipino workers — 1,019,577 — outside the Philippines. In 2006 alone, the Kingdom recruited more than 223,000 workers from the Philippines and their numbers are still increasing. Filipinos not only play an important and effective role in the Kingdom, they also perform different jobs in countries across the world, including working as sailors. They are known for their professionalism and the quality of their work.

Nobody here can think of a life without Filipinos, who make up around 20 percent of the world’s seafarers. There are 1.2 million Filipino sailors.

So if Filipinos decided one day to stop working or go on strike for any reason, who would transport oil, food and heavy equipment across the world? We can only imagine the disaster that would happen.

What makes Filipinos unique is their ability to speak very good English and the technical training they receive in the early stages of their education. There are several specialized training institutes in the Philippines, including those specializing in engineering and road maintenance. This training background makes them highly competent in these vital areas.

When speaking about the Philippines, we should not forget Filipino nurses. They are some 23 percent of the world’s total number of nurses. The Philippines is home to over 190 accredited nursing colleges and institutes, from which some 9,000 nurses graduate each year. Many of them work abroad in countries such as the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Singapore.

Cathy Ann, a 35-year-old Filipino nurse who has been working in the Kingdom for the last five years and before that in Singapore, said she does not feel homesick abroad because “I am surrounded by my compatriots everywhere.” Ann thinks that early training allows Filipinos to excel in nursing and other vocations. She started learning this profession at the age of four as her aunt, a nurse, used to take her to hospital and ask her to watch the work. “She used to kiss me whenever I learned a new thing. At the age of 11, I could do a lot. I began doing things like measuring my grandfather’s blood pressure and giving my mother her insulin injections,” she said.

This type of early education system is lacking in the Kingdom. Many of our children reach the university stage without learning anything except boredom.

The Philippines, which you can barely see on the map, is a very effective country thanks to its people. It has the ability to influence the entire world economy.

We should pay respect to Filipino workers, not only by employing them but also by learning from their valuable experiences.

We should learn and educate our children on how to operate and maintain ships and oil tankers, as well as planning and nursing and how to achieve perfection in our work. This is a must so that we do not become like Muhammad Al-Maghrabi who lost his interest and appetite when Filipino workers left his flower shop.

We have to remember that we are very much dependent on the Filipinos around us. We could die a slow death if they chose to leave us.

Source: http://archive.arabnews.com/?page=13§ion=0&article=110923&d=16&m=6&y=2008