Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Field of Dreams

In the movie, "Field of Dreams," a farmer is walking in his cornfield and hears a voice saying, "If you build it, he will come." The farmer takes this to mean that, if he builds a nice baseball field in his cornfield, the great "Shoeless" Joe Jackson will be brought back to life. As it turns out in the movie, he builds it and Shoeless Joe does come back -- along with several other dead people, including the farmer's father.
I have not been wandering around in the cornfields, but I have been hearing a lot of voices saying, "If you build it, we will come." Some have said, "Build up a better Bible school program for our children, and then we will come." Others have said, "Get more people our age for us to fellowship with, and then we will come." Unfortunately, I have to say, "This is not the movies, folks, and what you are asking is not something like a baseball field that can be built that way."

We cannot build the Bible school program without children, children who come regularly. If you want to see more people your age here, invite people your age, and then be here yourself to welcome them. It is not really a question of my building it and anyone coming, it is a question of your coming and our building things together (with God's help).

Our culture is used to fast food, convenience stores, and ready to wear clothes. But faithful churches do not happen instantly, they have to be built, and they are not built by the efforts of one or two. A faithful church is grown only where people are willing to rearrange their priorities and work under God's grace and to his glory.

If you come and work with us, we can build this church into something that will glorify God in this area. But if folks keep saying, "Do this and that and fix this other, and then we will come," nothing worthwhile will come of it. I cannot build it, you cannot build it, but if you join in the work with God's help we can build it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Finding Our 'Niche'

The Bible teaches that we each have different roles to fulfill. We are not all eyes. We are not all hands. We are not all feet. Each of us has been given different gifts by God and we have different roles to fulfill. (cf. 1 Cor 12:17)

Some have tried to claim that every Christian should be a teacher or that every Christian should be an evangelist. It is true that every Christian should be supportive of teaching and evangelism. It is true that all Christians should be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks the reason for the hope that is within them (1 Pet 3:15), but that is not the same thing as being an evangelist. There is room, in fact there is need, for specialization within the body.

Finding our 'niche' is an important part of achieving happiness and success in the Lord's work. The church has a unified purpose, but to accomplish that purpose we each must evaluate our talents, the needs at hand, and we must make a decision as to how we can best help in the work.

Our 'niche' is often determined more by the needs at hand than by our evaluation of our own talents. If you are asked to serve in an area of work where you do not feel particularly gifted, accept the challenge and trust the Lord to supply the ability. To serve only in areas where we are already comfortable does not allow for growth and does not indicate that we are walking by faith.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Vacation

If I were a factory worker, performing the same task in the same location day after day, I would probably want to take a vacation in which I moved about from place to place. But I am not a factory worker. My daily life is not highly repetitive. Consequently my idea of a vacation is a little different. Instead of traveling for a change of pace, I would prefer to sit still for a change. Instead of seeing the sights, I would prefer to read a few good books (a few of the hundreds I hear about but do not have time to read).

I just ended a two week vacation. Not by choice I had to travel about 2000 miles during the two weeks. But I still found time to read. This is what I read:
  1. A biography of Ernest Kevan, the first Principal of London Bible College. It was a good biography, and a relaxing read, but nothing outstanding.
  2. A biography of Hugo McCord. I studied under Hugo at Oklahoma Christian, so I was perhaps more interested in this book than the average person. The biography needed better proofreading and editing. But anyone interested in Hugo McCord, or in his biographer, Earl West, might really enjoy this book.
  3. A history of the first 50 years of the United Bible Societies. I am very interested in the work of Bible societies, and have known a number of people who have worked with Bible societies. But again, I do not particularly recommend this book.
  4. The Meanest Man in Texas, a biography of Clyde Thompson. Now that was an interesting read. I think anyone who enjoys reading even a little bit, might enjoy this book. I should warn you, however, that Clyde Thompson was indeed a violent and dangerous young man. He committed four murders. The transformation of Clyde Thompson is one of the greatest stories of grace. This would be a great book for anyone, but especially for anyone who is in prison, or who has a loved one in prison.
  5. Prayer: A Biblical Perspective, by Eric J. Alexander. This is an excellent, 12 chapter, study of prayer. It is as good as anything I have read on the subject, and far better than most. It would be useful for individual reading or group study (although there are no discussion questions with the book).
  6. Each for the Other, by Brian Chappell. This is the best book on marriage that I have ever read. I encourage everyone who is married, or who plans to marry, or who works with those who are married, to read this book.
In case you are interested in any of these, the 1st and 5th are published by Banner of Truth and can be purchased from their website http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/home.php Brian Chappell's books are available from Amazon or Christian Book Distributors. The biographies of Hugo McCord and Clyde Thompson were both purchased from the Freed-Hardeman University Bible bookstore, and are unlikely to be available elsewhere. http://biblebookstore.fhu.edu/home.aspx