Monday, June 30, 2014


 by Pastor David Nelson, ret.

 His step-father told him he was "worthless."  His three brothers died in prison. His sisters have been married five or six times. His own life was headed for destruction. But then, a Christian classmate in college befriended him one night when he came into the dorm drunk, sat him down, gave him enough coffee to get him sober and began sharing the "Good News" about Jesus' love and forgiveness and he prayed to receive Christ. That same classmate then went to Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, and invited him to come join him there, which though a brand-new Christian, he decided to do.

     He struggled at Prairie and had to have special tutoring. Some told him he was wasting their time and his money. He said he wanted to be a missionary. They said, "You'll never make it as a missionary!"  With great concentrated effort, he managed to make it through Prairie and applied to some thirty different missions and was rejected by all of them. Finally "Operation Mobilization" accepted him. (He said, "They would accept anyone!").  He thought he was headed to France, but ended up in India, where he found out he, as a white American, was very much disliked.

But, he has now been a very effective missionary for almost 48 years, and we had the privilege and joy of having Doug Nichols and his wife Margaret ("Margi") in our home this past weekend and having them share at three services at Faith Bible Church here in Libby, Montana. Margaret came from quite a different background than did Doug. Her folks were for many years missionaries in China. Doug met her at PBI. He heard her sing a solo in the big choir concert and thought, "If God ever lets me have a wife, I want it to be that one!" After a Doug's couple years in India, they were married and have served together for 21 years in the Philippines and 24 years in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Doug, the "worthless" step-son, the one who would "never make it as a missionary," serves as founder of ACTION and Global Missions Advocate/Mobilizer assisting with Global Diaspora Network, Filipino International Network, Christian Growth Ministries in the Philippines, advocate for needy children, and in leadership development. He travels extensively throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin and North America speaking on behalf of the glory of God in missions. Not bad for a "drunk from a dysfunctional family!"

     We were so blessed to have the Nichols stay with us this weekend, and to listen to all his stories of the faithfulness of God was such an encouragement to us personally and to the folks at Faith Bible. I trust that each of us was challenged by what he shared, and realize that all God needs for us to be used by Him is a willing heart. When I introduced Doug and Margaret at church, I shared briefly about his interesting background and asked the congregation if they felt qualified to be a missionary. Then I read from I Cor. 1:26-31 which says, "For consider your calling, brethren that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 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, that He might nullify the things that are, that no one should boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that just as it is written, 'Let Him who boasts, boast in the LORD.'" God doesn't require great intellect, years of education, a charismatic personality, solid family background. God is looking rather for "FAT" Christians, i.e., those who are "Faithful, Available, and Teachable."

     Another key to Doug and Margaret's effectiveness as missionaries has been the heart they have for the needs of others, and their practice of reaching out in love to meet those needs. In Sunday School, Doug taught from the Book of Titus about good deeds, which are mentioned six times: "worthless" 1:16; "example" in 2:14; "zealous" 2:14; "ready" in 3:1,2; "careful" ("thoughtful") in 3:8; and "learn" in 3:14. He pointed out that "Good works do not justify--they glorify." Jesus said, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Mt. 5:16). Good deeds are the fruit of our lives in Christ.

    Doug shared many examples of how doing simple things for others such as opening car doors, or helping folks on an airplane with their overhead luggage have opened doors for sharing the Gospel. In India, Doug contracted TB and had to go to a hospital for TB patients. There he tried to hand out gospel tracts but had the Indians tear them up and throw them back in his face. They didn't want a white man taking the place of an Indian in their hospital! But then one night he helped another patient get to the bathroom at two in the morning so he could relieve himself. The man was too weak to get out of bed to get there. Doug himself was weakened with TB but managed to carry the emaciated man to the bathroom and back. The next morning he was awakened by a tap on the shoulder and an Indian asked for one of his Gospel tracts and then another came, and another until everyone in the ward had received one. All because of Doug's helping an old man get to the bathroom!

     Doug's challenge to us was "Don't waste your geography!" That is, no matter where you are, make a difference to someone. Be ready to meet a need, no matter how simple. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is heaven" (Mt. 5:16). Doug and Margaret have been doing that for close to half a century and have impacted thousands of lives for Christ. Each of us can do the same. If you are "Faithful," and "Available," and "Teachable," you qualify as a missionary, no matter what others may say.

Forever His,

 Pastor Dave Nelson

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Satan’s Simple Plan by Kevin DeYoung.

What does the devil want to do with you?

Does he want to haunt your house? Not likely. You’d write a bestselling book or become a reality television star. Make your head spin around? You could make a lot of money showing off that trick. Get you to carve a pentagram into your leg? Nah, not the sort of behavior that draws a big following.

So what does the devil really want from you?

He really only wants one thing: he wants to keep you from Christ. Read more …

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Just Asking? "Why is the Monkey on the Church Stage All Locked Up and with Drums None-the-less?"

Why are the drums in a prominent place on the platform in churches with the drummer locked up behind a glass cage? I assume it is to keep the noise down. If it is just for the noise, why not put them in the back or side room?

It is really strange seeing these drummers locked up in a cage. I wonder how they feel? (Recently just as the pastor of the church we visited got up to speak the man in the cage slipped out. It really did look like a monkey escaping his cage!).

If the worship team really wants to lead worship, they and the drummer could be off to the side of the platform so they would not be such a distraction and simply lead the congregation in hymns and choruses giving praise to God. They would, therefore, not look as if they are performing with a monkey in a cage and they could still dress in sloppy jeans and shoes, and no one would notice and complain. Why not?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Four and a half books I shouldn’t have read as a new Christian

by Aaron Armstrong

Last week, I shared five books I would encourage every new Christian read. In that post, I mentioned that in my first years as a believer, I read a lot of books I simply should not have. At all. Which ones were they? Here are five… well, four and a half:

1. Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. I picked this up because Bell was the hip teacher at the time. Lots of folks at our church were into the NOOMA videos, and we were all gaga over them. And kinda dumb for it. This book really messed with my head at a time when I was trying to begin figuring out what it meant to be a Christian. In the end, it seems I’ve come out better for it. But would I recommend anyone follow my path? Gosh no.

2. Just like Jesus by Max Lucado. This was the beginning of my life-long whatever the opposite of a bromance is with Lucado. As a new believer, I found this book to be sappy, sentimental pap, an opinion that’s carried over into pretty much anything I’ve read of his. While I’m sure he’s a lovely man, I can’t help but hate myself a little when I read something by him.

2.5. Wild at Heart by John Eldridge. This one’s the half book because I never finished reading it. I made it about halfway before I gave up. Terrible writing combined with a weird “frontier man meets mystic” idea of what it means to be a Christian man.

3. The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. This, again, was one of the super-hot books of 2006, and easily one of the most pretentious. For a book advocating a “simple way,” it came across incredibly arrogant and condescending. Basically it read like, “If you’re not driving a van running on vegetable oil, living in a monastic community and not bathing, you’re doing it wrong.” It also didn’t help my wife with her ongoing issue of mocking authors in a sing-songy voice.

4. The Future of Justification by John Piper. This was actually the first John Piper book I ever read, and it’s a really good one. So why’d it make this list? Because I understood it and, as a believer for only a couple of years at the time, I didn’t have the emotional and theological maturity to handle that well. I already had some pretty serious pride issues by that point, and that only served to make them worse.

There were others, of course. I read a Brian McLaren book around the time I was gaining doctrinal convictions and threw it against a wall (it was either The Story We Find Ourselves In or The Last Word and the Word After That) because of its irritating hypothetical anecdotes about hypothetical people becoming hypothetical Christians. I read memoirs by Mark Driscoll and Craig Groeschel that did nothing to help me get a clear picture of the challenges of pastoral ministry (or, in hindsight, the character of an elder for that matter). I remember really enjoying a lot of Don Miller’s books, but failed to see some of the significant theological problems in them (particularly Searching for God Knows What).

But you get the idea. Reading books is good for new Christians, but our reading is only as profitable as the books we’re reading are helpful. When the content is beneficial and we’ve got the maturity to embrace it humbly, it’s a good thing. When the content is awful and we have the acumen to critique it thoughtfully, it’s a blessed thing. But when we’re reading anything and lack either the maturity or discernment to appropriately process it, it can lead to disaster.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

There's No Such Thing as the Gift of Evangelism

by Ed Stetzer

Why is it that Christians are always looking for ways to talk themselves out of doing evangelism?

It’s pretty clear that God sent Jesus into the world to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus acted on full authority of God and commissioned us to make disciples (Matt. 28:16-20). We have been sent into the world just as Jesus was sent (John 17:18; 20:21).

Yet, it seems to me a whole lot of people are talking themselves out of their calling to do evangelism for a lot of reasons. Let me tackle just two. Simply put, Christians need to stop thinking evangelism is a spiritual gift and stop thinking you can preach the gospel without words. Read more ...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Just Asking: "Why are some Bible schools/colleges growing or remaining steady and others losing students and effectiveness?"

Answer is simple.  It is usually because of a change in leadership to purposefully move away from the schools’ roots and biblical convictions. These schools are relaxing the rules, allowing the students to be sloppy in dress and manners, and seeking to change everything rather than improve. Why would Christian parents want to send their children to a Christian school that is Christian in name only and is also so expensive?

If a Bible school or college wants to make a difference in education for God’s glory, it must have godly faculty members who will love and train students in life (discipline) and ministry. The purpose of rules is to help students mature in life and service. Don't ask students what they want, but be a school that they will want to attend, and their parents and church will want to send them. Don't rely on the government to pay the bills, but trust God for finances and keep the tuition low.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Seven Prayer Tools from the Apostle Paul

1.  Pray for Open Doors
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned…” (Colossians 4:2-3, nasb).

Open doors can’t be taken for granted.  Many missionaries work in difficult-access countries or in areas that are resistant to the Gospel.  But “open doors” include more than access to nations and people groups.  Individuals’ hearts also need to be opened and receptive to God’s truth.

·   Pray that God will open doors of ministry, blessing partnerships and friendships.
·   Pray that those who serve will be lead by the Holy Spirit and recognize open-door opportunities.
·   Pray that God will lead His people past the barriers to hearts prepared to receive His Word.

2.  Pray for Boldness in Witness
“…and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel…” (Ephesians 6:19, nasb). 

Missionaries are regular people who fear pain and rejection as much as anyone else.  When faced with opposition, they need God’s strength to help them stand firm.

·   Pray that missionaries will have boldness to overcome the fear of embarrassment or failure.
·   Pray that the Spirit will provide them with words that communicate effectively in other cultures and languages.
·   Pray that God will thwart the opposition of evil forces so the mystery of the Gospel can be known.

3.  Pray that God’s Word Will Spread
“Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you…” (2 Thes. 3:1, nasb)

Obstacles must be removed to allow God’s Word to spread rapidly and freely.  Removing obstacles implies resolute resistance in spiritual warfare.  Just as Aaron and Hur supported Moses’ arms in the battle against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:12), you can support the weary arms of missionaries through your prayers.

·   Pray for strength and stamina as missionaries encounter antagonistic spiritual forces. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
·   Pray that Satan, who is determined to obstruct the spread of the Gospel, will be resisted. (James 4:7)
·   Pray that God’s Word will be indeed spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes.

4.  Pray for protection
“…and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith”(2 Thessalonians 3:2, nasb).
Open doors in difficult-access countries may also open the possibility of danger and personal harm for missionaries who enter those areas.  People resistant to the Gospel sometimes express their resistance in direct and harmful ways. 

-Pray that God will keep the Christian workers safe from those who might seek to harm them.     
-Pray that God will change the hearts of those who are resistant to His word and to people who share the Gospel.

5.  Pray for Their Ministry
“…that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints…” (Romans 15:31, nasb).

Cooperation and partnership are essential to ministry and vital to the progress of the work.

·   Pray that the missionary’s ministry and attitude will be worthy of acceptance.
·   Pray that colleagues and fellow believers will be supportive.

6.  Pray for God’s Guidance
“…so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God” (Romans 15:32, nasb).
Many missionaries travel frequently both nationally and internationally.  Their mode of transportation varies from country to country and often involves stressful situations.
·   Pray for clear guidance from God regarding travel decisions.
·   Pray for protection during their travels.
·   Pray for adequate provisions and permission to travel where it’s necessary.

7.  Pray for Refreshment
“…and find refreshing rest in your company” (Romans 15:32, nasb).

Missionaries deal with many of the same stresses you face in life, like overwhelming workloads, conflicts in relationships and financial uncertainties.  Often, however, missionaries struggle with these issues alone, without the fellowship and support of other Christians.  Living and working cross-culturally adds an additional element that can deplete their emotional, spiritual and physical vitality.

·   Pray that God will provide opportunities for missionaries in remote or difficult areas to spend time with other believers.
·   Pray that God will provide times of peace and relaxation to refresh His workers.
·   Pray that God will encourage missionaries with the knowledge that people back home care about them.

Partners in prayer
The apostle Paul was a missionary and a man of prayer.  He prayed for those without Christ, for the believers and for the new churches established under his ministry.

Paul also asked the believers to pray for him:  “Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me…” (Romans 15:30, nasb).

 Paul knew prayer would bring results:
“…you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many…” 
(2 Corinthians 1:11, nasb).

In his letters, Paul gave specific prayer requests for which believers should pray.  As a prayer partner with those who are called to go, you, too, will have an impact that can reach around the world.  Paul’s prayer requests can serve as a tool for praying with effectiveness and understanding. (adapted by Doug Nichols from article by SIL)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Just Asking: "Is it biblically wise for church mission committee to discriminate?"

It seems the current craze for church mission committees is to emphasize one area or people of the world over that of another. Is this not a form of discrimination? Perhaps the church leadership and missions committee have a burden for the Middle East or for tribes, etc., but it is not biblical to neglect other parts of the world and other people groups in its mission policy. This is very discouraging for the church as a whole and degrades the mission mandate of the gospel to the world. If your church, for example, decides to only send missionaries to closed countries, then this seriously and unnecessarily discourages someone in the church who has been praying and preparing for years to work with older street children in Toronto or younger in Manila, neither which are closed countries. It is not either-or, it is both-and. The gospel to Jerusalem, Judah, Samaria, and all people of the whole world!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cease Striving

by Paul Tautges

In light of the psalmist’s assurance of God’s protection: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” he instructs us to “Cease striving” (Psalm 46:10). The Hebrew word translated “cease” means to sink or relax. “Striving” is a term that typically refers to warfare, so the admonition can be stated this way: “Be at peace.”

According to Philippians 4:6–7, the means of gaining this God-given, protective peace is prayer: “Be anxious for nothing [do not fret], but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Read more …

Friday, June 6, 2014

Statistics -- Think Missions (from Vimeo)

A short video giving some statistics on the progress of Christian Missions.

View here.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Life is Too Short to Waste It On....

You have all heard this saying used about a number of things, such as "Life is too short to waste it on a bad cup of coffee!" Recently, however I heard it used by a pastor in teaching his people about goals and who actually said, "Life is too short to have an ugly wife" and then when on and on about his beautiful wife who had pretty fingers and could cook, etc. All of this said at the embarrassment of many in the church who were not pretty at all. Why do we emphasize the outward so much instead of character qualities? When our son began to be interested in the young lady who later became his wife, I ask him about her, and why he liked her so much? His answer did not deal with her beautiful appearance but, "Dad, I like her because she is so much like the Lord Jesus, she is like Mom, and she is so kind to everyone!"

So, you may have nice fingernails but does your character shine for Jesus in gracious kindness, love and concern for others?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

God Has Blessed the World with People from the Philippines Everywhere

(Information about Filipinos throughout the World) from, Philippine Government, and and adapted by Doug Nichols of the Filipino International Network

Australia: In 2010, there were approximately 177,400 people in Australia who were born in the Philippines.

Canada: Only a small population of Filipinos resided in Canada until the late 20th century. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has estimated that as of 2009 there were over 640,000 Canadians of Filipino origin.

France: there are approximately 55,000 Filipinos in France.

Greece: The Philippine Embassy has reported an estimated of 40,000 Filipinos in Greece.

Hong Kong: There are approximately 140,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong, of whom most are domestic helpers (30,000 of them being members of the Filipino Migrant Workers Union).

Italy: There are about 130,000 Filipinos in Italy. This makes it the second country host to Filipinos in Europe after the UK.

Iraq: Despite that the Philippine government banned Overseas Foreign Workers (OFWs) from working in Iraq, an estimated 1,000-3,000 Filipinos[citation needed] work there. Most work on US Military bases around the country as cooks and laundry service, sometimes as third-country national security guards. This is the only foreign country in which Filipino men outnumber Filipino women.

Ireland: As of 2008, the Philippine embassy in London reported that there are 11,500 Filipinos in Ireland.

Japan: Some 350,972 Filipinos are listed to be living within Japan's geographic confines. However, this number is speculated to be larger, surpassing the one million mark due to many unlisted and illegal Filipino nationals.

Lebanon: As many as 30,000 OFWs are working in Lebanon. Due to the recent turmoil between Lebanon and Israel, however, many have been repatriated back to the Philippines, while others have been relocated to Cyprus, a part of the Philippine evacuation plan.

Malaysia: As Sabah is very close to the Philippines, many Filipino residents and illegal immigrants live and work there. Filipinos make up about 30% of the entire population of Sabah and they enumerate up to 900,000. Many Filipinos in Malaysia work in construction industries, fisheries, and other labor-intensive sectors in hopes of a better living. Most live in stilt slums scattered behind cities or on offshore islands.

Mexico: There are about 200,000 Mexicans of Filipino ancestry living in Mexico, some of whom are of mixed ancestry, descended from Filipino immigrants who settled in Mexico during the colonial period. More recently, there were Filipinos who arrived as refugees to Mexico who fled from the Marcos dictatorship.

Middle East: Many Filipinos work in the Middle East (mostly Saudi Arabia and UAE) as engineers, nurses or hospital workers, accountants, office workers, construction workers, restaurant workers and maids. The Philippine government estimates that more than 2 million Overseas Filipinos are working in the Middle East.

New Zealand: There are about 17,000 Filipino residents and citizens in New Zealand called KiwiPino's, Filipino New Zealanders.

Nigeria: Filipinos in Nigeria consist largely of workers in the oil industry, though those in the capital city Abuja also work in the education and medical sectors. By mid-2008, their numbers had grown to an estimated 4,500, up from 3,790 in 2005.

Norway: The number of Filipinos in Norway is estimated to be about 12,000, most of them living in the Oslo urban area.

Oman: There are between 40,000 and 46,000 Filipinos in Oman.

Pakistan: According to the statistics of the Philippine government, an estimated 3,000 Filipinos live and work in Pakistan

Singapore: As of 2009, over 163,000 Overseas Filipinos worked and resided in Singapore.

South Korea: Some 70,000 Filipinos work and live in Korea.

Spain: There are around 50,000 Filipino legal workers living abroad in Spain, mainly in Barcelona and Madrid. This number is nearly 0,7% of the Spanish population. Filipinos have maintained a presence in Spain, given the latter colonized the islands for three centuries, resulting in significant cultural ties.

Sweden: There are about 4,000 Filipinos in Sweden.

Taiwan: There are 96,000 Filipinos currently living in Taiwan. Of these, 58,704 are in manufacturing industries and 34,602 are in social or personal services

United Kingdom: The UK is home to an estimated 200,000 OFWs. Many Filipino seamen settled in British port cities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Liverpool even had an area nicknamed 'Little Manila'.

United States: Filipino Americans find it easy to integrate into American society, with a majority belonging to the middle class. Filipinos are the second-largest Asian American group in the country; Tagalog is the fifth most spoken language in the U.S. The US State Department estimated that there are 4 million Filipinos in the US as of 2007.The United States hosts the largest population of Filipinos outside the Philippines, with a Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles designated in August 2002, the first district established outside the Philippines to honor and recognize the area's Filipino community.

From Philippine Migration Report

The study also showed that the Middle Eastern countries remain the primary destinations for over 67% of OFWs. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remained as the top destination for many workers.

There are about 8.7 to 11 million overseas Filipinos worldwide, equivalent to about 11% of the total population of the Philippines.

Overseas Filipinos (and OFWs) populations around the world [2010]

Each year, more than a million Filipinos leave to work abroad through overseas employment agencies and other programs, including government sponsored ones. Others emigrate and become permanent residents of other countries. Overseas Filipinos often work as doctors, physical therapists, nurses, accountants, IT professionals, engineers, architects, entertainers, technicians, teachers, military servicemen, seafarers, students, caregivers, domestic helpers and household maids.

The exodus includes an increasing number of skilled workers taking on unskilled work overseas, resulting in what has been referred to as a brain drain, particularly in the health and education sectors. Also, the exodus can result in underemployment, for example, in cases where doctors undergo retraining to become nurses.