We do ourselves a huge disservice when we treat the church like the business world. It is the utmost folly to appoint business men who have little spiritual content in their life to the eldership or the deaconate. Don’t get me wrong; a spiritually minded man, who is also a businessman, may do well in the eldership, or as a deacon, but many times we look at a man’s business acumen and fail to discern his spiritual qualities, or lack thereof. The church is not a business, and it should not be. What happens when the eldership and the deaconate become filled with unspiritual business men? We become results oriented. We measure things by the bottom line.
I’m not thinking just about money. The bottom line does not always have to be money. It can be completion of tasks or projects. It can be building repairs and improvements. It can be the implementation and management of programs. It can be an unhealthy focus upon works. It can be whether we deem our mission works “successful.” It can be our efforts at evangelism, counting bible studies or bodies baptized. It can be counting daily Bible readers, or counting the number of people who visited or whom we visited, or any number of other things wherein we can demonstrate “success” with a number. This is the heart of what it means to be results oriented. —Kevin Cauley
Picked up again tonight on our Bible readings at the gym, started at 10 pm, after the last person finished her workout. (I was next-to-last.) We had six people present, not bad considering we’ve been out for two months. Four of the six are not Christians according to New Testament teaching. In two weeks we’ll have another.
So, yeah, me in gym clothes, sweaty, teaching at 10-10.30 pm. Better than it sounds.
Vicki and I sat down with the parents of our neighbor Paulo this afternoon, and with a family friend who was staying with them while recuperating from pneumonia. Paulo was also present. I presented a lesson about Jesus from John 1.1-18, with a two-page outline. Sr. Vicente and D. Georgina are very religious and committed to their tradition, so it will be a challenge as we present the gospel to them. D. Georgina prepared coffee and cake for us after the study. Paulo took the photo. They live on the east side of the city. We’ve had a good bit of contact with them through Paulo, as we’ve joined them in cookouts, watching the World Cup, and other get-togethers at his house.
Last night as I bedded down, I read three chapters of the Bible, one of them 3 John. Imagine my pleasant surprise to read this morning Ed M.’s devotional thought for June 3 on 3 John 6. Every saint ought to read this one-page meditation. (I recommend the entire yearly work.) Among other things, he wrote,
Christian obligation. Gaius gave travel assistance to some fellow believers (though they were “strangers” to him), III John 5. These itinerant preachers had mentioned his goodness while visiting John, III John 3. So the venerable apostle asks Gaius for another favor. “Send them on their way” in a manner that God would approve, III John 6. These traveling evangelists were worthy of such help because “it was for the sake of the Name that they went out,” III John 7. Christians have an obligation to underwrite the work of those who minister the word, I Corinthians 9:7-12a.
Why cannot every church help every missionary who seeks support, with some amount, at least? (The reason why not: they’re spending their monies elsewhere, mostly on themselves.)
Focus question: Am I going, letting go, or helping to go?
Textual note: NLT translates “brothers” as “traveling teachers,” vv. 3, 5, 10. Quite interpretative, but they were indeed traveling evangelists, what we today call missionaries.
“Latin America’s religiously unaffiliated population is projected to grow both in absolute number and percentage terms, rising from about 45 million people (8%) in 2010 to 65 million (9%) in 2050.”
Let us see this projection as opportunity to preach the gospel to a growing number of people without any religious affiliation.
“We are just as obligated to make our lives attractive and beautiful to others as we are to make them pure.” —Guy N. Woods, on 1 Pet 9.12.
“Hopelessness and helplessness are not options for Christians who serve a God who will work his purpose for his glory.” —T.S. Ranier, “Church growth and evangelism in Acts”
God gives courage to the simple and untrained who speak boldly about Jesus. May it be so today!
Urgency of the apostles. In spite of the warning, the apostles continued to speak about the Lord, Acts 4:20; 5:20,21. They talked about Christ because they were irrepressibly compelled to mention Him, I Corinthians 9:16; cf. Jeremiah 20:9.
Ed M.’s devotional today reminds us to not wait for “congenial times” to speak.
Focus question: How will boldness motivate me to speak up today about Jesus’ work of salvation?
Another quatrain, over on TFR:
During lunch at a spot I frequent, the owner of the restaurant came and sat down with me, chatted about life. We've talked about spiritual subjects before. Then I was almost finished and the owner of the quick print shop came and sat down, ate his lunch with me. Said he was going to visit sometime. I send them both emails once or twice a week about spiritual and biblical topics.