Investing In Law Breakers

What is your attitude toward prisoners? Many are of the opinion that Christian workers would be wasting their time ministering to prisoners. Often even their own family members give up on them and say, “He/she will never amount to anything.” They don’t even bother to go and visit them. The divorce rate is high among prisoners.

I would like to come to the defense of prisoners; some of them at least. After a little over three years of working with prisoners, I have found that some of them sincerely want to change and make their life count for something. It is true that some of them have no desire to change and will never amount to anything.

There are some who welcome help they receive from Christian workers. They are lonely and are pleased that someone shows attention to them. They are hurting and willing to accept help. Some go for months without a visit from anyone from the outside. The only friends they have are their cell mates. They are the only ones they can chose from for friends.

Prisoners have lots of time on their hands. Christian workers can give them Bible studies to do. It gives them a good way to occupy their time. The most important lesson for them to learn is the plan of salvation. Then it is a matter of disciplining them. I have a few students who have completed all the six basic courses I have to offer them.

I challenge those who have completed a number of Bible study courses to share their Bible knowledge with their cell mates. I encourage them to seek out those who are depressed and share with them how they can have more reason for living by being a child of God. Sometimes prisoners have trusted in Christ and done several Bible studies. They say “When I get out of here I’m going to start serving the Lord.” I tell them they need to start now, where they are. There are those around them who need what they have and they need to offer it to them.

I have found that the best place to start is at your local jail. There you can ask permission to go to one of the cells and tell the people there that you have something to offer them. Ask them to come up and hear what it is that you have to offer them. With one of the books in your hand tell them that you want to get them started on a Bible study course. Some may go back to their bed, but one or two, maybe more, will stay to listen. Give them your testimony and tell them what a relationship with God will do for them. Get their names and leave the first lesson with them. When you get a few enlisted, you can go to a different cell and seek to enlist more.

After prisoners receive their sentence they are sent to a prison. They often take their studies with them. That give you an inroad to that prison. You can encourage your students to tell others in the prison what they are doing and ask them if they wouldn’t like to do a Bible study also. If some say “yes’ they can send you their name and identification number and you can get them started.

When I talk about investing in prisoners, I’m not talking about the possibility of any monetary remuneration. The remuneration will be in the satisfaction of knowing that you have been used of God to make a change in someone’s life. In fact, you can be used of God to make changes in the lives of a multitude of people. Every answer sheet of a Bible study that is returned to you is an indication that a change has been made in someone’s life. It may be minor. Nothing may come of it, but then there is always the possibility that they will do another Bible study and another. You are giving God a chance to work in their lives.

This isn’t just a ministry for pastors. Lay men and women in churches can also participate in this ministry. It will be a great help if you are in a good church where you can be upheld in prayer by others. You may want to have a partner who can go with you when you go to make visits. Your partner can also help you in grading the lessons you receive. It will demand an investment in time and money. You will need to buy the Bible studies. I put a postage stamp on the answer sheet they need to send back. You will also need to buy envelopes and postage stamps.

Your ministry may go beyond that of prisoners. You may have a chance to also minister to the family members of prisoners. At the jail you may chance to meet family members of prisoners. They are hurting and open to counsel and encouragement. Prisoners doing lessons often request that you enroll their family members in Bible studies.

The Bible study material I use comes from Source of Light Ministries International. The address is 1011 Mission Road, Madison, Georgia 30650. Their web page is www.sourcelight.org. They have a number of courses that are very adaptable to a prison ministry.

If I could be of help to you I would be glad to. My e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net.

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The Best Way To Help A Fool

November 25, 2016

The Best Way To Help A Fool

Many are grieving about a son or daughter; grandson or granddaughter, who is making foolish mistakes and they long to help them. Perhaps they have tried to help them, but without success. If you find yourself in this situation, this article is for you.

The book of Proverbs has much to say about the fool. You can’t afford to be without the wisdom and knowledge the book of Proverbs offers. It will help you understand the ways and thinking of the fool. As a word of caution; it’s best not to call anyone a fool to his face. It is offensive. You can see that he is a fool, but keep it to yourself.

In the first chapter of the book of Proverbs we read in verse seven that the fool despises wisdom and instruction. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The fool thinks he knows what he needs, but wisdom and instructions aren’t included. He thinks he needs money, but if he had it he wouldn’t know how to spend it. He may think he needs a job, but without wisdom and instruction he wouldn’t have any thing to offer to his employer. He may think he needs companionship, perhaps a life partner, but without wisdom and instruction he wouldn’t be able to contribute a significant part to the relationship.

Many people are hurt by the fool. He may steal from people he doesn’t know. When he drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol he may do damage to, or even kill, people he doesn’t know. Family members suffer because of him. Proverbs 10:1 says “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” When we see what the foolish person is doing, our natural reaction may be to say, “He or she needs help.”

How can you best help him? Logically we see that he needs to understand that what he is doing is detrimental to him and others around him. The problem is found in Proverbs 18:2. “A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.” We can’t help him if he doesn’t want to understand.

We can teach people, but we can’t make them learn if they don’t want to. We can reason with people, but we can’t make them understand if they don’t want to. We can show favor to a fool and perhaps deliver him out of a bad situation he finds himself in, but there is no assurance that he won’t fall again into the same situation. Proverbs 26:8 says “As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.”

In the light of all these obstacles, how then can we help a fool? There are still two things we can do for him. The first is to pray for him. “Pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

The second thing that can be done for the fool is to assure him that you stand by ready to help him, but only if and when he sees that he has a genuine need of help. Don’t let him fool you by making a pretense of repentance only to get a hand out from you. Explain to him that he must do his part to regain the confidence that you and others have lost in him.

Many times it is hard to be patient, especially when we see a loved one suffering because of foolish decisions he keeps making. II Corinthians 7:9-10 says that sorrow worketh repentance. “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Many times we have to leave the fool in God’s hands and keep praying in hopes that the time will come when he will be willing and ready to accept our help.

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Help Wanted

April 18, 2016

                                      Help Wanted

Our society is in great need of people who are willing to give of their time to help hurting  people.  We have medical professionals who are prepared to help those who are hurting physically.  There are also multitudes that are hurting emotionally.  They aren’t getting the help they need.  That’s where you come in.

Our society is abandoning the moral precepts of God’s Word.  It is resulting in an alarming increase in the number of people who are suffering emotionally.  Anyone with just a grain of perception will acknowledge the truth of what we read in Proverbs 14:34.  “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” God’s moral laws are not meant to limit our enjoyment of life.  To the contrary, they are to facilitate the joy of living.

God fearing people are also hurting because their loved ones, and others around them, are violating divine moral precepts.  Many parents are suffering because their children have thrown aside the moral standards their parents taught them.  Many marriages are dysfunctional, or have ended in divorce, because one partner has given in to fleshly desires.  Sin is deceiving. It often has a pleasant beginning, but a devastating ending.

Hurting people are sometimes too proud to admit that they have brought sorrow upon themselves.  There comes a time, however, when they too must recognize their need of help.  Someone needs to kindly tell them, “I’m sorry, but you can’t live the way you are without hurting yourself and others.”  Drunkards are turning to Alcoholics Anonymous.  Pastors find that much of their time is spent counseling people.

You can be used of God to minister to the needs of others.  In the Bible we find some special words that speak of the ministry of a helper.  One is the word “exhort,” found in II Timothy 4:2.  “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”  The Greek word means to come along side of someone and offer help.  To exhort sometimes means to lift up someone’s spirits and encourage them to go on.  Another word is “compassion.”  In I Peter 3:8 we read that we need to have compassion.  “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another.” To have compassion on someone is to come along side of them and share in a measure in their suffering.  You won’t be able to do that if you are like many who are all wrapped up in themselves and don’t have time for others.

Another word is “comfort.” From II Corinthians 1:3-4 we learn that God expects us to comfort others.  “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;    Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” God comforts us, and he expects us to comfort others.  To suffer loss is a part of life.  It hurts.  It is a relief when others come along side of us and give us comfort.

When people are hurting they need to be introduced to “the God of all comfort.” II Corinthians 7:10 says that God can use sorrow to bring people to repentance and salvation.  “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” The words “not to be repented of” mean that people never have regrets about having been saved.

Galatians 6:9 says we should “not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” It costs something when we give comfort, compassion and exhortation.  It may seem as though we get little or nothing in return.  The reaping will take place when we get to heaven.  Revelation 22:12 says, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

In life there is a time to give and a time to take.  There are times when we are hurting and need help.  Will there be someone to give it to us when we need it?  If we haven’t given it to others, what right have we to expect to receive it from others?  Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).  Be a giver, and the promise of God is that you will also be a receiver.

Comments or questions are welcome.  Please send them to the following address:  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

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God’s Little Messengers

February 24, 2016

                     God’s Little Messengers

By “little messengers” we mean gospel tracts. They are little gospel messengers in paper format.  It is an economical and effective way to share the message of salvation.

They serve as a reminder to people that, if they haven’t trusted in Christ for the salvation of their soul, they need to do so.  Altogether too many in this world are of the opinion that they don’t have anything to worry about because they have lived a fairly decent life and God ought to be satisfied with that.  Some churches even give them reason to have that false assurance.  They desperately need to know that entrance to heaven depends on whether they have accepted Christ’s sacrifice for them.  We don’t go to heaven on our own merits.  Titus 3:5 makes that very clear.  “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” We find the same truth also in Ephesians 2:8-9.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:   Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

The gospel message is both negative and positive.  The bad news is, “I’m sorry my friend, but you aren’t good enough to go to heaven.” That’s what God’s word plainly tells us in Romans 3:23.  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:10-12 goes on to say, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:   There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” People must realize they are lost before they can be saved.  The eternal destiny of their soul is at stake.  It is serious.  If our presentation of the negative message is too direct it may turn people off.  People don’t like to be told that they are sinners under God’s condemnation.  That is what God’s Word says, however, and a good tract will share the message in the least offensive way.

The positive message is that Christ has paid the price for us. We find that glorious message in Romans 5:8-10.  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.   Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.    For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” There are many ways of presenting that message.

The positive message regarding salvation should be presented to show how important and necessary it is. It is for our well-being both now and for all eternity.  It should include Scripture references to show that it is required of God.  The steps that need to be taken should be clearly explained so people will know what they need to do.  The need of repentance and a decision from the heart should be explained.

For these reasons, you need to be careful in your selection of tracts to pass out. Do they convey the message you want to give to those who read them?  It may be impossible to find tracts that meet all the requirements.  Some tracts have been printed on cheap paper.  It is more economical, but they may not be as readily received.  Millions of some tracts have been printed and distributed.  Some have been printed in various languages and used in other parts of the world.

We should use discretion as to where we pass out tracts. Store owners may not appreciate it if you pass them out in their place of business.  Sometimes it can be done in restaurants on a limited scale.  Perhaps you could give them to those seated close to you, but don’t go to all the tables where people are seated.  It is always appropriate to give one to the person at the cash register.  A tract can also be left after a meal at the table with a tip for the waiter.

Some Christians get discouraged when they pass out tracts because they see people throw them on the sidewalk without reading them. It is even more offensive when someone tears one up in little pieces and throws it to the wind.  Be that as it may, there are always those that are read.  Some find their way to the recipient’s pocket and are read when they get home.

We seldom see results from the tracts we pass out. We seldom hear of someone who was saved by reading a tract.  We shouldn’t let that discourage us.  They do serve to remind people of the way of salvation and their need of accepting Christ’s sacrifice for their own.

God’s little messengers don’t have hands and feet. They need the help of your hands and feet to get themselves into the hands of those who need to receive their message.  Passing out tracts is something almost anyone can do.  Even children, under adult supervision, can do it.  Sometimes those who receive a tract from us will ask a question.  That gives us an opportunity to engage them in a spiritual conversation and share the gospel with them.  Women often keep some of God’s little messengers in their purse to give to people they meet along the way.

At times we can pass out 100 or more tracts in a few minutes when we find people waiting in line. They are more apt to be read when people have free time.  Tracts should always have the name, address, and time of services of your church stamped on them.  Thus those who read them can find spiritual help if they want to.

In Psalm 68:11 we read, “The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.” Even greater should be the company of those who distribute it.  Are you one of them?  If not, take a handful of God’s little messengers, and pray that God will guide you as to who you should give them to.  Then pray that they will be used of God to speak to the hearts of those who received them.

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the following address:  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

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The Truth About Psychology

January 23, 2016

                                The Truth About Psychology

When I was a young man it seemed as though no one had any doubts about the merits of psychology.   Over the years, however, Christian leaders have had second thoughts about the merits of psychology.  Books have been written to warn Christians about the danger of putting too much trust in the advice given by psychologists.

What is wrong with psychology?  The basic problem with psychology is that it is humanistic in nature.  Humanism says that mankind is the standard of truth and morality.  It rejects the teaching of the Bible and the supernatural.  It is hard for some to accept the fact that psychology isn’t a science.  Psychologists like to think, and make others think, that they are professionals on the level of medical doctors.

The truth is that psychology could be called a pseudo-science.  Modern medicine is based on scientific studies that determine the cause of physical problems and the best solution for each problem.  Psychology, on the other hand, deals with abnormal human behavior and looks for a means of correcting it.  It is a well known fact that many suffer from abnormal behavior.  People need help in seeing the error of their way and the need of changing their behavior.

Secular psychologists see people as basically good.  They like to think that men will change their behavior if their needs are met.  Yes, people need to be loved and respected.  Their physical needs need to be met.  Just meeting those needs, however, isn’t all that is needed to change a man’s nature.  The Bible tells us that men are sinners.” Ephesians 2:1 says, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Man’s basic need is that of having the right relationship with God.  That is where a prudent biblical counselor always begins when he tries to help someone with a problem in his life.  People need to have the right relationship with God if they are to have the right relationship with those around them.

Our culture is departing more and more from biblical moral standards.  As a result, pastors are finding it necessary to dedicate more of their time to counseling.  Some years ago pastors sent people with problems to a psychologist.  Little by little, they began to realize that psychologists weren’t getting to the bottom of their problems.

There are those who call themselves “Christian psychologists.” They try to integrate secular psychology into their counseling.  It must be acknowledged that not all problems are because of sin, but when they are, they tell people that they have a psychotic problem.  In other words, they say a man’s problem is in his head, not in his heart.  By repeated sessions of counseling they try to change people’s way of thinking.  The biblical counselor, on the other hand, will also see the need of changing a man’s way of thinking, but he brings God into the picture.

Christian psychologists say they take the good from secular psychology and add Bible teaching to it.  They assume that the Bible isn’t sufficient to solve all men’s problems.  We don’t question their sincerity, but many times they try to interpret the Bible in the light of psychology.  A good example of that is the way they approach Matthew 19:19 which says, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”  Many of them are inclined to say “That teaches that a man needs to have a certain measure of love for himself.  If not, he will suffer from a lack of self-esteem.”  The problem with that is that most often men have too high an esteem of their own self-worth.  Romans 12:3 says, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”  According to John 1:12, the believer is a child of God.  He is an object of God’s love.  “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” That should be all we need to give us a feeling of self-worth.  Sometimes Christians are bothered about some peculiarity in the way they look.  An acceptance of I Corinthians 15:10 should help them overcome that feeling. “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain.”

Psychologists often mislead people as to the nature of their problem.  They tell them that they have a psychotic problem and give it a technical name.  The counselee is left thinking that he has a problem that can only be solved by a professional.  Therefore he keeps scheduling more sessions with the psychologist in hopes that eventually his problem will be solved.

Perhaps a counselee is humiliated if he is told that he has a sin problem, but the solution is found in facing reality.  For example, if he is suffering from worry, the psychologist may tell him that he is suffering from paranoia.  That sounds threatening.  If he goes to a biblical counselor he may say, “You just don’t trust the Lord the way you should.” With that he will open his Bible and start showing him verses about trusting God.

There is a distinction that should be made between a psychologist and a psychiatrist.  For the most part, psychiatrists treat disorders of the mind that have physical causes.  They are serious problems that need professional help.  Biblical counselors should have knowledge to distinguish between a psychological problem and a problem that needs the attention of a psychiatrist.  Only psychiatrists have the authority to prescribe drugs.  That problem can be, and often is, abused.  Patients are given mind altering drugs to which they become addicted.  A quote taken from naturalsociety.com says “44,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2013.  That was more than double the number in 1999.”

If you have been helped by a psychologist, I’m glad for you.  I can’t help but think, however, that you could have received help more rapidly and more thoroughly by a biblical counselor.  It might mean that you would need to surrender to the will of God, but that would help you in winning the victory over any number of problems.  The biblical counselor has at his disposal the promise of God and the power of God to enable us to live victoriously.  They are promises like those found in II Timothy 3:16.  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Another promise is found in II Peter 1:3.  “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.”

There is a great difference between secular psychology and biblical counseling.  One depends on human strength and the other is with the help of God.  II Chronicles 32:8 says, “With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles.”  Mark 9:23 says, “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”  Can you believe?  If so, there is help for you.

What has been your experience?  Questions or comments are welcome.  You can send them to us at the following web site: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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The Missionary Mandate

January 14, 2016

                                         The Missionary Mandate

          God’s people have been given the mandate to evangelize the world. That involves winning the lost to Christ and organizing them into local churches.  After Jesus resurrection, and before his ascension to heaven, he said, “ All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.   Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).  That might seem impossible for us, but God has promised to give us the power to do what he tells us to do.  Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

The church wasn’t in existence yet when Jesus gave the missionary mandate in Matthew 28:18-20.  When the church came into existence we find that, in great part, the church has been given the responsibility of reaching the world with the gospel of salvation.  Every local church should make an effort to reach the people around it with the gospel.

Once a church is well established the pastor should lead them in an organized effort to get other churches started.  Churches can plant new churches in other towns, or suburbs if it is a city church.     If there is a couple attending the church that live some distance away, they can open their home for a weekly Bible study.  If they don’t feel capable of teaching a Bible study, it may be that someone in the church would be able to do it.  An effort is then made to invite people around that home to come for the Bible study.  The thought in mind should be that of starting a new church with the group attending the Bible study.

An established church that knows of a home missionary attempting to start a new church in another town within reasonable distance could help him with financial support.  Another thing the church could do for him would be to send a group from the church to do door to door visitation in that town.

Many churches extend their outreach to the far corners of the world by supporting missionaries.  God calls missionaries and sends them out, but they can’t go without financial support.  For the most part, that support comes from churches.  Included in the budget of every church should be money given in the form of monthly support for one or more missionaries.

The sad truth is that we aren’t completing in the work God has called us to do.  There has never been a time in history when it could be said that the church was completing its missionary mandate.  There are a number of reasons for that.

The primary reason for our failure is that there has never been enough churches.  At the same time, there has been a lack of manpower.  We can’t lay the blame on God.   The power is promised to us.  We just haven’t availed ourselves of it.  Some years ago Christians talked about “reaching the world in this generation.” It appears as though most of God’s people have given up on that objective.

The fact that it has never been done doesn’t justify negligence in doing our part.  Instead of looking at the big picture, i.e. reaching the world, we should give consideration to what we can do.

The lack of manpower stems from a lack of surrender to do the will of God.  I Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?   For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  We belong to God and he should have a right to do what he wants to with us.  Adolescents need to be exhorted to surrender their lives to God and to seek his will for their lives.  That way God can guide them from an early age in their interests and their studies.  God can then prepare them for what he has planned for them.  God isn’t going to call all of them to be missionaries.  A life surrendered to the will of God is always a successful life.

Another hindrance in completing God’s missionary mandate has always been the undue emphasis Christians place on materialism.  When young people are encouraged to consider the possibility of being a pastor or missionary, one of their first questions most often is, “How much do they get paid for that?” Perhaps the reason for that is the undue emphasis their parents and others place on money.  The materialistic mentality hinders Christians in their giving to the Lord’s work.

Another impediment in our day is the sad fact that many young people are not going on with God.  Part of the blame for that is the indoctrination they are receiving in the public schools.  That should be a concern to us for a number of reas0ns.  (Please see also the following articles on this web page; “Youth Evangelism” under “Christian Workers.”  Also “Is There Not a Young man?” under “Young People”).

Pastors can facilitate the missionary mandate by instilling a love for God’s work in the hearts of the people in their church.  That can be done by keeping the congregation current on what missionaries are doing and what their needs are.  He could also mention them frequently in public prayer. Young couples who surrender to go to a mission field should be held in high esteem. The church should do all they can to encourage and help them.  The congregation should be praised for the money they give to missions, and encouraged to give even more.

One more way of facilitating the missionary mandate is by prayer.  Christian workers need to be upheld in prayer.  Can you name missionaries you are praying for?  Perhaps the elderly and handicapped may be limited in what they can do in the church, but they can uphold and strengthen the hands of missionaries by their prayers.  In Matthew 9:38 Jesus said, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

The missionary mandate isn’t given the importance that it deserves.  It pleases the heart of God to see people being reached with the gospel.  If it is your desire to please God, one important way is to give the missionary mandate the importance it merits.

 

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         The Manifestation Of A Genuine Conversion

If you are truly saved you will reveal it by the way you live. You will want to tell others about it, but they should know it, whether you tell them or not.  Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.”  If we think we have persuaded someone to place his faith in Christ for salvation, it’s best that we don’t tell everyone about it.  If we do, we may be embarrassed if he doesn’t show any evidence of it.  It is best to let him tell others about it, and even better if he shows it by the change in his life.  II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Some people aren’t hesitant about telling others that they are Christians, but their life doesn’t show it. If you are a genuine child of God, those around you will know it.  The fact that someone made a decision to accept Christ as their Savior doesn’t mean much unless we see a change in their life.  Some soul winners pride themselves in the number of people they have won to Christ.  If we ask them how many of those they have supposedly won are now faithfully attending church, they would have to confess that many aren’t.  We need to be winning souls, but after we win them we need to help them take the first steps in living the Christian life.

It would be refreshing to hear in our time more testimonies of people who converted to Christ and left no one in doubt about it. In history we read of conversions that were little short of miraculous.  One example is that of Francis of Asisi.  He was the son of a rich man.  He was taken as a prisoner of war and spent four years in captivity.  After his release he fell sick.  During that time he began to think about spiritual matters.  For a time he wavered between surrendering to God, or going back to an immoral life style.  He felt guilty because he had so much and most people around him had very little.  One night he invited a group of his friends to come to his house for a big party.  After eating and drinking, they went out to the street and had a disorderly celebration. All at once someone realized that Francis wasn’t with them.  They went back in the house to look for him.  They found him sitting on a bench in deep concentration.  When they asked him questions he didn’t respond.  One friend said in jest, “Can’t you see that he is thinking about getting married?” Then he responded and said, “Your’ right.  I am thinking about getting married to the most beautiful bride the world has ever known.  Her name is poverty.”  He never returned to his past life.  Not everything he did was biblical, but he dramatically manifested to the world that he had been converted.

Another dynamic example was that of Billy Sunday. In the years 1883-1890 he became famous in the United States as a baseball player.  In 1886 he was converted in a mission that was being used of God to win to Christ alcoholics and street people.  He said to his friends, “I have bid good bye to the past life.” He left no doubt about the fact that he did. After two years he stopped playing baseball and began preaching the gospel.  Thousands were converted in his evangelistic crusades.

There is little reason to believe that one’s conversion is genuine if he hasn’t abandoned his past life. We already read in II Corinthians 5:17 that old things will pass away.  It isn’t just a change in religion, although that may be included.  It is a change in the way we think and live.  Titus 2:12 says, “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”

I recently read a book entitled “Mission To The Head Hunters” by Frank and Marie Drown.  It was thrilling to read how they succeeded in persuading  savage Indians in the jungle of Ecuador to trust in Christ for salvation.  Conversion, for the Indians, meant that they abandoned tribal customs.  Among those customs were tribal warfare, shrinking the heads of conquered chieftains, polygamy, and witch doctors.  Their love for Christ enabled them to be victorious over the ridicule they received from other Indians.

In the Bible we read of some of the things the believers in the primitive church left behind. In I Thessalonians 1:7-10 it says they left their idolatry. In Acts 19:19 we read that they abandoned their “curious arts.” That means the practice of magic or witchcraft.  They made it public by burning their books in the street.

In our day, among the things we expect people to leave behind are profanity, pornography, drunkenness, and indecent behavior. If your conversion took place some years ago, the fact that you don’t do those things attests to the fact that you must be a Christian.  What did you leave behind when you were converted?  Did people see a change in you?

Conversion is not just a matter of leaving things behind. What you leave behind needs to be replaced by virtues that are added.  Christians aren’t just known for what they don’t do.  They are also known for what they do.  Jesus said “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” II Peter 1:5-7 gives us a list of virtues we should be diligent to add to our lives. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;    and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;    and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”

As we said earlier, we long to see more dynamic conversions. Will yours be one of them?  It begins by repenting of your sins and accepting God’s forgiveness based on the merits of what Christ did for us when he died on the cross.  If your repentance is genuine, it will be manifest by the fact that you leave your sins and surrender to the will of God.  You will need the help of a good Bible believing church.  There you will find encouragement and gain knowledge of what God askes of us.  Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:    Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

 

 

 

 

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Pastors Work Hard

August 2, 2014

Pastors Work Hard

            You may think that the pastor of a local church has an easy life.  That isn’t true of pastors who are honestly fulfilling their role.  To help you see what all is involved in the work of a pastor we need to consider the example of the Apostle Paul in the church at Thessalonica.  In      I Thessalonians 2:1-20 we see what Paul invested in the church in the short time he was there.

A pastor’s time is well spent.  In verse one Paul said, “For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain.”  Our entrance in unto you means the time we spent among you.  He said it was not in vain.  Once my wife and I were visiting a church that was forced to close its doors because of financial reasons.  After the pastor preached his last sermon in the church he walked to a back bench that was unoccupied, sat down, and began to shed tears.  I went and sat by him and assured him that his ministry there was not in vain.  I told him he had touched many lives and had left Christians stronger than they would have been if he hadn’t spent time among them.  I told him that these Christians will go to other churches and be used of God in greater measure because of what he had invested in them.

At times a pastor must face contention.  Paul said, in verse two, that there was much contention.  Not everyone appreciates the work a pastor does.  Christianity is under attack.  The servant of God must be bold, as Paul said he was.  Your pastor is defending your right to live the Christian life. It isn’t easy to face contention.  At times pastors reach a breaking point and say, “I can’t take it anymore.”  Some leave the ministry when they come to that point.  For that reason,    you need to pray for your pastor, encourage him, and defend him when others speak against him.

A good pastor doesn’t exalt himself.  Paul said in verse 5 that he didn’t use flattery.  Flattery is an attempt to make people feel good about themselves.  For example, a pastor could tell his people what good Christians they are.  If they were as good as he would like to make them think they are, he wouldn’t need to be there.  A pastor does need to praise the church and express appreciation for what they do, but not to the extent of flattering them.  The motive behind flattery might be covetousness.  Paul said he didn’t use a cloke of covetousness.  A cloke is used to cover up covetousness.

In verse nine he said, “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.”  Much of the work a pastor does isn’t seen by others.  A carpenter, for example, has something material to show for the work he has done.  That often isn’t true of the work of a pastor.  No one sees him laboring in his office.  He spends many hours each week praying, reading, writing, and searching for words to express what he wants to say to his people.  If he doesn’t spend that time, his sermons will be shallow.  He will repeat himself.  His people won’t be fed from the Word of God.

Another segment of a pastor’s time is spent working one on one with people, as seen in verse eleven.   “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children.”  People need individual attention.  A good pastor makes himself available to his people 24/7.  People die at all hours of the day or night.

People call upon their pastor when they are under stress.  That is well and good, but we often overlook the fact that pastors also are often under stress.  Paul says that he exhorted and charged them.  People often need to be exhorted to do more and do better.  It is easy to give into the flesh and be lazy and apathetic.  The flesh is weak and often unwilling.  Some people don’t appreciate it when their pastor tries to motivate them to do something they don’t want to do.  The pastor suffers even more stress when he has to face a believer who has sin in his life.  The pastor has to plead with him to repent and turn from it.  Not all are willing to turn from their idols as the Thessalonians did. “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”  People in our day aren’t worshiping idols, but they are letting other things occupy the place God should have in their life.

Another word the Bible uses in speaking of pastors is “elder.” That is the word found in I Timothy 5:17 where it says that those who rule well are worthy of double honor.  “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”  The words “double honor” can also be translated double remuneration.  A good pastor is worthy of both double pay and double honor. Pastors don’t rule as a king or dictator.  He is a servant of the Lord, but he does occupy a place of leadership in the church.

Be thankful for your pastor.  He watches over you as a shepherd.  He isn’t perfect; neither are you.  His prayer, and the longing of his heart, is that you might grow spiritually and mature.  If he corrects you for something, accept it graciously and thank him for calling it to your attention.  Fortunate are those who have a loving pastor who cares for their soul and to whom they can go for guidance.

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

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Youth Evangelism

May 19, 2014

Youth Evangelism

            Pastors, churches and Christians need to wake up to the urgency of reaching young people with the gospel.  The youth are the future of our churches.  Without them our churches will die.  The annihilation of Christianity could be only one generation away.  Are we aware of that?  If so, why isn’t more being done about it?

Yes, it’s true that many young people have been spoiled rotten.  All they are interested in  is food, fun, and games.  Many parents have failed to instill character in their children.  However, not all parents are to blame.  Many Christian parents know the heart break of seeing their children repudiate the truths they hold dear and reject the only wise God.  They need the help of churches and Christian leaders to rescue their children.

Many young people have been deceived by the teaching they have received in school. It gives them reason to doubt and reject the teaching of Christianity.  The teaching of naturalism gives them reason to think that science has proven beyond a shadow of doubt that the Bible isn’t true when it comes to science.  They have heard that teaching over and over again.  Seldom have they heard the other side of the argument.  They aren’t sufficiently grounded in the truths of God’s Word to be able to defend themselves. Proverbs 1:4 tells us that it is our duty “To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.”  Verse 5 tells us why. “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.”

Before we can attempt to win most modern young people to Christ we have to convince them of the truth of creationism.  There are some good Christian organizations that have some excellent material available to expose the fallacy of evolution.  The following are the two best known:

Answers in Genesis

P.O. box 510

Hebron, Ky. 41048

www.answersingenesis.org

 

The Institute for Creation Research

P.O. Box 59029

Dallas, Tx. 75229

www.icr.org

These groups have books, magazines, and audio-visuals available.  We need to expose young people to these materials

Perhaps churches should organize monthly Saturday youth rallies with sister churches of like faith and practice.  It can be in a different church each time.  In preparation for the rally the young people can prepare special music, readings, or skits.  When possible, an enthusiastic outside speaker who knows how to communicate with young people  could be invited.  Otherwise, the pastors of the churches involved can prepare messages designed to answer questions young people have.  On occasion, videos from the above mentioned groups could be shown.  Enthusiasm would need to be built up among the young people.  They would need to be encouraged in invite their friends outside the church.  It seems as though young people always have an empty stomach, so food needs to be included.  Older people in the church could be involved in bringing and serving the food

Some Christian youth organizations of the past have self-destructed because they went overboard in trying to entertain young people and didn’t have enough spiritual content.  There needs to be some humor and fun in a youth rally, but not so much that young people come just for that.  Let them know that the reason for the rally is to communicate a message that young people need to hear

Summer camps for young people are an excellent way of teaching them spiritual truths.    They need to be well planned and properly supervised.  Just one week of camp a year isn’t enough.  It needs to be followed up by getting them in church regularly.

Young people aren’t being taught to think in school.  They are expected to accept what is being taught without asking any questions.  Years ago schools had debating teams and the students were judged according to their ability to come up with an answer when their argument was challenged.  We need to challenge young people to think for themselves.  For example, I like to put this question to them.  “If it’s true that human beings evolved for apes and monkeys, why do we still have apes and moneys?  Why did some get left behind?”  I find that most young people have never thought about that.

Young people need to be convinced that it does make a difference what we believe.  If the Bible is true, and our origin goes back to God and creation, that answers questions about who we are and why we are here.  That gives us direction about how we should order our lives in society.  If we were created by a transcendent God for a purpose, then we need to ask, what is that purpose and how should we fulfill it?  That gives us direction in life and reason for living.

On the other hand, if naturalism is true, then there is no objective basis for morality.  Morality is nothing more than what appears to be true in our minds when we have evolved to a certain level.  Morality is subjective.  Everyone is free to decide what he thinks is true.  In modern classrooms, skepticism is applied in regard to objective truth.  The only objective truth they accept is that there is no objective truth.

We are reaping the fruit of subjective morality.  Many young people are convinced that there is no objective moral truth.  They says, “I have a right to live my life anyway I want to and no one has a right to hinder me.” That leaves them free to ruin their lives with drugs, alcohol and illicit sex.  The disaster that results from that moral philosophy is evident to any who will take time to consider it.

Our negligence in reaching out to our young people leaves our churches and Christianity without a future.  It also leaves our young people and the future generation on a downward slope that leads to chaos and calamity.  To comprehend the problem facing us and do nothing to solve the problem leaves us guilty of contributing to the problem.  What do you do when you see people on a course that will lead them to grief, pain, and shame?  To remain silent and give them no warning is to consent to their downfall.

Young people need to know that we care; that we love them.  They need to know that we want the best for them.    Christian young people need lots of help in this wicked world.  They need friends who are mature Christians who are willing to listen to their questions and give them guidance.

How can we help them?  What should we do?   What is being done? Please circulate this article among other Christian leaders.  If you have suggestions, let them be known and they will be added to this article.

Our E-mail address is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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The Protestants

January 10, 2014

The Protestants

            Who are the Protestants? Sometimes people say, “We aren’t Protestants.  We aren’t protesting against anything.” Perhaps that’s true, but could it be that we should be protesting against some things?

For the most part, the Protestants are all those who aren’t Catholics.  It is a big umbrella that includes evangelicals as well as the most liberal denominations.  It doesn’t tell us much about their beliefs.

Christians were first called “Protestants” back in the days of the inquisition.  According to the Random House Dictionary, the inquisition was “The special tribunal established in the 13th century and active until early modern times, engaged chiefly in combating and punishing heresy.” It was used by the Roman Catholic Church to combat the reformation.  The principle leaders of the reformation were Martin Luther (1483-1546) and John Calvin (1509-1564).

In 1526, in the Diet of Spires, the leaders of the reformation gained a victory.  It was resolved that “Every state affected by the Edict of “Worms should be allowed to control its own church and civil affairs as it might answer to God and his imperial majesty.”That liberty was short lived, however.  In 1529 “The emperor and the pope came to an agreement whereupon the Catholic party immediately revived its policy of repression.  An imperial edict was read virtually forbidding all progress of the reformation.”2  “The evangelical members of the diet presented a formal protest that the unanimous decision of the Diet of Spires in 1526 could not be rescinded by a majority vote in a second diet.”3 

In volume IV of Merle D’aubigné’s “History of the Reformation” we find the words of that protest.  In conclusion, the protest read “If you do not yield to our request, we protest by these presents, before God our only Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, and Savior, and who will one day be our judge, as well as before all men and all creatures, that we, for us and for our people , neither consent nor adhere in any manner whatsoever to the proposed decree, in anything that is contrary to God, to his holy Word, or to our right conscience, to the salvation of our souls, and to the last decree of Spiers.” … “Thus, in presence of the diet, spoke out those courageous men whom Christendom will henceforward denominate the Protestants.”

                Granted, we have a glorious positive message.  It is the message of salvation and a glorious hope for all eternity.  We need to be bold in proclaiming it.  We need to be bold also in the defense of the faith.  We are facing growing opposition to the proclamation of the gospel.  Psalm 107;2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” We are derelict in our duty if we remain silent and let our enemy blaspheme the truth, and intimidate us.  Be not weary in well doing.  We shall reap if we faint not.  (Galatians 6:9).

  1.  A History of the Christian Church by Lars P. Qualben  p. 246
  2. Op Cite p. 247
  3. Op cite p 248
  4. History of the Reformation, Merle D’aubigné D.D.

Our E-mail address is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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