Marks of the Messenger

Last week I was at a conference for pastor’s called Together for the Gospel. One of the perks of this conference is the massive amount of books they give away. I think I came home with 27. One of those was Marks of the Messenger by J. Mack Stiles.

In this book, Stiles writes, “Te be a healthy evangelist means to love brothers and sisters. This is a spiritual reality that has huge ramifications, so if you have any desire to be a healthy evangelist, move beyond thinking of our Christian community as a self-help tool and move toward what Jesus desires in Christian community: observable love and unity among true believers.”

Stiles point is clear and simple. If you want your church to reach the lost, your church has to love each other. Stiles goes on to give 16 ways that churches can reach the lost through love and unity within the body. They are paraphrased below.
1. Go to a church that takes the gospel seriously and presents it clearly (Hebrews 10:25).
2. Take membership seriously.
4. Even if they pay more, turn down jobs that will compete with your devotion to the church.
5. Plan family vacations around your church’s schedule. Perhaps consider using a vacation to do a short term missions trip with another family.
6. Develop a church covenant that expresses the love and devotion that must be present.
7. Use your house as a hospitality extension of the church building.
8 Practice church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17).
9. Respect the authority of the church (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
10. Be quick to ask for and receive forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32; Matthew 5:23-24).
11. Take care of those with physical needs in the church (Romans 12:13).
12. Pray for one another (Ephesians 6:18).
13. Have sympathy for other believers (Romans 12:15).
14. Disciple one another. Don’t be afraid to ask each other, “How are things spiritually?”
15. Do evangelism together (Philippians 1:27; Acts 2:42-47).
Some of these may seem quite a bit unusual but I think that they are more faithful to the Bible than telling strangers on the street, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” or, even worse, doing nothing at all.

Random Thoughts

I’m a pretty random kind of a guy. Here are some of my random thoughts from the week.
Signs That This Aint Your Grandpa’s Easter Egg Hunt
1. It’s your responsibility to hide the eggs and you don’t see fit to remember how many eggs you hid. Check.
2. When the lady in charge asks you at the end if all the eggs have been found you hope for the best and give her the thumbs up. Check.
3. After the kids find what appears to be all of the eggs, they have to gather all of the eggs into a pot to be distributed evenly among everyone. Check. Joseph Stalin would have loved this Easter egg hunt. It’ll take me a year to deprogram my son after this one.
The sight of next years hunt
4. You leave early and upon backing out of your parking space hear the sound that happens when a truck tire rolls over a forgotten and uncounted Easter egg. Check.
Reality Television?
I affectionately refer to one of my wife’s favorite shows as “The Worst Show in the History of Ever”. You might be more familiar with it’s given name, The Biggest Loser. In case you’re not here’s the synopsis. Ten or so morbidly obese people spend a few months on some ranch with over the top personal trainers and try to get down to a manageable size. Each week, one person is voted off the show. The last one standing wins a big bag of money that he can then take home to spend on a doughnut hamburger at the state fair so that he can be invited back for next season. It’s not irresponsibility, it’s job security.
“It’s my off day.”
When The Biggest Loser is on TV it’s sort of like driving by a train wreck or being in a room with Saved by the Bell reruns on. You know it’s going to be bad but you just can’t make yourself look away.
Here’s one scenario that seems to happen on each episode. One of the contestants has such a hard time getting past that 2 minute wall on the treadmill that they have an emotional breakdown. At this point, one of the trainers rushes over to trade in the physical therapy for the emotional kind. It’s at this moment that every contestant says the exact same thing.
“I’ve just been putting others first my whole life. It’s time for me to start thinking about myself first.”
What happens to you if you think of others too much
Oh really? So let me get this straight. You’ve spent your whole life going to nursing homes, helping orphans, volunteering with some adult literacy program and low and behold, the next thing you know you tip the scales at 714 pounds. Man, who knew that a life of servanthood could take such a toll on the body. Lottie Moon and Mother Theresa must have weighted 1000 pounds each.
Communication Breakdown
Some lady called me this week and left the following message.
“Well, I’m gonna hafta go head and cawl you back.”
That’s it. No name and no number.
I can’t wait for her to call back.
Most likely candidate
That’s enough randomness for now.