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    • By 1Timothy115 in Devotionals
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      Psalms 119:1-8                                         Sep. 5 - Oct. 2, 2019
      1 ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
      2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
      3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
      4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
      5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
      6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
      7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
      8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
      The following verse stood out to me...
      5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
      At first glance it seemed to me this person’s soul is poured out with intense desire to have God’s direction in keeping His Word.
      I made a small wood fire in our backyard for my granddaughter, Julia, since she would be staying overnight with us. My wife and Julia stayed outside at the fire for about half an hour. Then, I found myself alone to watch the fire die out on a particularly lovely evening. So I took my verse from above and began to repeat it for memorization. As I repeated the verse, I tried to contemplate the words and apply them to what I was seeing around me. 
      The moon and stars were out now peering through the scattered clouds above.
      [Genesis 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. Genesis 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, Genesis 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.]
      Thought 1         
      The moon has stayed his course since the day God created him, also the stars, obeying the statutes directed by God from the first day they were created. Can you imagine God’s direction to the Moon and stars, “moon you will have a path through the sky above the earth, stars you will occupy the firmament above the moon and be clearly visible in the cloudless night sky.”
      Then, the trees, grass, even the air we breathe obey the statues God gave them from the beginning. None of these creations have souls, none have hearts, none have intelligence, but they all observe God’s statutes, His instructions for their limited time on earth.
      Thought 2
      What if we were like the moon, stars, trees, grass, or the other creations which have no soul? We would be directed to keep God’s statutes without choosing to keep them. This is not the image of God, there would be no dominion over other creatures, or over the earth. We would not be capable of experiencing the joy and peace of learning the love of God
      Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
      Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
      Thought 3 (October 2, 2019)
      Is the psalmist pleading God to force God’s statutes to become the man’s ways? No, he is speaking of his own failure in keeping God’s statutes and his desire to keep them, very much like Paul in Romans 7:14-25.
      God doesn’t work through force to turn men from their ways that they would desire His statutes or desire God Himself. Men must reject (repent) put aside his own ways and voluntarily seek God and His statutes.

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I got a call from a young man asking if he could come and present his mission field to my church. His field is Hawaii. I have gotten other calls for 'missionaries' to Las Vegas, New York and other areas.   What are some views here on this practice?

It always used to be missions meant other countries, other cultures: Africa, Mexico, China, etc. Now there seems to be people going to places in the US and wanting missionary support. Now don't misunderstand me, every new work can certainly use assistance, but it seems that for a long time, people have started churches in the US by working a job and knocking doors, starting in their homes or small rented halls and building off those. As well, the US, while there are certainly places needing a good church, I mean, Hawaii? There aren't already churches in Hawaii that can start new works there?  Seems like in the US preachers should spread in their areas, or nearby. Wish I was called to Hawaii. Actually I always wanted to be called to Scotland-beautiful area! But God called me here, and i work a full-time job to serve Him here.

So as you can see, I maybe look a little sideways at missionaries to America. What are your thoughts? Am I wrong, just an old sourpuss?

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Oh, you totally need missionaries to America. Although I think it'd work best for those called to an area to find a church in the general geographic area to work with and out of. As far as support, well, we support missionaries to other parts of Canada. I'd just be looking to be sure the young fellow isn't looking to try to get out of work as his motivation. Actually up here, any new church plant pastors/missionaries can expect to work as well, as the support provided generally isn't enough to maintain a family on. So I guess I support a mixed-model - if only to prove the young pastor is willing to work and not looking for a free ride.

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13 minutes ago, Salyan said:

Oh, you totally need missionaries to America. Although I think it'd work best for those called to an area to find a church in the general geographic area to work with and out of. As far as support, well, we support missionaries to other parts of Canada. I'd just be looking to be sure the young fellow isn't looking to try to get out of work as his motivation. Actually up here, any new church plant pastors/missionaries can expect to work as well, as the support provided generally isn't enough to maintain a family on. So I guess I support a mixed-model - if only to prove the young pastor is willing to work and not looking for a free ride.

When I came out here, I received $250 mo from the church I came to, $125 mo from my sending church, and $125 mo from my parents. $400 per month and I lived on that for quite a while. And while I had the parsonage, I still paid all the utilities, gas for my vehicle and food. Eventually I got a raise to $350. I later got a job with a local drug rehab place until they shut down due to poor management, and about 4 months later I was hired on to the Army base here, at which point I declined to accept any pay from the church, (though my parents insisted on continuing to send it, and my moreh does to this day). SO I guess I support a mixed model as well-I just don't know I agree that they should spend a year or two on deputation to meet all their financial needs before going to Hawaii!

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Hawaii is crazy expensive. To a tourist I guess Hawaii is an amazing island paradise. Try living there for more than a few months, year after year. It isn't paradise. Las Vegas is a hell hole that needs the gospel. New York is a melting pot of cultures that also need the gospel. Just because they are famous tourist destinations doesn't mean the people God calls to those locations won't need financial support for awhile. Even if they arrive in the area God called them with full support doesn't mean they get to sit back and relax, they have a ton of work that will never let up. Every mission field is different, and the time it takes to get a church started and running smoothly varies.  I really don't think it's right to compare one location to another and say, 'they should do it my way'. No, they shouldn't. They should do things the way God calls them to.

I do agree that Americans called to another part of America aren't the traditional missionary types, and it does seem odd if it takes several years to raise support when we think 'why not just get a job'? Many/most do, if at least a part time one. However, others feel for whatever reason that they shouldn't work a typical 8-hour job and think it will take away from what God has called them to do. Instead they want to use all their time building the church, not just after work and week ends. And depending on the location and people group they were called to, it might not be as simple as finding a job. Anyway, their motivations are between them and God. If you don't wish to support home missions, that's also between you and God. There's no right and wrong answer here, I think.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

New Testament churches are established as the Lord lays those burdens on members' hearts.  A certain locale may not make any sense to us but God knows and he'll place that burden on a willing man's heart to go there.

Hawaii is a secular mess, like the rest of America.  Away from the tourist areas, many of its neighborhoods look little different than your run of the mill third world country.  And the citizens are desperately in need of the Good News because if they get any preaching at all, it's usually the false gospel of the protestants.

In our local church, such a missionary would be queried as to whether or not his bible doctrines are the same as ours and his preaching be biblical before he would even be allowed behind our pulpit to speak to the congregation.  Then it is up to the members by a vote whether or not to support that particular mission.  It goes without saying that there is much prayer involved.

Check out www.bimi.org

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I realize my initial posts might have made it sound like I am against the idea-really I'm not, and in some places I'd agree that one really would need some support, like Hawaii. And Hawaii has a HUGE amount of JW's and Mormons there-they've really carved a niche for themselves and true, gospel-preaching churches are important. I also know the Hawaiian natives people don't much like houlies, (white people) and have been taught that we invaded and took over the islands, so I wonder if there aren't native believers that might be more successful getting over those prejudices. I do know, however that the Lord can use whomsoever He chooses so I am not questioning this person's call. I don't know it just seems like a majority of the missionaries that want to visit the church are either home missions or places that seem pretty saturated, like Tijuana, that should be sending people out from the existing missions, rather than more Americans going in.

Or maybe I'm just becoming an old fogie, I don't know.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Mike

Great question.

I think part of the answer lies in the decline of the USA in spiritual matters.  Our Independent Baptist churches are shrinking, and the KJV IFB churches are even smaller.  Furthermore, what we perceived to be "large" churches and a "big movement" within our IFB churches, in the greater context of all of Christianity, and all of the USA, our movement was minor - at best.
What I am getting at is this - our Nation is falling, in part because we did not do a very good job.  On top of that, we got complacent in our mission.  Our large metro areas are really suffering spiritually, and are in dire need of real Bible Believing churches.  
Here are my thoughts on this issue.

I would support the idea of Home Missions, but I would be very careful in how I would implement the support.

1.  Is there a definite need in the area?  We recently had a missionary come off the field, and decided that God had called him to start a church in Amarillo, TX.  I have a hard time believing it.  In Amarillo, population 200,000, we already have 8 Bible Believing IFB churches - why exactly do we need another one, when there are small towns all across the Panhandle of Texas with NO Bible Believing churches???  

2.  In keeping with the Biblical model of missions, I would expect that a Home Missionary would go to a major population center, build a church, and send out others to the less populated regions in his "Judea."  In my paradigm, it is my belief that our 8 churches in the Amarillo area should be training men to go out into these small towns and get some churches started.  Just as i would expect a foreign missionary to go to a population center, start a church train the nationals, then send them out to their own people, so I would expect a home missionary to do the same thing.

3.  My support would be limited.  I would put a definite time limit on any financial support.  We would expect the church to grow to the point where they would be able to adequately support him.  I know first hand how difficult it is to work a job and pastor a church and raise a family.  I don't have a problem supporting home missions TEMPORARILY to give the guy an opportunity to at least get the church "off the ground."  

4.  I would really grill the person to make sure of his calling.  Here is why.  There are too many phonies out there begging for money.  It makes me sick.  I get fliers, letters, and phone calls all the time for all kinds of things.  I figure, if God wants them to have their building, or whatever else they are begging for, God will do it without me.  It is THEIR church.  Just as George Mueller prayed and God supplied, and many other missionaries and preachers prayed and God supplied, so God can supply the needs of these beggars!  Whatever happened to us living by faith, trusting God to supply our needs, and being content with what God gives us???

I have the same problem you have Mike.  I have seen how God has taken care of our little church here, and the struggles we face, and then get flabbergasted at the audacity of some of these charlatans.  I get even more incredulous that they get support!  Unbelievable!  While we labor away unnoticed, without begging, and we are happy to be in the Lord's service without the limelight, attention, accolades, or anything else!  
Little is much when God is in it!

In Christ,

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So let's consider another aspect of this subject, in relation to another subject that has come up recently in the OB: calling. The discussion has been, does God "call" and equip pastors, or do men CHOOSE to be pastors and God honors that and subsequently equip them for that work? And with that thought in mind, which has gotten me thinking, what about the call of a mission field? How many fields that a man is 'called' to, are they actually 'called' to? Or are they called at all? If a man 'chooses' to be a missionary, does he then 'choose' the field he will minister to?

I admit to often wondering why you see so many missionaries to places where so many others already are ministering? And so few going to relatively untouched places?  In my own area, we have an area called feather River, a canyon that stretches about 140 miles. In that, there are two primary towns, Quincy and Portola, and neither has an IFB church. And along the river, there are many tiny, I guess settlements, for lack of a better term, where there may be a few dozen people. And no kind of spiritual offerings in those places. Had I opportunity and money I have considered a circuit riding preacher ministry down that way, but then my own little church would lose me, because it would surely be a full-time ministry in itself. Also, better for a younger man or couple with the strength and endurance. But no one seems 'called' to those, but Hawaii? Sure.I count 15, at least in Hawaii already. Lots of places with zip, zero, nada.

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I have known several missionary families who honestly admit a prior allure to the area, either from a visit, documentary, a missionary visit from the same place, even the TV, etc. The man wants to be a pastor in any form and with the support gathered through a missions board, it is not nearly the Scriptural leap of faith in God that we make it out to be. Go live in a foreign, most times exotic, country with expenses paid? The military does it every day and even the lost in corporate and scientific settings take that deal every day, not to mention the peace corps. When the support wanes, most missionaries come home and end up getting a job in their sending church or nearby in some type of "full time" service.

I am not belittling it but I won't ignore the modern truth about it. It does take sacrifice (especially with family with you-which is another recent development) but isn't that what it is all about. We have eternal life in God's Presence; we are supposed to sell all we have, give to the poor and come pick up our cross and follow Him while we are here. WHY does this get turned into some kind of mystical "calling" when it is clearly written for us in black and white? There are disciples on the mission field in some of the harder areas. But by in large, that is the only place disciples are these days. The vast majority of true Christians in the US are lukewarm lead by the lukewarm and I am talking only about IFB, I never consider the flax when I consider NT churches.

Most Christians are products of who they follow and trust on earth now and years past and simply will not think to question their traditional teachings. But I tell you that all they or you are talking about with this supernatural "calling" is the conviction of the Spirit with a personal burden on their hearts. It is not a sign or a vision from God.

The Gospel had spread to all corners of the earth long before mission boards took off in the 70s. But most IFBs these days have people going to hell in their own neighborhoods who have never heard the clear Gospel. We are assuredly in the last days and we are Laodicea.

Edited by wretched
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I see the same problems, Mike.  I believe one of the reasons we have this problem is because the "big shots" have glamorized "the ministry" to the point where young men don't want to go out into some relatively unknown place, put their heads down, and work.  The ministry IS work.  They want to be another "big shot." 

Regarding your questions on "calling."  I believe God does give a certain specific call in most cases.  You would have to be crazy to want to be in the ministry for any other reason.  A person simply cannot be effective in teh ministry without a definite calling.  There are too many reasons to not want to do it - at least to do the job properly and scripturally.  I believe this is the reason there are so many hirelings today.  They have no calling.  Without a definite call from God to the ministry, it is nothing more than a vocation.  They have no sense of purpose and no passion for the Lord.  

I believe there is also a definite call to the place God puts you.  I have no reason to be in the Panhandle of Texas.  I am from Minnesota.  But when the Lord sent me here, I immediately fell in love with this region, and these people.  Why?  It makes no sense.  All I know is that God called me here, sent me here, and this is where I KNOW God wants me to be.  I can't explain why.  I just know it.  What else could this be but a definite call from teh Lord for me to minister here?

Unfortunately, because the calling of God to the ministry, and to a location, is quite subjective, it is easy to counterfeit.  ANYONE can make the claim.  But to those who are truly called, the hirelings are easy to spot.  The question I always ask myself is this, "Would that man stay here if he half of his church walked out, along with his paycheck?"  

Good questions.  Things I have pondered deeply for a long time!

In Christ,

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37 minutes ago, Steve Schwenke said:

I see the same problems, Mike.  I believe one of the reasons we have this problem is because the "big shots" have glamorized "the ministry" to the point where young men don't want to go out into some relatively unknown place, put their heads down, and work.  The ministry IS work.  They want to be another "big shot." 

Regarding your questions on "calling."  I believe God does give a certain specific call in most cases.  You would have to be crazy to want to be in the ministry for any other reason.  A person simply cannot be effective in teh ministry without a definite calling.  There are too many reasons to not want to do it - at least to do the job properly and scripturally.  I believe this is the reason there are so many hirelings today.  They have no calling.  Without a definite call from God to the ministry, it is nothing more than a vocation.  They have no sense of purpose and no passion for the Lord.  

I believe there is also a definite call to the place God puts you.  I have no reason to be in the Panhandle of Texas.  I am from Minnesota.  But when the Lord sent me here, I immediately fell in love with this region, and these people.  Why?  It makes no sense.  All I know is that God called me here, sent me here, and this is where I KNOW God wants me to be.  I can't explain why.  I just know it.  What else could this be but a definite call from teh Lord for me to minister here?

Unfortunately, because the calling of God to the ministry, and to a location, is quite subjective, it is easy to counterfeit.  ANYONE can make the claim.  But to those who are truly called, the hirelings are easy to spot.  The question I always ask myself is this, "Would that man stay here if he half of his church walked out, along with his paycheck?"  

Good questions.  Things I have pondered deeply for a long time!

In Christ,

I have mentioned exceptions several times. Those who truly lose all of their worldly life to follow Christ ARE true disciples and do put their faith in God. They go out and start new churches or take on dying ones and go to hard places out of faith and not full financial backing. God takes no pity on the hirelings. Again I am referring only to IFB.

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The original church I was saved in was a mission work. The missionary was an older man from Colorado. His vision, or calling if you will, was to a small dead end of the road community is Alaska. Not many people lived there at all. It was 25 miles from any population center, which was Fairbanks. In the years since the early seventies, this community has grown exponentially, God knew what he was doing in sending this missionary there.

Many people and churches back in the Midwest kind of thought he was crazy to go where there was hardly any people. 

He had very little financial support from other churches and had to work a job to make ends meet. There were two families that went to Alaska with him and his family. They did it the hard way. Went into the woods, cut trees, used a portable saw mill to turn the trees into lumber and built their houses with that. It took all of one short summer to build their houses, in which time they lived in tents on property they had bought for the mission.

All this time they went on visitation in the small community and held services three times per week. One of the family heads that went with him taught Sunday School and the other family head served as church treasurer and secretary. This church still exists, is very biblically sound and has planted churches in both Alaska and Far East Russia.

This missionary pastor was a fine example of how mission work should be done. Along with his mission work, employment and visitation work he also found time to educate me for the ministry three nights per week for four years. His name was Brother Gene Seay, he has long since gone to be with the Lord.

There is a lot more to this story, but I don't want to bore folks with it and I need to get ready for church this morning anyway. Just thought some might be interested in a positive side of home missions.

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Another positive aspect of this mission work had to do with trusting The Lord to build his church. Attendance was low when I went to my first service at this new work. It continued to be low for another year or two. This was mostly due to location and not many people living in this small community. But as I said, people started moving into this community, mostly because of its proximity to good hunting, fishing and the natural beauty of the area. The Alaska pipeline was hiring thousands and Alaska's population was growing. As the community grew, so did attendance and more people were added to the work. As you would expect our giving increased. This allowed us to build a small separate building and hold services. we had been holding services in this pastor's house.

Sunday morning would arrive and some folks would come early to move furniture and set up folding chairs. Because we were not able to organize into a NT church for five years some supporting churches began to drop their support. Some of the churches outside of Alaska were critical of it taking so long to organize. Our sending church was Rogers Baptist Church in Garland Texas, they stood solidly behind us all the way.

When we built our first building to house the mission work, it was small, 24X24 feet. Many of our members were tradesmen, so we had all the resources needed in the form of manpower to build. Our missionary pastor was firmly convinced that The Lord's church should never go into debt to lending institutions to build. He was also against things like bake sales and yard sales to finance God's work. He firmly believed that if God wanted a church there he would provide what was needed. He was right, offerings increased as membership increased. Soon we were able to make up finances for the churches that had stopped supporting.

The men of the church approached the pastor with the idea of him stopping his secular job to devote all his time to the mission work. What a wonderful experience it was to see God work in our midst. Once he stopped working and we were able to fully support him, his ministry improved because he now had time to study and prepare better, as well as carry on his other duties as pastor. We saw a great change for the better once he was free to build the work without the hindrance of a secular job.

This church was organized into a NT church on the fifth anniversary of this missionaries arrival in Alaska. I feel it a great privilege to have been a part of this work. I was saved the very first Thursday evening I went to this mission's services. I was able, through my business to donate much building material to the work, as well as manually working on it also. I was blessed to be asked to take over the adult Sunday School class when our original teacher became unable to continue due to age and infirmities. What a tremendous responsibility I felt to take over for a man that I considered the most knowledgeable and able man of God and friend that I had ever known.

Once organized we immediately began to plan and save for a larger building, which we knew we would be needing in the near future. We were able to build this larger building about four years after building the first small one. The church continued to grow, men were called as foreign and home missionaries. Our original missionary pastor took on the monumental task of educating these men for the ministry, one of them was me. Our pastor felt that there was no better entity to prepare men for the ministry than the local church, I feel honored to have been able to learn under this great man of God.

When he retired because of age and infirmities, the church called me to fill the pulpit for the six month gap before our new pastor arrived. What a privilege to interim pastor in the church I had been saved in. At this time I was being used of God to fill the pulpit of sister churches when their pastor needed a break or was ill. Our sister churches also called me in for special meetings, I felt greatly blessed and am thankful for God's working in this mission work and my life until this day.

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I've been praying to see our community grow-many people have come out with big plans to grow the community, to bring out businesses-most recently, to open a shipping hub, like Fed Ex or UPS, out at the local base airfield, since it is very liitle used-it would save them millions per day from using standard airports, and it would result in many jobs and growth for us, since we ar the closest town, and the best option for moving trucks in and out-unfortunately, there are a couple people who thwart the efforts every time-last time when the work was in progress, ONE woman, who doesn't even line in this county, contactsed the US Army and said that the base was illegally going to rent out the field for use. So it started a big investigation, so the bsiness pulled out and said they didn't want the drama. So, since I have been here, it has been stangant of any growth-most people who come here seem to be on SSI, have no jobs, no cars, no motivation to do anything, and most, if they have anything at all to do with the church, it is usually because they want assistance of some sort, and don't really want to know truth.

I admit to being somewhat discouraged at times, but I have just had to rethink what we are doing here-apparently, our job is not to grow in munbers, to grow a large work, but instead, to reach what few I can as much as I can, and when they leave, pray they take what they have been given and do something with it. But I am here for the Lord not for myself and not for them, so I continue on. Maybe the Lord will bless one day with more, maybe not; maybe we will be blessed with a new facility, maybe not, but we will go until the Lord says stop. And I am thanksful to be counted worthy to the work, weird though it may seem sometimes.

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Thanks, Brother. yes, you've been here, and while I wasn't able to give you the grand tour, (lol), you have seen the fun we get to deal with. But it is all good-I'm not cut out of the right cloth to pastor a big church-I'm a little weird, so the Lord made me pastor of the weird, and it is a good fit.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

As someone who has had works on the foreign mission field, pastored here in the US and am currently headed to a "home missions" ministry, I believe each incident has to be approached independently. I was supported when I served in PNG,as  it was illegal for me to work and I was in the remote jungle. When the churches there were handed over to local pastors and I returned stateside, I had to get a job when I took the pastorate of a tiny church in the rural south. I am now getting ready to head to New Mexico to the Navajo Reservation to take over a work in the remote middle-of-no-where that has been without a pastor/missionary for almost 3 years. There is no work / town / employment within 60 miles and only about 9 remaining members, and thus I am once again being supported by some like-minded local churches. My particular mission has always seemed to fall toward helping struggling, hurting works recuperate, and that sort of work never lends itself to landing in a comfortable, salaried position. I work where I can, and trust God always. A "missionary" is a "sent one", and some of us get sent to all kinds of places, including home.

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