One of the most memorable moments of my trip to the Philippines last January was sitting in on a young adults Sunday school class at Bethany Baptist Church in Makati. (I took the picture above from the upstairs balcony of this church.)
The text for the lesson was 2 Corinthians 8 about the Macedonian churches who, out of their poverty, were motivated and enabled by the grace of God to give joyfully to the advancement of the gospel.
In the morning church service, that church—comprised of Filipino Christians from the greater Manila area—gave three offerings. I am not exaggerating. The final offering was for five families in the church who were going through times of financial trial due to sickness or deaths in the family. When the pastor announced the amount of that offering (as he had announced the two previous offerings), I was amazed and humbled at the generosity of these Christians. Continue reading
Over the years, the Lord has used biographies to strengthen my faith and encourage my effort. Thus, biographies always have a place on my upcoming reading list.
Often, when I mention benefits of reading biographies in a teaching setting, someone will ask for recommendations. I’ve never really compiled a list, so I’ll usually just mention one or two that have been a recent blessing to me.
Well, today I have a recommendation: Where Only God Could Lead: the life story of Don Sisk.
This newly-released biography by Cary Schmidt is published by Striving Together, so I got a behind-the-scenes editorial pass to read it before it was published. I knew I’d enjoy it, but I didn’t realize just how encouraging and faith building it would be. Continue reading
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.—Mark 16:15
This week is Missions Conference at our church, so my thoughts are wrapped in what I’m hearing and seeing.
Specifically, I’m thinking on the command of Jesus to share the gospel with the billions of people who haven’t yet heard it once.
And then there’s the lady who lives just several blocks down from my church. She had actually been to my church once and heard the gospel, but she was confused. Very confused. She was also ready to hear God’s Word. Today I had the opportunity to open the Bible and share the sweet story of salvation with her. An hour and a half later, she trusted Christ. Continue reading
When you read missionary prayer letters, what do you expect? Sensational stories? A string of unbroken triumphs?
Would you like to know things as they really are?
Here’s the truth: Missionaries do see victories. But the mission field isn’t romantic in the least. Sometimes it’s downright heartbreaking. The daily reality of the mission field is grueling and often disappointing.
I know this because I know missionaries personally (and even familially). But I recently read Amy Carmichael’s Things as They Are, and I was reminded in a fresh way of the real spiritual warfare missionaries face. Continue reading
…marks 171 years since David Livingstone first sailed for Africa.
I recently had the opportunity to read another biography about Livingstone this summer. I was especially impressed as I learned that, in the minds of many, he didn’t have much “missionary promise” when he sailed for Africa. He wasn’t a bombastic preacher, and he didn’t have a charismatic personality. Not likely to succeed.
Much of what Livingstone did in Africa was tedious and slow-going. He preached the Gospel everywhere he went, but he was navigating unexplored territory, usually sick, often hungry, and sometimes deserted. He persevered and died without seeing the full fruit of his labor. Continue reading
There are many gifts from my parents for which I will forever be thankful. One is the gift of reading. And another is the gift of books.
My mom taught me to read, and I actually remember when “the light turned on.” From that moment on, I was a voracious reader. Because we had no television in our home, I read everything I could lay my eyes on—including the ingredients on the cereal box.
But mostly, I read books. Good books. Books that stretched me and challenged me to love God, grow in maturity, and live by faith. And all this was before I was even in third grade.
What kind of books could do this for a grade schooler? Missionary biographies. Continue reading