What Nationals Can Do

This is our fifth day in Liberia and the blessings of training national church leaders just keep rolling in.  On Sunday my church planting partner Greg Dixon spoke at the church at which I spoke last year at this time. This church was started by one of our pastor students just one year ago and had, when I spoke, about 75 people in attendance. This was just short of six months from the start-up.  Sunday when Greg spoke there were 125 members present.

Today after class our host drove us to another church plant in Tomato Town, a place that once supplied all the tomatoes for the entire country of Liberia.  Pastor Lake who started the church has also attended the GBTF classrooms for three consecutive years.  Within the last year they have grown steadily to over 55 members, and also have been given an acre of land by one of their member's family members.  Today as I sat and listened to them sing, it was simply thrilling to see what God is doing through the work of these men of God. I h…

The Liberian Plan for 2021

I arrived in Monrovia, Liberia, Friday night about 11:00 pm with my church planting partner Greg Dixon.  Greg called me three years ago and pitched the idea that we join forces when possible and not only train nationals but then support financially those who want to be a church planter in their own country.  We began our alliance right here in Liberia in January of 2018.  I had already been teaching this classroom for a year or so before that call, so adding church planting to the mix seemed like a good thing to do.

Well, fast forward about a year now and what has happened is nothing short of amazing.  Since 2018 Global Baptist Training Foundation has trained nearly eighty pastors, and, as of this year, we have seen Greg and Advance Ministries start over seventy-five new churches with these trained men.  That happened in one year!

The results have been so astounding that we have actually had to modify the teaching schedule.  At the close of the class at week's end, we are taking a…

Where's Home?

We have heard Dorothy emphatically say after her visit to Oz, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home."   But where is home anyway?  For Dorothy it was somewhere in Kansas with her Aunty Em and Toto, but home certainly doesn't simply mean a house with four walls.

 For some home may be a family or a wonderfully spacious and comfortable home we share with family.   It may be a husband or a wife, or maybe for some its just a certain feeling which brings a certain sense of security and warmth.

  As Christians we answer that question much differently than many people. Why?  Because,  Christians don't have the same prerogatives and motivations that might be considered normal by mere worldly standards.  Jesus was speaking to great crowd one day when his mother and brothers came looking for him asking to speak with Him.  They had automatically assumed that since they were "related" to the Messiah, they had a "right to access" abov…

Baptism and Heaven

I saw an article recently which reminded me of the confusion surrounding the subject of baptism.  When I was ten years old, my stepmother orphaned my brother, sister, and me.  I never would live with my siblings again, and, by the time I was fifteen years old, I had lived in six foster homes and school for boys in another state.  In the second and then third foster homes the families both belonged to churches which taught the necessity of water baptism in order to be saved from the penalty of sin.  Sunday after Sunday, I attended this church until finally, on the second Sunday of April in 1967, I walked the aisle of the church and told the pastor I wanted to be baptized by immersion.

I will never forget that day because when I came up out of the water I saw the organist lady standing at the back of the church with the biggest smile on her face I had ever seen.  You would have thought that my skin actually showed immediate signs of purification from the filth of sin or something simila…

New Beginnings and Thankfulness

Time is fleeting and so is a lot  of other stuff in life, and as I begin this new year with you all, I'm reminded of some very important things, one of which I would like to share with you today.  I'm talking about the art of being thankful.  We sometimes call it the attitude of gratitude.  For me, it’s one of the toughest virtues to learn in life.  You know why?  Because we are always wanting more than what we presently possess!  Someone asked a great boxer years ago how much money it took to make him happy, and his answer was, "Just a little more, just a little more."

There are several verses in the New Testament that address this issue of thankfulness, but the primary one is found in I Thess 5:18 which offers a command to all believers in Jesus Christ.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstancesj; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

All three of these exhortations go together, but the essence of all three is found in this…

False Expectations of Christmas

My wife and I watched a rendition of the Christmas story last night,  and I'm so glad we took time to do that.  Watching the story of Luke 2 put to film really helps you to identify with the human elements of the event so much more effectively.  But overall, watching the story shows just how far modern Christmas celebrations have strayed from what's real and what isn't.

First of all, Christmas really doesn't have anything to do with receiving gifts.  It's actually about receiving the gift.  Jesus is the real gift that each of us has been given.  The Christmas story is the re-telling of that glorious event that took place in the first century but was prophesied in the Scriptures all the way back in Genesis 3:15.  The ancient text said,

The son of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent.

Do you need to be reminded that the perennial curse of sin caused by the serpent lying and tempting Adam and Eve was the introduction of doubt, death, disease, fear, hopelessn…

What About Tomorrow?

I remember a little over forty years ago I had been a Christian for just four or five months and a old friend of mine stopped over at my house for a visit.  We had known one another for years and in fact I had bailed hay for his uncle a time or two in high school.  He came from an old German family who had farmed their land for over a century, and some of his cousins rode the bus with my family when we were kids.  It was October or so and the fall weather was brisk and inviting.

My friend came in and he told me and the guy who owned the house how he had heard about how we "were Christians" now and wanted to know what had happened to us. The fact was, both of us had recently become born-again Christians.  The house owner was a farm neighbor when I was growing up on the farm who had accepted Christ about three months after getting back from Viet Nam in 1974.  I ran into him at a restaurant in 1975 and he led me to Christ in July of that year.  My life was changed when I met J…