Archives for category: Articles

More Than Harvest —


Evangelism

Many Christians consider evangelism as just the harvest, but that is not biblical. This is to say nothing about all the biblical ministries blessing the brethren. Yes, leading someone to Christ is the most important step because it is literally the difference between Heaven and Hell. That step would not happen if it were not for the steps that brought the person to that point.

In the parable of the sower, there is good soil and there is bad soil. How did some of the soil become good? Even in the garden of Eden, man had the vocation of dressing and tilling. Is there a corollary in preparing the soil of men’s hearts? In the farming vocation, upon which the parable was based, rocks and weeds must be removed, and the soil tilled, before the seed is sown. Imagine a farmer who hikes out into the wilderness and starts scattering wheat. Foolishness! You would not even call such a person a farmer.

John 4:35-38
35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.
38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

After the seed is sown on good soil, then there is watering, and later there is a harvest.

1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

Glorifying God

If a person says the “sinners’ prayer,” but does not see God as glorious, this false conversion will leave them worse off. Now they think they are saved, so their heart is even more hardened to their need for the true gospel.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

There are repeated opportunities, throughout a person’s life, for them to see the glory of God. Each of these occasions can help them to see the light. There are many methods each of us can use to glorify God.

Matthew 5:14-16
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

You could think of it as preparing the soil, or planting seed, or watering. Everything good thing we do brings glory to God, and is thus an effective work of evangelism to the lost, as well as ministry to the soul and spirit of the brethren.

Want to hear more?

Not Your Calling —

It is quite clear from Scripture. The Apostle Paul had a calling. He explicitly pointed out that not everyone has the same calling. Of course, not all Christians fulfill their calling, but some have a calling that I cannot even see. It is a pity when any Christian condemns the brethren for their failures. It is even worse when such failures are actually misperceptions. What they are really seeing is a fellow Christian who simply has a different calling.

Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?

James 4:11-12
11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

Examples of various callings, gifts, and ministries

Luke 6:13 He called [unto him] his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

Exodus 31:1-6
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
4 To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
5 And in cutting of stones, to set [them], and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.
6 And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;

Romans 12:1-13
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 [Let] love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 [Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

Matthew 19:10-12
10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with [his] wife, it is not good to marry.
11 But he said unto them, All [men] cannot receive this saying, save [they] to whom it is given.
12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from [their] mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive [it], let him receive [it].

Ephesians 4:1-16
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Want to hear more?

Judges —

There was an occasion, in Exodus 18, when God spoke to Moses through his father in law Jethro. God ordained, by Moses, to set up this structure of judges that Jethro had described. The purpose of these judges was to hear and settle disputes. That way, Moses no longer needed to do this all himself. In the cases that needed to go to Moses, so he could pray for an answer, God gave laws that would address all such future cases (Exodus 18:16). So, ultimately, we had all of the needed laws. This was God’s providence for the time coming when they would no longer have Moses (Exodus 22:9, Leviticus 19:15).

This system of judges was established extremely early in the time when Moses was leading Israel. By the end of the 40 years, when God was handing leadership over to Joshua, He said, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8

Even after Moses and Joshua, there was a time of history when Israel continued to be governed by God, through His Law, and by judges whose basis for judgment was God’s Law. They no longer needed Moses to go to God and ask about the most difficult cases. The Law had already been delivered to Moses, and he wrote it down (Deuteronomy 31:9), so they had this as the basis for their judgments. They did not need to legislate, only judge.

Most of this historical time of judges is covered in the book of Judges in the Holy Bible. When they were living in accord with God’s design, this was the mode of civil government and criminal justice in Israel. When they departed from God, He afflicted them. They eventually repented and re-established the proper system, “and the land had rest.” This cycle repeated several times, over many generations, for more than four centuries.

1 Samuel 2:25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him?

1 Samuel 7:15 And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.

The demolition of this system is found in 1 Samuel 8, when the people demanded a king instead. It is extremely important to note that God said, in verse 7, that they were rejecting God as King by ending the time of the judges and starting the time when the king was merely human. This was also emphasized as God described the great problems that would result from their destruction of God’s design for justice and authority.

Want to hear more?

Reminder: One-Year Bible Reading Schedule —

Tornado+Lightning

We would like to highly encourage you to read through the Bible each year, in conjunction with other biblical studies. That is why we have been posting this each December, even though it is the same schedule each year. This reading schedule has been incorporated into our online software, for KJV Bible reading and searching, that you can access for free without any advertisements or cookies.

We have tried several Bible reading schedules. There are some preferences that we wanted to incorporate into the plan, so we have made our own. Here are some of the features of this schedule:

  • It is designed for reading aloud.
  • The amount of reading is fairly consistent each day, about twelve to fourteen minutes, so you can reliably fit it into your schedule.
  • Each chapter is read completely, instead of breaking the chapter up across different days. We have found it to be distracting to keep in mind a specific verse number to end the day’s reading. When we know the entire chapter is included, then we can focus on reading and just check the schedule chart between chapters.
  • The chapters are isolated when they include many names that are hard to pronounce, so easier passages fill in that day’s reading. Consecutive chapters of difficult reading are on separate days, requiring less endurance of the tongue.
  • The schedule can be printed double-sided on a single sheet of A4 or US letter size paper.
  • It can be folded in quarters and used as a bookmark for the next day’s Old Testament reading.

We have been using this schedule since the beginning of 2015 and it has worked well for us. We plan to continue using this plan for the foreseeable future. As we have done with other reading schedules, we make a pen mark on the date for today’s reading, then fold it with the pen mark inside, so the fresh ink does not rub off inside the Bible. By the end of the year, the paper is fairly well worn, so we just print a new one.

Dogma Kennel —

Toastmasters Speech

The following information is not a transcript of the speech video. This blog post is here to provide additional details.

Pathways, Effective Coaching, Level 2, project 3 (7th speech) — Mentoring

Project objective:
Write and present a 5- to 7-minute speech about a time when you were a protégé. Share the impact and importance of having a mentor.

Please see the video on LinkedIn.

Here is a link to the book I referenced.

Another awesome book, in synergy with the above, is from John Maxwell.

Want to hear more?

Coronation —

chickCoronation

The “fact checkers” cannot block this post! It is my opinion! And that is a fact!

It is commendable how so many people have responded to the quarantine regulations — making the best of a very bad situation. This is a good attitude, in general, that stems from our concern for others.

This sudden and drastic shift took much effort and attention. It also handed significant additional power to the bureaucrats.

Please consider this: It is extremely easy to shout danger, safety, risk, and caution — like Chicken Little. In contrast, it requires deep research and good judgement to confidently endorse a measured amount of caution.

It is leadership, not technical expertise, that is needed to weigh the risks and chart a course forward. When there is a void of leadership, the shouts for safety drown out reason. A risk-averse society will over-compensate for dangers, and end up destroying its vitality instead of protecting it.

In many regions of the world, Chicken Little is now king and the bureaucrats are celebrating the coronation!

Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools

Want to hear more?

Oxygen For The Soul —

Toastmasters Speech

The following information is not a transcript of the speech video. This blog post is here to provide additional details.

Pathways, Effective Coaching, Level 2, project 2 (6th speech) — Communication Style

Project objective:

Deliver a 5- to 7-minute speech at a club meeting about a communication style and its impact on professional and/or personal relationships. 

Please see the video on LinkedIn.

Links to information about Truett Cathy:

Wikipedia

Recommended book

Link to 5 languages book:

Want to hear more?

Father, Glorify Thy Name —

GloryOfGod01

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

It is effortless to be humble when we see the glory of God. If you come to your god with any sense that you deserve his favour, then your god is too small.

Exodus 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

“Everybody wants to know God. They’re created to know God. The reason they don’t know God is they have a wrong picture of Him. You see, if I had a wrong picture of God, I wouldn’t want to know Him either.” — John Maxwell

If you said a prayer, merely as insurance against the possibility of eternal Hell, now continue your journey to seek God’s glory. If you seek you will find. Then you can truly confess that Jesus Christ is your Lord, and He will also be your Saviour.

Romans 10:9-10
9 If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 4:2-5
2 If Abraham were justified by works, he hath [whereof] to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Yes, we can earn rewards. Yes, we reap what we sow. Not because God owes us, but because He is gracious, kind, generous, loving. He is a good Father

John 12:28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, [saying], I have both glorified [it], and will glorify [it] again.

In the book of Job, God spoke of the glory of His creation, then connected this with His own glory. The righteous conclusion that Job came to, from this sermon, was that he should not have complained against God at all. This is a key lesson from the book of Job.

Even though God was not addressing His sermon towards Job’s three friends, He expected them to repent also, as Job did. This is similar to the lesson of Romans 1:20, that we have no excuse for any of our sin, nor our lack of repentance, because we can see the glory of God in His creation.

Want to hear more?

Innocent Blood —

ChooseLife

For their unpardoned evil here on Earth, each person will be judged, convicted, and sentenced. Some of the consequences for these actions will come in this life, some in the next life. Nations are also judged for their actions. But a nation does not have an after-life, so all of the consequences for unpardoned national actions must be faced here on Earth. God is a just Judge and requires justice.

There are several times in the Bible when God pronounced His judgement on a nation. With one exception, each time God gave the option to repent and avoid destruction. There is one time in the Bible when God said He would not offer pardon for the nation. It was when that nation had shed much innocent blood. 2 Kings 24:4 “The LORD would not pardon.” The king, who was responsible for the bloodshed, had already repented, after decades of evil, and had become a believer, but that was not sufficient in this case. The only options they were given were different forms of national destruction. There was no option available to avoid the downfall of the nation.

Government is an institution of God. The purpose of government is criminal justice. When a nation’s government turns to promoting evil, it does not make sense to expect that nation to get away with this evil for long.

Because they have shed much innocent blood over the years, America is doomed. This is why we left.

Proverbs 22:3 A prudent [man] foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

We have no intention of aiding the fall of America, but when God tells me where lightning is going to strike, I don’t stand there.

Want to hear more?

Leadership Solar Energy —

LeadershipSolarEnergy02

Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Toastmasters Speech

The following information is not a transcript of the speech video. This blog post is here to provide additional details.

Pathways, Effective Coaching, Level 2, project 1 (5th speech) — Leadership Style

Project objective:

Deliver a 5- to 7-minute speech at a club meeting to share some aspect of your leadership style, or leadership styles in general. You may choose to discuss your style preferences when working with others, your style and how you can adapt it to situations, or leadership styles in general and how they impact a group.

Please see the video on LinkedIn.

Coach Wooden

There is a nice 34-minute documentary about Coach John Wooden.

Here is my favourite version of his pyramid of success.

Wooden-Pyramid-of-Success

Leadership Affirmation

Before I share my personal leadership affirmation, it is important to explain the purpose of such a list. Everyone has virtues. Because no one is perfect, everyone can become more virtuous. I have a choice. I could convince myself that there is no hope, so I might as well give in to every temptation. If I make that choice, not only will I have a rotten life, my life will be a negative influence on others. When someone encourages me about some virtue they see shown in my life, I am drawn to grow in that virtue. This urge to become better comes not only as a boost from others, but also from what I say to myself. Of course, I am not saying these affirmations as if I have attained perfection in every aspect of these virtues — they are reminders to myself to keep growing.

  • I am leading for the benefit of others — the most rewarding life is to make the world a better place by improving the quality of people’s lives — “Leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves, but how far we advance others.” ~ John Maxwell
  • I am developing my leadership and communication, so I can help others grow and rise to God’s calling in their lives.
  • I am leading because I want REAL success:
    • Relationships
    • Equipping
    • Attitude
    • Leadership
  • I am leading by example
  • I am leading by valuing the contributions and insights of each team member — teamwork
  • I am leading by sharing wisdom: information that is both highly valuable and highly trustworthy — authoring documents, participating in meetings, teaching, equipping
  • I am leading by sharing contacts — introducing people
  • I am leading by being authoritative, rather than authoritarian
  • I am leading by being authentic, rather than merely honest — vulnerable, rather than hiding my shortcomings — giving trust
  • I am leading by prioritizing — investing time doing important things, not just the urgent
  • I am leading by changing myself for the better — open to coaching, seeking training and self-education, goals program
  • I am leading by changing business processes for the better
  • I am leading by encouraging — coaching, mentoring, guiding
  • I am leading by managing risk — due diligence in reducing the impact and probability
  • I am leading by taking initiative — ambition, hunger, industriousness, resourcefulness, adaptability, creativity
  • I am leading with responsibility — earnest, gravity, loyalty, reliability
  • I am leading with confidence — assertive, not aggressive — knowledge, not arrogance — faith: belief, trust, hope, peace, optimism
  • I am leading with joy — happiness, cheer, good humour, gratitude, enthusiasm
  • I am leading with vitality — energy, endurance, health
  • I am leading with prudence — good judgement based on wisdom 
  • I am leading with integrity — high standard of ethical principles
  • I am leading with grace — giving kindness, patience, forgiveness, honour

Want to hear more?