Wednesday, January 24, 2018

An Unlikely Rescue

On May 13, 1945, a crew of 24 soldiers took off to fly over the jungles of New Guinea when their plane crashed into a mountain in the midst of the thick jungle.  Only three of the crew members survived to find themselves face to face with natives that were believed to be cannibals.  What kept them from being eaten by the starving tribe was a prophecy that white-skinned ghosts would one day fall from the sky.  The rescue planes circled overhead for days without a way to land and rescue the crew.  They started dropping supplies and more people into the jungle in hopes that numbers would help keep them safe and possibly help them escape.

After two months, they realized that the plan was not going to work.  They decided to begin dropping the supplies for the crew to build a giant hang glider.  Their plan appears to come right out of a cartoon.  There was no cliff nor enough clearing within the thick jungle for the glider to get in the air.  The hang glider had a long bungee cord with a giant hook.  When it was built, a plane with another giant hook flew overhead and connected with the glider pulling it out of the jungle and gliding to safety.  Everyone was rescued.

I would call this an unlikely rescue.  There were many reasons why it should not have worked, yet the crew was saved.  Proverbs 24:11 says, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.”  There are thousands of people living in this city who are on their way to an eternal death.  Continuing to “do church” like we have over the last few decades is not going to rescue them.  We need to think outside the box with a bold idea, willing to risk our lives, in order to rescue those on their way to eternity without Christ.  Are you willing to do whatever it takes to take the name of Jesus to the dying?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Why Sunday Night Church?

During the Protestant Reformation, the new churches struggled financially as they were cut from the wealth of the Roman Catholic Church.  One of the ways money was raised was through families owning their own pew.  These pews were much different from the long benches we think of today.  These pews were more like box seating found in a concert hall or sports arena.  If you wanted to attend a worship service and did not have the money to purchase a pew you could stand around the sides.  Another option arose during that time, especially in churches that were growing.  Churches began to offer open seating during a Sunday evening service.  Many churches found this to be a great evangelistic outreach to their community as it brought in the poor and non-church members.  Who wouldn’t want free box seating to hear a great sermon?

The history of Sunday night services is not very clear.  The above is one example found in history where it was used successfully.  There are stories in America of the church being one of the first places to receive electricity and therefore a great place to hang out after dark for fellowship and the study of Scriptures.  Others tell of a service that was held in the afternoon following “church on the grounds.”  What is clear is that Sunday nights have been a productive time in Southern Baptist history to come together for worship, discipleship and church training.  However, it is a tradition struggling to hold on in our modern context.

A couple of weeks ago we did a survey to figure out the best way for us to meet the needs of those wanting to attend on Sunday night.  This was not a vote but rather a way to understand that various needs of our church.  As suspected, there was not any consensus.  However, we were able to put together a plan that we think serves our needs and keeps Sunday night a viable opportunity for Christian growth. Our new schedule begins on February 11.  Our Sunday evening Bible Study will begin at 6:00 at the same time as a new children’s choir.  Give us an hour and we will make it worth it in your Christian growth.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Manna Ministries

As I sit in my office this morning, I am going through the tedious process of putting together paperwork for a last-minute trip to Malawi.  We have been working over the last several months to get Manna Ministries registered with the Malawian government.  I will be going in February for a week with another ministry partner in order to help take care of some of the details related to this.  This ministry has grown significantly over the last five years and needs to have a structure in place to better support what we do.  Please pray for me as I go with Miller and Ginger Cunningham of SOZO ministries on this important trip.

Our relationship with Manna Ministries began when Rose Malekano came to Bartlesville with her husband Charles as part of a mission’s conference in our association.  Rose spoke at a women’s brunch about the orphans and widows they were feeding.  At that time, they were feeding a small handful of orphans and widows once every 3 days.  We now have three feeding centers feeding around 150 orphans and widows every day.  We are providing religious education as well as life skill training. 

I want to encourage everyone to find a way to participate with Manna Ministries.  Pray for me on this trip in February as well as for the group of us going this summer.  Pray about how your family can help financially.  We need more monthly support over the next two or three years as we work to help the centers become self-sufficient.  It is our goal to have these three centers supporting themselves with a model that can be multiplied to other areas of Malawi.  Also, five from Eastern Heights have committed to go to Malawi in June.  We need people to give to help financially for those sacrificing to go.  Not everyone can go, but everyone can find a way to participate in this great mission. 

If you would like to give to one of these needs please write on the envelope or on the info line on your check whether your gift is for “Manna Ministries” or “Malawi Mission Trip.”  Thank you for your help in taking the name of Jesus to the people of Malawi.

God Provides

God provides in many different ways. I have been reading Ezra as part of my daily devotional time.     Ezra leads the people of Israel out o...