Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Multimedia message

Greg William, my dear brother in Christ who works at CVS Drug Store in the pharmacy department. Greg is an active evangelist who spends many hours learning the Lords Word and spreading the Gospel with anyone he feels the Lord has led an opening to, which is everyone...LOL

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Windchime Ministery Attendees

Windchime church members, small crowd today. They had a walk-a-thon yesterday, so many members were too tired to attend church.
This is from June 2008, and most of the women that attend were present. I took this picture for my Church bulletin board. The top picture is from this past Sunday on Oct 11. I took it because I have a gentleman who has been attending for the past couple of months. He is only the second man to attend on a regular basis, in the five years I have been doing the sermons at Windchime. The last gentleman, Harvey, is now battling ilnesses and does not attend very often, so keep him in your prayers.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

In The Begining God Created

(I would like to give special thanks to Hanna for the artwork used in my article.)

There is a disturbing trend that has taken hold of the modern day Christian community, and it is my opinion that this trend is causing a schism as big as the one that was addressed at the Council of Nicea over the Trinity. Now this is not a debate for those who have no faith in Christ, for what accord has Christ with Belial? 

No, this is strictly a debate for those who profess Christ as their Lord and Savior. Unfortunately, those who attempt to address the problem are usually labeled as rabble-rousers who only wish to spread discontent within the ranks of Christendom. This trend I speak of, is the compromising of the Word with the idea of evolution known as theistic evolution or Old Earth Creationism. I say “compromise”, because in the 150 years since Darwin offered his theory of evolution, the only side in the argument that has offered to compromise its position has been the Christian side. I have yet to see the evolutionary camp temper it's teachings to include God anywhere in the equation of creation.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Clarion Call of the Great Commission - Part II

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."Matthew 28:19-20
The last words Jesus spoke to His disciples before He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father would become the clarion call for thousands of Christians missionaries throughout the years. Many, like Stephen, would die a martyr’s death while others would work in obscurity never to be remembered but by Christ Himself. Regardless of their success, they would all follow in the footsteps of the greatest missionary of them all; like Paul of Tarsus they would spread the gospel to the four corners of the world. Last week I touched on the missionary movements of Asia and Africa, today I will attempt to do justice to the missionaries that spread the gospel to the Indians of the American West and the jungles of South America. 

From the days of Columbus and Cortez, the Roman Catholic Church has dominated the missionary movements of South America, but they never made headway with the Indian tribes in the Jungles and for the most part they never really tried. When the Protestants began sending missionaries to South and Central America, they stayed away from evangelizing to the masses in the cities because of the dominant Catholic faith. Most Protestants missionaries felt that converting a Catholic was tantamount to calling them non-Christian, so most of their missionary work was done mainly with the native Indians in the inland parts of the continent. This is largely the reason that the Catholic Church is still so dominant throughout South America. However, there have been success stories among the protestant missionaries laboring in the jungles and mountains of the continent. One of these great success stories was with the Waodani Indians that lived in the deep heart of the jungles of Ecuador. A great movie, “End Of The Spear” is a true testament about this tribes conversion and how God takes the evil of men and turns it into good.
Probably the largest influence the Protestants were able to exert in South America came about from James Thomson and the British Foreign Bible Society that was able to distribute Spanish Bibles in Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, and Chile. Through most of the twentieth century the Scottish Presbyterians and the London Missionary Society worked in obscurity, but by the 1980s their work began to show fruit as the Protestant faiths began gaining ground throughout South and Central America. There has also been many souls won for Christ by the Protestant missionaries in the last 50 years with the many Indian tribes who still live like their ancestors did thousands of years ago.
It has been said that the American foreign missionary movement is in many ways an extension of the frontier parson of the expanding American West. After all, before Americans sent many missionaries overseas they were busy sending them west to tame and civilize the mountain men, cowboys, and Indians. In Kansas alone there were over 30 missionaries working with the settlers and the natives to bring God to the plains. The first of many was Thomas Johnson and his wife Sarah, a Methodist Missionary who established the first Shawnee and Delaware tribal school in the Territory of Kansas. Like other missionaries of the plains, Thomas and his wife would minister to thousands of Indians and even settlers who came through on their way west when Gold was discovered in California.
With the discovery of Gold thousands of young men headed out to make their fortunes, and it only made sense that ministers and missionaries would follow suit. Instead of looking for gold and wealth, these men were like the circuit riders and the frontier pastors who had been migrating west for decades and they brought their treasure with them. Bringing the gospel of Christ to California, these ministers wanted to make sure that Christianity became firmly established in the hearts and minds of the many who headed west. Such men as Joseph A. Benton, William Pond, James Woods, and even Darius Stokes, a leading black minister of the African Methodist Episcopal church, all came to California with hopes of spreading Christianity and civilization to the far reaches of the American continent. After a few years in California, Woods would tell friends and relatives back East,
“Unparalleled in the history of the world is the march of progress in California . . . . Instead of being a remote, and almost unknown, and uncared for portion of the globe, with but a few scattering and degenerate sons of Spain, a few enterprising adventurers, and a few tribes of wretchedly degraded Indians, it now in the short space of two years has become a central spot of earth, where almost all nations of the world have their representatives congregated.”
Throughout history Christians have had to rely upon private donations from Christians like myself and others to spread the word. But considering Christ called all of us to be involved in spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth the donations are minuscule in comparison to the rewards. Through the years, the many different missionary groups realized they needed to work closer together, rather than against each other, so they have put their minor differences aside for the good of the movement. More and more, denominations have begun sharing expenses and facilities in order to reach the needy, establish schools and hospitals, and improve the living standards of the locals. It is worth adding that in many of the areas women would be the largest contingent of volunteers while helping in all areas including preaching the word.

As an aside I must also make the point that, by having more freedom to be in charge then they would back home, many women would return with a desire to be more involved in more areas like they were in the mission fields. This experience of greater equality would help contribute in small ways to the women’s suffrage movement in America when the returned home.
We can busy ourselves with all the knowledge of the theology of Christ and the history of how we got where we are until we are blue in the face. And I firmly believe that we are called by our Lord to do so, to supplement our diet with meat, so that we may be forever prepared to help others grow in truth and knowledge. However, we are ultimately called to spread the word to those in the dark, and it is those in the missionary field who do battle on the front lines from the concrete jungles of the big cities to the jungles of Africa, Asia and South America.

The great evangelist, Johnathan Edwards, never let his listeners forget what was promised in Habakkuk 2:14 that the knowledge of the Lord would fill the earth like the waters of the sea. He knew that when the gospel of Christ was spread to all corners of the world, to all men of all races and nationalities, that Christ would then return. Other than Jesus when he met the woman at the well and the townspeople of Sychar believed, Phillip had the first missionary success when he went to Samaria. Acts 8:5-8 Now, only Christ knows what area will be the last to be reached by the gospel.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."Matthew 28:19-20
I pray that those who have ears to hear, will hear what the Spirit says to the churches, and call upon His name. Amen

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Clarion Call of the Great Commission - Part I

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

These were the last words Jesus spoke to His disciples before He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. While it would eventually take the stoning of Stephen to actually force His followers to obey His commandment, many Christians would answer the clarion call of the great commission to leave home, friends, and family to spread the gospel to the gentiles of the world. It is no coincidence that the standard bearer that missionaries have used throughout the years has been Paul of Tarsus, who was present when Stephen was stoned. By being the example of what it means to follow the “Great Commission”, Paul would take the gospel to the Gentiles of the Roman Empire, and eventually share the gospel with Nero himself. For the next couple of centuries men like Polycarp, Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian would continue where Paul and the other disciples left off until 314 BC when Constantine would embrace Christianity and make it the favored religion of the empire.
While there were men like St. Patrick and Columba who would win Ireland and Scotland to Christianity through their missionary work, it would not be until the 14th and 15th centuries that the great commission would again be followed with such fervor. That is when the Franciscans and Dominicans, who had ministered to the poor and helped nurse a population ravaged by the Black Death, began spreading the Gospel to the barbarians of Brazil, Mexico and the islands of the Caribbean. Soon followers of Loyola like Xavier and Ricci would start Jesuit missions in the Asian countries like Japan, China, and the Philippines. When the Spanish Armada (Spanish account, and the English account), was defeated by Queen Elizabeth's smaller and faster ships in 1588, the Roman Catholic Church lost its ability to control the missionary movements to the new lands of the West and eventually to the East as well.

With the Brittish and Danish empires expanding their influence on the high seas, they would begin new colonies in the West that open the door for Protestant churches to fulfill their call to the “great commission”. By the late 1700 when the 13 colonies were being converted from English rule to Independent rule, a shoemaker was being converted to Christianity in England. William Carey always had a fondness for the voyages of James Cook, Columbus, and Vasco da Gama and the lands they discovered so he was a natural for God to use in his plan to spread the gospel to the uncivilized heathens of the world. Convinced by his friend, and fellow preacher Andrew Fuller, that man had a responsibility to spread the gospel, Carey began a group with him and some colleagues that they would call the Baptist Missionary Society.
Carey headed to India with a strong desire to reach souls and share the Lords gospel to fulfill his calling to the 'great commission”. By using the business model of the big trading companies like the East India Company, he set up a missionary movement that earned souls like a business earned profits. The Lord blesses us all with gifts, and one of William’s gifts was his ability to learn foreign languages. When he was younger he taught himself to read Latin and Greek, when he reached India he took that gift and taught himself to speak and write Bengali. He would eventually translate the Bible into 40 languages and dialects along with beginning several schools that helped many locals to become evangelizers to their own people. By the time he died in 1834, Carry had done in Calcutta from Serampore what Paul had done in Antioch and Ephesus from Corinth and Rome. As the news of his success reached England and America, Christians began taking note of their calling to the “great commission” and William Carey would became known as the father of the modern missionary movement.
Two American Christians to take notice of the calling were a young man and his bride of seven days, Adoniram and Ann Haseltine Judson. In 1812 these newlyweds traveled to Burma. Unfortunately numerous problems would lead to Ann’s death at the young age of 36 while Adoniram would endure imprisonment and bad health. In time Adoniram translated the Bible into Burmese. His Burmese English dictionary helped many in generations to come. His greatest accomplishment was with the Karen tribe that, thanks to his work, can claim over 100,000 professing Christians to this day. The Judsons opened the door for American missions that in time would be the largest contributor to missions around the world.
While it took men like Carey, Judson and even Hudson Taylor to open the orient to Protestant missions, an explorer by the name of David Livingstone went to the sore of the world and found the heart of Africa. Livingstone believed it was his duty as a Christian to free Africa from the need of selling their brethren into slavery. Livingstone believed that with the spread of Christianity and Western values the African people would see the evil of slavery. Along with better agriculture techniques and the discovery of precious resources and the use of other natural resources he hoped to help the continent move towards different types of commercial trade. For thirty years Livingstone opened up the heart of the Dark Continent and made it real and human to the world. Because of his work and exploration by others that followed every country in Europe would eventually send missionaries to spread the gospel to the "Dark Continent". By 1914 almost every town or colony had a Christian mission that nursed the sick, fed the poor, taught the gospel, and schooled the children. By 1950 the continent of Africa was the fastest growing Christian continent in the world, with 70% of all Africans claiming Christianity as their religion of faith.
During the Cold War and the division of Eastern and Western Europe, the Soviet Union began supporting rebels and setting up communist and other totalitarian type governments that left many parts of Africa devastated. In the process many once thriving missionaries have been either burned to the ground or confiscated by the local warlords who have replaced democratically elected leaders. In the place of Christian missionaries, Islam has filled the void as the children are not schooled, the sick die and the poor get poorer. Even the slave trade that such men as Livingston and Wilberforce, spent their lives trying to end, has again become a profitable business with Muslim Nations like Sudan selling Africans into slavery to Muslim countries. A continent that could boast of a higher Christian faith than some Western societies in the 1950’s is once again, the sore of the world. There are a still many missionaries in Africa, but not nearly like there were 50 years ago. As the economies around the world continue to suffer under the burden of Socialism, church caufers will continue to suffer huge losses in revenue. This loss will further hurt the Africa mission movement because America sends the vast majority of missionaries around the world. With less money and more interference from the unfriendly governments the obstacles will continue to seem overwhelming for missionaries already on shoestring budgets. The evil one may try to stop Christians from fulfilling the “Great Commission”, but the Lord is a Good Shepherd and His lambs will be found.
I pray that those who have ears to hear, will hear what the Spirit says to the churches, and call upon His name. Amen