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  • J. Randal Matheny 5:26 am on 2017-03-26 Permalink | Reply
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    Faulty reasoning about worship 

    Faulty reasoning abounds about worship. This devotional thought centered on Psalm 149.2-3 from a denominational pastor is a prime example of it. This is the entire piece:

    This is fascinating because the tambourine and harp were created by other cultures. From the beginning of worship music, the people of God took the instruments that were available in their day and used them for the glory of God. This means that the Biblical picture of praise is one that can incorporate the contributions of any culture, any style. Since that is the case, what do you have today in your culture that you could use to praise His name?

    Men choose elements and features of worship thinking that God will like it. They justify it by twisted logic. Gone is any idea of God authorizing what can be done or under what covenant. Culture trumps covenant. Personal preference wins over worship given to God by faith—that faith that comes by hearing the word of God, Rom 10.17.

    Man has often sought “an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion” Col 2.23 ESV. And he even uses the Bible to do it. (More …)

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:37 pm on 2017-03-24 Permalink | Reply
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    When people defend the wrong, it sounds so wacky 

    Be it politics or the truth of God, when people try to defend a position that is clearly wrong, their justifications sound so weird. Their logic is twisted, their language turns definitions on their head, their positions so unsustainable as to make them a laughingstock. But they still manage to persuade the unwary. Somehow they gain a following. Their promises sound so good. This is not new. It has a long history. Examples abound. King Saul explaining to Samuel why he didn’t fully obey the Lord, in 1 Sam 15, comes quickly to mind.

    You might want to cite other such moments from Scripture.

    • Eugene 9:01 pm on 2017-03-24 Permalink | Reply

      I can think of a few others but I think John 21:21-23 is a great example due to the fact that John himself readily admits that the brethren were believing something that had no factual/scriptural basis to support it.

      • J. Randal Matheny 5:35 am on 2017-03-25 Permalink | Reply

        True there. I had also thought of … whoops, maybe I’d better not go to listing any.

        • Eugene Adkins 8:18 pm on 2017-03-25 Permalink | Reply

          There is also this, if you haven’t already thought of it – Exodus 32:1-6 and 1 Kings 12:26-33.

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:33 am on 2017-03-23 Permalink | Reply
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    God expects Christians to take risks 

    God expects us as Christians to take risks while doing His work. I would suggest the same is true at the level of the local congregation. I’m talking about the risk of failure. How ambitious are we in the plans we have to do work for God? Do we trust that things will be okay even if we try hard and mess up? This, I think, is a part of faith that requires maturity — the faith that God will stick with us even if we don’t succeed by our standards.

    via The Christian, the Church, and Risk – Restore Our Faith

    • Don Ruhl 4:34 pm on 2017-03-24 Permalink | Reply

      This will be in our bulletin for April 2.

      • J. Randal Matheny 6:28 pm on 2017-03-24 Permalink | Reply

        Good deal! The quote or the whole article?

  • J. Randal Matheny 11:25 am on 2017-03-22 Permalink | Reply
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    Prayer: Two terrorist attacks in London 

    We pray for those injured, involved, or affected by the two attacks in London, which are being treated as terrorist attacks. One of them occurred outside Parliament. At least four people are reported dead, 20 or more injured. We pray for peace, at the same time we pray for the security of each nation.

  • J. Randal Matheny 5:46 pm on 2017-03-21 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Diotrophes, preeminence,   

    Disaster to appease those who desire to be first 

    “Sometimes congregations apply the policy of appeasement toward those who desire to be first. Believing that problems and strife will end by make the one who needs to be first part of the leadership, the congregation will place him in the position of elder or deacon. And in every case, disaster happens. The qualifications for the elders, deacons, and evangelists state that a person must be self-controlled, placing the interests of the Christians and the congregation above their own. We must be very careful not to give a position to a person who acts like they need to be heard and need to be first.” —Brent Kercheville

  • J. Randal Matheny 5:14 am on 2017-03-19 Permalink | Reply
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    A taste of home 

    If, on the report I made yesterday, you read between the lines, you might have figured out that the first place we went after arrival from Brazil in the US last month was … a Brazilian restaurant. Our son Joel drove from Henderson to Nashville to pick us up at the airport and that restaurant is a taste of home for him. So we were happy to indulge his desire.

    The name of the restaurant is “Café Mineiro.” (See photo of The Missus and me in the restaurant here.) “Mineiro” is one who is from the state of Minas Gerais. Joel was born in that state’s capital, Belo Horizonte, where we lived our first 10 years in Brazil. (More …)

  • J. Randal Matheny 8:07 am on 2017-03-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , divine protection,   

    God protects his own 

    A great lesson in Matthew 2 is that God protects his own. The Lord frustrated Herod’s attempts to kill the newborn Jesus.

    He warned the wise men by means of a dream not to return to Herod, but to go back by another way. “But God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. So they returned to their country on a different road” Mt 2.12 NIRV.

    The Lord’s angel also appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee to Egypt, in order to get away from Herod, Mt 2.13. (More …)

  • J. Randal Matheny 9:39 am on 2017-03-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , goodnewsin5words,   

    Confession: This time it’s different 

    What follows is something of a confession. Through the years, I’ve felt no shame or embarrassment to invite churches and individuals to financially support our efforts in missions. In the past, I’ve joyfully extended that invitation, believing fully in our task, as I still do. After several occasions, however, where we have lost larger amounts of monthly support, that ease of asking, that freedom to invite, has been lost. Perhaps it’s partly age, partly feeling tired of the process of fundraising, which I am no professional at doing, nor do I wish I were.

    We no longer have a wide base of contacts among Christians, after so many years on the field. In recent years, our friends have heard our pleas several times. How can we then place yet another burden upon them? (More …)

    • Karen 10:51 am on 2017-03-16 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t know if it’s appropriate for me to reply to this article, but I am speaking from my heart. Randal and Vicki are sort of my heroes. Long story, but because of their prayers, perseverance, and endless email discussions, I am now a Christian. I had been Catholic a large part of my life, but I was baptized last September and now am a member of the church of Christ. The journey was hard but rewards are awesome!
      My point of this reply is to note that even though Randal was a continent away, I was a part of his mission field via internet. One soul. Then I got to pray for another person in Brazil who also eventually became a Christian. Another soul. Now there are three others in their late teens who are going to church with me every Sunday. Two have rededicated their lives, and the third may be baptized soon. 5 souls. It’s a loving circle that originated by a single missionary in another country.
      How much does a soul cost? I guess as a new Christian I just do now understand these things, like how a thriving mission has lost a major amount of funding. It makes no sense when that is one of the basic commands given to us by Jesus. (Mt.28:19-20). We hear the last part of verse 19 a lot, but emphasis is seldom put on the first part. Sorry this was so log; I didn’t mean to “preach”, but a missionary from Brazil helped to save my life and my soul, and I am forever grateful.

      • Eugene Adkins 6:40 pm on 2017-03-16 Permalink | Reply

        Well said, Karen.

    • James Pasley 5:19 pm on 2017-03-16 Permalink | Reply

      Karen, thanks for your reply. It is always a blessing to hear good news even if it is in more than 5 words. Just one thought about the lost financial support: there is always more to do than there is money or time to do it. Each congregation is approached by multiple good (I want to emphasize the word good) mission works and they cannot afford to support them all, so they must choose some and reject others. In other situations, sad as it may be, a congregation’s giving may drop for some reason (loss of jobs, members moving away, members dying, members income dropping, inflation and rising costs, etc.) and they may be unable to continue financially supporting all of the work they once did. I am sure that the financial support Randall lost does not mean that those Christians no longer love and support him and his work, just that they are not able to with their dollars.

      • Katen 10:20 am on 2017-03-17 Permalink | Reply

        Oh no! I didn’t know there was a 5 word rule; sorry! Now I have to break it again! 🙂 I hope my reply did not offend anyone. That was not my intention. I did not mean to be disrespectful of the circumstances of others, and apologize that I did not make that clear. I know it is hard to make decisions when there are many good causes and not enough funds. My point was that sometimes there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than is indicated by statistical reports. My prayer is that God will provide a way for all those missions that help bring people to Jesus.

        • Karen 10:35 am on 2017-03-17 Permalink | Reply

          …and the reply was from Karen not Katan. I really should wear my glasses when I type!

          • Eugene Adkins 3:02 pm on 2017-03-18 Permalink | Reply

            Comments like the one you made aren’t limited to any number of words. No law against words of Christian love, even in the digital age (Galatians 5:22-23).

    • James McFerrin 6:55 pm on 2017-03-16 Permalink | Reply

      Karen, I attempted to reply to your recent comment on my post and for some reason, it seems that it did not go through. You asked about accessing the posts beginning at Genesis. My reply was that you could find them under “Chronological Bible Study” on the right side of this page or you can email me at ntpromise@gmail.com and I will send them to you.

  • J. Randal Matheny 4:51 pm on 2017-03-14 Permalink | Reply  

    Cost of the battle 

    I avoid talking politics, because it’s divisive. The gospel must be free to speak. At times, however, there are principles that appear to work in every sphere, perhaps universally. Here is one: (More …)

  • J. Randal Matheny 5:15 am on 2017-03-12 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , secrets   

    The secret that cries out to be known 

    Data leaks and hacking dominate American news. People’s secrets are exposed. Who wants their wrongs published for the world to see?

    One secret cries out to be known. Read it in Philippians 4.11-12.

    This one is a secret only because so few people know it. God freely offers knowledge of it. But most people reject this secret. They prefer the fake news of Satan, who says that money, power, pleasure, or knowledge hold the key.

    But here’s the secret: Contentment comes from living in Christ, serving him, and doing the will of God.

    Shhh! Don’t tell anybody!

  • J. Randal Matheny 5:41 am on 2017-03-11 Permalink | Reply

    Seven suspect words for writers 

    If you’re not willing to edit ruthlessly, you’re not a writer. Writing means, in large part, cutting out extraneous words and replacing weak ones with strong terms. Here are seven vague words to watch out for:


  • J. Randal Matheny 7:16 pm on 2017-03-08 Permalink | Reply
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    God works to create dependence 

    God works in the life of his saints to strip away all false sense of power and ability to cope. He drives us to a single-minded dependence upon his providence. He nurtures in us, by experiences and trials, that clarity of mind that, instead of reacting with panic, turns automatically to trust in his care. He demonstrates that he continues to uphold his people as he has in the past, still fulfilling his promises—not that we should expect miracles, like those done by the Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles, but that we must by all means know that he never fails to supply our needs and to equip us for his work in this world.

    • Karen 11:00 am on 2017-03-09 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve learned that, for myself, peace only comes in a difficult situation when I have fully given everything totally to God, and I depend on Him for the strength and ability to get through it. When I think that I alone have the power to handle a problem, I usually fail. God is my anchor. He keeps me spiritually and emotionally safe if I trust him with everything.

      • J. Randal Matheny 3:24 pm on 2017-03-09 Permalink | Reply

        Amen to that, Karen!

        • James McFerrin 7:55 pm on 2017-03-11 Permalink | Reply

          Note to Kathy: In reply to your recent request on my post of Mar. 11, please email me ntpromsie@gmail.com.

          • James McFerrin 7:58 pm on 2017-03-11 Permalink | Reply

            Correction: Karen. I could not get my reply to you to go through on my post.

  • J. Randal Matheny 7:38 pm on 2017-03-05 Permalink | Reply
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    Of God and man 

    The Lord Jesus Christ kept his balance between seeking the Father and serving people. He did not let the demands and needs of others keep him from time alone in prayer and meditation. Neither did he neglect proclaiming the Father’s word to both crowds and individuals by escaping by himself to a mountain.

    Every saint needs this same balance. Spirituality and ministry are not either/or options, but both/and necessities. Without the Father, service is mere social improvement. Without the practice of faith, spirituality becomes nothing more than another form of consumerism.

    • Richard Mansel 7:43 pm on 2017-03-05 Permalink | Reply

      Quite true. Good thoughts.

      • J. Randal Matheny 7:44 pm on 2017-03-05 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you. A bit of observation of my own recent imbalances. 🙂

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:01 am on 2017-02-22 Permalink | Reply
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    Learning to trust God 

    Trust is a precious and rare commodity in the world. It is easily damaged and destroyed by thoughtlessness and selfishness. To place ourselves or a part of our hearts in the hands of another is a delicate step.

    We have learned therefore that trust is not to be extended lightly. We’ve become skeptical, even hardened against hurt. Love is a jittery bird, easily frightened.

    Coupled with our desire to see before we step, such reluctance to trust prevents us from having a full and free relationship with God. He deserves our unreserved confidence. He never fails his people. He always comes through. He never forgets a promise. (More …)

  • J. Randal Matheny 8:26 pm on 2017-02-21 Permalink | Reply
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    VOTD: Psalm 119.2 

    “How blessed are those who observe [God’s] rules, and seek him with all their heart” (NET).

    Psalm 119 begins with two blessings. This is the second of the two. It pairs obedience to God’s commands and a full-hearted seeking of God. What few consider a blessing today is actually even more so in the new covenant of Christ. If it was a blessing under the old law, how much more so is it a blessing today.

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