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Barnabas: A Brief Character Study

“He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord” (Acts 11:24).

This is speaking of Barnabas. The preceding verse tells us that “he was glad and encouraged them all.” In chapter 4, we find that Barnabas’ name means “son of encouragement.” We also find that he “sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.” When he was with Paul, he was not the chief speaker (Acts 14:12), although in Acts 14:1 we see, “There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed.”

Barnabas was good, full of the Holy Spirit, full of faith, glad, encouraging, generous, and unashamed to speak the gospel. The result was that great numbers were brought to the Lord. If we are not seeing great numbers turning to the Lord, it may be that we are lacking the other characteristics which were in Barnabas’ life.

Join the #keepthefeast Bible Reading Challenge here. This post coordinates with today's r…
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My Testimony

Most veterans of Korea, Vietnam, or the Cold War, had at least one narrow escape. I had one on the USS Brush three months after being commissioned as an officer. The gunnery officer told me to leave my battle station in gunnery plot and come up to the main battery director. Our ship was off the east coast of Korea, closing range to destroy some railroad cars. I left the chief fire controlman in charge of plot and proceeded to the main battery director. When I got up to the director, he did not know why he had called me there.

While I was there, we hit a mine on the port side. The explosion obliterated gunnery plot and flooded the forward fire room. We lost sixteen men: six in the fire room, five in plot, four overboard, and one died from burns in the hospital. That evening I conducted the funeral when we buried the chief at sea. He had died in place of me.

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November Ministry Update

Dear Friends,

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7).

Years ago, a friend of mine told me that he was not into evangelism because the more converts he had, the more backsliders he had. Of course, that is not a reason to hold back on evangelism, but it makes us wonder why it sometimes seems to be so.

Here is a major reason. The new Christian often is not taught to live the Christian life the same as he was taught to receive Christ. He is taught a different way of living than he was taught of receiving. That is why he falls. The new Christian received Christ by grace through faith. He did not receive Christ by trying or by effort. He is not to live by trying or by effort. He is to live by grace through faith. In other words, the Christian life should be like being born again every day. If you need help with this, I recomm…

God’s Judgment on the Nations

“Then the Lord said to him, ‘Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure’” (Genesis 15:13-16).

This text was fulfilled in the time of Joshua. It also gives us a reason for the conquest of Canaan by Joshua: the sin of the Amorites had reached its full measure.

“After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, ‘The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.’ No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. It is not because of your righteousness…

Moscow City Council Election: Endorsement for James Urquidez

I have known James Urquidez for several years. I have known him professionally. He did the wooden floors in my house; they are beautiful. I have also known him personally. He and his family were members of the Word of Life Church, which I pastored until my retirement in 2017.

Here are a few things I know about him. He teaches Bible to businessmen several times a week, early in the morning. He preaches at the county jail. He corresponds with prisoners all over the country. I know that because I correspond with some of the same prisoners, and they mention him. He ministers to druggies, drunks, and many of the outcast people in this area. He is intelligent, kind, thoughtful, and considerate. I recommend him for your vote to the Moscow City Council. He will be a great asset to this city.

Paul the Versatile

“I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Cor 9:22-23)

St. Paul’s versatility was a versatility of choice, decision. He gives the reason for his decisions.

"to win as many as possible" (verse 19)
"to win the Jews" (v. 20)
"to win those under the law" (v. 20)
"to win those not having the law” (v. 20)
"to win the weak" (v. 22)

And finally, "that I might save some" (v. 22). Paul’s decisions were to identify with the people he sought to win. He identified with opposites, and he did it without compromise.

Join the #keepthefeast Bible Reading Challenge here. This post coordinates with today's reading.
Written August 1984.

Ministry: It's Not the Books

A friend told me recently that he was considering opening a Christian bookstore in order to be a ministry to the people in his town. Here is what I told him:

Bookstores are a very good place to do ministry, because all kinds of people come into bookstores. But the person in the store is what makes it a ministry, not the store itself. Whoever is in the store has to learn how to be an evangelist and a counselor, and it has to be someone who loves people.

I’ll give you an example. I had a bookstore at the University of Maryland. A hippie woman came in, and I watched her walking around the bookstore, getting more and more turned off by the Christian books she saw. I went up to her, smiled, and said, “The books aren’t that bad.”

She said, “Like what?!”

I started with Narnia, telling her about various books. She was just waiting for a chance to get past me and out the door, but I held onto her (not physically, but just keeping myself between her and the door).

I finally got around to sa…