Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Is This Your Church?

"Top Ten Signs that Your Church is not Really Evangelistic."

By John Avant.

10. There is better attendance at a controversial business meeting than at any evangelism training the church has ever done.
9. The student ministry has the best concerts and trips in town but no one can remember the last time they went witnessing.
8. The senior adult group has enough energy for bus trips to Branson but not to go witness at the local nursing home.
7. It wouldn’t do much good for the pastor to preach an evangelistic message because all the people in the service on Sunday already are believers.
6. The average church member would have trouble naming five friends who are un-churched.
5. Most members get more upset about the music they don’t like than about the fact that people are going to hell.
4. There might be money in the budget somewhere that actually is devoted to reaching those not already members, but no one is quite sure where to find it.
3. The small groups and Sunday School classes are very concerned about “going deeper in the Word” although no one can remember the last time an unbeliever actually came to their group.
2. If the church was to disappear today, the average lost person in the community would not notice.
1. If the pastor does not visit in the hospital for six months he will be fired, but if he does not share Christ for six months no one will care.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Billy Graham

Billy Graham is now 86 years old with Parkinson's disease. In January 2000, leaders in Charlotte , North Carolina , invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in his honor. Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson's disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, 'We don't expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you.' So he agreed. After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said, 'I'm reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn't there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn't fin! d it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn't find it. The conductor said, 'Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.' Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car , he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket. The conductor rushed back and said, 'Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don't need a ticket. I'm sure! you bought one.' Einstein looked at him and said, 'Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going.'' Having said that Billy Graham continued, 'See the suit I'm wearing? It's a brand new suit. My wife, my children, and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want you to immediately remember the suit I'm wearing. I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am .. I also know where I'm going.'

Friday, April 25, 2008

Phun Phridays

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Read the following and see if you agree.

B.B. Warfield

From Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield – Volume I, pp. 407-410
John E. Meeter, editor (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1970)

I believe that my one aim in life and death should be to glorify God and enjoy Him forever; and that God teaches me how to glorify and enjoy him in His holy Word, that is, the Bible, which He has given by the infallible inspiration of His Holy Spirit in order that I may certainly know what I am to believe concerning Him and what duty He requires of me.

I believe that God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and incomparable in all that He is; one God but three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, my Creator, my Redeemer, and my Sanctifier; in whose power and wisdom, righteousness, goodness and truth I may safely put my trust.

I believe that the heavens and the earth, and all that in them is, are the work of God's hands; and that all that He has made He directs and governs in all their actions; so that they fulfil the end for which they were created, and I who trust in Him shall not be put to shame but may rest securely in the protection of is almighty love.

I believe that God created man after is own image, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness, and entered into a covenant of life with him upon the sole condition of the obedience that was his due: so that it was by wilfully sinning against God that man fell into the sin and misery in which I have been born.

I believe, that, being fallen in Adam, my first father, I am; by nature a child of wrath, under the condemnation of God and corrupted in body and soul, prone to evil and liable to eternal death; from which dreadful state I cannot be delivered save through the unmerited grace of God my Savior.

I believe that God has not left the world to perish in its sin, but out of the great love wherewith He has loved it, has from all eternity graciously chosen unto Himself a multitude which no man can number, to deliver them out of their sin and misery, and of them to build up again in the world His kingdom of righteousness: in which kingdom I may be assured I have my part, if I hold fast to Christ the Lord.

I believe that God has redeemed His people unto Himself through Jesus Christ our Lord; who, though be was and ever continues to be the eternal Son of God, yet was born of a woman, born under the law, that He might redeem them that are under the law: I believe that He bore the penalty due to my sins in His own body on the tree, and fulfilled in His own person the obedience I owe to the righteousness of God, and now presents me to His Father as His purchased possession, to the praise of the glory of His grace forever: wherefore renouncing all merit of my own, I put all my trust only in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ my redeemer.

I believe that Jesus Christ my redeemer, who died for my offences was raised again for my justification, and ascended into the heavens, where He sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty, continually making intercession for his people, and governing the whole world as head over all things for his Church: so that I need fear no evil and may surely know that nothing can snatch me out of His hands and nothing can separate me from His love.

I believe that the redemption wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ is effectually applied to all His people by the Holy Spirit, who works faith in me and thereby unites me to Christ, renews me in the whole man after the image of God, and enables me more and more to die unto sin and to live unto righteousness; until, this gracious work having been completed in me, I shall be received into glory: in which great hope abiding, I must ever strive to perfect holiness in the fear of God.

I believe that God requires of me, under the gospel, first of all, that, out of a true sense of my sin and misery and apprehension of His mercy in Christ, I should turn with grief and hatred away from sin and receive and rest upon Jesus Christ alone for salvation; that, so being united to Him, I may receive pardon for my sins and be accepted as righteous in God's sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to me and received by faith alone: and thus and thus only do I believe I may be received into the number and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God.

I believe that, having been pardoned and accepted for Christ's sake, it is further required of me that I walk in the Spirit whom He has purchased for me, and by whom love is shed abroad in my heart; fulfilling the obedience I owe to Christ my King; faithfully performing all the duties laid upon me by the holy law of God my heavenly Father; and ever reflecting in my life and conduct, the perfect example that has been set me by Christ Jesus my Leader, who has died for me and granted to me His Holy Spirit just that I may do the good works which God has afore prepared that I should walk in them.

I believe that God has established His Church in the world and endowed it with the ministry of the Word and the holy ordinances of Baptism, the Lord's Supper and Prayer; in order that through these as means, the riches of his grace in the gospel may be made known to the world, and, by the blessing of Christ and the working of His Spirit in them that by faith receive them, the benefits of redemption may be communicated to his people: wherefore also it is required of me that I attend on these means of grace with diligence, preparation, and prayer, so that through them I may be instructed and strengthened in faith, and in holiness of life and in love; and that I use my best endeavors to carry this gospel and convey these means of grace to the whole world.

I believe that as Jesus Christ has once come in grace, so also is He to come a second time in glory, to judge the world in righteousness and assign to each his eternal award: and I believe that if I die in Christ, my soul shall be at death made perfect in holiness and go home to the Lord; and when He shall return in his majesty I shall be raised in glory and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoyment of God to all eternity: encouraged by which blessed hope it is required of me willingly to take my part in suffering hardship here as a good soldier of Christ Jesus, being assured that if I die with Him I shall also live with him, if I endure, I shall also reign with Him.

And to Him, my Redeemer,

with the Father,

and the Holy Spirit,

Three Persons, one God,

be glory forever, world without end,

Amen, and Amen.

Ten Commandments for mission trip participants

Healthy attitudes on short-term mission trips
You shall not forget that you represent your home country and the Lord Jesus Christ.
You shall not expect that things will be the same as they are at home, for you have left your home to find different things. [ mono-culturalism ]
You shall not take minor things too seriously. Accepting things as they are paves the way for a good mission trip.
You shall not judge all insert name of target people by the one person with whom you have had trouble.
You shall not let other group members get on your nerves. You raised good money and set aside this time. So, enjoy yourself.
You shall not be overly worried. The person who worries has no pleasures. Few things people worry about are ever fatal.
Remember your passport (or other identification document) so that you know where it is at all times. A person without documents is a person without a country. [ passport info ]
Blessed is the person who says "thank you" in any language. Verbal gratefulness is worth more than tips.
When in insert name of country (Rome), do as the insert name of people (Romans) do. If in difficulty, use common sense and your native friendliness.
Remember, you are a guest in insert name of country. He who treats his host with respect shall be treated as an honored guest.
Okay, so these aren't the 10 commandments given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. However, the principles enunciated here are foundational to success in short-term cross-cultural experiences. So, violating these 10 commandments (even if Moses didn't get them) can spoil your short-term experience and even tarnish your attempts to witness for Christ.

Ten ways to ruin short term mission trips

Unhealthy attitudes on short-term mission trips
Believe it or not, it's possible to have a bad short-term missions experience. Most times, this is not the fault of the situation or organization. Often, the root cause is the short-termer's own attitudes and expectations.
To maximize your short-term experience, AVOID doing the things on this Top Ten checklist:
1. Keep narrowly focused on "spiritual" activities. Since you want to win people to Christ, focus on only the loftiest of things. Avoid menial work like data entry, loading trucks, or working on buildings. Such things will distract you from your primary task.
2. To tighten up your schedule, eliminate personal prayer and Bible study. You will be so rushed away that you probably won't have time. Besides, can't you get all the spiritual food you need from group devotions and from church services?
3. Stay organized and on schedule. Set detailed goals before you go. Establish schedules and refuse to deviate from them. Do not accept delays, last-minute changes, and impromptu visits and invitations. Those things will just keep you from getting things done for God.

4. Help the missionaries by pointing out their mistakes. Bring them up to date on what you've heard are the latest trends in missions. Some missionaries are stubborn. So, you may need to enlist some support among the nationals for your views about how things should be run.
5. Get involved romantically with someone. Being away from family and friends makes this the perfect time to get involved romantically. While it may distract you slightly from the work, you will be able to expose national Christians to America's progressive dating customs.
6. Don't embarrass yourself by trying to pick up the local language. People are always saying that English is spoken all over the world. So, insist that those people use it with you.
7. Immediately begin pointing out your team members' faults. Time is short. It will be difficult for people to make the needed changes if you don't help them right from the start. Focus your helpful criticisms on team leaders.
8. As you go all out in warring against dangerous germs, don't eat any of the local food. To be sure, you may miss some friendly opportunities with "the natives," but you'll keep those awful germs at bay!
9. Keep your distance from team members who couldn't raise their full support. They may try to mooch off you. Don't give in. Sweating over finances builds faith!
10. When you return home, scold your home church and friends for their lack of commitment, for their weak prayers, and for their inadequate giving to missions. This may be one of the few times you will have their deferential respect. Make the most of it.

If you'll do all of these Top Ten things (or even some of them), I can promise you a bad short-term mission trip.

adapted from Commissioned, January/February/March 1995

Friday, April 18, 2008

Phun Phridays

click here--> Total Depravity - Tim Challies

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How you and your church can be Rope Holders

Supporting Missions in the Church and Home Compiled by Stephen Ross

What the Local Church Can Do:

1. Have a well-written missions policy.

2. Have a functioning missions committee.

3. Have a faith promise giving program for missions.

4. Have men's and women's groups with a focus on missions.

5. Have a missionary couple/family to lead Vacation Bible School and have a "penny march" to help raise money for them.

6. Have visiting missionaries speak in the Christian school chapel and Bible class.

7. Have a missionary speaker for Christian school camp.

8. Encourage the Christian summer camp where your church kids attend to have a missionary speaker.

9. Provide lodging and opportunity for service to graduating Bible college students who plan to go to the mission field. This will give them valuable experience before going on deputation.

10. Provide lodging during the summer for MK's (missionary kids) attending Christian college and help them find summer jobs.

11. Provide housing and transportation for missionaries on furlough, especially those sent out by your church.

12. Give generously to visiting missionaries (even if you can not take them on for support, you can still help them on deputation or furlough with a good love offering).

13. Help the visiting missionary with maintaining their automobile, etc. Provide them with an oil change. Check to see if they need tires or other auto work, then get together with several church members and pay for the work.

14. Maintain a missionary "closet" of good used clothing items, etc. for visiting missionaries on deputation or furlough to take what they need.

15. Have something special for missionary children when their parents are visiting your church.

16. Organize a missions trip for interested church members.

17. If the church has a Christian school, have the Senior Trip be a missions trip.

18. Send a construction team to help a missionary with a project on the field.

19. Have a section of the Sunday bulletin dedicated to missions (a quote by a missionary, statistics, etc.)

20. Pray for your missionaries. During prayer meeting, summarize the ministry of the missionaries who wrote that week, tell their specific prayer requests, and pray for the missionaries.

21. Communicate regularly with the missionaries the church supports.

a. Have members of the church "adopt" a missionary family for a year and communicate with them (including E-mail) to encourage them and to keep them informed of "back home."

b. Send them birthday and anniversary cards, "care packages," news about the church including the church bulletin, a photo(s) of a special church event, etc.

c. Also encourage young persons to be pen pals with missionary children of their own age.

22. List the missionaries which the church helps support in a special section of the church directory.

23. Maintain a church Web site with a special section on the missionaries the church helps support including mail and E-mail addresses. If the missionary or their sending agency or church maintains a Web site, provide a link to it.

24. Have a church missions bulletin board where prayer letters, etc. are posted and where there is a world map indicating location of the missionaries the church helps support.

25. Make missionary biographies available for purchase or for lending from a church resource table/display rack.

26. Have an annual missions conference or a missions emphasis month (this can include such events as an International Dinner, having missionaries send E-mail messages of greeting to be read at the conference, and having a missionary call during the conference and it arranged so that all in the church can hear the conversation).

27. Have pastoral leadership (preaching on missions, public invitations to surrender to full-time Christian service, using stories relating to missions as sermon illustrations, mentioning special missionary prayer requests and praying for them publicly, regularly having missionaries visit to present their field of ministry, etc.).

What the Individual Can Do:

1. Pray for missionaries during personal prayer time as well as during family worship time. Keep a list of missionaries and pray for 2 or 3 of them each day.

2. Read true missionary stories and biographies of missionaries as part of family worship time.

3. "Adopt" a missionary family or two (perhaps one you have had in your home for dinner when they were on deputation or furlough); sincerely care for and fervently pray for them.

4. Regularly write, E-mail, or phone a missionary (get your children involved as well in writing to the MK's.)

5. Send birthday, anniversary, and Christmas cards (again, do not forget the MK's and to get your children involved too).

6. Send care packages.

7. Attend all the services in which missionaries are speaking and/or presenting their ministry.

8. Show hospitality to visiting missionaries on deputation or furlough (be willing to help where needed).

9. Give visiting missionaries prepaid phone cards.

10. Instead of trading in your car, donate it to your church for missionary use; or let a missionary family use an extra car (in good condition) while they are home on furlough.

11. Open your home during vacations and summers to MK's attending Christian college "home side" and help them find short-time employment if needed.

12. If the missionaries have elderly relatives living in your area, offer to provide them help and support on behalf of the missionary.

13. Host and provide meals for visiting missionaries and their families (you and your family will be richly blessed!).

14. Give generously to missionary projects and love offerings for visiting missionaries.

15. Volunteer to serve on the missions committee.

16. Volunteer to maintain the church's missions bulletin board.

17. Give out missionary biographies to encourage others regarding missions.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sales and the Gospel

Sales and Christianity—Mark Dever 9 Marks
A few years ago, after a Sunday morning service, a visitor came up to me, took me by the hand, pulled me close to himself and said, “Dr. Dever, I just want you to know that was one of the best sales presentations Ive ever heard in my life. But there was only one problem: you didn’t close the sale!”
I didn’t really know how to respond to him. I didn’t say much of anything. But what I thought was, “Friend, I know what kind of sales I can close, and I know what kind I cant close, and the redemption of an eternal soul is one sale, that I, in my own strength, cannot accomplish."
I need to know that, not so that I won’t preach the Gospel, but so that I wont allow my presentation of the gospel to be molded by what I think will finally get a response and close a sale. Instead of using all my powers to convict and change the sinner, while God stands back as a gentleman quietly waiting for the spiritual corpse, His declared spiritual enemy, to invite Him into His heart, I am going to preach the Gospel like a gentleman, trying to persuade but knowing that I cant convert, and then stand back while God uses all of HIS powers to convict and convert and change the sinner. Then we will see clearly just who can really call the dead to life.