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  • TFRStaff 6:25 am on 2014-04-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , mission,   

    Evangelism: obligation and opportunity of the local church 

    By Charles Box — The church of Christ in the first century was an evangelistic church. Evangelism has always been and will always be the life blood of the local church. Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16)Men and women who have committed their lives to the Lord must be motivated by love, to share the gospel with others. It is past time for all of us to carry out God’s command to bring forth fruit in the local church. (John 15:1-8)

    If we do not bear fruit we will be cut off, cast into the fire and burned! The word of God must be taught in a patient and persistent way. We must love people. It is our duty to teach all the lost all the truth. As Christians we must Always Be Teaching Somebody the gospel. (More …)

  • Michael Summers 2:56 pm on 2013-11-11 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: chaplain, , , , , , mission, reintegration, substance abuse recovery, trauma,   

    How May We Honor Military Veterans 

    Yesterday morning, I conversed briefly with an older member of the church I attend after our worship service concluded. Near the end of the service, the song director asked military veterans to stand and the congregation then concluded the service with a prayer song: “God Bless America.” The older brother in Christ told me that he had been in the U.S. Army during World War II and had been a Prisoner of War for about two months in 1945 after his capture by German forces. The horrible experience still scars him. He is not unique. While many military personnel return from combat zones reasonably healthy in mind and body, others bear scars they will never lose. We notice some quickly. They lost an arm or a leg; their faces still are scarred by burns from an explosion. Others have emotional scars. They witnessed charred remains of other Soldiers or were tortured as prisoners of war. Some may have performed acts for which they’re still ashamed, even though Christ forgave them long ago. Still others returned and have had trouble finding employment. They range from young enlisted Soldiers with high school diplomas to medical officers and chaplains with doctorates and master’s degrees. These too suffer; many occupied positions of great responsibility and supervised numbers of others in a combat zone, but now that they’re back home, they discover that potential employers don’t understand the skills and the leadership experience they gained. All these veterans hurt and may wonder if anyone really cares.

    On this Veterans Day, I ask, “How may we honor these men and women who volunteered to go where they might die in the service of our country, of us who live in the same nation?” This question applies also to Christians and military veterans in other nations. I mentioned already how our congregation concluded the service. Members also put together an eleven minute video with then-and-now pictures of veterans in the congregation which aired after the service. Another congregation hosted a breakfast for veterans and their wives as well as widow(er)s of military personnel. Some congregations invite veterans to lead the services on such days. These gestures help those who have deployed far away to reintegrate and to regain a sense of belonging once again. More help may be needed.

    A disturbing number of people who laid their lives on the line for us live homeless on our streets. They need different kinds of help; they’re homeless for diverse reasons. Some need mental health or substance abuse counseling. Others need vocational training, clothing, food, and a place to stay. They all need for someone to demonstrate compassion and to take initiative to help them. Again, some of these may even show up at your church’s worship services. You may wonder what happened to the young woman who used to sit in that pew after she returned from Iraq.

    Some veterans just need an opportunity to contribute. The reserve component chaplain who lost his preaching or teaching position when he deployed needs opportunities to serve. If the chaplain, medical doctor, or commander was/is a senior officer, they supervised what equates to a very large congregation’s worship and education activities, a missions organization, a small hospital, or a medium size business. They have real skills that the church and the community need. They may have lost the connections or (after their return) the confidence to gain appropriate employment to use those skills. They also may have had some of the traumatic experiences described above.

    I asked, “How may we honor these veterans?” Others question whether we should even though months ago they asserted, “We support the troops.” If you support the troops, now you have the opportunity to prove it. Thousands are returning to our communities and our churches. How will you prepare yourself and your congregation to help these veterans and their families? Jesus demonstrated compassion and healing throughout his ministry. Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostle Peter all interacted directly with soldiers; they addressed their medical, financial/ethical, and spiritual concerns. How will you honor our military veterans?

    • Jason B. Ladd 3:05 pm on 2013-11-11 Permalink | Reply

      You might enjoy this poem about families and absence, “While He’s Away: A Poem About Being Gone.” http://wp.me/p3BzWN-lB

      • Michael Summers 5:40 pm on 2013-11-11 Permalink | Reply

        Excellent poem, Jason. I conducted several retreats for families of deployed Soldiers; many comments from people at those retreats are reflected in the poem.

    • Brian Galloway 4:19 pm on 2013-11-11 Permalink | Reply

      I am a veteran and recently homeless (but not anymore). I was able to get out of that situation with the help of a lot of people; some Christians, some not. What I discovered along the way is that homeless people are modern-day lepers, as if homelessness is somehow contagious, and ‘normal’ people seem to think it’s safer to keep their distance. I also re-discovered the truth that Jesus did not come to make good people better but to rescue utterly lost people from a fate much worse than homelessness. Our social position in this life IS NOT de facto proof of our standing with Christ. Credible witnesses of that: Job, Naomi & Ruth, the apostle Paul, King David at certain times in his life, the prophet Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and plenty of others we’ll never hear about in this lifetime.

      • Michael Summers 5:37 pm on 2013-11-11 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Brian. As you may have inferred, I too am a veteran; I too have had tough times. Your comment about the modern-day lepers is right on track. I’m glad people did step forward to help you. Keep looking forward with hope and keep your focus on Jesus (who himself knew homelessness, acc. to Luke 9:58).

  • John T. Polk II 4:09 am on 2013-05-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , judgment in writing, , mission, , ,   

    Psalm 149 The God Who Will Not Be Conquered 

    These last 5 Psalms (146-150) are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm are undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned.

    Verses 1-5 call for God’s People to praise Him for victory;

    Verses 6-9 call for praise and defeat of their enemies.

    Verses 1-5: (Verse 1) “A new song” indicates a “new heart,” celebrating a “new victory,” and a “new life.” “The assembly of the saints” is a worship service, where “God is greatly to be feared” (Psalm 89:7). In America, every time there is disaster, trouble, destruction, criminal death, or missing person, there is some candlelight “coming together.” When Peter was kept in prison with the intent of killing him, the church of Christ gathered for prayer (Acts 12:12), not candles! (Verse 2) The people, Israel, especially their religious center, Zion, should rejoice with (verse 3) “dance” and “timbrel and harp,” just as their forefathers had done when God parted the Red Sea for them to escape Egypt and be their own Nation (Exodus 14:21-15:21). (Verse 4) God’s “pleasure” is in His People, who develop beautiful, spiritual character. (Verse 5) “Saints” should be joyful, even on “their beds,” formerly places of sorrow.

    Verses 6-9: (Verse 6) While praising God with their “mouth,” “And a two-edged sword in their hand.” This sounds like the Israelites re-building the wall of Jerusalem when they were returned to their Promised Land (Nehemiah 4:17). Apparently, there was no “gun control” then! A dis-armed people can do nothing against the enemies of God! (Verse 7) “Bearing the sword” in “vain” (meaninglessly), or using the power of the sword against “good works,” violates God’s intended purpose for “governing authorities” (Romans 13:1-5). Today, Christians are to praise God while Government uses the sword to be “God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4).

    (Verse 8) God’s government, acting as His minister, defeats evil. (Verse 9) God’s “judgment” in writing was: “When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2). Today, the “sword of the Spirit” in a Christian hand, “is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17), and the “nations,” “peoples,” “kings,” and “nobles” must be conquered by teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). Since Jesus Christ established His spiritual kingdom on Earth in the 1st Century, there has been NO “Christian carnal war” waged against Muslims, Jews, or anyone else, for that matter, and therefore NO justification for persecuting the churches of Christ! All of those who persecute Christians, even to death, are persecuting Jesus (Acts 9:1-5), and, unless they repent, He will damn them forever (2 Thessalonians 1:3-10)!

    “Praise the LORD!”

     All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

  • TFRStaff 6:21 pm on 2012-07-31 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , mission   

    Market mentality in modern religion (Hugh Fulford) 

    Hugh Fulford wrote today in detail about how he and his wife like the new Kroger Marketplace. Then he makes a spiritual application:

    Modern religion in many respects has mimicked modern marketing techniques. Churches now strive to meet all the “felt needs” of their constituents and prospective constituents. In effect, they have become religious supermarkets. They build kitchens, fellowship halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, spas, and bowling alleys. They install coffee bars and juice bars. They sponsor softball teams, baseball teams, basketball teams, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, fitness programs, drama productions, and dance classes. (Yep, one church of Christ in Texas a few years ago conducted a Monday night class on Ballroom Dancing.) They conduct financial seminars, retirement planning seminars, AA classes, divorce recovery classes, weigh-down programs, and all kinds of self-help programs. Counseling is available on a wide variety of matters.

    The subliminal message that is sent by all of this activity is that “we may be a church, but we are not a bunch of stuffy old religious fuddy-duddies; we are as ‘cool’ as any social or civic club in town, so come on down and join us, and we’ll show you how church can be fun” (in other words, we really won’t “preach” to you all that much)! Some churches have bought into the notion that “if we build it, they will come,” only to be terribly disappointed that not only did they not come and the church did not grow, but it actually declined, leaving it with a big debt and facilities that are unneeded and unused.

    Don’t misunderstand me. Some of the above things are good. I’m not against helping people live more fruitful, productive, happy lives. Our world is in a mess and many people’s lives are in a mess, including the lives of many who are Christians. But we need to remember that Christ came into the world to save sinners (I Timothy 1:15). He came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He came to call sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:12-13). In Him alone can mankind find redemption (Acts 4:11-12). The gospel of Christ is God’s only power to save (Romans 1:16). Without obedience to the gospel, a person is eternally lost in torment (II Thessalonians 1:6-9). The church is the pillar and ground of the truth (I Timothy 3:15). If the church does not preach the gospel to sinners, who will? If the church does not concern itself with the mission that was the mission of Christ, who will? The church is the manifestation of the manifold (multi-faceted) wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10). It has a greater and more enduring purpose than simply helping people enjoy a better life here on earth. How unutterably sad it is when spiritually hungry people ask for a fish and are given a stone instead.

    I love our new Kroger Marketplace and all that it has to offer. I love churches that are committed to Christ, to the practice of New Testament Christianity, and to the mission that Christ gave to His disciples. That mission is clearly spelled out in Matthew 28:18-20.

  • Ron Thomas 5:54 am on 2012-03-28 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mission   

    If you had a mission like Jeremiah (1:9), and since you have now come to understand Jeremiah’s life experiences, how willing would you embrace that mission? We all need to answer in the positive; I especially encourage you now to reflect on how well you might be living the mission of Christ even now.

  • J. Randal Matheny 11:11 am on 2011-10-06 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , mission   

    Two identical verses in Matthew’s gospel 

    Two identical verses in the gospel of Matthew? Almost! And I never saw it until today … My personal website seems to be working again, so if you were looking for today’s Daily Bible Devotional, you’ll have to hop over there, for “Now, it’s your turn,” on Matthew 9:35. The meditation actually takes in 4:23, an almost identical verse. (It’s called an inclusio, marking the beginning and ending of a section.) Fascinating, so much the more since I’d never noticed before.

    • As I was studying this section of Matthew I searched Google Books for tidbits on its literary structure. Google’s book previews can often reveal some jewels. I became so enamored with one book that I considered buying it, until I saw the price tag: $128 for a 182-page paperback. Inexcusable to my mind.

    I found some used copies of the book, the cheapest in, of all places, Jerusalem, but with postage, I was looking at $50, at least. The book has a 1998 copyright, so it’s likely that the publisher has turned the book back over to the author. I found him on the net and wrote him to ask if he would sell me an electronic version of it. Good ole Internet.


    • See the chart above and read the story behind it here. I read it with interest. It wasn’t effective with the denominational preacher it was used with, but then maybe nothing would have been. Was the preacher too direct, too blunt? Was the chart too simplistic? I must admit, however, I liked the brother’s approach. (I don’t know anything about the site, but it looks like it may be anti-institutional.)

    • On my Diaspora* spot, I have a Matthew quote with a confession, and a Superman link and a question. Here’s the main link. By the time you read this there may be more.

    • A last thought on Matthew. Chapter 10 is a challenge to apply. I’d be interested in hearing your applications. No immediate brush-offs, please, that this was for the Twelve and doesn’t apply to us. Obviously, there are such elements. I want to know how to be as trusting as Jesus wants them to be by going out with no gold, no silver, no copper. What say you?

    • Stephen R. Bradd 7:51 am on 2011-10-07 Permalink | Reply

      Randal, Jesus didn’t forbid taking paper currency. 🙂
      Seriously, doesn’t Paul’s example shed some light here? He received support from Christians outside the area he currently labored at times (no instructions about that in Matt 10). Additionally, he also worked a secular job when necessary to provide for himself and those with him (no instructions about that in Matt 10 either). Was Paul any less trusting than the 12 because of these behaviors? I think not, and neither are we today if we imitate Paul (1 Cor 11:1). Matt 10 is one way to go into all the world; but it’s not exclusive.

      • J. Randal Matheny 1:09 pm on 2011-10-07 Permalink | Reply

        There’s our solution: print more paper money!

        I’m thinking in different categories, Stephen. Not sure I can put it into words. As a missionary supported by churches, who was looking last year at the possibility of a sideline to supplement support, I don’t dismiss Paul, by any means. But I’d like to explore Matt. 10 more for what it can say to the church.

  • J. Randal Matheny 8:57 am on 2011-07-07 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mission   

    I’m just the messenger 

    Jeremiah said it about Nebuchadnezzer’s capture of Jerusalem. The statement applies across the board:

    “I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? (Jer 32:27 NLT).

    Apply this to our mission. It is God who sends, gives the message, provides the power, supplies the Spirit, opens the doors, touches the heart, transforms a life.

    To borrow a phrase from the latest “Transformers” movie: “I’m just the messenger.”

  • J. Randal Matheny 4:29 pm on 2011-06-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mission, , suffering for Christ   

    The grace of suffering for his cause 

    • Richard H. told me his modem was hit after a storm this morning, so it’ll be a couple of days before he’s back online. He asked me to post the 100 Days of Scripture for him until then. Here’s a secret: Richard sends the email to the Posterous site, which then updates TFR automatically. So it looks like Richard posted Gal. 1:9 today, on his account, but I earn all the glory. Now I can post anything in his name. <insert evil laugh here>

    • A little bird told me that one of my articles today is getting some attention on a closed group. Not all good attention at that. But I rejoice that some are having an opportunity of hearing a bit of truth. Whether they accept it or not is between them and the Lord.

    • I spent most of the day at the office, without Internet connection, working on some projects. I’m still in one piece.

    • Working on Philippians 1 today, I was struck again by this verse: “For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him” (Php 1.29 NLT). “Given … the privilege” is literally “to grant graciously,” verb from the root of “grace.” Many today make grace into license, while Paul sees it as God’s gift of suffering for and with Christ. What a difference from our entertainment-crazed society that revels in its passions and ungodly desires!

    • This gift of suffering is part and parcel of our mission as God’s people. To evangelize implies suffering. I dare say we have little evangelism among us, because we have few willing to suffer. What do you think?

  • TFRStaff 4:53 pm on 2011-04-18 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , mission   

    U.S. church numbers decline 

    Why have churches of Christ declined in numbers? What are solutions to reverse the decline? How to implement the solutions? Don Petty addresses these questions in the study of the decline of the membership of the church of Christ, done in 2006.
    In the zip file are three Word documents:
    • Reasons for the Decline
    • Solutions to the Decline
    • Implementing the Solutions

    See on his website HERE.

    • Mike Riley 3:27 pm on 2011-04-19 Permalink | Reply

      Brother Petty has hit the nail on the head regarding both the reason for the decline in numbers as well as the solution to the decline. The implementing of the solutions will be the most difficult thing to do, but we must do them if we are to be pleasing to the Lord.

  • TFRStaff 6:06 am on 2011-02-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mission,   

    The Worst You Could Do 

    What’s the worst thing you could do to a person?

    I recently heard a good friend speak on the topic of evangelism and he asked this question.

    That’s a hard question for a Christian to consider, since it runs counter to our very purpose in life.

    Like me, a number of things probably crossed your mind such as, “Take away a man’s family.” Or perhaps it was this: “Take the life of a man when you know that he isn’t ready for eternity.” That latter one certainly warrants some serious consideration.

    However, Lonnie concluded with — and made his point with — the one that I would have settled on. The worst thing that you could possibly do to an individual would be to know that they do not know Jesus Christ—and you fail to share the gospel with them! Without a doubt, this would be at the very top of my personal list.

    There’s an old and powerful hymn that we sing on occasion, the title of which is “You Never Mentioned Him To Me.”

    I hope that you maintain a list of prospects — people whom you know who need to be taught the truth. If you don’t do so, I encourage to you take up this practice.

    Once you have that list made, then I want you to do something: take that list and indicate, to yourself, how many of them you have contacted. Are there some who can say, “You never mentioned Him to me?”

    If so, won’t you fix this situation today by talking to them?

    –by Marty Knight, in the Feb. 2011 edition of “Evangelistically Speaking (adapted slightly).”

  • Mike Riley 8:40 am on 2010-12-07 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mission, , statement   

    Mission Statement And Motto 

    My mission statement is the same as the Lord’s mission statement for the church (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16).

    My motto is the same as the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared.”

  • Mike Riley 3:53 pm on 2010-11-30 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: agency, , , , , , foreign, , interdenomination, mission, scan, ,   

    God’s Work Continues? 

    Here’s a site I found today while scanning some Twitter posts. This gives us an idea of what the Lord’s church is up against in foreign countries (as well as our own country).

    Here is an interdenominational mission agency in Thailand that is promoting the idea that baptism is not a part of the conversion process, but is simply an afterthought, i.e. “if you want to” (note the last paragraph).


    This is why I added a question mark to the title of this article. Is God’s work really “continuing” with the promotion of this false teaching?

    The devil is still hard at work deceiving folks (Revelation 12:9)..

  • Troy Spradlin 10:37 pm on 2010-09-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mission,   

    Culture Shock Chronicles 

    Journal Entry #57 – Team dynamics and conflicts. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, things are not the same in the mission field as they are back home. No matter how good of friends you may think you are with someone, or how well prepared you suppose yourself to be, there are going to be crashes, conflicts, or crisis with your fellow workers. A foreign mission field is a completely different environment with different forces at work on all the senses. The manner in which we handle these difficult situations is the key. In times such as these, try to remember this passage, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:3). Soldiers must not only guard against the enemy from outside, but also from within. Satan couldn’t be happier than to see a squadron of the Lord’s army dissolve on account of some trivial internal conflict. It is another victory for him. Let us be mature, sensible, and responsible men toward one another in order to resolve whatever issue may arise. I am thankful and blessed to have such wonderful team mates. We have had our share of conflicts, but every one of them has been handled extraordinarily well. I believe it is because we desire to put the Lord’s kingdom first in our lives.

  • Troy Spradlin 9:32 am on 2010-08-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mission,   

    Culture Shock Chronicles 

    Journal Entry #56 – “Mission Reports.” While I was recently visiting another missionary, I witnessed him writing his report to his supporters. He affirmed something that I had already believed by telling me, “a good report is not just about how many baptisms there were, but about what is happening within the local church.” I couldn’t agree with him more. So often, it seems that many brethren think the number of baptisms per month is all that matters. The more baptisms the “better” the work, right? Friend, that is NOT what the Great Commission says! Also, since 1 Corinthians 3:6 says that “God gives the increase” then how can we put an emphasis on counting baptisms? Our focus should simply be sowing the pure seed of the Gospel and strengthening the saints, allowing the Word to work in people’s lives. When a new babe in Christ starts taking an active role in service, that is worth reporting. Or, when leaders begin to develop from within the congregation, that is worth reporting. Mission work is not only about baptisms but also about generating Bible study contacts, guiding new converts in their Christian walk, and teaching others to teach others (2 Timothy 2:2).

  • Richard Mansel 3:23 pm on 2010-08-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: interview, mission, ,   

    The Mission of the Writer 

    I have posted my mission as a writer as well as that of J. Randal Matheny,  Ron Thomas, Paula Harrington, John Henson, Weylan Deaver, Mike Riley an d Jeff A. Jenkins. Come and read what they say and share your mission as a writer.

    I also have an interview with Adam Faughn about perspectives on blogging.

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