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  • J. Randal Matheny 7:38 pm on 2017-03-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ministry,   

    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 2:56 pm on 2017-02-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ministry, ,   

    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.

    • Eugene 3:23 pm on 2017-02-10 Permalink | Reply

      Concerning the FHU writing, do you believe it’s possible the contributor made a poor choice in wording and should have used “vocational” instead?

      • J. Randal Matheny 5:41 pm on 2017-02-10 Permalink | Reply

        Possibly, yes. It was translated into Spanish and the translator, from my incomplete knowledge of that language, chose to use a word meaning “simple,” taking it to mean, apparently, unschooled. But how does such a term insinuate itself into the language of a people who used to fight tooth and toenail the idea of clergy and laity? Many of our preachers and saints do consider the full-time “minister” to be a clergyman, if not in “theology” then in practice. Most churches act like it, too.

        • Eugene Adkins 10:32 am on 2017-02-11 Permalink | Reply

          I thought that might be the case, but I still hear you. It’s much akin to the same way a tie becomes equated to a collar in some eyes.

          • J. Randal Matheny 11:59 am on 2017-02-11 Permalink | Reply

            Ha! Good one. True.

    • James Pasley 4:35 pm on 2017-02-11 Permalink | Reply

      What you have pointed out here is just one more step on the road toward denominationalism. I also read Ron’s article and found it to have a good point. On the other side of the preacher being dismissed to “go a different direction” are the preachers who use smaller congregations as a stepping stone like a hireling so that they can go on to bigger and better things. Many preachers leave a congregation behind not because there is anything wrong with the leadership or outlook of the congregation, but simply to move to a bigger better paying position. There are times on both sides when the preacher or the congregation may want to serve the Lord in a different way or bring in someone who may have some new ideas (in matters of opinion, not doctrine). These things are not necessarily wrong or sinful, but the way it is handled sometimes is.

      • J. Randal Matheny 12:37 pm on 2017-02-13 Permalink | Reply

        James, I have observed from afar what you noted, and hoped that my conclusions were wrong. I saw this happen recently and felt profound sadness.

  • J. Randal Matheny 5:08 am on 2016-12-26 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ministry, ,   

    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.

    • clkministries 7:48 am on 2016-12-27 Permalink | Reply

      This is so true! It reminds me how Apostle Paul told the Romans, ‘I have longed to see you so that we can be of mutual encouragement.’ I love how God is able to make a circumstance taking on multiple meanings and purposes. Also, from experience, I know that in the process of ministering to others I have often been ministered to in return.

      Do you think selflessly is easier for people with the gift of service?

  • J. Randal Matheny 7:15 am on 2016-08-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ministry,   

    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

  • J. Randal Matheny 5:23 am on 2016-05-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ministry, , ,   

    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?

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:42 pm on 2016-03-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ministry, ,   

    From deviation in the slightest degree to divine rejection? 

    Do you agree with the following statement by Oswald Chambers?

    Any goal we have that diverts us even to the slightest degree from the central goal of being “approved to God” (2 Timothy 2:15) may result in our rejection from further service for Him.

    Why or why not? I’m mulling this over. Not looking to wallop anybody over an opinion on it. Just looking for perspective.

    • Eugene Adkins 12:25 pm on 2016-03-19 Permalink | Reply

      I would suppose that the “may result” is a very big caveat.

      I cannot think of a single Bible character from Hebrews 11 who didn’t in one way or another (whether specifically stated or viewed with the general theological Romans 3:23 p.o.v.) divert from being someone approved to God whether he or she did it intentionally or unintentionally. But then again there are people in the Bible like the Pharaoh of Moses’ day who found himself being used in God’s service…only in a rather inglorious way; which still happens to fit the context of 2 Timothy 2:15 (see 2 Timothy 2:19-21).

      Perhaps this quote is more narrowly scoped to our handling of God’s word alone and not to life in general?

  • J. Randal Matheny 1:03 pm on 2015-06-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ministry, transgenderism   

    Kick back or jump forward? 

    Some people use holidays to kick back and rest brain and body. Three servants of God are coming to visit tomorrow from São Paulo, since it’s a municipal holiday for Corpus Christi. They want to talk about Bible study, ministry, the church in Brazil, and the family of God’s workers. One may work full-time with the church, I’m not sure. The other two do not, for certain. They’re taking precious time to learn how to be more effective servants.

    I’m going to treat them for lunch at the pie store close to the office. (Think chicken pie and palm-heart pie.) Then, if they have time, I’ll bring them home for The Missus’s homemade brownies and coffee. We’ll sit at the table on the back porch and chew the fat. (More …)

  • J. Randal Matheny 7:12 am on 2015-06-02 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: evaluation, ministry,   

    Evaluating ministry to God 

    From this denominational article comes this list of questions to help one evaluate one’s service to Christ. I have only slightly adapted them. (More …)

  • Eugene Adkins 6:52 am on 2013-10-29 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ministry,   

    Good story to illustrate why it’s important to serve within the church 

    Here’s a neat story called “A Growing Church” that was passed along to me in an email. The email originated with a brother named Dave Hart, but the illustration itself was marked as “Author Unknown” so I don’t have any other “credit” to pass along for it. Also, the word “bus fare” may be a little “dated” or “out-of-place” depending upon where you live but it can be updated or changed easily to make this a very applicable illustration for any congregation today when it comes to church growth and the importance of serving our brothers and sisters in the church:

    An elder called on a member of the church for a social visit. The conversation turned to the work of the church. They talked of the progress that had been made and how the Lord had blessed their efforts through the past years. Yet both agreed that other things were needed.

    “It seems to me,” said the member, “That the church is always needing something. Every time we meet, there is a plea for more giving and more workers.”

    “You are right, my brother,” replied the elder. “The church is always needing something. I had a little boy who needed something. One week it was shoes, another clothes, then lunch money, bus fare, spending money. I thought he asked too much. He hasn’t asked for anything for years now. He quit needing anything from me. You see, he died one night. And there are times when I would give anything to hear him ask for something just once more. I realized after it was too late, how much happiness I found, even in his begging. Perhaps you have never missed the church. It has always been there when you needed it, and you have taken it for granted. Frankly I confess I did not know how little I did for my son until it was too late.

    So it is with the church. As long as the church stands, it will have needs. When it quits needing something, it will be dead. A dead church cannot offer a living hope to a dying world. The church that has no needs fills none.”

  • Eugene Adkins 5:19 am on 2013-10-28 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ministry,   

    Job or Ministry? 

    Here’s a neat little article that compliments something that I posted the other day. I found it in the Findlay church of Christ bulletin. It was labeled as “Author Unknown” but it sounds like whoever wrote it had some experience for the most part.


    Some people have a job in the church. Others involve themselves in ministry. What’s the difference?

    • If you do it just because no one else will…it’s a job. If you do it to serve God…it’s a ministry.
    • If you quit because someone criticized you…it’s a job. If you kept on serving in spite of criticism…it’s a ministry.
    • If you’ll do it only so long as it doesn’t interfere with other things…it’s a job. If you’re committed to staying with it, even when it means letting other things go…it’s a ministry.
    • If you quit because no one ever praised or thanked you…it’s a job. If you stay even though no one notices your efforts…it’s a ministry.
    • If you do it because someone else said it needs to be done…it’s a job. If you do it because you know it needs to be done…it’s a ministry.

    It’s hard to get excited about a job. It’s almost impossible not to get excited about a ministry. An average church is filled with people doing jobs. A great and growing church is filled with people involved in ministry!

  • Richard Mansel 7:33 pm on 2013-05-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ministry, ,   

    Six Things Young Preachers Need to Know 


    When young men go into the ministry, they are ambitious and hopeful. They dream of saving countless souls and inspiring brethren immediately to become passionate and obedient.

    However, reality soon sets in, and they learn that working with humans is more complicated than they realized. These aspiring preachers learn some harsh lessons in the meantime and struggle until they gain some experience.

    When we embark into a new career, we need copious amounts of guidance, patience and grace until we know what we are doing. With that in mind, here are six lessons that young preachers may not be told in school or when they are in training.

    (More …)

    • Ron Thomas 7:49 pm on 2013-05-16 Permalink | Reply

      I am assuming, Richard, you have in mind “lessons learned and that should be known as a form of guidance” during hard times, and not really anything else concerning the work?

    • Ron Thomas 7:56 pm on 2013-05-16 Permalink | Reply

      With that in mind, I will offer a couple of thoughts. First, don’t contribute to the solution unless invited. Second, you don’t always know what needs to be done. When that is understood, then one is able to move slower and easier. These are two things I have learned through the years – among others.

    • Rick 8:01 pm on 2013-05-16 Permalink | Reply

      Great, practical article. I heard, just last week, one brother discouraging his son from attending a brotherhood “preaching school.” Said that the brethren from years gone by didn’t need it, and they don’t need it now (I did kindly point out the untruthfulness of that argument, btw). As a graduate of one of them, If preaching schools were good for only one thing (and they ubiquitously have positives and negatives), the experience and influence of seasoned preachers would be it. Congregations and preachers (especially young ones) have expectations, and it takes a while to figure out what those are, and if each party will be willing and/or able to meet them. It takes a tremendous amount of patience, forgiveness and humility to endure the relationship, which I view to be as near to marriage as any other relationship. Again, good thoughts, Richard; and Ron Thomas, nice meeting you a week ago 🙂

  • TFRStaff 4:56 am on 2012-10-07 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christian inheritance, , ministry   

    Set aside to minister 

    In Deuteronomy 18:1-8, we have the record of the priests and Levites being set aside to the service of God and the people. I do not know with any certainty that God intended this situation to be a type of the position that Christians occupy in the world. However, I do believe that we can draw some important lessons from the circumstances of the priests and Levites with God.

    • The Levites were to receive no inheritance in the land. I am reminded of this portion of a well known song: “This world is not my home, I’m just a’passing through.” The men and women of faith declared that they were seeking a country, but it was not on this world (Heb. 11:13-16). Brothers and sisters, we have no inheritance here (Heb. 13:14. If we lay up treasures here, there will our heart be (Matt. 6:19-21).

    • Their inheritance was the Lord. I know that through God’s blessings, we live pretty well here on this earth. But we do not belong here. We do not fit here. We are wanderers waiting to arrive at ou “long home” (Heb. 10:36-40). Men on this earth, even some in the church, will “think it strange that we do not run with them to the same excesses” (1 Pet. 4:3). A faithful Levite did and a faithful Christian does “set his affection on things above” (Col. 3:2). Our inheritance is the Lord in every way:

    • We are his adoption (Gal. 4:5-7).
    • Our life, by choice, is hid in him (Col. 3:3)
    • Our path, our very footprints are found inside of his as we step where he stepped (1 Pet. 2:21-25; 1 John 1:7).
    • For us to live is for Christ to walk the earth once again (Phil. 1:21; Gal. 2:20)
    • Our purpose in life is His (Luke 19:10; Matt. 20:28).
    • We strive so much to be him in our earthly life that he will bless us to be like him in our glorified body (1 John 3:2-3).

    Brothers and sisters, the plight of a servant is indeed blessed because He in our inheritance. Make me a servant, Lord, make me like you.

    Mike Glenn

  • J. Randal Matheny 11:27 am on 2012-06-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ministry,   

    Looking for digital voice recorder 

    Anybody have any recommendations on a portable, digital voice recorder, with USB connection and, preferably, external (lapel) mic connection? Doesn’t need to have an overly large capacity, a few hours at least. Its purpose would be to record sermons and classes in settings where normal recording devices aren’t available, which in my case is most of the time.

    • ezequielsgp 11:35 am on 2012-06-05 Permalink | Reply

      I do. I have a IC Recorder ICD-PX720 Sony with Usb and it’s very useful. It records 288hours (1GB) and the results are very good.

      • J. Randal Matheny 11:52 am on 2012-06-05 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, good to know.

      • Jim 12:30 pm on 2012-06-05 Permalink | Reply

        I’m pretty sure that’s the type I use as well.

      • Jim 12:34 pm on 2012-06-05 Permalink | Reply

        Oops…sorry, I don’t mean to hog the discussion, but one other thing. This model also gives you the ability to adjust the size of the file. If you need higher quality the file will be bigger, low quality file is much smaller.

      • J. Randal Matheny 12:45 pm on 2012-06-05 Permalink | Reply

        Hmm, just saw a review that said it doesn’t work with Mac or Linux. 🙁

    • Jim 12:30 pm on 2012-06-05 Permalink | Reply

      Randall…just about any digital voice recorder should work for you. A lady in our congregation gave me one. It’s the type that fits in my shirt pocket. They are not that expensive. Hope that helps.

      • J. Randal Matheny 12:35 pm on 2012-06-05 Permalink | Reply

        Jim, I want quality good enough to post online, in a format that I can work with in a MacBook. Hope so!

    • ezequielsgp 12:58 pm on 2012-06-05 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t know… iPhone recorder? XD

    • fred 6:50 am on 2012-06-06 Permalink | Reply

      I use the Olympus ws-600s . Small, lightweight, plenty of capacity, stereo capable.
      I use a lapel mic with it.

    • Jon Galloway 3:30 pm on 2012-06-06 Permalink | Reply

      Hello Randal

      We purchased a Sony IC Recorder iCD-UX200 and it has worked great. Has the USB connection built in and also a plug for an external mic. We got it on Amazon.co.uk for about £55.00. I’m sure the American site would have it as well.


      • J. Randal Matheny 3:55 pm on 2012-06-06 Permalink | Reply

        Jon, thanks for the tip. Will check it out. BTW, I was invited to the local Exchange Club luncheon today, and chatted with Chuck Palmer. He said he saw you on his visit to see his grandson.

  • Richard Mansel 1:46 pm on 2012-06-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ministry, ,   

    Organizing my Books 

    I sit in my office working and I realize I need a certain book from my shelves. However, I cannot find it.

    I mutter to myself, “I must get this office straightened up and organized!”

    I answer back. “Yes, absolutely.”

    Then I sigh and think,  “Yeah, I’ll do that on a day when I have nothing else to do.”

    After a moment, I laughed uproariously and return to my work.

    Tomorrow isn’t the only thing that never comes. Preachers never get through with their work. They just stop at a certain point, leaving countless other things undone. It is the nature of the profession.

    When would that day come when we have nothing else to do? That would be the day we have forgotten what the ministry is all about.

  • Richard Mansel 11:38 am on 2012-06-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: hospital, , ministry, ,   

    Planted Memories 

    Walking through one of the hospitals in Savannah, Georgia, I am thinking about my experiences here. I have been in the area for more than a decade and during that time I have been to this hospital countless times.

    As I walk and think, I realize that I have memories planted throughout the building. Some are happy and others bring sadness to my heart.

    • I spent five days in that room after surgery.
    • Here, I watched a brother in Christ hold his baby for the first time.
    • Over here, the parent of a sister in Christ passed away.
    • Back there, I sat and prayed with a family while a loved one was in surgery.
    • At that table, I had lunch with a fellow preacher.
    • There, I sat for six hours with parents terrified about their child’s brain surgery.
    • In that room, I sat with my wife and prayed that she would get well.
    • There, I visited with a man who refused prayer on his behalf.

    The memories proliferate, vivid and lasting. I carry them with me as markers on the path of ministry. Being with people when they are hurting, vulnerable and needy, you solidify bonds that will not grow elsewhere. You hurt for them and you are glad you are there to feel useful to their lives.

    God becomes very real when we feel helpless. In that respect, hospitals know God intimately.

    When we walk there, we see glimpses of Him in the tears, the pleadings and the hugs of jubilant families. If only everyone could and would realize that only the Great Physician offers the healing that will never fail (Psalm 107:20).

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