Missionaries Should be “Immersed” in Church

“All missionaries should be sons from the womb of the church sent as messengers of the church to establish and strengthen the church.  Evangelism of an individual has not been effectively completed until he is integrated into the life of the church.  Missionaries then must be familiar with and appreciative of the worship of the church, the fellowship of the church, the doctrine of the church, and the government of the church.

Too many individuals and activists have had a “better idea” than the church.  With disparaging remarks about the weaknesses, failures, and inefficiencies of the church, movements are begun “beside” the church.  Claims are made that such persons or agencies are working “alongside” the church, stressing that their efforts are “parallel” to and “supportive” of the church.  However, that which is “alongside” is still “outside” the church.  How zealous and self-promoting are such “para”-church organizations.  Para-church works can only justify their existence by criticism of the church.  How different this is from our Lord’s concept of missions and evangelism which builds up the church.

It is a strange phenomenon that para-church organizations, whose reason for existence is the failure of the church and their superior ability to carry out the tasks Christ gave to the church, cannot continue in existence without taking men and money from the church.  Those who are saying, “We can do what you cannot,” are constantly appealing to the church to give them their best men and support them with gifts.  In this way, those who criticize the church further sap her strength.  Even so, para-church groups find the “weak” church’s resources sufficient to keep them from demise.

Our Savior’s concept was one of church-centered ministry and missions.”

-Walter J. Chantry        full article here

See also: Love The Church, A Biblical Case for Church Membership & The Blessing of Church Membership

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Witnessing Story: Andy

I was passing out gospel tracts at the train station and a man in his late 20’s named Andy took one. I shared the gospel with him and he said that any other day he would have just passed by me but this night was different. His girlfriend had broken up with him and he was there thinking of throwing himself in front of a train when myself and another guy had approached him with the message of life. He really listened to what we had to say. We prayed for him. And he walked away from the station.

The cities are full of people like this. Opportunities to share the gospel are countless. And even if you live in the country, how many people care enough about their neighbors to ask a few tough questions because they are motivated by a love for God and a concern for those individuals? Let’s be one of those people.

 

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Hospital Visits

On Thanksgiving Day I had the opportunity to visit someone in ICU and to share the gospel briefly with them. They died a few weeks later. Hospital visitation is something you want to be prepared for. Don’t be caught off guard. It is one of the best moments to point people to the Perfect Savior.

NoCo Radio – Hospital Visitation pt 1

NoCo Radio – Hospital Visitation pt 2

 

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Western Imperialism & Foreign Missions

A mindset that is all too-common regarding foreign missions is, “We’re going to do this our way, regardless of what the locals want or need.”

This mindset is evidenced in many ways. Sometimes a youth group will want to build a fence when the locals don’t need a fence. The locals may even tear it down after the Americans leave! Sometimes the Americans will bring in Bibles when the same amount of Bibles may be printed locally for the cost of a single plane ticket or cheaper! (there are some places that are in need of Bibles but it is best to ask the locals what is the most efficient way of supplying them with God’s Word)

Another thing that comes up with this way of doing missions is that it often stirs up discontent among the locals. Those who know “the Americans” often get wealthy and the Christian message is lost immediately. The gospel is switched out for a health & wealth false gospel.

Let’s say you have someone that hosts western teams and tells them what they want to hear. The Westerners think they’re doing great work by “supporting” this particular ministry. They give gifts to the ministry (but those gifts are given to family members and not used for ministry at all). The locals see the accumulation of wealth and ask how this ministry leader  has acquired such wealth. The answer given to them (yes, this really happens) is “God blessed my faithfulness by giving me these things.” The church members wonder why God hasn’t blessed their faithfulness with material blessings. They obviously are not doing enough. The church member is asked, “Did you pray? God answered my prayer.” And so the church member is left questioning their obedience to God and also thinking that more time in prayer will equal more material possessions. All the while the gospel is lost and the Americans think they’re supporting a move of God.

There are many ways the scenario above may be avoided. I only wish it wasn’t so common.

The best scenario is that the minister who functions in a way described above is reading someone else’s mail. That is to say that they are taking Old Covenant promises and applying them to the New Covenant community, among other obvious problems. Notice how the name-it-and-claim-it (positive confession) health & wealth preachers cherry pick their verses in the OT. Such teaching cannot be substantiated using the NT.

The worst scenario is that what I’ve just described is a 2 Timothy 3:1-9 & 2 Peter 2:1-3 situation. See also the book of Jude.

Another thing that could be mentioned is the change in the locals when they see that the more a Christian works with foreigners, the wealthier they become. The locals are tempted to do “ministry” as a job, instead of a service, so that their family may be taken care of. It has to be much easier than farming, right? Why go through such hard labor and barely make it when you can entertain foreigners and live large? Just stand up, make a lot of people laugh, and tell stories with a verse thrown in here and there. Anyone can do THAT.

I believe that biblically functioning pastors (those who rightly handle the Word of God and teach and preach it) should be supported and supported well. What I don’t believe is that the income of the pastor should be far far higher than those who he ministers to.

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San Bernardino Shooting

From the AOMin Blog:

1)  Fact:  Islam is not a monolithic religion.  There is not a “single” “true Islam.”

2)  Fact:  Not all Muslims are Salafi/Wahhabi Sunnis.

3)  Fact:  Not all Salafi Sunnis are militarized/radicalized.

4)  Fact:  There are different understandings of what constitutes Sharia.

5)  Fact:  The majority of the victims of the murderous violence of ISIS are MUSLIMS.

James White speaks about how we need to be careful not to group all Muslims together and how the Muslim sources (Qur’an & Hadith) are ANYTHING but consistent enough to produce a monolithic Islam. Great article. It brings real balance to what is in the news now.

Full post seen here. Check it out.

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Self-Righteous Buddhists & Do-Good Christianity

“Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead and now lives with God in heaven. They believe that if they lead good lives, they too will go to heaven when they die.”

-from one of my daughter’s homeschool books which was describing world religions

No, the message of Christianity is the opposite. There is none who does good (Rom. 3:10-18). There is no God seeker. The effect of the Fall is upon all men (Rom. 1:21). That includes their will, mind, and the decisions they make. Man’s heart is not and cannot be right before God by anything we may do (Jer. 13:23, 17:9). Without God we’re dead in our sin, not just in a bad way, but dead (Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13). No one can do what is pleasing to God (John 6:43-44, 65; Rom. 8:8). This means that any kind of works-based salvation like the quote describes above is impossible (Rom. 3:27,28; 4:1-8).* We’re entirely dependent upon God’s saving grace.

The message of Christianity is that Christ the Righteous One died for the unrighteous (2 Cor. 5:21)! We’re saved by His good works, not by living “good lives”. The work of God is that we believe in Jesus (John 6:29).

Out of every worldview I’ve interacted with, I have by far found Buddhists to be the most self-righteous individuals I’ve ever come across. I’m not speaking about the monk down the street who plays shooter games in the internet cafe nor the monks who yell at the people at the market. I’m talking about Buddhists that I’ve had real meaningful conversations with about their faith.

One Buddhist man told me if I was sick and poor that he’d say I didn’t give enough at the temple. I asked a Buddhist last week, “What is the message of Buddhism?” and he replied, “I do what I want and it makes me feel good.” We had just spoken about ISIS and what had taken place in France. Doesn’t that make ISIS feel good? On what grounds can he say what they did was wrong if there is no God to define what is good?

Buddhism is standing firm in mid-air. It is “operating without all its buttons” as my friend would say.

I asked the man, “What about origins? Do you have a creation story or do you believe we descended from highly evolved African primates?” He replied, “I don’t care about those things.” So that’s Buddhism for you. Basic worldview questions are avoided. This has been a common trend among most Buddhists I’ve spoken to.

I asked what he thought about Christianity and he said, “I don’t really care for it.” He then explained how offensive the message is that Jesus is the only way. I followed up with asking what he believes the message of Christianity is. He said, “The message of Christianity is the same as all the other religions – do good.” His understanding of the message of Christianity was the same as the misinformed homeschool book quoted above. At this point I could have responded by showing how much knowledge he lacked of all the world religions because they do not teach this. I could have pointed out that he had no objective standard by which to say something is good and something is bad. But I chose instead to take what he said head-on. I asked, “Would it be OK with you if I tell you what the message of Christianity is?” He said, “Yes” and then I explained that the message of Christianity is the exact opposite of “Do good” and provided much of the information listed above about our state before God and why we need a Savior. I explained that we are saved FOR good works and not BY good works (Eph. 2:8-10). It is so different.

Unless the sinner is shown the sinfulness of sin, he’ll never see his need nor appreciate the Savior. But when he sees his sinful state for what it is, he’ll treasure the Savior and the name of Jesus will be precious to him!

In works-righteousness religions it is “do and do and do”. Christianity is “receive and do IN LIGHT OF what you’ve received”.

For those hanging on to works-righteousness – check out Gal. 5:4 and Gal.1:8-9

Buddhists need to be shown that they have greatly broken the law of God and that there is only one way to be right before Him. That is through the work which He has done – not by our works, but His! Believe on the One who was sent! Cling to Him and His righteousness – alone! Someone said before, “Christ’s righteousness is not all we need. It’s all we have!”

I say this all the time…it is one thing to reject the Christian message, it is another thing to never hear it. Let’s be sure people are understanding the message of the grace of God that is found in Christ Jesus.

I am astonished at God’s grace this morning as I’m typing this. Aren’t you?

* This paragraph comes from the Doctrine of Salvation class by Alpha & Omega Ministries

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Going To Work

Lester (or Vester) Lee Flanagan went by the name “Bryce Williams” when he was on TV. He shot a reporter and a cameraman on live TV earlier this year. Maybe he was influenced by this video. As the world shares the message of hate lets share the message of love.

Tomorrow is not promised (James 4:13-16) and our flesh is like grass (Isaiah 40:6-8). I was surprised recently to find out what was going on in the life of someone I know. We cannot assume anything. There is no shortcut. We must love people enough to get involved in their lives and to share the gospel with them and bear their burdens as well (Galatians 6:2). We’re not saved by our good works but FOR good works (Ephesians 2:8-10) so lets get busy! There is work to do. – For His glory!

 

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Kong Hee

There has been big news coming out of Singapore.

Fox News – “Kong Hee, the founder and senior pastor of City Harvest Church, was found guilty Wednesday with five other church leaders of stealing 24 million Singapore dollars ($17 million) designated for building and investment-related purposes through sham bond investments. The State Court also found that they used another 25 million dollars ($18 million) to hide the first embezzlement from auditors.” Full article HERE.

More information here & here.

Kong Hee, who preaches that Jesus was rich and we should be also, has funneled $35 million of designated funds into his wife’s music career and has been found guilty of seeking to cover up his actions.

I’m so thankful he was found guilty. The more these kind of things happen, the harder it is to share the gospel with people because they’ll use them as excuses for their unbelief.

Christians in Singapore are reacting. Some are saddened. But others are thankful because now the gospel can shine brighter than before. I just heard this sermon from a pastor in Singapore pointing the people of God to the gospel after the Kong Hee trial. Have a listen. It is so pastoral and edifying.

From Gospel Light Christian Church, Dr. Paul Choo: The Prosperity Gospel

“He is a God who cares for me from head to toe….I can lose my wallet. I cannot lose Him.”

-Dr. Paul Choo

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An Hour With A New Convert

From the Alpha & Omega Ministries blog: Imagine the scenario. You’ve had an amazing conversation with someone which has led to their conversion to Christ. You have just an hour with them. After that, you may never see them again. What are the most important things you would wish him to know? What follows is the answer to that question.

See the blog post here.

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