“I shouldn’t be hearing that file!” The shout came across the room to me from our high school industrial arts teacher. Our class was working on a metal project, and my file was making the metal “sing.” My immediate reaction was to use the file more carefully, ensuring that it would not make so much noise. A few minutes later, I realized why my shop teacher was shouting about the noise. It wasn’t because I was using the file incorrectly. I wasn’t supposed to be using it at all—class was over and it was time to clean up!
Sometimes I get discouraged thinking about how little influence Christianity has today. It seems that, not only have we lost a lot of ground in recent decades, but that the darkness has such an overwhelming majority among the peoples of the earth. I remember driving in Australia a few years ago, going past hundreds of homes and seeing people walking along the streets, and becoming quite irate at the fact that the ruler of the darkness has such an overwhelming following!
Dear friends and co-laborers, we are finally back in England after our 6-month stateside assignment in the US. The last five weeks were the most intense as we spoke in 9 churches, and we are pleased to have established a few new partnerships.
When I was a pastor, one of the most heart-wrenching statements I ever heard from people was the phrase, “I’m not being fed.” People would use the solid biblical argument from John 21 where Jesus tells Peter to feed His lambs and sheep, so I felt that the burden of responsibility rested squarely upon my shoulders. I believe that the complaint of “not being fed” is one of the primary reasons people leave churches today, and I have no doubt that such a statement repeatedly will chip away at the confidence of a pastor and leave him second-guessing his ability to lead--just as it did to me.
One of the big mistakes that I’ve made in witnessing is missing opportunities to take people further in conversations. Upon sharing the gospel, I would conclude that people are either 'for' or 'against' it--and sadly, I reckoned that the vast majority of people have no interest in God's message.
In one of His most poignant teachings, Jesus declared that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. I occasionally hear believers assure me that since they are not gifted evangelists, they are not required to give a verbal witness. Instead, they suggest that their witness is silent, given by virtue of their character (I call these people “virtual” witnesses in order to distinguish them from “verbal” ones). One might automatically assume that since we are salt and light, that we will have an inevitable effect on people. But is this true?
The following is from Brian Bullen in New Zealand. Brian is a Baptist pastor who has committed much time and effort to multiplying disciples throughout the "top end" of the north island, and his influence has spread to Vanuatu as well. Join me in praying for Brian & Stephanie in this great work.
Well the new year is swinging into action so its time to catch you up on what needs praying about. We saw some great stuff happen last year and are looking forward to more exciting times this year. Thank you so much for your commitment to praying.
In early 1986 I lost something very precious to me. It was a pocket knife that my wife had given me for Christmas, and I used it every day on the farm. One day I reached into my pocket to use it, and it was gone. I was so upset because this gift meant so much to me, and it was so valuable in my work. I frantically searched all over the farm, but nothing turned up. For an entire week I was consumed with trying to find it. After retracing my steps, I finally found it in an obscure place among the farm equipment where I had been working. Needless to say, I was overjoyed!
Jesus met with the eleven disciples on the mountain, and He said, "Go and make disciples..." And the eleven started volunteering:
"I'll provide great music for them so they can worship the Lord."
"I'll cook food for their fellowship dinners."
"I'll clean the building so they'll have a comfortable place to meet each week."
"I'll advertise and put up signs so they will come to us."
"I'll greet them when they come in the door."
August 3, 1914 marks the date of one of the most depressing statements in modern political history. Edward Grey, British statesman and foreign secretary, heard news that Germany had declared war on France. Threat of a great war, having festered for years, had well and truly begun. As Grey stood by the window of his office at dusk, he declared:
"The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time".