Because of travel in the US, I missed my Forthright editorial this past Monday. When I had a small window open late in the day to write something—if I’d had a head for it—I decided instead to shoot hoops with my sons, whom I’ve not seen in months. Sometimes, work has to take a back seat.
• Carl Sims has produced a new personal evangelistic study, “Sowing the Seed.” Might be something you’d be interested in, with three lessons in a true-false format, and a “Supplemental Studies” sheet. If you don’t have resources to do an evangelistic study with someone, this would be a good option to have. Carl also teaches seminars that would be a good thing to check out. UPDATE: The site appears not to be active yet. Write to Carl at email@example.com.
• I appreciate that Hugh Fulford doesn’t shy away today in his News and Views from the truth of relationship with Christ. Even though the truth is often abused, he brings it to the fore in proper perspective.
• From Saturday to Monday, The Missus and I made our first of many trips in these not-so-United States, down to Madison AL to talk with the missions committee and touch base with the brethren there. This follows on the heels of Bennie P. and Siegfried B.’s trip down to visit us in Brazil, from the same congregation, just the week before we came up. We appreciate their good efforts.
• I’ve lost count of the different airlines we’ve flown over the years, both American and foreign. (Won’t even attempt an estimate of the number of flights we’ve made.) But last week I think we flew a new one with U.S. Airways, coming through Charlotte NC. Their promotional price was the big attraction. Was another uneventful flight.
• Riddle me this: A psalmist, speaking of Zion (Jerusalem), said with apparent approval of the Holy Spirit, “your servants take delight in her stones” Psa 102.14 NET. So why did Jesus upbraid his disciples for pointing out the temple construction and tell them no stone would be left on top of another, Mt 24.1-2?
• God is he “who satisfies your life with good things” Psa 103.5. I underline phrases like this in my Bible. Maybe you don’t need such reminders, but I do. Zophar wasn’t much of a friend to suffering Job, but he got it right about the wicked when he said, “For he knows no satisfaction in his appetite; he does not let anything he desires escape”, Job 20.20. Dissatisfaction is a wicked attitude, be it Israel eating manna in the desert or saints murmuring about supposed lack of this or that in the most wealthy age ever. Do we fight against the sins of our age? Or just reflect them more subtly?
• Speaking of my Forthright editorials, week-before-last I wrote about a Brazilian evangelist who began a new work in a state capital untouched by the gospel, but lost 80% of his support. Guess who emails and sends money? Missionaries on two different continents. Can a heart be broken and touched at the same time?
• People have asked me what I think about “Duck Dynasty.” As if my opinion mattered. But here is my reply in three words: Remember Pat Boone.
• Read Matthew 6 and then watch some TV. What is the programming about? Clothes. Food. Houses. Cars. Money. What shall we wear? What shall we eat? Where shall we live? How shall we get there? How shall we guarantee our security? Television is the epitome of paganism. “That’s what those people who don’t know God are always thinking about” Mt 6.32 ERV.
• Man and unconverted religious people live and judge by appearances. Even Jesus was judged by appearances, Jn 7.23-24. Those groups or churches which live by appearances have dress codes. Jesus and Peter condemned overdressing. When was the last time you heard a sermon about overdressing? The opposite of modesty is extravagance. This is not an argument for slovenliness, but simplicity.
But living by appearances goes beyond clothing. It has not only dress codes, but behavior codes that have little or nothing to do with Scripture. Such codes encompass use of time, manner of speech, types of sin to condemn or not, religious (in contrast to biblical) patterns to be upheld, human traditions, respect of persons. Conversions in such systems make children of hell, Mt 23.15, rather than children of heaven.
Father, may our faith be genuine, our practice be biblical, our motives be pure, our commitment be true. May we be satisfied with your presence, and you with our service.