Recalling Liberia

Long time readers will know that I have had a love for the people of Liberia for many years. In fact, I have been involved with Liberia longer than I have been writing for Defending Contending. The older I become, it seems the faster the years go.

Nine years ago, I was recovering from a debilitating illness while pastoring in England. I was contacted by a man who later proved to be a scammer. However, it was not until I had flown from England to the steaming jungles of West Africa that I realized that I was in a very dangerous situation. Still, the Lord showed His grace and love and protection. During that trip, I was brought to love these Africans who were, and still are, in need of a Savior.

Many of you also know that our family moved to Liberia in 2012 only to have to return six months later. It was supposed to be a permanent trip, but one of my daughters and I contracted a severe case of malaria. I actually contracted malaria and typhoid two different times in less than three months.

During the intervening years since our return, I often wonder what our lives would be like had we been able to remain. We could have been there during the outbreak of Ebola which claimed the lives of several thousand including some Christian brothers and sisters that we personally knew. We could have been there for the first baptisms that took place in the villages of Foloblai and Tamayta where we started two mission works. We could have been there when Cyrus Smith began his first work in the village of Dentaa. We could have been there when the first Biblical marriages took place. There are many things we could have seen and been involved with.

However, today the work that God graciously, and in His sovereignty, only allowed us to plant seeds for continues to flourish and grow without the white missionary. The Bible Institute of Church Ministries still continues to train jungle pastors to teach the people of their village churches. Baptisms continue to take place as testimony is shared of the saving grace of God. Lives are still being changed. Another church plant is getting ready to take place under the guidance of Cyrus Smith.

The short time in Liberia still makes a difference in our lives today. We are thankful for every experience — the dangers, the lack of food and provisions at times, the fellowship of fellow missionaries who had no idea what we had or didn’t have, the prayers of family and friends through the dark nights when death was so close at hand, the village chief (Cyrus Smith) who surrendered all and became my Timothy, but most of all, the privilege of having served the Lord in a country where so many still need the Lord.

My prayer is that you will enjoy these pictures. They are not the best quality, but they represent a work that grows despite all the opposition. They represent part of my heart, but more importantly, these pictures show a Church and Bible Institute growing to the glory of God.

The Pastor – Chapter 6, The Use of Titles

How men love titles! Does your “pastor” like to be called “doctor” or even “pastor”? Are such titles biblical for the gathered people of God? The Solaauthor gives this peek into today’s message:

Now to grasp another nettle. Titles. The New Testament never uses any title for any man in the church. What is more, it categorically forbids it. Nowadays, however, most Christians do use titles – or one in particular – and do so without turning a hair, even though it contradicts Christ’s plain command. Complaining of the scribes and Pharisees who loved ‘to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them “Rabbi”’, Christ said: But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi’, for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call any one on earth ‘father’, for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher’, for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Matt. 23:1-12). But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for one is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call any one on earth your father… And do not be called teachers… But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (NKJV).

Chapter 6 can be found here.

Chapter 5 is here.

Tattoos of Faith?

And you thought the last one was bad? Laodicea would be a strong, vibrant, Christ-honoring body of believers today compared to what we are seeing taking place throughout so-called evangelicalism.

While this short post is not about whether it is sinful for a Christian to get a tattoo, there is certainly some consideration that must be given to when and why this is done. Take for example the link below that shows a church social club that decided to incorporate the stunt of getting a tattoo into the Sunday morning series of sermons entertainment modules.

http://www.kmbc.com/news/Church-offers-tattoos-during-Sunday-services/20035454

tattoo

The standout quotes by the professional tattoo artist who set up shop right on the platform, and the pastor, shows the results of what happens when you divorce the truth of the gospel from your messages.

MANY PEOPLE WANT TO USE A FORM A FORM OF FAITH THEY CAN ONLY USE SUNDAY..AND NOT USE MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY. WHERE AS YOU GET INKED BY GOD ITS PERMANENT IT AIN’T COMING OFF…[TATTOOS ARE] FAITH IN THE FORM OF AN UNWASHABLE DEDICATION AND COMMITMENT TO JESUS.

Give me four years to teach the children…

Vladimir Lenin infamously declared, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” The national indoctrinationgovernment of this country, formerly known as these United States of America, wants our children from age 5 – 18, 22 if they can get it. Do we think this education is morally neutral? Or is there a system within and of the world that works iniquity and never sleeps?

Colin Gunn has published a movie that aims to educate Americans about the dangers of government education. Parents are not to be condemned but educated about this arena. To that end, Gunn offers this movie for free viewing from 22 – 31 December.

Here’s a note from Colin:

This season, as people spend time at home together, we hope that families will take the time to watch and share our movie with loved ones, especially those that need to hear the truth about the American public school system and decide whether they should continue using them.

Even in the last few years we have seen a dramatic decline in the school system making our message all the more urgent. We’ve recently seen astonishing moves by the educational establishment, with the Department of Education’s full-on support of the Supreme Court ruling on homosexual marriage, and in recent months, a significant campaign to normalize transgender lifestyles to our youth. The public schools have gone from bad to worse, and there are no excuses left.

Now is the time to act.Please take the time to share our message through your emails and social networks. Go here: www.watchindoctrination.com/free

I pray you take the time to watch the movie. Don’t allow the prince of the air to rule your children. Be informed and prepared.

Preparing for Jesus’ Coming

I wonder what it was like to live before Jesus was born. The prophets had foretold His birth and encouraged people to be ready, but I wonder how many took the prophecy seriously. Maybe it seemed like one of those tales they had heard their whole lives so, even if it would become true some day, it most likely wouldn’t be in their lifetime.

 

sermon_prophecyofJesusbirth1

I expect that people then were very much like they are today. The difference is that, today, we know He came. He lived, He died, He rose. But He also promised to come again! Are we watching, making sure that we are ready for His return? Or we are going through life with a vague recollection that He said He would return, but it probably won’t be for a long time yet?

Although that may be true, we need to live as if He were coming today. So many missed His first coming. I do not want to be among those who are not ready for Jesus’ second coming.

As you celebrate this week, think about how much we truly have to celebrate. God so loved you that He gave His Son, and one day, we will get to see Him face to face. Lord, hasten that day!

The Farce is Strong With This One

No, the title is NOT a misprint or a misspelling. The below link is from The Guardian newspaper.

Star Wars Sunday

A church social club in Berlin, Germany has decided that the truth is irrelevant. However, I have to assume that it is a sign of the times. If you have no desire to draw anything but goats to a service, then you have to use what goats like. After all, using the unadulterated truth of the Scriptures just doesn’t draw crowds these days.

lukewarmpicTwo quotes in the article stood out to me. The first from one of the pastors hirelings. “They trust us to make them part of the church service without making it too Christian or too Star Wars, but to find a good compromise.” (emphasis is mine)

The second from an attender.

Scott McGuire, sporting a Chewbacca costume, said he planned to see the movie later. “I think the whole question of God is very interesting, but getting up early on a Sunday is one of those things. But for something like this, I’ll go,” he said.

However, is it really any different than Hillsong Church that decided to produce the blasphemous 1920 flapper style version of “Silent Night”?

WARNING — This version of Silent Night from Hillsong may require much eyewash, but the damage to your eyesight and brain may be permanent.

 

Peace That Passes All Understanding

As we grow older, life does not get any easier. Not only do we find ourselves concerned about the regular cares of the world, but now we have children and grandchildren that must be taken into account. In the midst of a world that is rocked with scandal, pain, wars, and turmoil, it is so easy to find ourselves distracted and overwhelmed by the world. It seems that our little lives can also be torn apart with strife in our families. These times simply show that we are fallen creatures of clay who have been saved by grace.

Our desires should not be for this world but to realize we are just passing through. Soon enough will come a day where like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, we will dip our feet in the waters of death as we prepare to go to the other side where we will be forever with our Lord and those saints who have gone before. What a glorious day that will be.

Although the pain in our hearts is very real, there are many who have suffered much more than most of us will ever experience. Such a person was Horatio Spafford, who wrote the words to a well-loved hymn called, “It is Well With My Soul.” This man suffered greatly with the loss of four children at once through the sinking of a ship that was enroute across the Atlantic Ocean. This beautiful hymn was written by Spafford as he journeyed to meet his wife in Europe on the next ship. Crossing over the spot where the ship entombing his daughters was, Spafford, with the strength of the Lord, wrote with full assurance in the God of his salvation that “It was well with his soul.”

No matter what struggles or pain you and I may endure today, there will always be a peace that passes all understanding. Only those who rejoice in Jesus Christ and know Him as personal Savior can reiterate with Paul that there is nothing in life or death that can separate us from the love of God.

Family and friends may forsake us and foes may assail us, but His love will endure forever. I am thankful that today I can ask with the Psalmist in 116:15, “What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits towards me? I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the LORD.”

For those who remain friends, you are a blessing and an encouragement. May you be encouraged with the words of these two hymns today.