Archive

Archive for May, 2010

I am a missionary to the United States

May 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Someone said to me recently, “So you were a missionary.”

I replied, “No, Sir. I am a missionary now…to the United States.”

Truth in Love is a mission. We are speaking a language that few in the church world today in America really understand: sacrifice, worship, giving, living for Christ, depending upon the Holy Spirit, reconciling with sinners, redeeming lost people, saving marriages, helping children, helping the weak and the poor, discipling others, getting ALL saints involved in ministry, etc. I could go on and on!

Thankfully, many of you get it. But I’m here to tell you, many in the church world don’t. Let’s pray for those in America who are blinded by comforts and ease to get uncomfortable and do the hard work of spreading the Gospel!

-Mark (“Lord, we ask You to enlighten our understanding and open our eyes to see You and to do what You have commanded us to do – Matt. 28:18-20)

Advertisements

“I can’t forgive myself!”

May 29, 2010 1 comment

Where’s the Bible say we are to forgive ourselves?

I thought sins were against God and others? The consequences of sin hurt us but when we sin, we need God’s forgiveness – not our own forgiveness!

I hear this phrase a lot – “I can’t forgive myself!” – and I think they mean that they are struggling with the guilt and shame of their sinful actions. They are having trouble getting over their sinful choice. I understand that – feeling so stupid because you knew better than to make the sinful choice yet did it anyway. Paul says something about that in Romans 7:15 “what I hate, I do.”

In some ways, I think we realize, “I can’t believe I did this and now I can’t believe I have to deal with the consequences of this.” It’s terrible and there’s no reverse. We can never go back to the moments before the sinful choice when we had the opportunity to say “no” to sin and “yes” to God. Just like Adam and Eve could not go back into the Garden of Eden – they were banished.

God forgives us. We live in His grace and mercy when we accept His forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ. We need His forgiveness and then we need to TRUST HIM that He has forgiven us according to His Word in I John – “He is is just and faithful to forgive us…” I trust God at His Word.

I heard someone on the radio say that saying, “I know God forgives me, but I can’t forgive myself!” is like saying Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins aren’t enough.

Now, ask Him to forgive you and believe in faith He does because of Jesus Christ. You may not feel different at first so re-train your mind by focusing your thoughts on Christ and not yourself. You do not need your own forgiveness. In fact, there is no such thing because you sinned against God. The kingdom is about the King, it’s not about you! You need the King’s forgiveness and He gives it freely!

Biblical counseling hinges upon God’s forgiveness of our sins!

Now, I think the phrase ought to be, “I can’t believe I sinned against You, God! Please forgive me and be gracious to me in the consequences of my sin.”

-Mark (looking to Christ for forgiveness and not myself)

Good News: Ronny does NOT need surgery!

May 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Some of you know that our office manager extraordinaire, Ronny, broke his foot a week or so ago. Well, we have good news: the doctor’s reports show that he does not need surgery and he’s on the road toward healing!

We thank the Lord for this good report!

Thank you for your prayers for Ronny! He told me he knew people were praying and was very touched!

-Mark (grateful for our many volunteers in TIL)

House Churches? Francis Chan says “Yes!”

May 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Some of you know I am a big fan of house churches. There are a few in our B’ham area and they are very solid faith families from the ones I have visited. I guess you could think of them as small groups just without the bigger church body that meets on Sundays!

Anyway, though I am a fan, some people think house churches are crazy because they are not traditional. Most people are used to bricks and mortar and Sunday meetings and the like. There’s nothing wrong with those churches in the sense that God works in all of His people! Praise the Lord!

Here are some verses about the early church that met in homes (excerpted from the Kansas City website cited below):

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart. Acts 2:46

And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. Acts 5:42

. . . he came to the house of Mary . . . where many were gathered together praying. Acts 12:12

Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Romans 16:5

Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. Romans 16:23

Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 1 Corinthians 16:19

Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church that is in his house. Colossians 4:15

To Philemon our beloved friend . . . and to the church in your house. Philemon 1-2

Notice how many times “house” is mentioned as a meeting place for church. Since when did we get so bogged down with buildings?

Here’s another interesting and recent development: Pastor Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love and Forgotten God, is stepping away from his big church to start small home fellowships. Personally, I think he’s on target with his reasoning which is sound and biblical. Check out this article/interview of him for more information at http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/communitylife/discipleship/catchingwaves.html

If you are not meeting in a small group in a home OR are not going to a house church, I encourage you to do so because that’s really where intimate fellowship occurs. At Brook Hills, their small groups SERVE Christ by going on mission trips internationally and in the local community. With so many small groups, they are able to serve together in a variety of ways!

One other website to visit is http://www.christfellowshipkc.org/ – check these guys out as they are 4 house churches that are connected to each other. They meet separately weekly and after 6 weeks, all the homes meet together for fellowship, the Word, and prayer. Pretty simple, really! AND their tithes and offerings do NOT go toward overhead like buildings and power bills and the like. Their money goes straight to ministry!

I’m liking the idea more and more and will be having people over to my home soon for small group fellowships to be the church and live out our faith in community as a faith family should! Let’s be the church and serve Christ!

-Mark (wanting a community of like-minded believers)

A Challenge from A.W. Tozer

May 25, 2010 1 comment

“Why does today’s Christian find the reading of great books always beyond him? Certainly intellectual powers do not wane from one generation to another. We are as smart as our fathers, and any thought they could entertain we can entertain if we are sufficiently interested to make the effort. The major cause of the decline in the quality of current Christian literature is not intellectual but spiritual. To enjoy a great religious book requires a degree of consecration to God and detachment from the world that few modern Christians have. The early Christian Fathers, the Mystics, the Puritans, are not hard to understand, but they inhabit the highlands where the air is crisp and rarefied, and none but the God-enamored can come.” ~ A.W. Tozer

-Mark (grateful for God to give the C&MA denomination such a great man as Pastor Tozer)

What I love about my wife…

May 24, 2010 Leave a comment

On her birthday yesterday, my wife went 2x to the hospital downtown (35 minutes away) to minister to others! She said, “it’s just another day” when I mentioned it’s her birthday! She reached out to a precious young lady who was pregnant with twins but lost them both today. Please pray for this family to keep their eyes on Jesus while they are grieving (Col. 3:2).

My wife has a heart to serve Jesus and His children. I’m thankful for her because she serves our family in the same sacrificial way.

Also, my wife expects no birthday or Christmas gifts from me! My wife does not wear jewelry or any such because she wants to use our God-given resources for the advancement of the kingdom! I have a rare woman of God who lives sacrificially in so many ways. She is almost a Proverbs 31 woman (no one is quite that good!).

-Mark (glad I married a godly woman)

Happy Birthday, Mary!

May 23, 2010 1 comment

My wife is getting older today…and wiser!

It’s her birthday and I’m so thankful for her. I tell her often that because of her sacrifice, I am able to do TIL. So when a marriage reconciles by God’s grace, my wife has a part in it due to her supportive role for me!

Happy Birthday to my sweetheart, Mary!

-Mark (not telling her age though she looks so young she could be carded at a rated “R” movie!)