THE CHANGING ROLE OF MISSIONARIES

(May 11, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, raises an issue…

This could be the first time I’ve raised the fact that the role of missionaries is rapidly changing.

I believe the change is the result of the good work done by the thousands of missionaries who served with great fruitfulness over past centuries.

And I think especially of the 19th and 20th centuries when missionaries were sent virtually worldwide to make disciples. Their work was very fruitful with great numbers of churches planted.

Initially the missionaries by necessity were the pastors and Bible teachers of the churches they planted. Then, gradually and eventually in a great surge, national pastors were trained and went out to plant many more churches.

Recognition of emerging indigenous leadership
Experienced missionaries rejoiced to see what God was doing, yet they felt the change that progressively happened as they stepped back in recognition of the emerging indigenous leadership. (more…)

GOD WANTS YOU TO BE RICH – REALLY?

(May 8, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, openly shares from his heart…

Recently I received a blog from an Indian friend who is pastoring in India: a young man whom I taught for a short time in a Bible college in Tamil Nadu. He was very committed in his Christian faith and very passionate in sharing the gospel.

However, his most recent blog troubled me. It was titled, ‘God wants you to be rich!

The following is part of what he wrote:
Yes, God wants us to be rich. We all know and believe that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, died on the cross to buy our salvation, healing, blessings and deliverance; but I want you to know on the same cross Jesus also died to make us rich.

‘You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich’ (2 Corinthians 8:9 NKJV). (more…)

ITP – RELATIONAL, NOT RELIGIOUS, CHRISTIANITY

(May 9, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a reminder…

It’s May, our fifth month already!

Interestingly, before the Jewish Exile to Babylon in 586 BC, this time of the year roughly corresponded to the month the Israelites called Ziv – meaning ‘brightness’ or ‘radiance.’ Determined Christians could make this a great month to radiate the reality of our relationship with Jesus!

Of course we’re meant to splendidly radiate Jesus every month, not just May – in both our churches and our locales; exhibiting biblical truths and principles. After all, Jesus, who was light in a dark world (John 1:4-5), declared that his followers are meant to be the radiance of God’s glory – ‘You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept’ (Message 5:14Mge).

What we explain below about relational Christianity is really a very simple biblical truth and principle – and the joyful response by troubled Christians we shared it with recently was one of ‘Ah ha! That’s what it’s all about! We get it.’

ITP
We call real relational Christianity ITP – the Inverted T Principle – and it’s all about being relational not religious!

What’s the inverted ‘T’ principle? you ask. Well… image a large upper case letter T, then invert it – now image the upright as a centre piece that is connecting with two bottom bars that extend widely both right and left.

Now what you have is a big … (more…)

THE FIBONACCI SEQUENCE

(May 2, 2018) Peter Fitzgerald challenges Christians in business, indeed every believer…

Fibonacci is amazing stuff; it involves something I was never very good at – mathematics.

In business marketing applying the mathematical principle of multiplication will work immensely more powerfully for you than the principle of addition.

Parallels can be found in the growth of Christianity (Acts 6:1), the spread of the gospel message (Mark 4:6; Acts 12:24), and God’s promise to bless his servant Abraham (Hebrews 6:14)… it’s plethuno – to increase, abound, multiply.

Heard of the Fibonacci Sequence?
It’s named after Italian mathematician Leonardo of Pisa, known as Fibonacci, who was considered ‘the most talented Western mathematician of the Middle Ages.’

Check out the Fibonacci sequence on Google (eg https://www.livescience.com/37470-fibonacci-sequence.html) and see some amazing multiplication in nature!

This growth sequence doesn’t go as we normally count – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and so on. It’s a series of numbers where a number is found by adding up the two numbers before itStarting with 0 and 1, the sequence goes 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so forth. Written as a rule, the expression is xn = xn-1 + xn-2.

(more…)

KEEP YOUR EYES ON JESUS

(April 21, 2018) Carol Round asks …

Do you find it difficult sometimes to keep your eyes on Jesus? I know I do.

When we find our lives spiralling out-of-control with unexpected illnesses, the death of a loved one, family dysfunction or worldwide uncertainty, it’s often easier to wring our hands in despair than to turn to the one who gave his life for us.

Jesus never promised us a life of luxury or one without pain and heartache. Look at his life, lived simply and ending in an agonising death. But he did promise to be with us during our trials.

Smiles from a servant’s heart
Recently, I was blessed to have lunch at an assisted living facility with a friend who will turn 90 later this year. As each of her table companions joined us to eat, Josie introduced me. I’m certain my friend is the oldest of the five women, but you wouldn’t have guessed it by her actions.

Before the others arrived and I could assist her, Josie had parked her walker and moved a chair from a nearby table and placed it next to hers – for me. When I realised her intent, I admonished her and said, ‘Josie, you should let me do that.

Then, when the last of our tablemates joined us, Josie rose to help manoeuvre her friend’s walker and pull back her dining room chair so she could be seated. When she returned to her seat, I said, ‘Josie, you have a servant’s heart.’ She just smiled. (more…)

IMPRISONED, TORTURED BY ISIS, CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY LED 40 TO CHRIST

(April 19, 2018) Mark Ellis reports…

Charged with being a spy, Czech missionary Petr Jasek endured a 14-month imprisonment in Sudan where he was tortured by fellow cellmates. But Jesus supernaturally imparted peace during his confinement and he became a bold witness, winning many to Christ.

In his role as the Africa regional director for Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), Jasek went to Sudan to document the persecution of Christians, which was happening in the Nubah Mountains in clashes between the government and rebels.

Imprisoned in a tiny cell
Jasek was detained by the Sudanese police at Khartoum Airport in December 2015. Seems immigration staff found a duplicate passport he carried for security purposes, which led to his immediate arrest and imprisonment.

 Petr Jasek

‘I was put in a cell at about 1:30 am,’ he told VOM. ‘It overcrowded, with people covering the floor. They had to squeeze around a little bit so they would create some small room for me to lie down on the floor. The conditions were sparse. I had no blanket… just two extra T-shirts, an extra pair of pants, toothbrush, toothpaste and soap; that was all.’

Guards had refused him blankets or a mattress. Because he was from the Czech Republic they told him they thought he should be used to cold weather.

At 5:30 am he was awakened by the Islamic call for prayer. All six of his cellmates began praying fervently. ‘They showed me a place behind them where I was supposed to stand while they were praying. The rule is that me as a Christian, I had to stay behind them so they would not look at me while they are praying.’ After the prayers, they identified themselves as DAESH, the Arabic acronym for ISIS. All his cellmates were ISIS fighters! (more…)

ALL NATIONS

(April 18, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, reflects on a special term…

‘All Nations’ – this term ‘all nations’ occurs 72 times in the New Testament. The entire Bible has 452 direct references to all the nations in this world. This alone is substantial evidence of God’s interest in every nation on earth.

When you find that God’s word, the Bible, links ‘all nations’ with the eternal purposes of God, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and above all, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the value of all nations to God becomes very clear.

The command of Jesus Christ to his disciples recorded in Matthew 28: 18-20 adds vital meaning to God’s love and plan for all nations!

He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, as you go, disciple people in all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. And remember, I am with you each and every day until the end of the age.’ (more…)

IF OR BUT – CONSEQUENCES AND CONTRASTS

(April 17, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, reflects…

In English there are some words that sound very impressive, such as iridescent, ethereal, serendipity, ineffable, and so on. On the other hand there are some words that sound pathetically unimpressive.

However some of those unimpressively sounding words are supercharged with significance… such as if or but. It’s hard to imagine anything less impressive than those two common little words.

Nevertheless they lie at the heart of the most marvellous of all Christian truths – the resurrection of Jesus that millions of people around the world joyfully celebrated earlier this month.

But did the resurrection of Christ really happen?
Is the recently celebrated Easter story just a fascinating tale? Can we really believe that a brutally executed man came alive again three days later?

It does seem to stretch the bounds of credibility and, as atheism is embraced by more and more people today, many dismiss the reality of that event and believe that it should be classified as a fairy tale.

Recently I read these words by a Californian college professor of sociology and secular: ‘The world is better off when supernatural tales lacking evidence fade, especially when these tales teach that all humans are evil and rotten and in desperate need of salvation which can only come about through the brutal torture, murder, and resurrection of the son of a magical deity. As for the death and resurrection of Jesus, well, fewer and fewer people are buying that old tale. Increasing numbers of men and women in formerly Christian societies are losing their faith.’

This professor is right in one sense – individuals and Christian societies are losing faith in that story. And many just cannot give any credibility to the fact of a man coming alive again three days after he had died. (more…)

THE TITANIC TWELVE… 12 ‘IF ONLYS’ OF LIFE

(April 14, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share…

Titanic’ means of exceptional explosive strength, size or power. Such are the titanic ‘if onlys’ of life that can sink us! Today, April14, we recall another titanic… the RMS Titanic.

106 years ago – April 14 1912 – at approximately 11.39pm, on its maiden voyage the Titanic struck an iceberg. Three hours, one minute later, at 2.40am Monday morning the so-called unsinkable, luxury liner was gone in the calmest but coldest seas (28degrees under).

1523 souls perished, including John Harper, a brave young Baptist minister, who kept encouraging people to trust God and to accept the Lord Jesus… even as he too sank into the deep.

Only 750 were plucked from the frigid sea. It was a very sad time indeed, as the Walter Lord’s prolific 1955 book called it, A Night to Remember (Made a  movie in 1958).

 

 

 

 

 

 

(more…)

EIGHT PRESENT-TENSE BENEFITS OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST

(March 30, 2018) Mike Shreve reminds readers of eight great truths in respect of Jesus’ resurrection …

Most believers view the resurrection of the Lord Jesus either through a historical or a prophetical lens! They tend to either look backward to Jesus’ victory over the grave or look forward to the resurrection of believers at the conclusion of this age.

But seldom do believers grasp the present tense benefits that have come to us as a result of this spiritual conquest.

Here are eight powerful ones:

1. Deliverance from spiritual death
‘But God . . . because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ’ (Ephesians 2:4-5).

When Adam fell, he died spiritually and began dying physically. But when Jesus came out of the grave, believers were delivered from spiritual death right then When we received the resurrected Saviour in our hearts, the resurrection process began.So those who repent and turn to Jesus are first resurrected spiritually on their way to complete physical resurrection at the coming of the Lord. We are given a ‘new spirit’ (Ezekiel 36:26). (more…)