An interesting chart:
Update: After this posted this morning, I saw the Spector’s had an update at their blog. Check it out: http://thespectors.wordpress.com/
Saw this last week, and it reminded me again of our friends serving the Lord far away from us…
Let’s be faithful “rope-holders”!
What I Want for All Missionaries by Mike Pettengill
Missionaries, obviously, are human; we miss home, we sin, feel neglected, raise our kids poorly, have bad prayer lives, and so on. Just like we did when we weren’t missionaries. The hard-to-swallow truth is that we are out of sight and out of mind. Our friends, family, and brothers in Christ don’t see us every day, their lives move on without us, and we become forgotten by those who used to care for us and love us.
Most missionaries knew this would happen when we left for the mission field. People don’t sign up to be missionaries for the fame, glory, and additional friends. It is no surprise, but I am shocked at how much it hurts me. I am surprised how much it hurts to be forgotten.
If I could ask for one thing of a church or small group or a family it would be for them to show some interest in my family and me. Send a small care package of stuff we miss twice a year. Give me a call once every other month. Send my kid an electronic iTunes certificate on her birthday and Christmas so I can be reminded someone other than me cares a little about her. Ask me about my marriage and my spiritual life, because both are probably suffering. Send me an occasional e-mail and tell me you prayed for my family today.
That being said, my family and I would continue to do missions work even if we never heard from another person in the United States. And I know the same goes for all eight missionaries on my mission team. But we want to be loved, and we want to know people are thinking and praying for us. If my team members were reminded that others care and pray for them, they would have strength to endure the hard days.
As leader of a mission team and a former elder in my home church, I would love to see each missionary on my team have at least one church that loves them and shows interest in them. In my four years on the field, half a dozen churches have told me that their church has a new plan to better care for their missionaries. They explain, “I have been assigned to care for your family.” And few have followed through. I pray that each missionary serving on the field has one church, or small group, or pastor that shows interest in them, their lives, their faith, and their struggles.
When William Carey volunteered to be a missionary, he implored those who sent him, “Remember that you must hold the rope.” Missionaries must go, and senders of missionaries must remember to hold the rope.
Great time with everyone last night. I’m working on getting materials from the night up for you to grab if you want them. For now, here’s an email Elza Koshy sent me relating to some of the things we were discussing at the Forum:
…In regards to both last week’s study and tonight’s forum, I was thinking of the following passage in a book by Ravi Zacharias…
“In the beginning God…” must be the generating dictum of all our choices and commitments. From the beginning God positioned this relationship of man and woman in a unique context. Having created Adam, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18), so He created a partner for him. Man’s aloneness was an impediment to his complete fulfillment. I find it thought provoking, because in a very real sense man was not alone. God was with him. Adam experienced companionship in his relationship with God. God walked and talked with him. Their communion was nestled in the beauty of the garden. Yet God said that man was “alone.” Interestingly, He made this pronouncement before Adam’s disobedience ruptured his relationship with God. So when God says “It is not good for the man to be alone,” He must have had in mind a kind of companionship uniquely human to help meet Adam’s human finitude in a way that God designed and orchestrated. In other words, God has made each of us with certain needs that are an intrinsic part of being human—needs that only a fellow human being can meet. We must step back and take note of that. Once we understand this, we realize that though God uses marriage to represent His relationship with us, the Church, that relationship with God is not identical to marriage. God has designed marriage to be a distinctly human relationship, different from all others. That is the first reminder in the creation of humanity.
There is another reality that is often forgotten. When God said that it was not good for the man to be alone, even though he was in a close relationship with God, He created a woman. The fact that God did not create another man ought not to escape our attention. The companionship and the complementariness in that created pattern is defining for all the rest of procreation. The woman met the desire, the need, and the insufficiency of the man in a way that God precluded Himself from and that another man was not intended to meet. Neither the gender of maleness nor the man’s spiritual relationship with his heavenly Father was to provide this particular relationship.
Let me describe this in another way, in order to reinforce it. In Himself, God is all in all. There is nothing He lacks in His perfection. He is wholly sufficient for all our needs, yet He chose to craft a relationship designed so specifically that only a woman could complete the incompleteness of the man. It is the distinctive role of a woman, fashioned and splendidly made, to meet a need that could not be fulfilled by another man. This is an extraordinary order in creation made by God to “perfect” the entity He called Adam.
Just a reminder: Tonight we’re holding our next Forum, Homosexuality and the Gospel. Please try to be on time so we can get started right away. There will be a couple short breaks during the evening, including one around the time we usually stop, in case you need to get home. Otherwise, be ready to stay a little late for the Q&A time. If you want more info on the night, you can read the original announcement. And, I would appreciate the prayers of all of you as we go through the day leading up to our gathering. We all want to see the Lord work in this most sensitive of areas. See you tonight…
Pastor Joe has played the audio from this several times at church. It doesn’t get old:
A hymn by Isaac Watts:
Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace
Or wash away the stain.
But Christ, the heavenly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they.
My faith would lay her hand
On that dear head, of Thine
While like a penitent I stand
And there confess my sin.
My soul looks back to see
The burden Thou didst bear
When hanging on the cursed tree
And knows her guilt was there.
Believing, we rejoice
To see the curse remove;
We bless the Lamb with cheerful voice
And sing His bleeding love.
“At the cross Jesus dies utterly alone, condemned by Rome and abandoned by the nation, his people, his followers, and even the Father.”
(James Edwards, in The Gospel According to Mark, on Mark 14.)
Pastor Joe taught today at the Penn State Abington Christian fellowship (typically Josh Focht teaches). During the study he offered this thought:
In heaven, the only things that are man-made are the wounds in Jesus’ hands and feet.
Over at the Blue Letter Bible Blog they’re going to be running a series with Justin Alfred (who taught at the Calvary Chapel Bible College) giving an introductory look at Biblical Hebrew. They’re starting with Psalm 23.
One of the most unique things in the biblical revelation of God is His “three-in-one” nature. The doctrine of the Trinity sets our God apart from every other view of what God may be like. But then, it’s really confusing too. Fortunately, like all teachings of scripture, God’s “triune” nature isn’t revealed just to confuse us, but to help us know Him better. Since it’s who He really is, studying, pondering, and worshipping God as Trinity will lead to a deepening ability to relate to Him and know Him.
So for today, here’s two (very) different ways to start to think about this. The first one is a little bit of a mind-bender, and it’s also off the beaten track. It’s an article by Jonothan Edwards exploring his view of how the Trinity works. His basic idea is that God, from all eternity, has always had an idea of Himself which is such a perfect representation on who He is that it (He) exists as a separate person of the Godhead (God the Son), and there flows between them a love which carries so much of who God is that it (He) also exists as a separate person in the Godhead (God the Spirit). It sounds really weird at first, but then, the more you think about it, there’s a lot of verses this makes sense of. You don’t have to a gree with it at all, but it makes for reverent, thoughtful reading. Here’s an excerpt:
…this I suppose to be that blessed Trinity that we read of in the Holy Scriptures. The Father is the Deity subsisting in the prime, un-originated and most absolute manner, or the Deity in its direct existence. The Son is the Deity generated by God’s understanding, or having an idea of Himself and subsisting in that idea. The Holy Ghost is the Deity subsisting in act, or the Divine essence flowing out and breathed forth in God’s Infinite love to and delight in Himself. And I believe the whole Divine essence does truly and distinctly subsist both in the Divine idea and Divine love, and that each of them are properly distinct Persons.
Get the whole article to read here.
Second, here’s an infographic on the Trinity. (Click here to download the full size graphic.)