Friday, November 29, 2013


With the holidays come times of both joy and sorrow for many missionaries. Living in another culture can take its toll, and there are occasions when you just want to escape and go back to where you are from. In my experience, the holiday season usually accentuates these times of homesickness. You begin to feel nostalgic and really miss the family back home. Feasibly you cannot break away from the work you are doing and buy a plane ticket, so you gut it out until your next furlough.

What are missionaries to do? How can they make the best out of their holidays? Below, I tackle seven holiday issues most missionaries face. These are the tips I recommend to help remedy the situation. They are by no means perfect solutions, but they may brighten up your festive celebrations nonetheless.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:17-28 (ESV)

Sunday, November 17, 2013


And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’”Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.

Mark 14:53-65 - ESV

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Lately, I've been seeing a lot of comments knocking sound doctrine as if being concerned with sound doctrine goes against true Christian faith and all that Jesus stood for. Typically, I see things like, "It's about a relationship, not a set of doctrines," or, "Jesus came to give you life, not theology." Sometimes proponents of sound doctrine will be compared to the Pharisees. Oh, those nasty Pharisees! They were way too intellectual and full of themselves to see what Jesus was really doing! (If anyone ever plays the Pharisee card on you, be sure to send them to this link.)

What is ironic about these types of arguments, is that they are all doctrinal claims.  Say a person makes this argument, "Jesus didn't die on the cross for good theology," then that person just made a theological statement. Whether they admit it or not, this type of "down with doctrine" thinking has developed into a doctrine all its own for many people. The basic tenant is this, "Doctrine is intellectual. God is relational. Therefore, to be a true Christian, one must relate to God without letting your thoughts get in the way."

Sunday, November 10, 2013


He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 18:9-14 (ESV)

Here we see Jesus laying out a parable with a specific audience in mind. This story is for those who trust in themselves that they are righteous, and treat other with contempt. The contrast that Jesus uses in this parable is striking to say the least.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”