Friday, September 28, 2012

Is the day of sending missionaries over?

The answer to this question is, “Absolutely not!”
 There is an estimated 3 billion without a Christian nearby to tell them the gospel.  If you divided this 3 billion into groups of 5000, this would mean a need of 600,000 more missionaries!

Even in a small mission like ACTION, working in twenty-six countries with only 265 missionaries, has need for many additional missionaries: ministry to Seafarers; workers on the streets taking the gospel and compassion to street children, prostitutes and other children in crisis; vocational instructors for street children and prisoners; teachers in schools for missionary children; workers in prison; mentors for needy pastors; book publication and much more.

So, perhaps you would pray about possibility of taking the gospel to those who have never heard (or repeat it to those who have heard!).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Leaders are not pulled from the air

Leaders are developed from people. Unless you have people, you cannot develop leaders. This is especially true of missions. There is concern over the lack of leadership in missions, and yet missions need to recruit additional missionaries to have men to train for leadership.

For example, I am praying with a mission of 265 missionaries for additional missionaries. There is a lack of missionaries to train as leaders. There are 171 mission opportunities listed by the mission. If each of the 265 missionaries would simply pray for and recruit one missionary over the next two years, this would be 265 additional missionaries. If they prayed for and recruited two additional missionaries to work with them or another needed ministry of the mission, this would be 530 additional missionaries! This would, therefore, allow more to be mentored and trained in servant leadership.

So, rather than moaning over lack of leadership, perhaps we should concentrate on recruiting for the Great Commission, out of which new missionaries would be trained for all aspects of ministry in evangelism, discipleship, development and leadership to the glory of God!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Is Tim Tebow a Chauvinst?

By Russell D. Moore , Christian Post Guest Columnist
September 23, 2012

Tim Tebow says he wants a wife with "a servant's heart." Does that make him a misogynist?

Jezebel, a feminist website, picked up on comments Tebow made in an interview with Vogue magazine, in which he said he wanted a wife who lived up to the high standards set for him by his mother and sisters. He wanted to find a woman he found beautiful, he said, but, beyond that, he wanted a wife with a "servant's heart."

Jezebel (their name for themselves; I'm not name-calling) summed this up as that Tebow's perfect woman is "hot, kind and servile."

I've been saying for years that I don't think Christians ought to be "outraged" by what the outside world says about us. And I'm not outraged by this. But I think it's a good opportunity to tell our non-Christian neighbors what Christians mean when they say "a servant's heart."

What we don't mean is that this is something unique to women. I know, I know. You hear this language and you assume Tebow wants a Stepford wife in a French maid's uniform, massaging his feet and refilling his glass of sweet tea. But this isn't what evangelical Christians mean when they say "a servant's heart."

First of all, in Christianity, a "servant" isn't a slur.

Now, I get why that's hard to understand. Our apostolic fathers didn't get it either. They debated who would be the "greatest" and the "leader" among them. Jesus pointed out that he was the one serving them broken bread and poured-out wine, and he is the king of the entire cosmos. "Who is greater," Jesus asked, "The one who reclines at table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves" (Lk. 22:27).

Jesus serves his Bride, the church, by washing her feet in the upper room. This is what greatness is, Jesus tells Christians, to serve one another and to outdo one another in building one another up. That servant-heartedness isn't unique to women; all Christians are called to it. And it isn't antithetical to strong leadership. Serving is precisely how Jesus rules as king, and how he prepares his people, men and women, to rule with him in the reign to come.

Husbands serve wives. Wives serve husbands. Children serve parents. Parents serve children. Pastors serve churches. Churches serve pastors. That concept might be demeaning in the world of Vogue, but it's not in a new creation where "the leader is the one who serves" (Lk. 22:26).

I'm not upset at our feminist friends for reading Tebow wrong on this. It's easy to do, if you don't know the back-story. But it's a good reminder to all of us, because we Christians have a hard time differentiating between servanthood and servility too. I know I do, and Jesus has to keep breaking in here and reminding me.

When Tim Tebow says he wants a wife with "a servant's heart," he is, like any Christian man, hoping also for a woman who is seeking a husband with "a servant's heart." It doesn't mean he wants a doormat. It just means he wants a Christian.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Incompetence in sports and in politics!

It is amazing how sports and regular news today is livid about the blotched call during the Monday Night Football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Greenbay Packers. Everyone is up in arms about the incompetence and unfairness, yet the same media says nothing concerning the incompetence of our political leaders and the way much of our society is being destroyed by blotched calls, incompetence, inconsistency, unfairness and absolute slander and lying. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. (Proverbs 14:34, nasb).

Monday, September 24, 2012

Are We Servants of Christ?

Someone said, “You know you are a servant when people treat you like one.”

A pastor invited me to speak at his church.  It was the only Sunday I had free, was tired, but agreed to do it as he needed to be away. I cancelled an outing on Saturday to study and was able to arrange care for Dad so Margaret could accompany me.

We were up at 5 am Sunday morning to catch a ferry, driving two hours, and after a quick breakfast we arrived at the church early. As we waited for the service to start, we introduced ourselves to several including leaders.

Interesting: no one offered coffee, water, or information as to the order/schedule of the service, when to start or finish, nor any help with the lapel microphone.  Even though the people were friendly, there was no hospitality.  After the service, even though we had been on the road since early morning, there was no offer of water or lunch.

The most humbling (and embarrassing) thing, however, was when the church treasurer approached me as we were leaving and handed me an envelope. I thanked him and said no honorarium was required.  He responded, “Oh, don’t worry, it is not much as we don’t pay circuit (traveling) preachers much.”  He was correct; it was not much at all, as it did not begin to cover the cost of the ferry, gas, breakfast and lunch.

This is not, however, to point out the lack of basic hospitality or financial responsibility of the church, but simply to say that this experience was good for me!  Even though I gave up two days to serve this church, as a servant of Christ I was only doing my duty! 

Whatever experiences and responsibilities Christ puts before us, we are to serve Him joyfully as servants unto Him and not to man!

“So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done’” (Luke 17:10, nasb).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Bible Must Guide You

“I have been the subject of such impressions, myself, and have seen very singular results. But to live by impressions is oftentimes to live the life of a fool and even to fall into downright rebellion against the revealed Word of God. Not your impressions, but that which is in this Bible must always guide you.”
C.H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Contagion, a film to see

Recently my wife and I were doing several last minute chores before leaving for the airport to pick up new workers. As we worked, we were able to see part of a film made in 2011 “Contagion.”  It has several big-named stars and is a disaster thriller about a team of doctors tasked with controlling and finding a vaccine for a deadly outbreak of an infectious disease which killed over 21 million people by the end of the film. 
We were especially impressed with the main star who was a doctor who gave his vaccine to a simple janitor; the doctor was black and the janitor was white who lived in a poorer section of town.  

Another scene was of another doctor dying of the disease and who gave her coat (just before she died) to a dying man shivering from the cold in the cot next to her.

There is another doctor from England who had a concern for a poor village in China and sacrificed her life to serve them. There is also a man in Minneapolis whose wife and son had already died from the disease, but was able to care for his 12-year-old daughter, as well as others in the neighborhood.

It is film well-worth seeing by Christians for examples of compassionate care and putting others first.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Is it wrong for a Christian to be aligned with a company who employs openly gay individuals?

by Pastor Jerry Marcellino

A: It all depends on what you mean by “aligned”. Taking your question at its most basic level, the answer is No. Why? Because the Bible is very clear about what a Christian’s relationship should be with those who live in a sexually immoral lifestyle: “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people -- not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler -- not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you’” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). Paul is saying that Christians should never eat or associate with professing Christians (“anyone who bears the name of brother”) who live in sexual immorality (fornicators, adulterers, and homosexuals, etc.), while clearly stating this does NOT apply to “the sexually immoral of this world.”

Therefore, if someone does not profess faith in Christ and is living a sexually immoral lifestyle (fornicator, adulterer, homosexual, etc.), the Christian is to be loving, compassionate and merciful toward them (as with all unbelievers).  The goal is to reflect God’s holiness and offer the gospel freely that they might repent and trust Christ (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). The Apostle and his new converts at Corinth took this God-honoring approach toward the sexually immoral of their city (not the moralistic, gospel-less approach many professing Christians take today) and the outcome is related to us in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “…do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Oh, there is hope and forgiveness from God through our Lord Jesus Christ for every sinner (including the sexually immoral person) who repents of his sin and turns by faith to trust Christ for his eternal salvation! Thank you for your question… For great encouragement, please follow this link:

Remember: This column is an opportunity to anonymously ask a local pastor any Biblical, theological, practical or counseling question you desire. He will answer your question from a Biblical Worldview. His aim is to strengthen and encourage God’s people and to give clear answers to questions from genuine seekers. So, please feel free to send your questions to

Pastor Jerry Marcellino, Audubon Drive Bible Church, PO Box 8055, Laurel, MS 39441-8000

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pastor Hsi (One of China's Christians)

The book, “Pastor Hsi (One of China's Christians),” was first published in 1900 by Mrs. Howard Taylor. My wife, Margaret, and I read a copy owned by her late father which was printed in 1905, making it 109 years old! Reprint editions are still available.

I am reading it again noting quotes and illustrations to share with others.

The book is possibly one of the most practical, spiritually encouraging, inspiring, challenging and life and ministry instructive biographies ever written! It is a book, which would greatly help missionaries, Christian workers and pastors in life and ministry today.

This very practical book will help readers learn from godly men and women from the past so as not to reinvent the wheel of life and ministry. Reading this book will also help not to make mistakes which could be avoided by simply reading and then applying godly principles such as the following:
1. Pastor Hsi (pronounced "she") prayed about “everything”.
2. He prayed and fasted for days at a time, especially during difficult times.
3. He was a man of great “trust in God”.
4. The book gives excellent illustrations on how to deal with “difficult relationships”.
5. There are many guidelines for growing in grace.
6. Encouragement for persevering under trials.
7. How to shepherd and train leaders.
8. Pastor Hsi was very practical in ministry.
9. He developed a very successful income-generating ministry which completely supported the work and many full-time Christian workers.
10. Pastor and Mrs. Hsi worked very hard and lived sacrificial lives.
11. The young Chinese church was exceptional in hospitality.
12. The Chinese leaders and church had a great vision for the lost and worked well with the China Inland Mission (CIM) and constantly asked and prayed for more CIM missionaries for inland China.
13. The church prayed and pleaded for single women missionaries to work with women.
14. Pastor Hsi and his many disciples had a burning passion for the millions of Chinese without Christ and were continually praying and planning for advancement of the gospel!

In reading this excellent book, I was especially challenged to grow in grace and godliness and to renew my "passion for expansion," not to expand just for growth but for the sake of people without Christ!

For example, in my beloved adopted country the Philippines, even with the growth of the church, there is still an estimated 95% of the population of 100 million without Christ. This is 95 million people! Throughout the world there are 150 million orphans and 100 million street children most never having heard the gospel.

Therefore, should we not all pray that the ministry of our church will expand to reach more for Christ?

To pray, "Oh Lord, please be gracious to us Your people, Your church and raise up many more men and women like Pastor and Mrs. Hsi of China. Please do it Lord for Your glory and the salvation of many!"

“ . . . Christ in you, the hope of glory.  We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.  For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me” (Colossians 1:27-29).

Let’s pray for one another and for a great advancement of the gospel!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

12 Ways to Pray for Children

1.    Hear the Gospel—Savior, send people to share the good news about Christ with children so they can call on His name for salvation.

“Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:13-14, nasb).

2.    Health and Wholeness—Nurturing Father, help children grow strong in every way, as Jesus did – in wisdom, in stature and in favor with God and man.

“And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52, nasb).

3. Love and Understanding for Children with Special Needs—Jesus, help your people see all children as You see them, remembering that what we do for them, we really do for you.

“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me’” (Matthew 25:40, nasb).

4. Love for God’s Word—All knowing God, open children’s eyes to see wonderful things in your word, so it can light their path.

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law…Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”  (Psalm 119:18,105 nasb).

5. Hope and Protection for Refugees—God, our refuge, comfort and protect children and families who have had to leave their homes.

“You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7, nasb).

6. Freedom from Racism and Prejudice—Lord of all nations, give children love for people of all races and protect them from others’ hatred.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28, nasb).  

7.    Give and Receive Kindness—Gracious God, help children to know Your compassion and forgiveness and to share this grace with others.

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32, nasb).

8.    More Children’s Workers—Lord of the harvest, send workers to reach children who have not yet heard the good news of Jesus.

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2 nasb).

9. Place to Grow in Faith—Good Shepherd, lead children into church communities that will spur them on toward love and good deeds.

“And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25, nasb).

10. Learn to Love God Wholeheartedly—Loving God, may each child grow to love you with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30, nasb).

11. Place of Belonging for Orphans—Father to the fatherless, send families and workers who will love and care for orphans.

“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).

12. Confidence in God—Faithful God, show children they can trust in You to be their hope and confidence in all things.

“For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth” (Psalm 71:5, nasb).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Question: What does it mean when Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20)?

by Pastor Jerry Marcellino

Answer:  This is a favorite passage that is regularly quoted among many Christians, but it is rarely and correctly understood.  In fact, its chronic overuse and abuse is just an example of what many sincere believers have done to numerous other well-known passages from God’s Word. Such mishandling of God’s Word reminds me of the quote, “A text without a context is a pretext for a prooftext.” This column will aim to engage many of those “prooftext” passages in the months and hopefully years ahead. But, let us begin by reading the context that is typically ignored when one interprets this verse:

If your brother sins against you go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.  Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:15-19).

Now, read “For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20) -- please note -- it must never be severed from verses fifteen through nineteen, if we are to properly understand its true meaning.

The classic application of this passage uses it to claim the Lord’s presence at a small worship service or prayer meeting where at least two or
three believers have gathered in spiritual agreement -- but “Christ
is always present with His people, even with a lone believer totally separated from fellow Christians by prison walls or by hundreds of miles” (John MacArthur).  This common misinterpretation ignores the context and incorrectly handles “about anything” in verse 19 as being prayer (but the Greek word’s actual meaning and the context agree and therefore should be understood as meaning “about any judicial matter”).  The context is clearly about how a Christian should handle repairing a fractured relationship with another believer, which could lead to the church body passing judgment if their conflict is not resolved Biblically (a process which is commonly called “church discipline”).  Therefore, we learn from this whole passage that Jesus is with His church in making a judgment based on evidence Biblically attained.  That is, heaven agrees with the decision of the true church when two or three have established the facts and the church passes a verdict in seeking to reconcile a relationship.  

So, may our sincere “desired intent” never ever trump “authorial intent,” which is always spiritually unwise:

“And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15-16).

Thank you for your question!

Pastor Jerry Marcellino, Audubon Drive Bible Church, PO Box 8055, Laurel, MS 39441-8000