Showing posts from January, 2019

Two Kinds of Faith?

The title question raises an issue which each of us at some point in our lives must reckon with.  For many faith may remain a mystery.  We hear people say, "Keep the faith,” which in essence simply says, "Don’t give up!"  Others have a measure of confidence in someone or something and believe they have discovered the true meaning of faith.  However, both of these fall short of a solid definition of faith.

I heard a story of a tight-rope walker named Blondin who, years ago, took his skill all the way to Niagara Falls.  The day was highly advertised, the rope was strung across the raging waters, and a great crowd gathered to see him perform the incredible feat of daring and danger.  To the crowd's delight Blondin walked across the falls and back again to the thunderous cheers of the crowd.  When the crowd's applause died down, Blondin shouted, "Do you believe in Blondin?"  The crowd cried, "Yes, we believe in Blondin!"  The entertainer said onc…

The Principles behind a Working Faith Part 2

We discovered in our last blog that faith works oftentimes through a Crisis experience.  That makes perfect sense because who needs faith when you can self-solve all your own issues?  The widow woman in 2 Kings 4 faced a crisis that was infinitely greater than her resources, and that is where genuine faith is both necessary and possible.  It's possible because faith according to Heb 11:6 is:

the substance of things we hope for, and the evidence of things not yet seen.

In Paul's message to the church at Rome the apostle reminded these believers that:

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. (Rom 10;17)

So this downtrodden prophet's wife had the distinct advantage of hearing the words of Elisha and then being willing to follow his words to a tee.  She began by Surrendering her insignificant little bottle of oil to the prophet's plan he himself had received from God.

 But what good would a little bottle of oil be in light of such a huge debt?  However, when sh…

The Principles Behind a Working Faith Part One

If you have ever read the story in 2 Kings 4:1-7 you have seen a woman who put great faith into action.  Here was a widow whose recently deceased husband left her with a significant debt she could not pay.  Coincidental with that sorry event was the fact that the debt collector was coming to take her two boys away from the home to extract slave payment.  They would have to work to pay the debt which could have taken years and the best of their young lives.  The situation was overwhelming to her to say the least.  Without money, hope, or any answers she fled to the prophet of Israel to ask him what to do.

The story begins and ends in seven short verses, and in that space the OT Scripture gives us four amazing principles which demonstrate how faith is activated and works in our lives.

The first thing we notice here in this story is that:

I. Faith is often produced in a Crisis.  vs 1.  The Sum she Owed

Did you notice that?  Faith is really not necessary in life until we face something b…

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…