by Paul Ryan
Almost no one can go through the Christmas season without hearing at least some part of Isaiah 53 being quoted. Did the apostle Paul know what Christmas is? Not so much. What he did know, as every first century Israelite would, is the promise of the Lord and prophesied testimony of the Jewish people found in Isaiah 52:13–53. Contained here are the seeds of Paul’s impassioned motivation and unashamed boldness in proclaiming Christ. Here we find, what could be called, Our Great Christmas Commission.
by Johnathan Arnold
Unlike the apostles who shared the things they had seen and heard, my knowledge of revival is merely as a student of history who seeks to be taught and as a candidate for revival who needs to be humbled. While reading Leonard Ravenhill’s book Why Revival Tarries, I came across six points that are worthy to be shared and brought up-to-date with examples that will show their relevance. In our lethargic, lukewarm church age, when revival is so desperately needed, we are right to wonder why it tarries. Why has it been so long since we have seen a mighty move of God’s Spirit like those in the days of Edwards, Wesley, Whitefield, and Finney?
by Steven Hight
Over the last forty years and more, short-term mission trips (STMs) have become very popular. The number of people involved in, and the amount of money spent on, STMs have increased at amazing rates and grown to amazing totals. According to a report by Liberty University in 2009, far more than a million Americans, mostly young people, go on an STM every year. If the average cost of such trips is $2,000, then the annual expense total is over two billion dollars!
As the report says, STMs are here to stay.
by Ryleigh Stratton
The following letter was recently published in Focus on the Family's Clubhouse Magazine. Ryleigh Stratton, age 11, is the daughter of Jeff Stratton, a Home Missions pastor at the Chambersburg God's Missionary Church.
My family moved to Chambersburg so my dad could pastor a church. The first year we prayed for 65 people to attend our Christmas program. That night, we got 70. (You have to understand, this is a small church.) While my family looked for a personage, we lived in a double-wide trailer for almost a year. At first it was fun, but then it got boring.
In January of last year, my dad preached a sermon. He called 2017 "The Year of the Impossible." April was outreach month. Our goal was 50 visitors. After two Sundays, we already had 49 visitors. We raised our goal to 100, then 125. Then we stopped setting goals and waited for the final number. We got 140 visitors!
Around that time, our friends' grandma died. She lived right across the road from our church. On a hot, sticky day in June, we won the auction for her house. After some remodeling, we moved in on August 31.
I am so thankful to God for doing the impossible.
by Timothy Cooley, Sr.
Jesus invites Peter and Andrew to follow Him. If they accept the offer, Christ promises He will exert His transforming power to make them become “fishers of men.” Jesus does not ask them to lift themselves by their own bootstraps. Jesus, the Master Teacher and Molder of Men, proclaims, “I will make you....”
by David Wise
In 1849, William Taylor was sent by his Bishop to be a Methodist missionary in the “uncivilized” territory of California. His destination was the notorious city of San Francisco. Taylor would spend seven years laboring on the West Coast, with San Francisco as the home base for his efforts.
by Jeremy Fuller, Director of Home Missions
"And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us." (Acts 16:9)
The emergence of the church at Philippi in Acts 16 is as much a model for Christian leaders in the twenty-first century as in any other. In the beginning of the chapter (verses 1-5) we find a team of earnest-hearted Christian leaders (Paul, Silas, and Timothy) encouraging and nurturing the newly founded churches of south central Asia. Verse five reads, “And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.” And so, what does a church leader do when he is satisfied that the work he has already undertaken is healthy? He looks for new ground to break.
by Rex McDowell, Sr.
In our circles, we have heard a lot about worldly Christians. We need to hear about World Christians.
World Christians are Christians who cannot get away from God’s yearning to bring the whole world back to Himself.
World Christians share the Father’s heartbreak over the billions who do not know that His Son already bought them freedom from their debauchery, misery, and hopelessness.
by Rex McDowell, Sr.
It is a common cliché among us: “You can go, or you can give, or you can pray.” We are so familiar with the statement about missions that we seldom pause to question it; however, it presents two problems serious enough that we may need to repeal and replace it!
by Rex McDowell, Sr.
You have heard it dozens of times. A missionary comes to your church and pours out his heart about God’s heart for reaching the whole world. The Spirit stirs your heart. Then the pastor, before taking the offering, comments, “We can’t all go to foreign fields, but we are all missionaries right where we are.” There it is: Everyone is a missionary. It sounds spiritual, doesn’t it? But is it true? And what fruit often grows from it?
Assistant Editor, Content Strategist
Dr. Timothy Cooley, Sr.
Fact Checker, Accountability Editor