Archive for July, 2008

What a trip! As you can see from the smiles on day 9, we had a great time.

My goal over the next few posts will be to share some of the thoughts I had during our 12 days of vacation in Colorado. During our trip, we enjoyed time with friends, reacquainted ourselves with our favorite destination for family R&R, worshipped at different churches, relished the lack of humidity and insects, marveled at the changes that have occured since we moved 3 years ago, and compared where we are now with where we once were.

It was relaxing. It was tiring. It was busy. It was refreshing. It was eye-opening. It was fun. It was sad. It was a great time in which we truly vacated our normal routine and were undisturbed by email, the phone, and the demands of others.

More later once I have reflected on the particulars, gathered my thoughts, and determined how to articulate it all succinctly and coherently.



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Short-term Missions?

The following is an email that a member of our church sent me. I think it is thought-provoking and should be discussed in light of the fact that we support missions the way we do and that many of us have been on short-term trips. What say you?

I took a book with me to read while travelling to Guatemala. Adoniram Judson and the Missionary Call by Erroll Hulse. While I expected it to impact my thinking about how little we (contemporary Christians) are willing to sacrifice in service to our Lord, and it did (especially the letters to Mother Hasseltine about the deaths of his wife and children), one thing in particular struck me that I had not been expecting. It was Adoniram’s opinion of short-term missions.

“I much fear [he complained to the Corresponding Secretary at home,] that this will occasion a breach in our mission. How can we, who are devoted for life, cordially take to our hearts one who is a mere hireling? I have seen the beginning, middle, and end of several limited term missionaries. They are all good for nothing. Though brilliant in an English pulpit, they are incompetent to any real missionary work. They come out for a few years, with the view of acquiring a stock of credit on which they may vegetate the rest of their days, in the congenial climate of thier native land. The motto of every missionary, whether preacher, printer, or schoolmaster, ought to be “Devoted for Life.”

My own observations at the orphanage in Guatemala mostly confirms what Judson is saying. I saw large numbers (particularly teenagers) of “short term missionaries” (those there for only a week or two in most cases) who provided little value beyond custodial duties. However, when you consider that each consumed $500 to $800 in plane tickets, more food in a day than most of the orphans eat in a week, were provided special barrack facilities with utilities availiable to maybe half or less of the entire Guatemalan population, and an intense investment of time diverted from the orphanage staff to supervise and direct these good intentioned Christians, I have to wonder if we often may better serve the Lord by sending the orphanage the cost of our plane ticket and stay home to witness to our fellow Americans in the Delta or inner cities. A single $800 plane ticket would pay a custodial employee for a month, perhaps two, AND a job for an impoverish local.

What do you think of Judson’s comments? Are they true for ALL short term missions opportunities? Should we be more conscious that IF we make short term missions trips that we have a specific ability to contribute in a tangble way that adds more value than we consume? Should we make an effort to be at least marginally competent in the language of those we are visiting BEFORE we make a short term mission trip? Is Judson’s negative view specific to only missions to unreached people groups which require translating the Bible into the native language or is he unequivocally asking that a missionary be devoted to the endeavor for his life? What about those who want to serve the Lord not as evangelists and teachers, but as servants to the missionaries themselves? Does Judson not consider the impact the mission trip may have on the lives of short term missionaries themselves and to the members of their church back home? – Mark Martin

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Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings, as others, and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God (Jonathan Edwards).

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Each week at Legacy Baptist Church, the gospel is clearly articulated during the course of each worship service and sermon. Yet, there is no official altar call. There is always a plea to respond. There is always a call to come to Christ. But there is never a request for anyone to come to the front. For those who have asked why, I have two responses. First, I agree with Tozer who said, “Don’t come down [to the altar] and cry about it, go home and live it!” Second, there are 6 shortcomings of altar calls that are communicated very well in this video (Thanks to Lisa N. for making me aware of this great clip). Enjoy.

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Read this and then watch below!

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Tozer Quotes

I know A.W. has come under fire recently, but is there anyone who doesn’t fall short in some way? Anyway. . .here are a few quotes from “The Attributes of God” that were too good not to pass along. Though written sometime during the first half of the 20th century, they sure are applicable today in the first decade of the 21st.

On quoting other people. . .

I wouldn’t quote anybody unless there were Scripture to confirm it. . .

On the infinitude of God. ..

You may have a charley horse in your head for two weeks after trying to follow this, but it’s a mighty good cure for this little cheap god we have today. This little cheap god we’ve made up is one you can pal around with – ‘the Man upstairs’, the fellow who helps you win baseball games. That god isn’t the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That god isn’t the God who laid the foundations of the heaven and the earth; he’s some other god. . .Christianity is decaying and going down the gutter because the god of modern Christianity is not the God of the Bible.

On music. . .

When you look at the old hymnody of Wesley, Montgomery, and Watts, it was ‘Thou art, O God, Thou art.’ But when you look at the modern hymns, it is ‘I am, I am, I am’. It makes me sick to my stomach.

On the incarnation. . .

The moon and earth turn in such a way that we only see one side of the moon and never see the other. The eternal God is so vast, so infinite, that I can’t hope to know all about God and all there is about God. But God has a manward side, just as the moon has an earthward side. Just as the moon always keeps that smiling yellow face turned earthward, so God has a side He always keeps turned manward, and that side is Jesus Christ.

He had a way with words didn’t he?!


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Along with my new role as Dean of Students, I have the opportunity to teach 10th Grade Bible at Life Way Christian School this year. As a part of that class, I have developed a blog that will hopefully facilitate discussion outside of the classroom. I have posted a few things already. One has generated a little discussion. One has presented them with a challenge. If you’d like, tag along as a casual observer.

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