In turn: Matthew 14.19 VOTD

“Then he instructed the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven he gave thanks and broke the loaves. He gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.”

Matthew 14.19

Even during his earthly ministry, Jesus often used his disciples to mediate his blessings to people, as he did during the feeding of the five thousand.

How does the Lord observe this principle today, of using his people to bless others?

#ministry #VOTD #mediation

Amazing smartphone statistic

Since it concerns me personally in our location, I found this to be an amazing statistic as far as global comparisons. And I don’t even have a smartphone.

About the time the state phone company got their public phones on just about every street corner in Brazil a few years back, mobile started growing and taking over. (It threw away millions because it couldn’t see the trend coming.) Now it’s hard to find a Brazilian without a smartphone.

And now it’s hard to have a conversation (or a worship meeting) without a smartphone turning up to interrupt.

There are downsides but advantages, too. See the link above for more.

#brazil, #ministry, #technology

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.

#ministry, #spirituality

We got clergy in the Lord’s church

Ron T. has an excellent article that deserves a close reading, “Dismissing the preacher for a change in direction.”

What Ron describes is a symptom of a larger problem, it would seem, of treating preachers (and preachers considering themselves) as employees.

You hear and read it all the time, that a man is a “preacher for” such-and-such congregation. Language betrays. Profound restoration is needed on this point.

In the 2017 FHU Lectureship book, a contributor wrote about “lay” preachers. Editors let that go.

What is the opposite of laymen? Clergy.

#clergy, #ministry, #preachers, #preaching

Good for me, good for you?

Some things one does for one’s own spiritual benefit, as is right and necessary. If by chance those things benefit others, as they often will, so much the better. Growth in the Spirit is not a lonely nor selfish proposition. Of course, one must take care that such benefit does not become the end-all and do-all of ministry. There is that service that is undertaken solely for the benefit and need of one’s neighbor. The overflow of my benefit to the other cannot be the main service provided for another. The additional blessing to others that comes from one’s own efforts toward growth can never substitute the teaching, evangelism, edification, and benevolence given to others. But when the additional blessing occurs, blessing indeed it can be.

#benefit, #ministry, #service, #spirituality

Ministers and finances: Content with little?

An evangelical group’s survey found “bleak state” in these results of ministers’ finances:

The survey reveals that 30 percent of pastors have student loan debt averaging $36,000; 33 percent have less than $10,000 in retirement funds; and 29 percent have no retirement savings.

The survey also revealed that a minority received financial orientation in their ministerial studies.

Makes one wonder how evangelists, preachers, missionaries, and elders supported by our people are doing financially.

One suspects that many are, like the apostle to the Gentiles, learning the secret of contentment with little, Php 4.12.

#ministry #finances #money

Where do we focus most of our energies?

Our mission is the whole world

Where do we put most of our time, energies, and money?

Do we talk mostly to ourselves? Is our preaching, teaching, and writing directed largely to the saved? Do our offerings get spent on keeping the saints secure and, perhaps, comfortable?

Yes, we must edify the brethren. But if our time, energies, and monies were easily measurable, would we discover that they are devoted more to ourselves than to the lost?

Some even doubt the need to evangelize. Not a few are willing to let the rest of the world enter perdition with no effort to save them. Others have little sense of the church’s Main Mission.

God wants to save everyone. Nothing is clearer in Scripture than this. Equally clear is that he has put his people in the world to proclaim his salvation to all. That is their task.

God does not do what he has given us to do. He may raise up a faithful people to do it. His providence is still at work. But we are right that he will not appear in visions or dreams to preach the gospel.

God has give us the task of mission, and he fully expects — and equips — us to do it.

Mostly, the church of America dabbles in missions. Will the Lord of the harvest not hold his people accountable for their failure?

#america, #ministry, #mission, #offering, #time