Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Alone

In 1939, Dad Jespersen (Margaret Nichols'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!

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).

Monday, November 14, 2011

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

by Doug Nichols

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 to ACTION 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. “ 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.

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

God Uses Ordinary People

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

Jesus is Lord

The fundamental confession of a Christian is, “Jesus is Lord. He is my Lord. I am His slave.”

“…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10, nasb).

"You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am” (John 14:13, nasb).

“Jesus is Lord” means that He is sovereign, Master, and He is totally in charge.

Lord is used 747 times in the New Testament.

Even though we are called slaves of Christ, He calls us friends. Not only does he call us friends, but he has adopted us as Sons and exalted us as joint heirs with Him in glory.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Knowing God's Will

involves 7 things

These six 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.

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,, 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,, 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,, 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,, 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,, 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, 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
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

(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

by Doug Nichols

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 1, 2011

Time in the Word of God

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 in Word 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 t 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

Truth & Transformation (A Manifesto for Ailing Nations) #4

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

Truth and Transformation (A Manifesto for Ailing Nations) #3

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 trans¬form 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, June 7, 2011

What About the Hidden People?

The number of those to be won to Christ in Africa and Asia has more than tripled since 1900. Almost three billion people today have little or no knowledge of Christ and His salvation. Never has the challenge been greater for total, global advance with the Gospel.

Most of those to be reached are often called the “Hidden People”. Why? - Because major cultural, racial, linguistic, social and other barriers “hide” them from the eyes and the concerned efforts of most evangelizing Christians. For example, if every Christian were to win his or her culturally near neighbor to Christ, 2.5 to 3 billion non-Christians would still remain totally untouched because they live outside the cultural home-base of every active Christian in the world.

Where can some of these Hidden People be found? – Consider just a few illustrations:

•In Japan the total Christian population is only 1%, most of who live in cities. But in thousands of towns and fishing villages there is absolutely no Christian witness, and no missionaries to reach them. They are hidden!

•There are 500,000 towns and villages with no gospel witness in Europe.

•For every Christian in Thailand there are 999 Buddhists, most of who have never once heard of Christ.

•There are 160 million street children worldwide and 145 million orphans. Most are “hidden” from the priorities of many church planting ministries and missions.

•For every 10,000 villages in India 9,950 have no Christian community whatsoever. Furthermore, less than 100 of its 3,000 castes and tribes have any Christians in them.

•Despite the strong Christian movement in Latin America there are still many Hidden People. In the jungle lowlands there are up to 600 small primitive tribes with over 5 million. Many have yet to hear of Christ.

•The almost one billion Muslims are concentrated in 44 countries and dispersed throughout 40 others. In the face of such diversity and with such numbers to reach there are less than 2000 evangelical missionaries working with them. Hidden!

Thousands of new missionaries should be specially trained and sent out for evangelism and discipleship among each of nearly 12,000 culture groupings where no churches exist!

The needs around us should always be seen in this perspective. Although we need missionaries on all six continents, not all six are equal either in resources, population or in present opportunities to know Christ.

To say that everyone is important and equal before God leads to an inescapable conclusion: those with no Christian witness culturally near to them, as well as geographically near, must have more of our concentrated efforts to reach them. For many Christians around the world these “Hidden People” must become our highest priority, or they will never be reached!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Where to Start in Ministry

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 and Transformation ( A Manifesto for Ailing Nations) #2

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 troth. Its blindness needs to be exposed so that it can be transformed into a humane and compassionate community. [pages 82-83]

Monday, May 9, 2011

Truth and Transformation (A Manifesto for Ailing Nations)

by Vishal Mangalwade

The answer came from historian Lynn White Jr.'s study Medieval Religion and Technology. His pioneering research into the his¬tory 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, salva¬tion 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 tech¬nology 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. [page 41]

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tradition or Obedience?

I was reading 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 [] 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.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Day with the LORD

A Day With the Lord
“For a day in your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Psalm 84:10
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”   James 4:7-8

ACTION missionary Jim Robinette serves in Uganda, Africa.  He is involved in equipping pastors and church leaders in their walk with God and for ministry.  He writes the following on the subject of prayer and setting aside a day devoted to prayer.  You can learn more at
Our Lord Jesus Christ, as in all things, sets a remarkable example for us in devotion and prayer as He gave Himself to God for an extended time. He drew near the Father in Luke 4:1-2: “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they ended, He was hungry.” Though His consecration here is a preparation for His soon-coming ministry, in this passage we see our God, who became the Man Jesus, in an extended time of closest communion with God the Father.
The examples of godly leaders who found the benefits and blessings of spending extended time before God also encourage us in this practice. Donald Whitney reminds us that the church has been blessed by leaders who followed our Lord in nearness to God through spiritual disciplines: “Godly people are disciplined people. It has always been so. Call to mind some heroes of church history—Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Bunyan, Susanna Wesley, George Whitfield, Lady Huntington, Jonathan and Sarah Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, George Muller—they were all disciplined people.”
We are to train ourselves in godliness according to 1Timothy 4:7-8: “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” This spiritual training or discipline (Greek: mathetes [meaning ‘a learner and adherent’] and sophronismos [meaning ‘saving the mind’ or ‘of sound mind’]) in grace enables us to habitually draw near to God and serves as a means of receiving His grace. “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6. These exercises are not works by which we earn righteousness but merely a means to draw close to our grace-giving God that we may receive grace fully from Him.
In this spirit of gracious discipline for godliness, I offer you the following helps and suggestions for spending extended time in fellowship and communion with God. A Christian friend of mine once told me that he didn’t know how to spend a day with God so I offer these thoughts for him and others like him who would gain knowledge of this spiritual practice and apply it in their lives. I’ll also cite Biblical references that relate to the use of these disciplines.
Years ago I became acquainted with the spiritual disciplines through older, godly Christians. In my private readings I came across the idea of spending a day, or most of a day, regularly in seeking God through exercises like those listed below. As I began to practice this discipline I found refreshment and revival in my relationship with God. I spent usually one day a week (this could be one day a month or quarterly, if you prefer). I also began to fast during this time and this became a blessed and long-standing habit. I’m convinced of the blessings these actions bring. God abundantly blesses the soul that longs for Him. Time with Him can only strengthen and grace us. A longing for His nearness can be realized!
These thoughts are shared not as a formula but as an aid and useful guide. Grace requires growth (not declension) so choose the means that would be most helpful for you personally and begin to practice those means—perhaps with difficulty at first, but with increasing blessing as you draw near the Lord.
Andrew Murray wrote: “Time is one of the chief standards of value. The time we give is a proof of the interest we feel. We need time with God—to realize His presence; to wait for Him to make Himself known; to consider and feel the needs we plead for; to take our place in Christ; to pray till we can believe that we have received.”
A Day with the Lord
Note: Schedule with friends and loved ones, and cancel appointments so that you have 6-8 hours of uninterrupted time with the Lord. This is an appointment with the King of kings and takes precedence over all things (Matthew 6:33; Matthew 7:7). Trust God and ask Him to show you the means that honor Him and bless you as you spend a day with Him (Psalm 52:8; James 1:5-6; Song of Solomon 4:9).
Your time could include:
A. Early morning devotions
~Reading the Bible is essential and reading devotional material is also helpful.
B. Prayer and worship
~The use of a prayer journal has been very helpful to me. Write out your prayers and pray from a Biblical text (Matthew 4:4; Ephesians 6:18; Psalm 68:4; Psalm 119:24).
~Sing hymns and songs to the Lord. This time should not be hurried but should be a time of edification and enjoyment.
C. Various spiritual exercises
~Exercise or go on a nature walk. I like to run and find this a help to meditation and prayer
~Study of the Word, meditation on the Word, reading the Bible and other God- honoring books
~ Being still before the Lord Quiet your heart and enjoy the Lord’s wonderful presence and nearness (Numbers 9:8; Hebrews 10:22; Isaiah 9:6).
D. Sermon preparation
~Some time can be used to prepare to preach and teach (Ezra 4:15; Mark 6:31; 1Timothy 4:7; Psalm 1:2; 2Timothy 2:15; 1Timothy 4:13; Jeremiah 36:8; Ecclesiastes 12:9).
E. Special prayer
~Schedule 1 or 2 hours especially seeking God in prayer and devotional reading of His Word leading to prayer (Luke 22:41; Psalm 143:1; Psalm 118:14).
F. Simply sitting before God in His Word; Resting in the presence of the Lord
~Enjoying the beauty about me is enjoyable to me. Enjoy God and His Word in nature or a place of quiet and undisturbed tranquility (Psalm 46:10; Psalm 119:59; Psalm 146:6).
~Schedule time for silence and solitude. This is often helpful and needed.
G. Fasting (Acts 14:23)
H. Scripture
~Come back to God’s Word repeatedly. Read Scriptures devotionally in adoration of His name. Simply to love God and rejoice in Him is blessed (Psalm 119:97; Psalm 18:1).
May the Lord bless you, friend, as you seek to glorify and enjoy God in a day in communion with Him.
“Be much in prayer. Spend longer time in holy adoration. Read the Scriptures more earnestly and constantly. Watch your lives more carefully. Live nearer to God.” –C.H. Spurgeon
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Feeding the Hundry

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


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.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pastors in the Philippines: How do you define "servant leadership"?

How do you define “servant leadership”?

ACTION missionary Steve Read in the Philippines reports: "Great mentoring group this week! Five pastors cram into my office. Worship. Praise. Prayer. Open
hearts. Electric.".

We wrestle with the idea of “servant leadership.” Luke 22:24-26 (NIV) describes an interesting
interaction among the disciples and Jesus’ response: Also a dispute arose among them as to which of
them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them;
and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that.
Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who
serves.” Like many things, Jesus turns the idea of leadership upside down.

After each has a chance write a personal definition of servant leadership, personal opinions,
explanations, beg-to-differs begin to pop up. Smiling as I leave the room, I ask them to put their heads
together and come up with a definition they can all agree on. One guideline: “No blood on the floor,
boys!” One replies, “But bruises are OK, right?”

The results are informative, enlightening. “Servant leadership is struggling by His grace to empty oneself
as Christ emptied Himself out. Servant leadership is being Christ-like.” The definition carries us for nearly
two more hours of interaction and application.

“Struggling.” Servant leadership definitely is not easy. That seems especially true when it comes
to serving those church leaders that always seem to oppose you. One pastor laments, “Moses had
only one Pharaoh. I have three!” It is not easy to serve self-motivated power-grabbers. “Struggling.”

“By His grace.” Unmerited favor. The gift of character, strength, graciousness that flows from God’s
heart. It is God at work, not the pastor when servant leadership is in operation.

“To empty oneself as Christ emptied Himself.” Philippians 2:6, 7 (NIV) talks about Jesus’ servant-
spirit: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but
made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant. “Made himself nothing,” literally to empty
himself, to give up his power position (Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic
Domains : Greek (New Testament)).

Wow! How do we do that? Stories are shared. Pain is felt. Tears are shed. Love is expressed.

Jesus’ command to love one another, even our enemies, rings in our ears. That’s the Christ-likeness of
servant leadership. How did Jesus love his enemies? He did it on the cross even as we our very selves, in
our sin, hammered the nails into his hands. He served us laying down his life, emptying himself. We hear
Jesus’ cry on the cross, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Love.

Jesus continues to speak: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross
daily and follow me (Luke 9:23). Daily love. Daily denial of self. Daily servant-leadership. Daily the
cross. Daily Christ-like. By your grace, Lord.

We continue to struggle in the mentoring group to understand, to apply. Yes, Lord, sometimes those we
serve do not know what they are doing. Forgive. Love. Christ-like. Yes, Lord, sometimes it’s what you

Learn more at Steve Reads Blog:

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

TOPIC (Trainers of Pastors International Coalition) Philippines Consultaion

Christian Community Development Centre, Tagaytay, Cavite, Philippines
March 8-11, 2011

TOPIC (Trainers of Pastors International Coalition) is a coalition of primarily non formal education ministries with the common goal of equipping undertrained pastors for the burgeoning worldwide church. In the Philippines, TOPIC is a commission of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC). The vision of TOPIC Philippines is “Every church with equipped and maturing pastoral leadership teams.”
TOPIC Philippines has 200 trained pastor equippers in all sixteen regions of the country. March 8-11, 2011, thirty-three regional leaders from fourteen regions gathered at the Christian Development Centre in Tagaytay, Cavite. The purpose of the consultation was to (1) equip and encourage the pastors and to (2) plan and coordinate regional plans for 2011.
Equip and encourage
With the vision of equipped and maturing pastoral leadership teams in every church, the consultation delegates explored the scriptural roots of multiplication. The group noted, along with other insights, that multiplication is God’s will with roots in the creation account and the Abrahamic covenant. Multiplication is natural in creation with creatures procreating after their own kind. Spiritually, God connected obedience and blessing with multiplication. Considering the scope of all Scripture, multiplication not only has to do with quantity but quality as well, multiplying character through discipling and mentoring.
The delegates also discussed “Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: The Paradox of Personal Dysfunction” (Gary L. McIntosh and Samuel D. Rima, Sr.). The pastors offered heartfelt sharing, support and prayer with each other as they confessed their dark sides to each other. The “dark side” is the dysfunctional stuff we carry with us that must be brought under the healing hand of God. Everyone has a dark side but in leadership, especially Christian leadership with its pressures and unwritten expectations, sinful stuff can come out in unexpected ways and times. We hear of pastors falling into sin, immorality, anger issues, lack of integrity, and the like. As we face these issues God can bring healing and transformation. Like Paul, weakness can become the springboard for the grace of God to be displayed, victory experienced, growth realized.
Group devotionals also encouraged and inspired, offering much appreciated feeding to pastors who usually feeding others on a weekly basis. Executive committee member Pastor Roli Manuel shared that true success in God’s eyes is through a life of FAITH: faithfulness, availability, integrity, and humility. Ex com member Pastor Gil Balignasay led the pastors to the life of King Josiah. In Josiah’s devotion to God, he was a seeker of God, loyalist to God, promoter of God, and a revivalist in passion for God.
Plan and coordinate
In addition to coordinating schedules for ongoing regional training in 2011, long term goals were established called CORE 10K. CORE stands for Community of Regional Equippers. 10K expresses the goal to raise up 10,000 trained pastoral equippers by 2020. This goal will be fulfilled through widespread recruitment, mentoring, and training. Each of the 200 current trained TOPIC pastors will recruit and mentor four new potential pastors. The new recruits will be mentored and trained for three years, after which they in turn will each mentor four more for three years. The numbers crunch to well over 10,000 by 2020, leaving a buffer for attrition.
A role-up-our-sleeves spirit infects the TOPIC regional leadership team in anticipation of all that God will do in the coming years. In a land with a rapidly multiplying church, there is a critical need for multiplying leadership as well. By God’s grace, TOPIC Philippines will continue to fulfill the scriptural multiplying mandate as it seeks to establish equipped and maturing pastoral leadership teams in every church.

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


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.”


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

Train Up a Child

“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)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Romans (An Interpretive Outline)

p.88 “Since the heathen sin against God by breaking the law written on their hearts, they will perish unless the message of Christ is carried to them. There is not justification for sinners apart from faith in Christ! Those whom God has chosen to save He saves through the means of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; He calls them outwardly by the message of the Gospel and inwardly by the Holy Spirit who enables them to believe the message. ‘But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ,’ (II Thessalonians 2:13-14).

There are some who believe that those who never hear the Gospel cannot be damned. They argue that ‘God would not be so unjust as to condemn to hell those who have never been given a chance to accept or to reject Christ.’ Yet they advocate the sending of missionaries to those who have never heard and who, therefore, according to their view, could not possibly be lost. It seems contradictory to hold that the heathen are safe because they have never heard of Christ, and yet to support the missionary movement. For if the heathen cannot be lost without first hearing the Gospel and if after hearing it some of them reject it, then, would it not follow that missionaries, instead of bringing the possibility of salvation to the heathen are, in fact, bringing only condemnation to those who reject Christ after hearing the message? But, as Paul shows in Romans, men are lost, not by their rejection of the Gospel of Christ which frees them of the guilt of their sins, they must first hear it. Thus, the sending of missionaries is absolutely imperative if the heathen are to be saved.

As to the question of the salvation of those incapable of understanding and believing the Gospel (i.e., infants, the mentally incompetent, etc.) the Scriptures are silent-it is enough to know that the Judge of the world will do right. That they stand in need of salvation is clear from the fact that Adam’s sin has been charged to all the race (5:12-19); but we are given no information as to what provision has been made for them. This much is certain: if they enter heaven it must be through the merits of Christ, and not because they are innocent or free from guilt. When considering such matters we should ever keep before us the words of Deuteronomy 29:29, ‘The secret things belong to the Lord our God;’ but the things that are revealed belong to us and our children forever…’”

Monday, February 7, 2011

Readers Are Leaders

by Warren Wiersbe

The next time you pick up any English translation of the Bible, give thanks to God for the life and ministry of Wil¬liam Tyndale (1494-1536). It was Tyndale who paved the way for the translation of the Bible from the original languages into English, and this ministry cost him his life.

The difficulties Tyndale had to overcome to get his work done were colossal. He experienced shipwreck. His precious manuscripts were lost. The established church hounded and persecuted him, and secret agents were constantly after him. The police even raided the printshop where his translation was being published. Some of his "friends" betrayed him. Tyndale was arrested in 1535 in Belgium, and in 1536 he was strangled and burned at the stake.

My reason for citing these facts is to pave the way for a quotation from one of the letters Tyndale wrote while he was in prison:

"I entreat your lordship, and that by the Lord Jesus, that if I must remain here for the winter you would beg the Commissary to be so kind as to send me, from the things of mine which he has, a warmer cap; I feel the cold painfully in my head. Also a warmer cloak, for the cloak I have is very thin. He has a woollen shirt of mine, if he will send it. But most of all, My Hebrew Bible, Grammar, and Vocabulary, that I may spend my time in that pursuit."

Every reader of the Bible will immediately associate this request with one which the Apostle Paul made to his beloved son in the faith, Timothy. "The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments" (II Tim. 4: 13).

We have no idea what these books were that Paul urgently requested, but we do know that they were important to him. It is possible that portions of the Old Testament Scriptures were among them. At any rate, it is worth noting that both Paul and Tyndale requested books as their companions as they awaited trial and certain death.

Charles Spurgeon had a marvelous comment on Paul's request:

"He is inspired, yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for 30 years, yet he wants books! He has seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He has had a wider experience than most men, yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it is unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, yet he wants books!"

How I wish that this same desire for good books character¬ized more believers today!

Some years ago, an American paper manufacturing com¬pany ran a series of ads in the major magazines, and each one had the same caption: "Send us a man who reads!" In recent years, the slogan “Readers are Leaders!” has appeared in many places. Somehow, these messages have not gotten through to some of God's people. One purpose of this book is to encourage our readers to invest their time in reading good books.

After all, reading is to the mind what eating is to the body: it provides nourishment. I read somewhere "The mind grows by what it takes in, and the heart grows by what it gives out."

Many people are starving their minds by neglecting the nutri¬tious volumes that are available for their reading. They try to minister to others, but they have nothing to give.

Our God is a God of truth. "He is the Rock, his work is perfect ... a God of truth and without iniquity" (Deut. 32:4). God put truth into creation and thus made possible science and engineering. His Son is named "the truth" (see John 14:6); and the Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of truth" (v. 17). We never have to fear truth because all truth comes from God and leads to God. "Thy word is truth" (17:17). God can write his truth in the skies (Ps. 19:1-6) or in the Scriptures (vv. 7-11), and there will be no contradiction.

God made man to appreciate and use truth. He gave us a mind to think with, and he expects us to use it. God puts no premium on ignorance, even though he warns us against trust¬ing the wisdom of the world. Years ago, when 1 was a young Christian heading for college, Dr. Torrey Johnson advised me, "Learn all you can, put it under the blood, and use it for Jesus' sake." I have tried to follow that wise counsel and share it with others.

We must face the fact that God wrote a book-the Bible. We must also face the fact that he gave teachers to the church (see Eph. 4: 11), and that "apt to teach" is one of the important qualifications for a pastor (1 Tim. 3:2). Of course apt to teach implies apt to learn. Yet many pastors, sad to say, do not read and, as a consequence, they do not grow. This means that their people do not grow and that the church does not prosper. "You have a fine library ," I said to a pastor who had invited me to minister in his pulpit. "Yes," he replied, "and 1 wish 1 had time to use it."

Reading is not a matter of having time, but of taking time, of making time. We always make time for the things that are important to us. God gives each of us twenty-four hours a day, and how we use those hours reveals the priorities in our lives. If you devoted only thirty minutes a day to serious reading, you could complete the average book in at least a week. 1 always carry books with me when 1 travel (you could write a book waiting for some planes to take off), and when I make my visits to the doctor or dentist or anywhere else that might involve a wait. I would rather read a good Christian book than the ancient magazines in the doctor's office!

"But, I'm just not the student type!" someone may argue.

I'm not sure I know what the student type is. You can be sure that I am not encouraging anybody to become an ivory-tower recluse, a bookworm who isolates himself from life and reads himself into senility. There is no such thing as the student type, because all kinds of people enjoy reading. Many readers of this book are serious Bible students, and that in itself proves that they can handle books; for a knowledge of the Bible is more important than a college education. If you have learned to use your Bible, you can master any other book.

No, the time has come for us to lay aside our feeble excuses and come to grips with the serious business of reading for learning and living. Never underestimate the power of a book. According to one authority, for every word in Hitler's Mein Kampf, 125 lives were lost in World War II.

What shall we read? Certainly the Bible and books that help us understand it better. We also need to read books that will help us serve the Lord better. But along with these we must also read books that will help us build our lives and our homes-biographies of great Christians, the classics that have endured the test of time, and those mind-stretching books that we have always avoided.

One of my purposes here is to introduce you to the best in Christian reading, to encourage you to go to your own book¬shelf, the church library, or your nearest Christian bookstore, or perhaps borrow from a friend that one book you have al¬ways meant to read-and start reading it!

Remember, readers are leaders.

Warren Wiersbe, “Readers Are Leaders,” Victorious Christians You Should Know, p. 7-10.

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

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 and 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 [].

Monday, January 10, 2011

What Does Scrooge Have to Do With Christmas?

I recently read the wonderful Christmas story again in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in my “through the bible” reading program. Wonderful! Majestic! Glorious!
Let’s encourage our churches, pastors and music leaders to emphasize the true story of Christmas this year in their plays, dramas and presentations at Christmas, rather than music and dramas that may be entertaining, but have nothing to do with the Gospel of Christmas.

We argue in the US, Canada and the UK about the secularism of Christmas (doing away with nativity scenes, etc.), yet when people come to our Christmas programs, all they see many times are silly dramas, circus acts, dancing, ballets, and Scrooge (what in the world does Scrooge have to do with Christmas anyway, with its swearing).

There is nothing as majestic and glorious as Christmas music and the Christmas story. So, when people come to our Christmas program, let’s make sure it portrays the Gospel of Christ, and is not just entertaining as the world. “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.” (Galatians 4:4 NASB)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Growth Passages

compiled by Dale Arveson (New Living Translation)

a.Romans 1:10-11, “One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. For I long to visit you so I can share a spiritual blessing with you that will help you grow strong in the Lord.”

b.Ephesians 1:16b-17, “I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.”

c.Ephesians 3:16-17, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. “

d.John 15:5, "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”

e.Ephesians 4:11-13, “He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.”

f.Phil 1:9-10,“I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns.”

g.1 Timothy 1:5, “The purpose of my instruction is that all the Christians there would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and sincere faith.”

h.Hebrews 5:14-6:1,”Solid food is for those who are mature, who have trained themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong and then do what is right. So let us stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding.”

i.James 1:2-4,” For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”

j.2 Peter 3:18, “Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.”