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  • J. Randal Matheny 2:31 pm on 2016-08-07 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church_growth, evangelism, house_churches   

    Simple and replicable 

    This was one of my main points in my recent report in the US and a tenet of my ministry.

    In everything, the emphasis is on keeping things simple and replicable. If the house church becomes overly dependent on one person or one structure, it cannot reproduce itself.

    The quoted author seeks to maintain a balance, but tips the scales, rightly so, in my mind, toward house churches.

    http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/7574/what-are-house-churches?__prclt=fGwyXSxi

    #house_churches #evangelism #church_growth

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 4:49 am on 2016-05-31 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: evangelism, ,   

    Influence upstream 

    forest-stream

    I’ve never read this quote from A. Breitbart, but then again, I’m not a voracious reader of political content:

    Andrew Breitbart was fond of saying, “Politics is downstream from culture.”

    It’s true. Brazilians say all the time that a people have the government they deserve. (It probably comes from some ancient Roman philosopher.) Government is a reflection of the values, beliefs, and standards of the society.

    It’s always said in desperation, however, rather than hope.

    But let us take it in a positive sense, as a motivator to action. Let us change the people, thereby changing the politics.

    The author at the link above is right about where to invest our energies. Further, it is time to invest in faith, in evangelism, in building up the church of God, in making an impact in society through the proclamation of the gospel. Let us throw all we have into saving souls, and we may then see a change in society and in government.

    The quotes above assume something of a static set of values. They do not take into account that the evil one constantly seeks to degrade them. So that many people in government and potential office-holders look for ways to concentrate power, create dependency, erode rights and responsibilities, undermine ethics and morality.

    The battle is constant to preserve decency and faith. It is a battle with spiritual armaments, not military or political ones. That battle is best waged, not in politics itself, but upstream, among the people. Purify the source.

    All else is bound to fail. You can’t push water.

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 6:18 am on 2016-05-25 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , evangelism, , , weddings   

    A Fall wedding in the cold South—on Saturday 

    weddingOn Friday we’re off to cold weather, heading south, to the city of Curitiba. It’s almost winter time here, and people say it dips below freezing there. In the southern hemisphere, going south is like going north above the equator — it gets colder. And here, it feels colder, since houses have no indoor heating.

    My assigned task is to give away a bride. Cosma’s parents are both deceased, and she invited me to do the honor. She lived in SJCampos for some time, and Vicki and I became close to her.

    Unlike American weddings, The Missus and I will remain standing up front during the ceremony. Must wear comfortable shoes, I hear tell two suits will officiate. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 10:17 am on 2016-05-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , evangelism,   

    Is the book of Job about forgiveness? 

    shards-job

    Sometimes I wonder if the book of Job is not so much about the man after whom the book is named, as it is about his friends. Or about his discussions with his friends as he maintains his integrity and defends a proper vision of God, although he himself is in the midst of intense struggle and suffering.

    Yes, you’ll probably accuse me of making even the book of Job into a book about evangelism. And you will not be far from making a just accusation.

    The lessons of the book are many for those who seek to influence others for Christ: (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 5:33 am on 2016-04-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , evangelism,   

    Speak to save 

    God saves people when the gospel is taught to them.

    Only through speaking the gospel can people be saved. Without speaking, no salvation occurs. A good example is not sufficient. Others must be taught, Ac 11.14; 1Th 2.16. —QBT

    Much talk, ironically, is given to how useless words are. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 5:49 am on 2016-03-21 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , evangelism,   

    Challenges to the church in Cuba 

    This letter, by a person who visited Cuba recently, points up some of the challenges that the Lord’s body faces in Cuba. Not only economic but social. (More …)

     
    • John Henson 11:49 am on 2016-03-22 Permalink | Reply

      There will not be a “modern” Cuba until the gospel of Jesus is preached there in all its truth. The gospel is the only hope any nation, island or principality has.

  • J. Randal Matheny 3:04 am on 2016-02-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , evangelism,   

    The outsider feels his status — and wants in 

    In our Bible reading group Wednesday night, we had one non-Christian who has been attending sporadically for a year. He married a fairly new Christian. During the reading, I asked each person how long they had been baptized. He, of course, had no reply.

    Afterwards, he asked to meet with me privately. He came to the house Friday night to ask for a study in preparation for baptism. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 6:03 am on 2016-02-18 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , details, evangelism,   

    Details do matter. Just ask Jeb Bush. 

    Seems someone over at the (American 2016 Republican primary) Bush campaign made a boo-boo. (More …)

     
  • TFRStaff 10:16 am on 2015-11-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , evangelism,   

    Might a new congregation be coming to this city? 

    Please excuse the inclusion here of this link, but since TFR is a work of Forthright Press / GoSpeak, we’ll impose upon your forbearance. We covet your prayers for this possible beginning in a neighboring city. No NT church has ever met here, as far as we know.

    We recommend the new GoSpeak site. It shares news of our efforts to supporters and interested friends. It doesn’t yet have a feature to follow or sign up to the site. (Some services do this for free, but I’m not familiar with any to be able to recommend one.) For now, I’m notifying folks by email. I can add yours if you want to know when the site is updated. JRM

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 11:30 am on 2015-11-18 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , evangelism, ,   

    Penetrating the heart of evil: one church reaches 15 prisons 

    How is it that a single congregation can be working in no less than 15 state prisons? I don’t know all the details, but a single Brazilian congregation is reaching the incarcerated, in large part, through Bible correspondence courses (some of which we have provided). Let no one say that such courses have little use today, with the Internet.

    In English, the resources abound — so much so that the options can be rather bewildering. In other languages, not so much. We can be glad for those servants who work to put sound printed material in the hands of God’s family, in order that they might be more effective in saving lost souls.

    Prisons and jails are hard places. Not a few brethren are working to reach those behind bars. So much more can be done, however, to penetrate where evil is strong. In Brazilian prisons, gangs often control, from behind the high walls and barbed wire, what happens on the outside. So it’s not far from the truth to say that such places are the very heart of evil.

    ¶ Of course, no geographical location, nor type of location, can truly be identified as the locus of evil. Evil penetrates fine mansions and rickety hovels. Real evil starts in the human heart. One of the things that God hates is “a heart that devises wicked plans” Pro 6.18 NET.

    Our Lord said, “For out of the heart come evil ideas, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” Mat 15.19. And James the brother reminds us not to blame God, because temptation starts from within, from the lure and enticement of one’s own desires, Jas 1.14.

    ¶ In our Bible reading group, we’ll read tonight the third text in the series, “How to Be Rich Toward God.” The first reading took the verse from which comes the title, about the rich fool in Lk 12. The second went to 1Tm 6, on being rich in good works. Tonight, we go to Jas 2 for those who are rich in faith. Not a bad series so far, eh? Do you have any passages that would fit well in this series? We have some slots left.

    ¶ In the Taubaté congregation, I started a series about perfect things, one of those being the church and the saints. Of course, you know that the biblical sense of perfect isn’t like the modern sense, of being without sin. So in the modern sense, Jesus was perfect, but in the biblical sense, he was not, at least, for a time. So wrote the author of Hebrews.

    ¶ Oh, about that Brazilian congregation I mentioned above, working in the prisons? BNC shared some news about them back in 2013, when they had gone into four prisons. Two years made a lot of difference, didn’t it? From four to 15. So how is your evangelistic outreach doing? I don’t know about you, but these folks make me feel embarrassed at my efforts.

    ¶ The Missus and I went to a funeral Sunday morning. (The churches we work with meet in the afternoon and evening.) An elderly man, about 85, had passed away, and his Christian wife and grown children felt so badly, because he had had many opportunities to obey the gospel, but he never did. One son even bought a kiddie pool to baptize his ailing father in, just in case he could be persuaded to make the eternal decision at the last hour.

    Hearts break when other hearts are hardened and enter into eternity without redemption. How many times have you seen this?

    ¶ We’ve recently enjoyed the company of some American Christians who sought out the church while here on business. It’s so encouraging to see people who, when away from home, keep their commitment to the body of Christ. We have had more opportunity to get to know them, since they are a bit isolated while here, so we do some things together. One night, we sang English hymns, since the wife of the couple doesn’t speak Portuguese. She appreciated that.

    And we enjoyed it, too. Even though there’s a goodly number of Americans here in the city, we don’t seek them out, since we don’t have much in common. We’re looking, instead, to build up a community of like-minded saints who share an eternal goal and who call each other brother and sister. And mean it.

     
    • Richard S 5:27 pm on 2015-11-18 Permalink | Reply

      Our congregation had a prison outreach program. We had to cut it back to correspondence courses only because most of the inmates would get passes to attend Bible study but never showed up.
      Some in the brotherhood don’t think prisoners have the right to hear the Gospel. I met an elder of a congregation in West Virginia back in 1976 or 77 that gave me the same statement about prisoners.

      • J. Randal Matheny 6:57 pm on 2015-11-18 Permalink | Reply

        Richard, so sad to hear of people’s reactions such as the one you mentioned, so much the more coming from a supervisor. We hope that after that expression of worldly thought that he learned to think like the Lord Jesus.

    • Eugene Adkins 6:14 pm on 2015-11-20 Permalink | Reply

      About the “rich toward God” series…1 Timothy 6 really covers a lot, but how about “rich toward God in giving” by using Mark 12:41-44/Luke 21:1-4 and “rich toward God in wisdom” by using Matthew 13:10-17/Proverbs 8:5-11.

      • J. Randal Matheny 6:20 pm on 2015-11-20 Permalink | Reply

        Good idea. That may be an approach I’ll eventually take. I’ve been working with passages that use the word “rich” in some positive, spiritual sense. May not be enough of those, however, to sustain the series. Thanks!

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:21 am on 2015-11-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , evangelism, ,   

    What if people of the world were like you? 

    Reading an old journal entry, I noted where someone graciously commented to my wife and me that, if people were like us and our children, the world would be a much better place. The person was kind. I recalled then one takeaway or lesson, and have since thought of two more. (More …)

     
    • John Henson 8:14 pm on 2015-11-04 Permalink | Reply

      I began appreciating Willie later in life when I became tone deaf, or just otherwise deaf.

  • J. Randal Matheny 3:32 am on 2015-10-23 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: evangelism,   

    Invitation sounded too good to be true, so his guard was up 

    David Gunn turned off the engine, rested his clammy hands on the steering wheel, and stretched his arms full length. He blew air through his cheeks and bugged out his eyes. This was it. (More …)

     
  • TFRStaff 8:12 am on 2015-10-18 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , evangelism,   

    Speak to others of the glory of God’s kingdom 

    Christians must talk about God’s mighty power and make known to others His powerful acts.

    “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.” (Psalm 145:9-12)

    As children of God we should delight to tell others about Christ and the salvation that is in Him. Let us speak to others about the glory of God’s kingdom and talk to them about His mighty power.

    God Bless you today and always. I love you. Charles Box

    #God #evangelism #Charles-Box

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:11 am on 2015-07-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: evangelism,   

    Would appreciate a prayer or two 

    I would appreciate a prayer or two of protection and success for the efforts that will be made today, and tomorrow, in my hometown by the church. This will be the 3rd year for our booth at the local music and craft festival. Hopefully the weather cooperates and we’ll be given a chance to sow some seed, or an opportunity to add a little water of the spiritual sorts to it, because, if the weather permits, there will be thousands of people there who have never actually heard, or maybe learned better fits, anything substantial about Jesus and his gospel.

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 8:38 pm on 2015-06-02 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: evangelism, ,   

    Prayer: friend’s mission trip 

    A devoted brother in Christ will travel Thursday to a city with no church to teach a person interested in living according to Jesus’ principles in the 21st Century. If you’d like more info on his trip, see this link:

    http://gospeak.tiddlyspace.com/#MinasMissionTrip3105

    May God use this opportunity to bring the gospel to yet another location where it has yet to be heard.

     
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